Hey, Ryan Keith here. If you heard about me, you probably read my other work titled 'Kayden'. 'One Life' was a new project I chose to write up during my summer. I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope you guys enjoy reading it. For more updates, my buddies at the mailcrew will have them, so check them out. www.themailcrew.com

"The future is for those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"

One Life

by Ryan Keith

Part 1 - Beginning

The sunrise illuminated a clear blue sky. A glorious morning for all who awoke to grasp its beauty. In a certain region of western Canada, it was the opening day for excited first-years who would be beginning a new life; a university life. The day promised scorching temperatures and soft September winds. For this time of year, it was not common to have such high temperatures. Nothing had stopped Jaylin Stafford from waking up to the rising sun. In his backyard, he breathed in the warm air that seemed to wrap around him. The anticipation of moving on to his new life had offered him little sleep, but then again, there is the saying, "Sleep is for the weak."

He grinned inwardly at himself as he cast that random thought aside. His chest heaved as he tried to control his breathing after an early morning run. Squinting at the glowing sun, he cherished the last jog he would have for a long time in his little hometown. He was excited about going off to university, but a part of him was saddened that he would be far from the place he grew up, the place he called home.

The sound of the back door sliding shifted his thoughts as he turned to greet a woman with an almost ageless face.

"You're going to burn out there, Jayse. Now come on in and have some breakfast."

Jaylin turned to his mother with his hands on his hips and managed to form a sentence in spite of his ragged breathing. "You worry too much, Mum. It's turning you grey."

"Oh, not this morning, young man," his mother mused, "it's your last day here and I'll be damned if I let you go on ruining it. Now gather some decency and put your shirt back on before the neighbors see you."

He stared at the shirt he'd removed after his run, which lay scrunched up on the grass. Like any athletic guy would be, Jaylin was proud of his build. He had spent his high school life focusing on sports and academics, but not so much that he didn't have friends. It was quite the opposite; Jaylin didn't have enemies. Everyone at school liked him, but he didn't have any really close friends other than one particular girl. Everyone knew of their relationship with each other. He was kind, very well mannered, respectful, and gentle. Yet he had built social walls around him that didn't allow anyone to get too close. He couldn't understand how some people could be so close with others, spending all their free time drinking and partying. He liked to party, but every weekend was too much for him, no matter how much people begged.

Jaylin was the type that preferred solitude at times, for reading a book or just playing games. He loved RPG's -- role-playing games -- and wasn't afraid to let people know that. In fact, Jaylin was quite the geek. He even watched Star Trek, and played strategy board games with kids at a local game center. With so much to occupy his life, he had no reason to get drunk or stoned. In fact, he'd never, ever gotten drunk. The prom afterparty at his friend's cottage had been a perfect opportunity for Jaylin's friends to get him drunk, yet no matter how hard they tried, they failed. He had let them believe he could hold his alcohol, by hiding his portion in his car and nursing the same drink all night. Drinking didn't appeal to him at all.

As he stared at the shirt on the grass, he wondered if there was anyone as independent in their thinking as he was.

His mother apparently thought her son had lost his wits, again. "What's wrong, honey, is there a snake nestled in your shirt?"

That got his attention. "No, Mother dear, I was just contemplating strutting around a bit. You know, practicing. I could make a lot when I go to..."

His mother's eyes widened with shock. "You... you can't be serious. There are more honest ways to make cash... and your body isn't for..."

Jaylin smiled at his accomplishment; he had successfully caused his mother to tie her tongue. He bent down to grab his shirt and walked inside as his mother continued to chasten him.

"... and think of what of an influence that would have on your sister! Jaylin!"

Jaylin stopped in his tracks and turned his head slightly with a tilt before smiling at his mother. "Mom, please. You know I'm better than that."

"And besides, who'd want to look at a body like his?" a low voice said.

Jaylin turned to his brother, his elder by two years. "I'll have you know plenty of girls in high school found me quite attractive. Every girl likes a strong, confident man."

"Oh?" his brother said thoughtfully, "then how come you're still single? I've never seen you go out on a date other than with Sam."

Redness flared Jaylin's cheeks as he found staring at his feet safer than replying.

Samantha was Jaylin's closest friend. She was the prettiest rose Jaylin had ever seen, thorns included. Thankfully, Sam was going to the same university as Jaylin, so he wouldn't have to worry about not knowing anyone there, even though meeting people wasn't difficult for him.

"Leave him alone, Dwayne. Your brother is just picky," his mother said gently.

Dwayne was much smaller than Jaylin. Nevertheless, Dwayne could easily overpower his younger brother. Jaylin had extra points in strength and stamina, but his brother held the upper hand in speed and technique. Dwayne was a third-year in university in Ontario, in computer science. Jaylin held an interest in astronomy. His course choices guaranteed him a wide selection that could expand into other possible careers.

Karen returned to the sizzling pan that held a few strips of bacon, as she tried to ignore her sons' playful bantering.

"Breakfast is just about ready. Will one of you wake up your sister?" she asked, without altering her concentration on cooking.

Grabbing a banana, Jaylin volunteered for the task.

"Where is Dad, by the way?"

"He left for work while you were out running. He said to call him before you leave. I think he wants to tell you some things," Karen explained.

Jaylin cringed at the disappointment of missing his father on his last morning home. He really wanted to say goodbye before he went off. His father was his role model. A firm man, yet loving. His father's support in all his decisions had built a strong bond between them. It rivaled the way Dwayne and their mother depended on each other so strongly.

"You went running again?" Dwayne asked with a box of cereal in his hands. "We just went for a nine kilometer run yesterday, and you pumped iron the day before. Do you ever give your body a rest?"

Jaylin smiled at his brother. "I'd worry more about your height. I guess you really are at your peak. Kinda sad, don't you think?"

His brother's height was always a touchy subject. Jaylin stood at 6'2" while his brother was only 5'8". That served as a constant reminder to Dwayne that his younger brother was higher that him in something.

"I can easily chop your legs, little bro, don't forget that," Dwayne joked with a twinkle in his eye.

Jaylin laughed hard as he made his way up the stairs to their sister's bedroom.

Leah was the baby of the family, just going into grade seven. Jaylin's loving sister was much loved by him and the rest of his family. They spoiled her in everything, giving attention to all her wants. Still as pure as snow, she had an angelic aura around her. Not only was she well loved by her relatives, but also by the entire community they lived in. Blessed with a heavenly voice, she was destined to become a star. She could sing like no other, and her face was beautiful. She was regarded as the perfect child. She really was; her innocence and free spirit gave her a personality that people praised.

The sight that greeted Jaylin might have contradicted what people believed. Leah lay sprawled on her bed, snoring soundly with no care in the world. He really loved his sister. Whenever he felt weary or down, she seemed to sense his mood and would offer him a hug.

For such a strong-looking young man, Jaylin was quite a complex person. Battles raged in his mind; questions probed his heart, tearing endlessly at his soul. The support and care he got from his family was truly a pillar in his life.

He walked over to his sister and called out her name.

Instantly Leah opened her eyes and bolted straight up, straightening her hair. Within moments she was at her pleasant-looking self again.

"Oh, good, you're still here," she said happily. "I had dreamt you left while I was asleep."

"It's ok Little Lady, I'm still here," Jaylin whispered, offering his precious sister a warm hug. Little Lady was a nickname Jaylin and his brother called their younger sister. She really was a little lady.

Her brother's arms easily enveloped Leah.

"I'm going to really miss you," she choked.

Jaylin felt a pang of sadness in his heart. Leah was going to be alone. He and Dwayne had worried about that for so long. He knew his sister was growing up, and he wanted her to become more independent of her brothers. She was at the age where she should start to make something of herself, on her own. Jaylin held his sister close and soothed her with a quiet song she really loved.


"Get up, boy!" the rough voice said.

Tyler cringed at the sound of the man's voice. Immediately he bolted into a sitting position in front of his father. He swallowed dry, fearing he might have upset his father again.

Alan Morton was a hard man. That was how his wife described him. To Tyler and everyone else, he was a cruel, arrogant man. Never in his life had Tyler understood his father. Mr. Morton often forced his ideas on people, and fought anyone who stood against his beliefs. He was a one-sided man, and would never admit a mistake, no matter how wrong he was. To Tyler, he was a man to be feared, and angering him was the biggest mistake anyone could make.

"It took you long enough," the voice by the door mocked. "How long did you plan on sleeping? Are you done packing yet, boy?"

What the hell do you think? Are you so blind that you didn't notice those boxes outside my room? Fuck... you woke me up for this shit? Tyler wanted to say that, but he knew he couldn't. So much disrespect to his old man would earn him a beating he would not forget. "Yes, Dad. I packed two days ago. I have all my things ready, I believe."

His father nodded. "Good, be ready to move it to the van later on. The earlier we get you out of here the better. Got that, boy?"

Tyler understood perfectly. Anyone else hearing that exchange would have taken it as an insult; that his father wanted him out of the house as soon as possible. But Tyler knew how heated his father got during traffic, and agreed that leaving early was better for everyone. His father had a way of hiding behind his words; it allowed him dominance over many people. The very few who had tried to stand against the man had regretted it. Mr. Morton had never called Tyler by his name. His father believed that only people worthy of his respect deserved to be called by their first name. It didn't upset Tyler much. He understood that his father was not proud of him. Who would be? The only achievement Tyler ever accomplished was being accepted to a good university. Academics was all Tyler had. The probability of being embarrassed by his father discouraged him from joining any clubs or teams, but he had a passion for basketball and running. He once put up a poster of Vince Carter, a gifted basketball player, his role model. Within five minutes, Tyler had torn down that poster, realizing that if his father saw it, there would definitely be problems. First of all, Vince Carter was black, and his father was prejudiced against coloured people, black people most of all. Tyler couldn't understand how a man could hate so much. Another fear was that his father might think he was gay. He had already accused him several times, and each time Tyler had denied it. His father threatened to beat `it' out of him if he ever discovered he had turned gay. Displaying a poster of a man would have caused serious problems for Tyler.

His father's hate for homosexuals was another reason Tyler didn't join any clubs or teams. He was afraid of becoming close to people. If he were to bring home a guy friend, his dad would accuse him of trying to seduce his friend, or something, ultimately embarrassing him and ruining him at school. If he brought home a girl, his father would say he was gay and that was why he had a friend who was a girl.

"A girl couldn't be attracted to you, boy." Words from his father. He supposed he had to agree. He was very plain. He had unruly brown hair, green eyes, and these ridiculous dimples that he hated. That didn't matter anyways, because he never smiled enough to the make the dimples show. No, no one would ever notice him, not unless they were really drunk. His father assumed only women were tolerant of gay people, which is the only reason a girl would be friends with his son. Since Tyler couldn't bring anyone home for fear of what his father might do or say, he figured he would be lonely for the rest of his life. He decided he didn't need anyone. He kept to himself and became invisible. No one really knew him in school, except as `the smart kid'. He didn't even consider himself smart. For a long time he had considered himself to be a person of no value, who would live and work under someone else for the rest of his lonely life.

Now, Tyler wanted to change that way of thinking. He would be moving out to his university on this day. He would live on residence for the first time. He would have friends for the first time, because he would not have to fear his father. He had looked forward to this moment all through high school. He had worked hard at his part time job to pay off his first year. His mother had secretly paid half his tuition and Tyler was grateful. His father believed that university was a waste of money and if Tyler wanted to go, it had to be with his own money. His family wasn't well off. In fact, it puzzled him how his mother had paid for half his tuition without tipping off his father. Secrets were difficult to hide from his father. He went into everyone's business. All secrets were known except one: Tyler was gay.

Getting out of bed, Tyler made it to the bathroom, where he stood in front of the mirror. He was skinny, but he hated junk food, and ran to stay healthy. His very thin hair was a mess, and he proceeded to fix himself up. He wanted to be presentable at his university.


"Hey, Dad!" Jaylin almost yelled into the phone.

"Hey, Sport! Did you finish chasing the ladies yet? Your mother said you went running, but I know your game," his dad quipped.

Rolling his eyes, Jaylin replied, "Right, Dad. So what did you need to tell me?"

Silence... followed by a screeching sound.

"Sorry about that, Jayse, I had to close the door. Which reminds me, I really need to fix it up. The entire floor turned to me as I closed it," his dad chuckled.

Jaylin could picture his dad doing something like fixing a squeaky door. His dad was always a joker, which was why his employees loved him, and why he was one of the higher-up executives in the company. He had started the business, so that could be expected. Jaylin loved his father, and dreamed of making his father really proud of him.

"Jaylin, there's something I need to tell you. I wish I could say this in person, but this morning is busy." His father didn't falter in his words. He was serious, and had something important to say. Another moment of silence, which added to the suspense Jaylin felt.

"Jaylin, son. No father can be as proud as I am today. I want you to know that I'm proud of all my children, but you are my greatest pride. You are my hope, son. I know whatever you set your mind to, you can do."

Jaylin didn't respond. In fact, he didn't know how to respond. He had always known his dad was proud of him, but this is what he had dreamed of. His father had told him he was his pride. Words jumbled together in Jaylin's mind as he tried to put together a suitable response, but his tears would have choked any words.

His father must have heard him, because he continued, "It's okay, son. You don't need to say anything. I've watched all my children grow, and my dream has been to offer all of you advice, while allowing you to make your own choices. Your brother hated taking my advice, and did things his way. I must say I'm impressed by how well his methods have worked most of the time. But you! You listen to my advice, and you do what you feel in your heart is right. You are the man I always wanted you to be, the man I wished I could be. Son, I am so proud of you, and you cannot disappoint me, even if you drop out of university or join some strip joint. Anything you want, I'll still be proud of you. I will always love you, son."

Jaylin now found that he could speak coherently. "Thanks, Dad. This means a lot to me. I really love you and Mom. I'll do my best not to join a strip club."

Listening to his father holler was a gift. For sure, Jaylin heard something different in his father's voice. It was joy-filled and full of something else he could not describe. All he knew was that it was a good thing.

The Riley home wasn't too far from the Staffords. Not more than a two minute walk. His father had asked him to pick up something there. Figuring it involved his father's work, he wanted to get it as soon as possible before he forgot. Jaylin didn't have the best memory when it came to recalling things like tasks or chores. Yet, he could easily memorize school-related stuff; formulas, definitions, and such things.

"Hey, Mr. Riley," Jaylin called out. Mr. Riley was standing on his lawn staring at his house.

Turning to the voice, Mr. Riley smiled so widely that Jaylin thought his lips would split. He thought of the man as the most easygoing man in the world. Mr. Riley never seemed to get upset. He was a kind man who was really liked in the community.

"Hehe," Mr. Riley giggled, "this way, boy." He guided Jaylin to the closed garage door and said, "Wait here," and ran into the house. As the garage door opened, Jaylin was impressed to find a new 2004 BMW coupe staring at him. Mr. Riley was standing just inside the door, grinning like the happy man he was.

"Do you like it? What do you think?" he asked anxiously.

Breathless, Jaylin answered, "Wow, you must be so happy to own this baby! I would kill for a car like this."

Turning his face into a playful scowl, Mr. Riley replied, "Kill? No, no. Don't kill. It's yours. You don't need to kill."

At first the words didn't process in Jaylin's head as he stared at the beauty in front of him. Mr. Riley's words finally clicked, and within a few seconds, he understood their full meaning. Mr. Riley stood smiling, the keys dangling from his fingers. Jaylin ran up and lifted the poor old man in one of the warmest hugs he'd ever given anyone. His dad wasn't there for him to hug, so Mr. Riley got a double dose.

"Ho, ho, ho. I told your old fool you would love this car. And he was so worried you wouldn't like it."

"I love it!!!" Jaylin screamed.

He'd recently bought some Ray-Ban sunglasses and couldn't wait to take a cruise in his new car, wearing them.

"Now, instead of just staring at it, why don't you take this poor fool for a ride? I had to beat him with a broom just to keep him from trying to take one all week. The old goat can't even drive standard," a motherly voice chimed.

Jaylin turned to Mrs. Riley with the biggest grin in the world. "You don't mind me stealing your husband for a bit, ma'am?"

"You can keep him for all I care," she said, smiling. "Just drive carefully."

As he stepped into the new vehicle, the smell of new leather invaded Jaylin's nostrils. He loved the smell.

"Ignore that woman. She doesn't understand us boys. Let's tear the road up, young man!" Mr. Riley commanded.

"Yes sir!"

He wasn't sure if the screeching of his tires would bring some screeching out of Mrs. Riley, but he knew he wouldn't want to hang around after he dropped off the little old cowboy who was sticking his head out the window of his new car.

Apparently, everyone else except Leah already knew of Jaylin's new toy. His brother had known all along, and was actually the first driver of the car. That brought a curse out of Jaylin. His brother always got to do everything first, even drive Jaylin's car first. Even though Sam wasn't too excited, she knew as well. The only one who was even a bit surprised was his sister, which was understandable. Getting Leah to hold a secret was like asking her not to sing her favorite songs when they came on. After taking his car out for another ride, Jaylin decided that it was time for him to load up and hit the road. The road to his new life; the university student life.

"I'm leaving!" Jaylin shouted into his house, receiving no answer.. His brother was leaving later in the week. As a third-year student, he wasn't required to go to his university for orientation week, so he was at a friend's house. His mother had gone to work, and since his sister hadn't answered, she was probably at a friend's house. Jaylin didn't mind; he didn't need his family to be there to know they loved him. He smiled at the love-filled home he was born into, one last time, and headed for his car.


"Wake up, boy! We're here," the stern voice said.

Tyler opened his eyes and was rewarded with beautiful scenery. He had been to the university in early spring for the application process, but now the warm September sun made each flower and each tree more pretty; much more alive. This was a good omen for his new life.

Removing several boxes from the van, Tyler looked around the grounds that would be his home for the next year. His father had gone inside the main residence building to find a toilet. Holding a box close to himself, Tyler felt a bit intimidated. Everywhere he looked, everyone was talking with someone. People were laughing, joking, even play fighting. He envied them. He wouldn't be able to fit in. Those kinds of thoughts made him feel small. He so much wanted to change who he was, but he didn't know how. How can people just all of a sudden start talking to strangers? He began to wonder if he could learn to do the same.

Tyler felt like a tidal wave had hit him when he saw a sight that should be restricted from anyone under sixteen. At first he thought he was just staring at someone's cute ass. As the guy stood up with a box in his hands, Tyler was shocked to see it belonged to a being that he could describe as the best looking thing he'd ever seen. He was well built; not like a house, but well defined and not afraid to show it. With some pretty cool shades, the guy, who was nothing less that perfect, wore a black short-sleeved polo. It was tucked, not in a way a preppy kid would dress, but in a way that screamed `hot'. The front middle was tucked in a bit more to show off his belt, while the rest of his shirt was pulled around to his back where it was tucked. Besides the front, the shirt hung somewhat loosely. A nice pocketwatch chain hung from a belt loop into the change pocket of some nice dark blue jeans. The best word Tyler could think of to describe him was `blacksmith'. The guy had nice well-developed arms that showed some veins, something Tyler considered really hot on a guy. The boy looked like a ripe blacksmith's apprentice. Tyler held that fantasy in his mind.

As he stared at the being that could not possibly be human, a gruff voice cut his attention short.

"Are you some kind of fool? Why are you standing there like an idiot?" his father groused as he made his way towards him.

Tyler gripped the box tightly to his chest and looked away. Heat filled his loins. Never before had he been so attracted to someone. His father passed him and looked to where his son had been staring so intently. Tyler felt a sharp jab of pain in his shoulder that caused him to drop the box.

"You piece of shit fag. You were staring at the boy weren't you? Drooling over him like a boy-crazed fool!" his father swore at him, pointing in the direction of the boy Tyler had indeed been staring at.

Angry at his father's sudden accusation and choice of words, Tyler reacted before he could think. "I'm not a fucking fag!" Those words seemed to be a bit harsh, coming from Tyler, causing his father to pull back with a startled face.

"Then who were you looking at? Don't tell me you were just day dreaming again," Mr. Morton said angrily.

Looking over at the boy he instantly wanted to know, Tyler felt a pang of anger and a loss of confidence when he noticed a really pretty girl hanging her arms around his neck and apparently nibbling on his ear.

Who the hell is that? She came out of nowhere. A girlfriend? Shit, no way in hell could that guy be gay. Look at him; he's enjoying it. If she isn't his girlfriend, he would have pushed her off by now. Argh, he's smiling at her! I want his smile. What if she isn't his girlfriend, but just a frosh kid like me?

"I was looking at that girl. I've never seen anyone as pretty as her," Tyler almost spat. Deciding it was better to say something, he had chosen the role of a straight boy.

At first he thought he saw his father nod approvingly, but then he turned to him and said, "She's out of your league. Best not to go after her, she's expensive. A boy like you can't manage a woman like that." Simple as that, his father turned away and walked towards the van, not even apologizing for making his son drop him things. He didn't even say goodbye as he took off in his van.

With the last box in his hands, Tyler made his way to the housing office to sign up for a phone line. Placing the box on the counter, Tyler began filling out the service form. He felt someone walk up beside him and tap his shoulder. Turning around, all Tyler could do was stare.

"Hey, buddy, do you know where to sign up for the wireless Internet service?"

Tyler swallowed, not understanding the question. He couldn't understand it. He heard the words, but the image in front of him was so beautiful that it clouded the rest of his senses.

It was that boy he had been staring at earlier. Lost for words, all Tyler could do was stare and mumble incoherently. The boy's wild grin made his heart moan. Gripping the counter hard, Tyler tried his best not to fall over.

"Something wrong, bud? There's nothing on my face is there?" the boy asked, rubbing his face just in case.

"Uh... no, there isn't. Sorry," Tyler mumbled. "Umm, what were you asking?" Tyler could feel his cheeks flare. He tried his best to maintain a `cool' posture, but he felt like an idiot.

The boy's grin changed into the best-looking smile Tyler had ever seen. He was thankful the counter was so close.

The boy chuckled a bit before grinning again. "Forget about it. I take it you live on campus. What's your name, buddy?"

"Tyler," he whispered.

"Tyler..." the boy also whispered. "Cool name. Is there a last name, or are you just Tyler?"

Tyler blushed a bit before looking elsewhere. Staring at the boy any longer would arouse suspicion.

"Morton... my name is Tyler Morton," he replied.

"Cool," the boy said, extending his hand. "The name is Jaylin Stafford, but my friends call me Jayse. Nice to meet you, Ty!"

For a moment, Tyler stared at the boy's extended hand.

So his name is Jaylin. It has a nice ring to it. Heh, I love it the way he said my name...Ty? It sounds okay. I don't care what he calls me...

The extended hand just hung in the air, but Tyler couldn't find the courage to reach out and grasp it.

Jaylin took the step for him. After a series of handshaking positions, Jaylin ended the greeting with knuckling their fists. Tyler had seen friends giving each other props, but this was the first time he had ever done it.

"That's the way to do it. Geez, you gotta work on it if you plan on making friends around here. What residence are you in?"

Tyler swallowed once more. He wanted to run out of the place before he embarrassed himself any further, but his legs wouldn't move. He just stood like a fool.

"I'm at the Foundation Residence. I think I saw you unpack there. You there too?" Jaylin asked.

He noticed me? Wait... he saw me? That's impossible. No one ever sees me!

"Uh, yeah, I'm in Foundation. Nice to meet you, Jayse."

Tyler could have sworn that smile wasn't for him, but there was no one else around. He felt as if his world was slowly shrinking. He wanted to know this person. He wanted to be with this person. He felt a connection with Jaylin he had never felt with anyone. If Tyler hadn't known better, he could have sworn it was `love'. However, the impossibility of that happening so soon discouraged him.

"Don't be an idiot, Tyler," the voice said in his head, "he's just being nice. He can't possibly be interested in you. Look at yourself. And you saw that girl he was with. He has her, so he wouldn't be interested in you."

Before Tyler could run away, the reception lady saved him from further embarrassment.

"Are you done with those forms?" the croaking voice asked.

Tyler shoved the forms into her hands almost before she finished the sentence. "Here you go," Tyler said quickly.

As the woman began typing things on the computer, Tyler watched as Jaylin took his own form and began writing. Once in a while Tyler would look over at him and Jaylin would turn towards him and smile. Each time, Tyler would look away as if embarrassed.

"Okay, it's done. Just connect the phone into the phone jack in your room. Someone will call you later today with your number," the old lady said.

Tyler nodded and turned away.

"I'll see you later, Ty," Jaylin said. Tyler turned and looked into Jaylin's eyes. Eyes so deep and calm. With a smile, Jaylin returned to the form he was writing.

"Bye... Jaylin."

Jaylin raised his arm to acknowledge him.

For a few more seconds, Tyler just stared. A fine ass, indeed.


Jaylin carried his last box to his dorm room. Several times along the way he was stopped, either by a girl or by a frosh leader. He knew what the women wanted, but the frosh leaders were looking for frosh kids who wanted to participate in residence activities. Of course, Jaylin signed up. Those activities were one of the reasons residence life was so exciting.

A door opened and another girl walked out and gasped slightly before passing him. He thought he heard her say "hey" but he wasn't interested in meeting another person. He had met plenty already for one day. He still had to unpack and fix his room if he planned on participating in the night's frosh activities. They were going to play `capture the flag' out in front of the residence. He ignored the girl and quickly walked into his room. He had left it unlocked; he didn't expect anyone to steal his stuff. He was surprised to see more boxes, though.

A kind voice greeted him. "Hey man, you must be my roomie. Nice to meet ya, dude."

Jaylin was surprised. He knew that the probability of getting a good roommate was about ten percent, but for some reason he felt a connection with this guy, almost as if they were already good friends. The guy wasn't bad looking. Definitely a lady killer, he almost presented it too much. He was holding a girl calendar.

Jaylin lowered the box and extended his hand. "Hey man, nice to meet you too. The name is Jaylin Stafford."

"Cool, bro, I'm Dave, Dave Hachet." He gave Jaylin a warm smile. "I don't know why, but something tells me we're gonna get along just fine."

Jaylin laughed.

"Dude, I was just thinking the same thing. Looks like we both need to unpack. A good chance to get to know each other better."

"Sounds good, bro."

Over the next two hours, Jaylin got to know more about Dave, and Dave found out more about Jaylin. One of the biggest differences between the two was that Dave was a heavy drinker, while Jaylin didn't drink.

"Hey Dave, what's your schedule like?" Jaylin asked, a colourful piece of paper in front of him.

Dave turned to him and laughed hard. "Dude, this is way too much. You made your own schedule and colour coded it?" Dave asked, laughing again.

Jaylin felt his face get a bit red, but decided to stand up for himself. "So what?" he said, a bit awkwardly. "I'm an organized guy."

Still laughing, Dave said, "I'm not laughing at you, dude. I'm laughing at how similar we are. I did the same thing."

Before Jaylin could respond, Dave produced his own sheet, which made Jaylin laugh. Dave surely had made his own sheet, with the same colours Jaylin had used. Jaylin recognized the comedy in the situation.

"And no need to worry. I'm an organization freak too, but I love to party. So I pretty much keep my room clean. I hope you're the same, dude." Dave said.

"I'm the same, minus being a party freak. But hey, anytime you want to party, just tell me. If I need to study I'll head out to a friend's place or somewhere."

"Fuck that, dude. If you want to study, you tell me, I can always take my partying elsewhere. We're here to learn, dude, and I don't want to make you fail because of me. I study hard, but I play hard, too." Dave looked around. "Our room is kinda small, so it's not really going to be a cool place to hang out. I usually go to clubs and stuff."

"Well, it's no problem here. I agree; this room is too small. I can't study in a small place like this. I'll find a cool place to study. I won't be able to do work in a cramped room. With my laptop, I should be fine anywhere. All the buildings here have wireless Internet. One of the reasons I chose this university."

"Holy shit, dude. I was thinking the same thing. Tell me if you find a place. I know I can't study here either. I'll keep my eyes open, too."

"No problem, `dude'," Jaylin mimicked his roomie.

"Dude, I hope you're not making fun of me. There'll be trouble if you're making fun of me," his roommate joked.

"Oh yeah?" Jaylin smiled challengingly.

They laughed at each other. Jaylin knew Dave was going to be a guy he could depend on.

"The friends you meet at university stay with you forever..." his father once said to him. His father's best friend had been his roommate at university.

"Oh, I've been meaning to ask you... " Dave began.

"What's that, buddy?"

"Well, before that, we gotta agree on something. Our room is for sleeping, eating, studying, and partying. We gotta respect each other."

Jaylin bobbed his head, agreeing.

"Which means, there is no sex in the Dave & Jayse suite," Dave said freely. "None."

Jaylin blushed and laughed at the same time. This was too much; he had been wondering how he was going to bring up that subject. No doubt Dave was going to attract a lady or two, and he didn't want to unintentionally walk in on something. Dave smiled mischievously. "Which brings me to the question, who's this babe?" Dave held out a photo of Sam.

Jaylin blushed, trying to grab the picture from his new friend.

"I don't think so, dude. Tell me who she is and I'll give it back."

Blushing madly, Jaylin answered reluctantly, "She's my girl."


Tyler opened the door hoping to be greeted by his first roommate. He was going to make another friend today. He was disappointed to find an empty room. He placed his last box with the rest he had moved up. He had been hoping his roommate had arrived while he was at the housing complex.

He sat down and reflected on the past hour. The encounter with Jaylin had been unbelievable. Jaylin had just practically walked up to him and asked his name. He had to admit; his part in of their meeting hadn't been as effective as Jaylin's. Jaylin was amazing. Tyler wanted to know everything about him. Every accomplishment and fault. He felt he could love the man no matter what faults he had.

I can't believe such a guy exists. He is so cool. And nice. And cute. Shit, I hope that girl isn't his girlfriend. No. I can't let something like this ruin us. I have to just accept his friendship. He can't be gay. Someone as cool as that? Yeah, right.

He realized his hand had been moving on its own. He was amused at himself, and proceeded to enjoy the freedom of being alone and taking care of the matter.


Making their way back to their room, Jaylin and Dave talked endlessly about sport teams they planned on joining, to take part in the competitions between residences. The intramurals were the only sports Dave and Jaylin could sign up for. Their semesters were going to be too busy to do any of the university competitions. Dave wanted to get into football, even though he didn't have the body for it. His reason was that it was a babe magnet. Instead, they agreed on hockey. Being Canadian, a love of hockey was in their blood.

"The first game is in three days. I can't believe it. They don't waste time here, do they?" Jaylin said as they walked into their room.

When Dave didn't reply, Jaylin turned to him to see what was up. With a big smile plastering his face, Dave closed the door.

"Dude, did you see those girls? They were drooling all over themselves about us. Shit, man, we're dynamite. This is fucking amazing. You're taken, so they're all for me," Dave said greedily.

Jaylin shook his head, wondering how such an energetic man could exist. He liked Dave. He was easy to get along with, and wasn't afraid of speaking his mind. He liked confident people like that. The people who intrigued him most, though, were people like Tyler. He had a mysteriousness about him. Jaylin didn't really know why, but he felt they were meant to know each other.

A hand waving in front of him suddenly got his attention.

"Shit, man, were you daydreaming? Dude, we gotta leave now. The frosh activities start soon," Dave said eagerly.

Chuckling to himself, Jaylin motioned his roommate to lead the way.

It wasn't until he left the room that Jaylin realized the truth in Dave's words. They really were attracting a nest of girls. Jaylin wasn't interested. Besides his mom, his sister, and Sam, there were no other women in his life. Those three were all he needed.

The game was `capture the flag'. Dave and Jaylin were on the same team, with most of the girls from their residence. Apparently the girls didn't care that the teams were supposed to be balanced. Jaylin hid his disappointment behind his smile, kindly returning a few words here and there. His roommate was having too much of a good time. He was taking down numbers like that was all that mattered to him. Jaylin smiled at the guy. He really was unbelievable. When Dave looked over, he gave Jaylin a thumbs up and a stupid grin. No matter how much Jaylin tried to discourage them, the girls crowded him more that Dave, even though he had told them he was taken. The girls just giggled and pursued.

Jaylin's team lost the game, five to eight. Their team's five points were the result of Dave's and Jaylin's teamwork. They ran fast enough for the girls to lose interest and were able to work together to get the flag, most of the time. However, easily outnumbered by the guys on the other team, it was a losing battle. But still, Jaylin enjoyed himself. He was a bit disappointed, though; he hadn't seen Tyler anywhere. Actually, he had ripped a contact lens before going out, and hadn't found the replacement ones he had somewhere. Everything beyond a few feet was a blur. He wanted to see Tyler again. He felt a connection with him he had never known with anyone else. He felt they were similar, somehow.

The bathrooms were co-ed. There was a shower area with five shower stalls, all huge. Bigger than the one Jaylin had a home, complete with a sitting counter. The toilets were stalled as well, but he felt a bit embarrassed about being able to hear a lady relieve herself.

There was only one shower stall free after the game and Dave told Jaylin to go ahead. Washing off the day's sweat, Jaylin wondered when he would see Tyler again. That confused him, because he didn't know why he wanted to see Tyler so badly.

Walking out of the washroom with a towel wrapped around his waist and carrying his shower supplies, he noticed that a number of rooms were propped open. As he walked, he noticed a few people stick out their heads and whistle. He tried his best to ignore them but he couldn't help but blush.

I definitely need to go buy a robe.

A girl trying to get into her room, with a huge box in her hands, stopped him. She turned to him and gave him an approving nod.

"Wow, if I were a few years younger I would be so chasing you right now. Too bad you're almost illegal for me," she said with a smile. "What's your name, kid?"

Jaylin almost tripped. "Kid? Geez, thanks, that's kind of low. I'm Jaylin," he said, feeling irritated.

"No problem, Jaylin. I'm Lindsey, and I'm a fifth-year. Yeah, that's right, fifth. I'm not so stupid as to fill my semesters with backbreaking courses. I party hard so I don't have time to do work all the time. I graduate this year. And no, I'm not interested; you look too young."

Jaylin liked her. She seemed really wild. The way she held herself in such a dignified manner while still giving off a youthful vibe was simply incredible.

"I'm your neighbour, so I'll be sure to corrupt you! BEWARE!" She grinned evilly.

Jaylin laughed at her and she scowled. "Sorry, you're just too much. You're the only girl here who seems able to talk to me without tripping over herself."

"I told you, I'm not interested. You're frosh, so you're too young for me. I like a guy with experience," she said, seeming a bit annoyed at having to repeat herself. "I'll let you go back to your room. You're gathering an audience."

With that she walked into her room with a goodbye wave. Jaylin turned, and sure enough, a number of girls were looking at him boldly. They weren't even on his floor! He cursed to himself and walked into his room.

When Jaylin walked in, Dave was sitting in his chair while three girls were on the floor at his feet. Jaylin was getting annoyed about the number of people he was surrounded by in residence. He hated having to deal with so many new people, so soon. He didn't know where he would find the solitude he sometimes needed. He wanted to talk to Dave about the girls in the room. Apparently, though, he wouldn't have to.

"Okay, girls, need you to leave. Jayse is back and he's gotta change," he said, indicating the door.

"Oh, we don't mind watching," one girl said boldly, while the other two giggled.

Dave shook his head in annoyance. "Well, if you don't leave you're gonna have to deal with his girlfriend, and she's vicious. That's her on his closet door."

The girls turned to the photo, and weren't too good at hiding their disappointment. After hearing another forceful command, they left.

"Sorry about that, Jayse," Dave apologized. "These women here are impossible to deal with, but it won't happen again. They wouldn't take no for an answer."

Jaylin felt good. His buddy had done the right thing. Gentleman-like, but still firm. He knew there were going to be no problems with Dave.

"Not a problem, bud. Go hit the showers, or else our room's gonna stink."

Dave laughed and commented that he smelled heavenly, before stripping to his boxers and wrapping a towel around his waist.


Tyler lay in bed feeling disappointed. Jaylin had been at the frosh activities with another guy, probably his roommate. He was another hot guy, but Tyler wasn't attracted at all to him. He knew the type. They both were babe magnets, but only Jaylin was modest about it. He was disappointed that Jaylin hadn't talked to him. He actually felt angry. He called out to him a number of times, but each time Jaylin just turned to him and looked away like he was hearing voices. He couldn't believe that Jaylin just ignored him.

What was with that `see you later, bud' he said to me earlier? With all the attention he was getting from the girls, he didn't care about a stupid fag. That's pretty low of him.

He wasn't going to be fooled again. Next time he saw him, he would...

Tyler was shaken by a sudden blast of sound from above him. Some nut was blaring his music. Tyler knew he couldn't sleep with that on, and that made him angry enough to give the person above him a word of two.

Dressed in shorts and a shirt, Tyler walked up the stairwell ready to yell at the guy.

He pounded hard on the door, and the music stopped. The door was yanked open, and he totally forgot what he had planned to say.

"Tyler? Hey man, where were you? Been wondering about you," the heavenly voice said. "Come in, buddy. My roommate and I are just chillin'."

Jaylin moved out of the way and lead Tyler in. Their room was definitely a guys' room. Girl posters covered the walls, along with a number of photos that were both Jaylin's and his roommate's. Jaylin's roommate sat sprung on his chair and greeted Tyler with a smile and a toast with his beer bottle.

Great, they're drunk!

"Sorry about my roommate; he's been drinking a bit and blasted the music before I could stop him," Jaylin said, with a charming laugh. "We didn't wake you, did we? Wait... are you on the floor below us?"

Tyler nodded, his anger already gone. Jaylin remembered him. The cool Jaylin he remembered had invited him into his room. There must have been a misunderstanding during the frosh activities.

"Nah, I wasn't sleeping, so don't worry about it, guy," Tyler said smoothly, shocking himself by not mumbling or tripping over his words.

Jaylin smiled and introduced his roommate.

"Want a beer, dude?" Dave asked after the formal greeting.

Tyler liked Dave. He was as good-looking as Jaylin, and seemed as kind and understanding. It was like he understood Tyler had problems meeting people and went out of his way to make him feel comfortable.

Tyler nodded before realizing what he was agreeing to. Jaylin opened a cold bottle and handed it to him. Looking at the bottle, Tyler was scared. He looked up and saw Jaylin and Dave smiling at him.

"What about you, Jayse?" Tyler asked.

"This nut doesn't drink," Dave said sourly, leaning forward with a thumb pointing at Jaylin. "He doesn't drink! You don't think that's possible, do you? Yeah, he don' drink!"

Dave slurred his words, which made Jaylin and Tyler smile. Turning to Jaylin, Tyler released the smile he'd kept hidden and was rewarded with Jaylin's own hot grin.

A picture caught Tyler's eyes. He suddenly felt a wave of disappointment, but at the same time, relief. The girl who had been nibbling on Jaylin's ear freely that afternoon was the girl on his closet door. He understood Jaylin was straight. He didn't mind that, but he wouldn't mind just having his friendship.

Looking down at the bottle in his hand, Tyler decided to try it. His father had been strict about alcohol even though he was an alcoholic himself. He used to tell Tyler it was a drink for men only, not little boys. Tyler felt good being with two people who acknowledged him. Never had he felt this way. He took a sip and hid his feelings about the foul taste.

This tastes like shit.


Jaylin walked back into his room after escorting Tyler down the stairs to his room. After only two beers that took almost two hours for him to consume, Tyler was drunk. Jaylin had helped him get into bed and had even tucked him in before he heard Tyler whisper, "I like you Jayse, I really like you."

Jaylin smiled at the memory. He had told Tyler he liked him too, before the boy passed out.

Dave lay with his hands behind his head.

"Is the dude okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, he's good," Jaylin told him, "Thanks for being cool with him. I don't think he has many friends. You were quite the host."

Dave just waved off the compliment. "He was a cool guy. Plus it didn't seem like he was lonely. He was quite talkative, actually. I'm gonna charge him for my beers tomorrow."

Jaylin laughed at the joke and laid down in his own bed.

"Looks like it's going to be an interesting year, dude. I look forward to joining you on this ride," his roommate said truthfully.

"Same here, buddy. Glad you could join me."

A light snore replied to him, and Jaylin smiled comfortably before he closed his eyes and embraced the night's dreams.

Copyright 2004 Ryan Keith

Hey guys, hope you enjoyed this first chapter of the new project. There are only six chapters, plus an epilogue, so enjoy them. All chapters are already written, but I want to have little breaks in between each release so you guys kinda get a break. That, and so I can also get feedback. The more e-mails I receive, the faster the next chapter will come out! Lol. Jokes. The editing time will determine when chapters will be released, but I really do appreciate e-mail. I love when people write me about "Kayden" and I hope you guys continue for "One Life" too.

Special thanks to Aaron and his crew for doing a fantastic job with editing and providing a home for my work. If you're reading this at another site, please note that www.themailcrew.com has my other story. It's a great site for guys in high school, and I recommend you guys check it out^^. Great stories there by other authors, too. You might add more titles to your list of summer reading^^

Anyways, take care dudes, and the next chap should come along shortly... or

E-mail is Ryan_Kayden@yahoo.ca