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

One Life

by Ryan Keith

Part 3 - Truth

Staring at the mirror, Tyler swallowed hard.

This is it guy, sink or swim. Don't worry, you'll make it. Show the world who you are. Show Dave and Jaylin. Make them proud of the friend they believed in.

It was the night of the University Idol show, a month after Tyler's little debut at the TEL building. He was ready. His clothes had all been chosen for him, and he really did like them. Tyler had beamed when he found out he was allowed to keep all the clothes later, but almost choked when he discovered the swim gear he would be wearing was a Speedo. He fought that off and got it changed to some nice surfing shorts. Real low ones, the ones he liked.

He considered just going out like he was but grabbed his jacket. The November wind had been picking up. In no time it would be winter. He liked winter, when often a white blanket of snow seemed to engulf everything in silent solitude.

As he headed for the door, his phone rang. He considered letting the machine get it but decided it might be his mom. He had tried to contact her several times that day but she hadn't been home. Closing the door, he reached for the phone. He was glad he answered it. The owner of the crying voice was in trouble.

Tyler ran to Lindsey's room and banged on the door but got no reply. Grabbing the marker hanging on the door, he left a brief note.


Jem's in trouble. He tried calling you. He's at the downtown bus station and lost his wallet. I'm going to go get him. Please call him ASAP!


Tyler ran for the university bus stop. He was quite disheartened that he was going to miss the competition that he had so looked forward to, but he had to help his roommate. He was learning to like Jem, no matter how convulsing he was sometimes. Hearing Jem's desperate and scared voice, he knew something was wrong. Tyler cursed as he ran. He called Sam, who said it was okay, she could find a replacement. Tyler felt like he was letting her down; she had sponsored him. He felt obligated to be in the competition, but somehow he knew his roommate's life was in danger.


Turning off her cell phone, Sam looked helplessly at Jaylin. "Tyler can't make it. His roommate is in trouble, and he thinks it's serious."

Sam, who Jaylin knew was always a strong person, looked as if she might cry.

Jaylin walked up to her and opened his arms as she slipped into them. He could feel her tears wetting his shirt, but he didn't care. Sam had worked hard with the university student council to make this event possible. There was now one less participant, which meant the entire roll call was messed up.

Jaylin didn't blame Tyler. He knew Tyler was doing the right thing. He held Sam tightly, praying things would somehow work out.


Seeing that his stop was next, Tyler stepped to the front of the bus. As soon as the doors opened, he flew. The show was going to start in less than an hour, and he hoped he could still somehow make it.

Rushing into the large bus station, Tyler looked around hastily, trying to find his roommate. He felt his heart drop when he spotted Jem and walked towards him. Jem's left cheek was red like he had been hit, and he was holding his shirt together. His eyes brightened when he saw Tyler. As Tyler stepped forward, Jem bawled and cried like he had been holding in his tears for decades.

Not caring that his shirt was getting wet, Tyler removed his jacket and wrapped it around his friend.

Jem didn't stop crying, and Tyler pulled him close, trying to tell him everything was going to be alright. People stared and laughed at them, but Tyler didn't care. Something like this should embarrass him in public, but he didn't care. His friend was in need, and he wanted to be there for him. Tyler had wanted to do the show to prove to himself that he had changed, but now he realized he didn't need the show to prove that.

Tyler tried asking Jem what had happened, but each time Jem shied away and started crying again, so he waited, holding onto him carefully. He tried calling Lindsey and finally got through. She was on her way to pick them up, and would be there shortly.

At first, Lindsey looked as if she was going to explode when she got to Tyler and Jem, but after seeing her brother her hard look softened a bit.

Knowing Tyler was due at the show, Lindsey drove as fast as she could, but fate was against them. It was the middle of rush hour, and the traffic was very heavy.

Lindsey looked at her rearview mirror and saw that her little brother was asleep against Tyler's protective shoulder.

"Do you know what happened, Lindsey? Jem wouldn't tell me anything."

Lindsey looked at Tyler and hesitated before answering, "Well, he might kill me if I tell you. But you're missing an important night because of him. I don't think he will care much anyways. He's probably just confused. You see, Jem has been seeing this guy he met him on the `net." Lindsey turned her attention back to the road. "From what Jem told me, he's one of those bad boy type of guys who happen to like other guys. The guy is involved with drugs, I'm sure. I told Jem the guy's bad news, that he was only using him for sex." Lindsey took a deep breath. "Looks like Jem finally realized he wants love."

Tyler nodded his head. He felt sorry for Jem. He realized the guy was hard to understand, but still was a bright kid. People misunderstood him because of his feminine voice, or his gestures. Sure, he's gay, but that doesn't define who he is. He still deserved the respect every human is entitled to. Tyler wanted to tell the world he himself is gay. He wanted to, so he could support people like Jem. He wanted them to know they are not alone. Still, he didn't think he was ready. He could lose his friends. He wasn't going to tell anyone until he was able to support himself.

Glancing at the clock in the car, Tyler sighed. The first event of the show was over.

Tyler watched Jem sleep in the bed while he tried to devise a way to tell him that he wasn't alone, without outing himself. He wondered how anyone could ever hurt someone as gentle as Jeremy. He was as vicious with his words as his sister, but he was honest and he respected everyone. Jem knew how it felt to be looked down upon and judged.

The sound of the doorknob caused him to gaze towards the entrance to Jem's room. He wasn't surprised to see Lindsey. He was surprised to see her anger, however.

"Why are you still here?" she yelled. "Your show, you idiot! Or did you forget?"

"It's too late. The final event is starting just about now," Tyler said sadly, "There's no point..."

"You idiot! Don't give up so easily. I thought you had changed in the past few months, but shit, if you want to change have more confidence in yourself. There's still a chance."

Tyler sat in silence. He knew Lindsey was right, he was giving up too easily.

"Go," said the low voice.

Both Lindsey and Tyler looked towards Jem, who smiled weakly at them. "Go on, you can still make it. Make me proud, roomie, and make sure someone takes lots of pictures."

Tyler didn't give it another thought. He nodded his head and bolted out the door.

Running as fast as he could, Tyler made his way to The Campus Underground, the university pub. It was a large hall that was used for pub nights. The event was taking place there, with pub night to start soon after. He had planned to hang out with Dave, Jaylin and Sam. He hoped they wouldn't be too disappointed in him.

Getting through the bouncer wasn't a problem, but when he went into the hall he was faced with hundreds of people. The entire room was packed! He was grateful to see Sam up on the catwalk overpass. He made his way towards her, being stopped every few meters by bouncers who were keeping people off the catwalk, which was only for the event coordinators and participants. Tyler got through quickly enough and soon made it to Sam. To his surprise, she was laughing and smiling.

When she saw Tyler she shrieked and ran towards him. She seemed a bit too happy. She had been drinking.

"Oh, I am so mad at you, but I'm not so mad at you," Sam said happily.

Tyler shook his head with wonder; she wasn't making much sense. Sam grabbed Tyler by the neck with her arm, bring his ear close. "Jaylin agreed to be your substitute. He was great. He did all the divisions so far with no complaints. I even snuck the Speedo into his wardrobe," Sam giggled. "He looked so embarrassed, and I took pictures with my digital camera."

Smiling inwardly, Tyler was glad she had taken pictures; he wanted to see them... eventually.

"He's next to sing, too. It's so amazing. They're doing live music. I didn't know we could do that! Dave's doing drums, and two friends of mine are doing guitar and bass. I didn't know Dave could drum!" Sam screamed with laughter.

Neither did Tyler. He smiled with pride and joy. He was glad things were working out, and he was eager to see Jaylin and Dave perform.

"Wait, does that mean Jaylin is singing?" Tyler asked.

Sam just gave him an odd look. "Of course, silly. Who else would? It's University Idol; they judge your singing or dancing talent."

"Is he a good singer?"

Smiling, Sam nodded her head. "Like an artist. You'll see, he has a great voice." She had to scream her words because the crowd had all of a sudden started cheering,

Turning to the stage, Tyler gasped. Jaylin stood in the center, a single spotlight illuminating his position. The sound of guitars was followed by a slow beat. Jaylin looked up and smiled. For some reason Tyler's legs felt weak. The entire crowd cheered but he knew that smile was for him.

Is there love, tonight

Tyler liked the way he sang `love'. Jaylin's eyes didn't divert from his own.

When everyone's dreaming

Of a better life...

More lights were turned on, introducing the other players.

In this world

Divided by fear

We've gotta believe that

There's a reason we're here. Oh, yeah...

Nodding his head slightly, Jaylin's voice seemed to carry soul and feeling. His voice was strong and confident, carrying a sound of hope.

'Cause these are the days worth livin'

These are the years we're given

Smiling at Tyler again before he closed his eyes, Jaylin threw his voice.

And these are the moments

These are the times

Let's make the best out of our lives

People cheered and Tyler found his voice within the crowd as well. Sam was ecstatic, yelling and taking pictures.

Several lights focused on Jaylin and everyone else seemed to fade away. The noise of the crowd seemed to disappear. Tyler found himself in a spell, alone on the catwalk with Jaylin singing to him.

See the truth, all around

Our faith can be broken,

Our hands can be bound

Smiling again, Jaylin stretched his hand out towards Tyler as if calling to him.

But open our hearts

And fill up the emptiness

With nothing to stop us.

Jaylin's eyes softened and his voice lowered.

Is it not worth the risk?

Yeah, is it not worth the risk?

In an instant they were back in The Underground, and Tyler shook from the sudden change. Jaylin still was looking at him. Sam was laughing and talking with people, telling them she knew Jaylin. Jaylin held his stare, but it was gentle and kind.

'Cause these are the days worth livin'

These are the years we're given

And these are the moments

These are the times

Let's make the best out of our lives

Glancing at Dave, Tyler laughed as his friend swung his head, definitely having the time of his life. Focusing on Jaylin again, Tyler noticed his gaze had not shifted.

Even if hope was shattered,

I know it wouldn't matter

'Cause these are the moments

These are the times

Let's make the best out of our lives

We can't go on

Thinking it's wrong to speak our minds

I've gotta let out what's inside

The instrumentals suddenly lowered and so did Jaylin's eyes, he held them closed while softly singing,

Is there love, tonight

When everyone's dreaming.

Can we get it right?

Jaylin's eyes opened and gazed right into Tyler's eyes,

Yeah, can we get it right?

Tyler loved the song. He had heard Dave and Jaylin listening to it a few times, but he had never realized how much he liked it. Jaylin walked around the stage and began reaching out to the crowd. His smile was different, he was really enjoying this song. Tyler felt like Jaylin was different, there was an almost pure glow around him.

'Cause these are the days worth livin'

These are the years we're given

And these are the moments

These are the times

Let's make the best out of our lives

And even if hope was shattered

I know it wouldn't matter

`Cause these are the moments

These are the times

Let's make the best out of our lives

Oh, yeah, let's make the best out of our lives...

Oh, yeah, let's make the best out of our lives...

As he ended the song, Jaylin grinned at the crowd. He turned to his friends and smiled at them, acknowledging a job well done. He waved at the crowd that seemed to scream out his name. Tyler was overwhelmed; never had he witnessed something this grand.

It was what Jaylin did next that surprised him.

"Thanks, buds. That song is dedicated to my three closest friends. Sam," he said, pointing to her on the catwalk, "I love you, girl." Sam just giggled and blew kisses to him. "My roommate, Dave. No one's as crazy and cool as him, ladies, and he's single." Many girls cried out and some even were screaming their numbers. Dave just smiled and waved. "And my close bud, Tyler, who brings out the best in me."

What the hell is he thinking? Tyler thought, smiling. Jaylin looked at him and seemed to wink.

"And as a special treat from Samantha La'Chapelle, the student body coordinator, Tyler is going to sing a closing song for you guys." A sudden cheer erupted from the crowd and a spotlight focused where Jaylin was pointing. The spotlight was on Tyler.

"What are you waiting for?" Sam barked, "Get down there and sing the song you were meant to sing."

Nodding to her, Tyler gave her a hug she easily accepted, "Thanks, Sam."

"Go knock their socks off, babe."

Tyler did just that. There were no tears in his song this time, but he sang it with his life and soul, and received applause as grand as Jaylin had.

Jaylin didn't win first place. A guy who had stripped during his combined dance and song won the majority of the girls' votes. But Jaylin easily won first for originality. Tyler was proud of Jaylin and of himself. He had gotten to sing his song, and he was going to get Speedo shots of Jaylin from Sam.

After getting hundreds of handshakes and hugs, Tyler was finally free from the crowd.

When pub night hits, everyone dances. It seemed as if everyone soon forgot University Idol; people were normal again, and Tyler preferred it that way. He knew he wasn't idol-worthy, and he didn't want the attention.

Making his way to a very drunk Dave, he gave his friend a high five before sitting down with him and the other players in the band. Quite a few women were around who seemed to find the new addition at the table interesting. Tyler just smiled at the ladies and didn't give them any more attention than he wanted to.

"Tyler, man, that stunt you pulled is gonna cause ya!" Dave hollered over the loud music. "Jaylin dragged me up there, but it was da BOMB!"

Dave threw his head back and let out a drunken laugh. The women around him seemed to imitate him. Tyler grinned, knowing his friend was definitely being a lady killer. There was a cute girl on his lap, another girl's arms around his neck, and yet another one sitting very intimately close to him.

"Looks like you got the women you wanted," Tyler joked. "You mad that you had to play?"

Dave's face scrunched up as he looked towards Tyler, "I didn't sing did I? I did what I do second best! I love the drums. These dudes were pretty hot too," Dave yelled, giving the other two players props.

Looking around curiously, Tyler asked, "Where's Sam and Jaylin?"

Dave looked around and seemed surprised. "What the fuck? They were here like a minute ago." Dave stood up, not paying any heed to the women hanging around him. He looked around the hall and shouted, "Jayse, you bastard, where the fuck are you?"

A couple of people turned to look at him, smiling at his drunken rave, but the music was too loud for anyone else to hear.

Pulling down his friend who all of a sudden thought there was an earthquake beneath him, Tyler laughed. "Don't worry about it. They're probably on the dance floor. I'll go find them."

As Tyler got up, his friend had already forgotten about him, realizing there were women around.

He shook his head with wonder as he heard Dave smoothly try to talk to one girl. "Hey babe, how've you been?"

Tyler was impressed. Everyone was dancing. He had never been out to pub night before. He noticed there were different types of dancing. There were some who were drunk and simply shaking their bodies as beer spilt from the cups in their hands. They were having fun, but annoying some of the people around them. Thinking a fight might break out soon, Tyler moved to a different area. He noticed there were some who were dancing like there was slow music playing. He thought that looked rather odd, and moved along. When he was about in the center, he noticed there were people dancing rather closely. He watched a group of girls dance while some guys snuck behind them and tried to grind themselves into the ladies' thighs. He noticed some girls were completely put off, but a few seemed to like it. In no time, there was some dirty dancing going on, heating up the dance floor. He was shocked to see a girl jump up on a guy and attack his neck. Her hair was in disarray, and she looked like she was enjoying herself.

Tyler stepped back in shock. He knew the girl! It was Sam! Which meant, the guy...

Tyler looked at the guy who held her up, and smiled sadly. It was Jaylin. Tyler just stood and watched. Jaylin's arms showed their definition as he held up Sam. Tyler thought Jaylin looked rather hot. He wore a tight black shirt with a few stripes on the shoulders. It was the Armani shirt Tyler was supposed to have worn during the fashion walk. The zipper was about a quarter down his chest, showing off his white gold chain. The shirt was a medium and it fit Tyler well, but on Jaylin, it was tight enough to show his stomach and chest muscles really well. The sleeves hugged his arms, showing off those really nice muscles as Jayse tried to keep Sam up. Tyler's heart lifted as he thought about how Sam must have been feeling at that moment.

A sudden reflection struck him; something Jaylin had said to him a while back. "You need to understand something. Sam and me... we're not really going out... anymore. I... I really can't explain it... It's just..."

Tyler was confused. Sam and Jaylin sure looked like they were going out. A friend doesn't suddenly find another friend's neck appetizing.

Something twisted in Tyler's stomach. It wasn't until he felt his hand hurting that he realized he was clenching it tightly into a fist. Slowly he realized he felt angry. He looked at Sam and knew the source of it. Tyler was jealous of Sam. She had what Tyler wanted. Jaylin had been the basis of his recent dreams, and he had to face the fact that the chances of being with Jaylin in a relationship were pretty much one sided. Tyler found himself cursing his sexuality. He liked Sam. She had done so much for Tyler, helping him with his posture and other things, to get him ready for the event she had planned. He liked her, and she liked him. She was the first girl to ever treat him so kindly, but he couldn't help being angry with her. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help it.

Tyler stared at the two, trying to force his mind to throw away the anger. It's not Sam's fault. Don't blame her. It's not her fault you fell in love.

The thought shocked him as soon as it came to him. He loved Jaylin so much it hurt. He noticed that there were tears on his face. Disgusted in himself, and suddenly needing space to breathe, he took off towards the exit.


Jaylin squirmed at Sam's sudden attack at his neck. She had a tendency to tickle his neck with her nose. She knew he hated it, but she was drunk carefree.

Laughing, Sam pulled her head back. "Gotcha!"

"Will you quit that? You know I hate it when you do that," Jaylin tried to say with some anger, but he knew Sam saw through it and she started laughing at him.

Putting down his closest friend, he shook his head in wonder, then tried to induce shame into Sam. "I thought you were trying to find a boyfriend. You're not doing such a good job. Everyone who saw you probably thought you were feasting on my neck."

"Well, you can't blame me, you're just so hunky," Sam joked, caressing Jaylin's stomach. "It's a shame you're gay." She grabbed her mouth to mute her laugh at the blushing man who was holding her.

Jaylin looked around fearfully. A guy close by, who no doubt heard, turned to him, looking him over and winking. Jaylin just rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Dammit, why don't you just scream it, Sam?" Jaylin said with some force.

Looking rather chastened, Sam giggled and apologized before leaning in on her friend. "So, have you told Tyler how you feel?"

Jaylin looked down at the dance floor, afraid to look into his friend's eyes.

"You big idiot, when do you plan to? You can't know how he feels unless you strike first," Sam said, pushing her finger into his chest. "From what you've told me, Tyler has come a long way, but you're asking for too much if you want him to make the first move." Sam shook her head with anger, "I've seen how he is firsthand; he's sociable, but he won't come out to you if he is gay. He's afraid, Jaylin. The worst that can happen for you is that he's straight, and the both of you stay friends. He wouldn't throw your friendship away after what you've done for him. But think about what he must feel he will lose if he comes out to you and you're straight. He probably thinks you'll kill him. You haven't really been all that kind to his gay roommate."

The mention of Jem got Jaylin's attention. "But you saw how he was looking at me last week. He was like stripping me with his eyes. I felt violated. How would you feel if a guy did that to you?" Jaylin asked. The two still moved around like they were dancing, making sure not to attract attention. Their voices were low enough for no one to overhear.

"You looked repulsed, though," Sam said, smacking his chest. "You made it look like you hate gays. And I do know how you feel. The same happens to me, you big ogre."

Jaylin's eyes softened a bit and he chuckled, "Yeah, I forgot. Sorry."

"You need to make your move, and fast. I'm not interfering in this one. I'm glad you at least told him I'm not your girlfriend."

Smiling, Jaylin stopped dancing as the song changed. "I hate this song. Wanna sit this one out?"

Sam nodded her head and they made their way back to the table where they had left Dave. He seemed to be having a good time. Three girls were entertaining him while he nursed a beer.

Taking a seat, Sam waved at Dave. "Hey, Davey, did Tyler come by here yet?"

"Argh, damn, woman, I told you not to call me that," Dave roared, but then looked shocked. "What the fuck? Tyler was here just a minute ago. Where the fuck did he go?"

Sam laughed hard as Jaylin pulled Dave down from trying to stand up on the table with the women still hanging onto him.

"That guy is weird. I followed him to the middle of the dance floor because I wanted to dance with him. I even was calling out his name," one of the girls around Dave said. "Before I got to him he turned and ran. I thought he was crying, but I must have imaged it. He probably just wanted a smoke," the girl waved off her words. "Where were you two dancing?"

Jaylin noticed that Sam had a worried look on her face. He got up and headed for the exit.

Tyler doesn't smoke... Jaylin was walking fast but steadily picked up his pace to a run, and as he got outside, to a sprint.


Tyler knew what he had to do. He felt sad, but this would be the only way to save his heart from tearing itself into pieces. He was going to tell Jaylin he wanted to focus on his studies more, and then try to avoid him. He thought about Jem and realized Jaylin avoided coming to his room alone because of Jem. He decided he would hang with Jem more.

Staring at the pond, Tyler couldn't stop the tears. His heart ached at what he knew had to be done. It didn't help when he heard Jaylin's voice calling out his name. Suddenly, Jaylin stood in front of him, breathless from running, worry covering his face.

"Are... are you all right? Someone saw you run out of... Why are you crying?" Tyler backed away from Jaylin's sudden approach.

The wind picked up and seemed to weave around Jaylin. Tyler's heart cried out. He wanted to be held by him, he wanted to tell Jaylin he loved him, but...

"Stop!" Tyler said firmly.

Jaylin stopped in his tracks, surprised by the sudden command. His features softened as he began taking steps again towards Tyler.

"Stop it!" Tyler cried. "Stop doing this to me!"

"What am I doing? What do you want me to stop?"

Tears continued to stream down Tyler's face. He felt more wetness, but it was on top of his head. He looked up and felt the rain.

A fitting end for friendship... rain. Even nature is telling me it's impossible.

Jaylin took another step. "What do you want me to stop doing?" he asked again.

Standing in the pouring rain, Tyler looked sadly at Jaylin and tried to smile a bit. "Stop making me love you!"

Tyler saw Jaylin stiffen. He realized he had done what he had promised himself he wouldn't do. He had told Jaylin he loved him. He had ruined their friendship.

Turning around, Tyler slowly walked towards their residence. It's better this way. I didn't want to do this, Jaylin. We could have still been friends... But you forced me to... I'm sorry. Rain mixed with the tears of sorrow that ran down his face. He felt as if the sky was crying for him. He felt a bit of comfort in that.

When Jaylin grabbed his arm and pulled him around, Tyler closed his eyes and waited for what was coming. He knew what was going to happen. He bit his tongue as he awaited the first punch.

It's only for a few minutes. I've handled my father's punches, how bad can Jaylin's be. Just a few minutes... Tyler realized the physical pain he was anticipating wouldn't be as bad as what he felt already in his heart.

The first punch landed. He felt the pressure on his lips. Pain oozed onto his tongue. He felt a little better. He was right, the punches weren't going to be as painful as the pain he felt in his chest.

When he realized the pressure wasn't lifting, he opened his eyes. Tears and rain blurred his vision, but he saw Jaylin, his face was much closer than he realized.

He slowly sensed little things; the softness against his lips, the breath that seemed to breathe into him, the feeling that something seemed to be invading his mouth. Tyler opened his eyes fully and his mouth trembled as Jaylin kissed him deeply.

Jaylin pulled his head back and opened his eyes. Tyler gazed into the dark brown gems that stared at him. He couldn't tell if rain or tears were in Jaylin's eyes. Without thinking, Tyler closed his eyes and slowly moved his lips towards Jaylin's.

Jaylin pulled Tyler close and put his arms around Tyler's back. Tyler had never felt this close to another person. He brought one hand up and wrapped it around the back of Jaylin's head as his other hand caressed the cheek of the man he loved.

They kissed each other deeply, and struggled relentlessly as they seemed unable to get enough of each other. Breaking their kiss to breathe, Tyler opened his eyes without releasing Jaylin's face. Jaylin stood looking at him, kindness filling his eyes, the eyes he loved. The rain had stopped. He noticed a glow around them. Tyler wondered if he was dreaming. He wondered how long they had been kissing. The sky seemed to be clear as if denying it had been raining a moment ago. He smiled. They had been kissing for a long time. The stiffness in his legs confirmed that. He wondered about the lights that seemed to dance around them.

"Fireflies..." Jaylin whispered.

Tyler turned to the boy who held him. Jaylin looked around before focusing again on the boy in his arms and pulled him even closer.

Tyler released Jaylin's face and wrapped his arms around the boy's waist. He sighed as he rested his head on the chest of the boy he had been dreaming of since he had first laid eyes on him. Tyler felt like crying, because he didn't know what he had done to deserve Jaylin's love.

"Have you heard about the legend of the fireflies here?" Jaylin asked.

Shaking his head, Tyler closed his eyes as he breathed in the scent of Jaylin.

"They say that if you come here every day for a year and pray to them, they will grant you one wish," Jaylin said with his voice slowly getting lower. "I've been coming here every day since I met you..."

Tyler swallowed as he held back the tears of joy that wanted to break out of his eyes.

"Tyler, you need to know something," Jaylin whispered, "Sam is only just a really close friend. She knows I'm gay. I swear there is no one else in my heart but you... I love you, Tyler." He pulled Tyler away and looked deeply into his eyes. "I was so afraid to tell you how I felt. Instead, I made you cry. You must have been so scared. I'm sorry, Ty... I'm so sorry." Jaylin's eyes told Tyler he meant every word. He lifted one finger to touch Jaylin's lips to hold any more words. Tyler closed his eyes before kissing Jaylin again.

Jaylin was honored to walk Tyler back to his room. He felt really gentlemanly. He planned to walk Tyler to his room and request a date. He felt proud doing it. As they got close to his room, Tyler ran forward and grabbed a piece of paper that was hanging on his door. Walking up behind his now established boyfriend, Jaylin tried to read the note before Tyler scrapped it.

Turning to him, Tyler smiled, "Jem didn't feel like sleeping alone tonight so he went to Lindsey's room..."

"Want to come in for some water or something?" Tyler looked away, making it impossible for Jaylin to look at his reddening face.

Jaylin knew he shouldn't. It was against the plan he had in his mind, but he ignored his brain and nodded his head.

Tyler opened the door and they stepped in.

They stood around, not really looking at anything, but trying not to look at each other. Neither of them wanted to seem obvious and tried to find other things interesting. Each time their eyes met, they blushed momentarily before turning away.

Tyler's sudden sneeze caused Jaylin to rush over to him.

"You're cold! Your clothes are all wet!" Jaylin said as he wrapped his arms around the boy.

Grinning up at him, Tyler chuckled, "Are you going to get me out of them?"

The suggestion had Jaylin blushing crazily, sending Tyler into another laugh.

"You know, you're wet, too. We're going to have to do something about that," Tyler whispered.

Jaylin resisted. No, we have to do this right. I don't want to screw this up. Everything follows a plan, even love. No, not tonight. Just kiss him goodnight and be on your way, like a gentleman.

He looked at Tyler's shy smile. The smile turned into a fully-dimpled grin, making Jaylin groan inside. He tried to resist, and was about to push Tyler away with a kiss and go up to his own room, when Tyler moved.

Tyler moved his groin against Jaylin's thigh, sending such a great feeling along Jaylin's spine.

God, that felt good! NO! We need to make this special. What are you doing you fool? You can leave! Oh, damn, he's moving his hips around...He must be packing something in there...Fuck, no, get away, Jayse...Do the right thing... Jaylin tried to grasp reason.

He looked down at Tyler who still grinned at him. Slowly he kissed the boy's cheek. He knew he was getting carried away as he extended the kiss to Tyler's ear.

Jaylin lost it when Tyler suddenly whimpered.

Fuck the plan! he swore in his mind as he unbuttoned Tyler's shirt and pulled it down his shoulder blades, exposing the skin beneath. He attacked the nape of Tyler's neck.

Tyler's whimpering fueled Jaylin's lust as he abandoned all reason. Some plans are meant to be changed.

After many minutes of attention to the boy he had by the waist, Tyler pushed Jaylin away. At first Jaylin felt disgusted that he had let things get out of hand. He was ashamed and was about to apologize, but Tyler didn't let him.

Grabbing Jaylin's shirt by the opening at his neck, Tyler tore it open, tearing past where the zipper ended, and ripping the front of his shirt in half. Tyler explored Jaylin's large chest with his hands before attacking it with his tongue. Jaylin threw his head back with his eyes closed and gasped.

Never had Jaylin felt so good. He looked down at the floor at Tyler's discarded shirt and his now-shredded shirt. He was really fond of that University Idol shirt.

You were caught the moment you walked through that door... It's your own fault... his mind taunted him. He closed his eyes once more, trying to push away the voice in his head. Failing at that, he refocused on the boy he wanted to please; the boy he wanted to protect, to love.


"Oh my God, they did it! Mmm, that smell is heavenly. Reminds me of my freshman year."

"Shut up, you stupid bitch, they'll wake up!" the other voice whispered.

"What did you call me, you little shit? Wait... do you have a camera?" The now lowered voice whispered.

Tyler bolted right up with the covers brought up to his chest, Jaylin still snoring lightly beside him.

"What are you guys doing here?". He looked over a Jaylin who still didn't wake up. "Get out of here, you idiots!"

Lindsey giggled before running out. Jem walked to his desk and picked up his bookbag. "Looks like you got my note. Sleep in today, I'm going to class. Tonight you tell me the details," Jem grinned.

Without another word, he stepped out and closed the door silently.

Tyler just glowed red. He had gotten the letter, but had kept it hidden from Jaylin as he read it the night before.

Hey baby!!!

Thank you so much for today... You know I thought the sky was interesting and decided to look outside. Instead something more interesting caught my eye. You're a bastard you know that? Argh I'm soo jealous, but you got him first. Take the room for the night, I'm sleeping at my sister's.

Good night, Jemmy

Tyler blushed at the letter still in his mind. He could have cursed Jem for writing it, since anyone could have walked by and read it. Instead, he wanted to thank him. If it weren't for him, the wonderful night wouldn't have been possible. He glowed at the thought of what he and Jayse had done.

Looking over at his new boyfriend, Tyler smiled. Jaylin had been the perfect gentleman, gentle and caring. Not once had Tyler felt pain or discomfort.

Hesitantly, Tyler lifted the covers and gazed at Jaylin's body. He blushed and felt like he was doing wrong by staring at the very naked form in front of him. Jaylin stirred beside him and scratched himself unconsciously. Tyler smiled before doing the scratching for him, causing a special reaction in the young stud. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was almost nine.

Jem finishes his lectures at around 2:30. Excellent, I have until then to play.

He played with his boyfriend for an entire hour before he woke up. When Jaylin awoke, he took control of the situation and Tyler fell into his spell. Tyler thanked the engineers who had built the building; they understood soundproof walls are an important thing.


Tyler sat in the chair uncomfortably. After many weeks of putting it off, he finally had agreed to go out to dinner with his parents. Tyler had taken the bus downtown and was waiting for his parents at a Thai restaurant he had picked out. He had just finished his semester exams that day and was free for the winter break. He allowed his mother and father to visit him so he could tell them he wasn't going home for Christmas. Tyler hated Christmas at his house. His father thought it was too bothersome to get a Christmas tree up and was definitely a scrooge. He only got one present from his parents, but it was from his mother. She always put his father's name on it, though. He didn't want to be around his father anymore. He realized that his father had held him back from being who he wanted to be. He decided to stay in residence and study for the next semester. He wanted to get ahead in his studies. That way he wouldn't be too busy with school and could spend more time with Jaylin.

He blushed at the thought of his hunky lover. Somehow they had kept their secret from Dave, but Sam knew and she showed it. Tyler felt safe with Sam knowing, and it was great to have someone who knew about the relationship. Jaylin wanted some time before breaking it to Dave. Tyler knew that was probably the right thing to do. Tyler had worked out a schedule with Jem. Some nights, Jem went out with his sister and crashed in her room, giving Tyler and Jaylin the privacy they wanted. It was rough during exam time. Jaylin and Tyler agreed to hold off until exams were over; they didn't want their grades to suffer. Tyler was grateful but sad. He passed his exams but had gone almost three weeks, sexually and emotionally frustrated. Having gotten used to being with Jaylin, his own right hand gave him only limited satisfaction. Tonight Jem was going out with his sister. Tyler was happy. He couldn't wait to get Jaylin alone.

He was thankful for Jaylin. After years of holding his pain inside the shell of a young, innocent boy, Tyler had finally shared his sorrow. The years of enduring his father's emotional and physical abuse were finally shared. Everything Tyler had gone through with his father was spilt to the one he loved. He had expected Jaylin to perhaps reconsider his choice of Tyler as his boyfriend, but the opposite was true. Jaylin cried for Tyler, he sympathized with the pain he had been through, and he made a promise. He promised never to let that man hurt Tyler again. He had told Tyler that his father could not hurt him anymore, that he didn't need to be afraid anymore. Jaylin's words alone gave Tyler strength he had never known. He could face his father. He could face his fears.

His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the entrance of his father and mother. Both seemed to be shocked as Tyler stood up. Tyler was proud. He didn't want to be the same boy his father had left at university. He wanted to show them a changed man. The workout sessions had helped him build his body and his confidence. He promised himself that he was going to speak kindly and respectfully with his father, but not cower before him. He had vowed to never again be afraid of the man.

"Hi, Mom, Dad," Tyler said formally. "Take a seat."

Seating themselves, his parents were speechless. Even his father looked like he was pondering something.

Breaking the ice, Tyler began, "You both are well, I assume?"

"Yes, your father and I are doing really well. Tyler... look at you. You've become so handsome, and you've really changed. I'm so proud of you," his mother smiled gracefully.

"I've been working out. During my breaks I need to relieve some stress, so I head to the gym," Tyler said casually.

His mother looked at his arms with concern. "Just be careful, dear. It's nice you started working out, but don't lift too much."

"I know my own body best, Mom. I know my limits." He smiled inside, remembering that Jaylin had said the same line to him when he thought he was lifting too much.

"Oh, I guess that's okay."

"He's a man now, Janice," his father announced suddenly. "He's old enough to make his own decisions."

His mother simply shook her head.

Something struck Tyler. It wasn't pride or joy. His father had finally acknowledged him... but why?

"Did I have to grow a freaking backbone just for you to respect me? Don't think you helped shape who I am today. You didn't. You just made my first eighteen years a living hell," Tyler spat. He had sworn he would keep a lid on his anger, but his father was the source of his anger. "I hate you. One of the reasons I'm here is to tell you that."

His father's angry face was what Tyler was waiting for. "So now you're angry. What are you going to do, hit me? Try it. I'll break you and your pride... here, this moment. I'm not scared of you anymore. Do you know how much I weighed before? One hundred and thirty-six pounds. Now? I'm one hundred and sixty-eight pounds."

His father glared at him but kept his words low, "You gained the pride, but lost the respect."

"No, I didn't lose respect for you. If you want me cowering down at your booming voice, it won't happen. Not anymore. You don't scare me anymore, father," Tyler sneered.

His mother glared at her husband.

"Apparently there are things I don't know," she stated in a very agitated voice. "Alan, when we get home I will talk to you...Tyler is my son, and I won't have him treated cruelly because of what your father did."

Turning to her son, she gave her most sympathetic smile. "Tyler, honey...I - I'm sorry, I..." She didn't know what to say. Things she had never been aware of had just been revealed to her. Working for most of her life, she rarely had known of any problems that occurred at home. Her tears were all she could show for it.

Before his mother could add her voice, Tyler cut to the real reason he had called them. "I'm not coming home this Christmas. I'm busy."

"Tyler, dear, when will you come home? The summer then?" his mother inquired.

His father answered this one for him, "He's a big man now. Right, Tyler? If he wants to stay at my house, he'll have to pay rent. You want to be treated like a man, then live like one. No more leeching off your mom and me. I know she paid half of your tuition. Did you two really think you could hide that from me?" His father smiled smugly at his own statements.

Tyler sat back and nodded his head. "I'm glad you see I can take care of myself. I'm sorry, Mom, but I won't be coming home. I already have a summer job on campus, and housing is free for working students." Tyler rather enjoyed his father's shifting in his seat. He decided to land the finishing blow. "And here, Mom. This is a check for a bit more than the amount you paid on my tuition and fees. Thanks for the boost, Mom, but I don't think I'll be needing it,"

His mother gasped as he passed her the check. His father just stared, wide-eyed, obviously enraged that his intimidations had no effect.

"Honey, I only gave you five thousand. This is way too much..."

"Mom, please let me do this. I really appreciate your watching out for me, but I need to know I can do things on my own. The extra money could be much more beneficial for you... I'd just spend it on drinks or something."

His mother gave a little gasp. Her little son was drinking. If pride didn't cover her face, it was total happiness.

"I qualify for university scholarships. My grades are much better than average, which grants me more money than I'll need to finish university." Tyler knew it really didn't. He would have to pay about five hundred out of his own money every year, plus buy his books, but he could do it with the summer job.

"I think our business here is done," Tyler said, standing up. "I believe I've lost my appetite. I'm sorry you didn't have the evening you wanted to have with me, Mom. I'll make it up to you. I'll take you out to dinner sometime." Turning to his father, he simply shook his head. He couldn't bear looking at the man anymore.

As Tyler turned around and walked away, he heard his father say, "It's better this way. Looks like he's not a fag after all."

He could hear his mother's rising voice. "I don't care whether he is gay or not, Alan! I love my son, and because of you... because of you...!!"

Not knowing what he was doing, Tyler turned around and threw his voice before he could stop himself, "I am seeing someone. Remember that girl you said was impossible? Well her name is Samantha, and it is possible."

Before he could see his parents' reaction, he left the restaurant. He felt disgusted in himself for having to hide the fact he is gay. Sam had said he could use her as a coverup like Jaylin does, except around Dave, of course.

As Tyler boarded the bus, tears fell from his eyes. He felt proud of what he had done, yet he felt as if he had left a small part of himself back at the restaurant.


Tyler aggressively pushed Jaylin to the bed. Stumbling and falling backwards, Jaylin stared with surprise as Tyler took his clothes off down to his boxer briefs, at superhuman speed. He watched as the very ravenous Tyler then grabbed his shirt in the middle and ripped it open, sending buttons flying.

That was like the hundredth shirt Tyler had torn. He was going to be shirtless if Tyler kept doing that. He reminded himself to talk to Tyler about that later... much later.

Jaylin groaned as Tyler savagely attacked him.

"Damn, have you been holding a cap on this for three weeks?" Jaylin whispered with his eyes closed and his head thrown back.

Moving up to Jaylin's ear, Tyler ordered in an eager voice, "Make love to me now, Jayse."

Rather surprised by the bold statement, Jaylin took hold of his boyfriend and pulled him away. "Ty, are you sure you're okay? W-why are you crying? What's wrong, baby?"

Tyler hung onto Jaylin as if he were his lifeboat. Jaylin's features softened slowly as Tyler related his actions with his parents.

"Ty, babe, you did the right thing. You stood up against your father and you won. You're not scared anymore," he whispered to the boy in his arms.

Tears continued to flow from the emerald green gems of Tyler's eyes. "Then why do I feel like a part of me has been ripped away?"

"He's your father. You're bound to feel something. No matter how much you hate him he's still your father. We'll get through this." Jaylin enveloped the smaller boy in his arms and they snuggled in their partially-clad state.

"So, are you going to make love to me or not?"

Jaylin smiled before shutting down the part of his brain that separates man from beast.

After a short while to Jaylin and Tyler, which easily was past an hour to any other normal human, Jaylin stared up at the ceiling while holding his boyfriend close to him.

"You know what? I told my dad I'm dating Sam. It was the spur of the moment. He made a comment about me not being a fag, and my mouth ran before I could stop it," Tyler whispered.

"That's fine. I don't think he could handle it if he found out about us." After a moment, an abrupt thought hit Jaylin. "Ty?"


"So, you plan on staying here over the Christmas break?"

"Yeah... " Tyler said sadly.

"Well, why don't you come home with me? My family will love you... And I think I want to come out to them."

"Are you sure you want to come out to them? Aren't you scared?"

Jaylin shook his head. "My family and I are really close. They're religious, and my parents have always taught us to respect everyone. They have gay friends they value very much."

"You really want me to go home with you?"

"I would love to have you come home with me," Jaylin assured him.

Tyler grinned. "I was going to get a headstart on next semester's work so I could spend more time with you. You're corrupting me!"

"Well, you can stay here if you want..." Jaylin joked.

Tyler chuckled before Jaylin silenced him with a deep kiss. As he pulled away he noticed Tyler's flushed face. Opening his eyes, Tyler grinned and raised one eyebrow. Jaylin smiled at his lover and kissed his neck. After another hour, they were asleep.

Packing the last of the bags into his car, Jaylin turned to his three friends who stood joking with one another.

"You sure you don't want to come with us, Dave?" Tyler asked.

"Hell no! I'm going back to California and hitting the waves. I can't wait to go back home!" Dave was obviously thrilled. Dave was originally Canadian, but his parents had moved out to California, where he had gone to high school. Dave still considered himself Canadian, but Tyler and Jaylin had too much fun insulting him, calling him an American.

"That's amazing about you though, Ty. You really tore up your father, huh? I hope you get the Christmas you deserve. I can't believe you've never had a Christmas tree."

"It'll be different this year," Tyler smiled.

"Well, boys, we should head off," Sam announced. She walked up to Jaylin and kissed his cheek. "I'm going to drop this surfer boy off to the airport, and I'll see you guys when I get home."

Nodding, Jaylin hugged Sam before turning to watch Tyler and Dave give each other brotherly hugs as Tyler thanked Dave for all he had done for him. Dave just waved off the thanks. Turning to Jaylin, Dave held up his hand for a high five. Jaylin shook his head and grabbed Dave in a hug. "I'll see you when you get back, buddy. You'll have to tell me about all of the Dave escapades in California."

Jaylin and Dave had dubbed Dave's adventurous love life as just that. Dave escapades. It didn't seem that Dave wanted to settle down with one girl just yet.

Dave and Sam headed for one vehicle and Jaylin and Tyler headed for the other.

Putting his seatbelt on and starting up his car, Jaylin placed his hand on the gear shift. Tyler's hand silently crept up and slid over it. Shifting into first gear, Jaylin sat back as Tyler gazed out the window at the freshly-fallen snow.

Copyright 2004 Ryan Keith

I really, really loved writing this chapter. And while I was thinking of a song for Jaylin to sing, "Our Lives" by The Calling was played on the radio. I fell in love fast with the song, and I knew it had to be that song. I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Hopefully it meets your standards, but if it doesn't, then... well, too bad, lol.

All six chapters and the epilogue 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.

E-mail is Ryan_Kayden@yahoo.ca

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. That's a great site for guys in high school, and I recommend you guys check it out^^. Great stories there by other authors, too.

NOTE: The "Our Lives" lyrics were taken from one of a number of Internet sites that have posted varying versions of the lyrics. Hopefully, the most accurate version was chosen. "Our Lives" was recorded by The Calling in 2004 and released by RCA.