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

One Life

by Ryan Keith

Part 4 - Holidays

"Babe, babe," Jaylin called out.

Tyler breathed deeply, stretched, and yawned before opening his eyes. He was greeted with a handsome face smiling down at him.

"Did you sleep okay?" Jaylin asked.

"Hmm, with you beside me? Of course. I didn't mean to sleep, though. sorry." Tyler apologized.

Jaylin lowered his head to his boyfriend's neck, inhaling his scent and causing him to squirm and chuckle.

"It's my fault. I kept you up past your bedtime last night," Jaylin whispered.

"It is your fault. What am I going to do with you?" Tyler pondered cutely.

"Why don't we head up to my room so you can decide a suitable punishment?" Jaylin whispered seductively.

Tyler sat up and gazed in awe at the house in front of him. The house was almost twice the size of his own. He figured it had to be big to hold a family of five.

In no time they were out of Jaylin's car and had their bags unloaded.

"No one's home yet, so we have the house to ourselves."

"Can you think of anything besides sex for one minute?" Tyler laughed.

"Not when you're looking so hot," Jaylin said smoothly. "You'll be the one complaining when we're ninety and I can't even get it up."

"Oh my God! I can't believe you can even think of that. Eww, that's gross." Scrunching his face, Tyler actually felt like he might gag. "By then I'll be a millionaire and I'll buy a trophy boy. I won't need you anymore," Tyler said smugly as Jaylin opened the door.

After they dropped their bags in the house, Jaylin grabbed his boyfriend. "Oh, so that's how it is! You're only in it for my looks?" He grabbed Tyler's sides as the smaller boy squealed. His sides were Tyler's weak points. Jaylin lifted his lover and silently looked into his eyes. "Even when I'm old and molding, I will always love you, Tyler... uh... what's your middle name?"

Chuckling and turning a light variation of red, Tyler replied, "It's Edison."


"Even when we're on our death beds, I will always love you, Tyler Edison Morton," Jaylin said magically.

Gazing into Jaylin's brown eyes, Tyler smiled and replied, "And I, you, Jaylin..."


"Derik... Stafford." Tyler smiled before being pulled up by his love into a deep, passionate kiss.

"Well, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that was a proposal."

Jaylin turned his head slightly and almost dropped Tyler. He lowered him as a frog decided to jump into his throat. "Dwayne, what are you doing home? I thought you were coming home on the weekend," Jaylin said, his cheeks very flushed.

Jaylin's elder brother, Dwayne, stood on the main staircase smiling at the two before sitting down on the steps. "I wanted to surprise everyone, but it looks like I wasn't the only one with that plan. So I guess it's official, you really do swing that way."

Turning to Tyler, Jaylin swallowed. "This is Tyler, my boyfriend." Looking back at his brother he asked hesitantly, "Dwayne, are you... disappointed with me?"

Dwayne stood up and slowly walked down, not diverting his eyes from his younger brother. "Why would I be? You're only being true to yourself. It's okay, bro. I'm really happy for you."

Tyler looked at Jaylin, who swallowed again and nodded his head. His eyes glistened with gathering tears.


Tyler turned to the guy who now stood before him. The man looked him over and smiled. "I'm Dwayne, Jayse's bro. Nice to meet you," Dwayne said, extending his hand.

"I'm glad to finally meet you, Dwayne. I've heard so much about you and your family," Tyler said kindly.

Smiling, Dwayne grabbed his brother around the neck, pulling him close. "Well, I wish this ogre would call me sometimes and tell me what he's been up to. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about you, Tyler."

"Ty's staying for the break. I want everyone to meet him," Jaylin announced, finally smiling.

"Mom and Dad will be proud knowing you finally found someone." Dwayne's grin faded. "Do you want me to talk to them first?"

Turning to Tyler, Jaylin shook his head. "No... I want to tell them. I want them to also meet the guy who means so much to me."

"Aww... that's cute, bro!" Dwayne laughed, messing up Jaylin's hair with his other hand. "You trying to be a poet or something?"

Tyler chuckled before jumping in, "He is actually a great poet. He has some good work stashed away."

Looking rather surprised, Dwayne laughed and stepped back. "Okay, any more surprises? Shit, buddy, I swear I think you've changed in the months you've been away."

Reaching out for Tyler's hand, Jaylin smiled. "You just met the guy who caused the change."


Closing his door, Jaylin turned excitedly to Tyler. Tyler just sat on the bed looking rather innocent. He laid back as Jaylin crawled over him, staring into his green eyes.

"I love it when you look at me like that," Tyler whispered. "Feels like you're overpowering me or something."

"I often give people that impression," Jaylin grinned arrogantly.

"Wow, you've grown cocky in a short while, haven't you?" Tyler looked at him thoughtfully.

"Well, you make it so easy..."

Shocked, Tyler lay opened-mouthed. "So you think I'm easy, huh?"

"I got into your pants that first night, Ty," Jaylin smiled.

Pushing his boyfriend off gently, Tyler got up. "So that's how it is," he said coolly. "Then maybe you should go without getting into my pants for a few weeks."

"Right, like you can last that long. You'll be begging by tonight."

Jaylin had meant it as a joke, but Tyler said, "I can do without, babe. Let's see how long you last."

"Okay, Ty," Jaylin chuckled. "Joke's over. Come back to bed."

Looking at Jaylin's DVD collection, Tyler grabbed one. "Let's watch a movie, instead."

Jaylin decided to play along, knowing he could make Tyler crack. Tyler popped in the movie while Jaylin laid back on his bed.

The two cuddled as the movie began. Jaylin could smell the scent known as Tyler, and was dying to have some. Throughout the first half of the movie, Jaylin tried seducing his love by nibbling on his neck or ear. Yet each time, Tyler simply turned his head away, making it hard for Jaylin to have access.

Finally frustrated, Jaylin sat with his arms crossed as he stared angrily at the television screen.

Tyler smiled as he watched his man shift restlessly on the bed.

Stretching on the bed, Tyler clicked the television off before turning to Jaylin, who was fast asleep. He stared at the boy and thanked God that he had him in his life. He crawled up to Jaylin and laid a soft kiss on his lips before getting up.

Rather thirsty, Tyler made his way downstairs to get a glass of water. As he walked down, the front door opened and gave way to a young girl he thought looked really familiar. Realizing it was Jaylin's sister, Tyler smiled and introduced himself.

"Hi, I'm a friend of your brother. My name is Tyler," he said confidently.

As she put down her bag, Tyler noticed she had the same amazing eyes as Jaylin. While Jaylin's eyes seemed to be gentle and caring but at times deep, hers were joyful, gorgeous and embracing. He felt rather at ease under her eyes.

"Nice to meet you, Tyler. I'm Leah," she said gently. Jaylin had said that his sister had a heavenly voice, but that was an understatement. Tyler couldn't believe such a young girl had a voice that warm and soft. "Umm... which brother are you talking about?"

Chuckling at himself, Tyler answered the young lady, "Jaylin. He's sleeping right now. He didn't get much sleep last night."

Looking worried, Leah gasped, "Is university that hard?"

Tyler hid his smile and just nodded to the little girl.

"Your other brother is home, too, but he doesn't seem to be around right now."

Her smile seemed as inviting as Jaylin's. "Dwayne, too! I know where he went," she giggled. "He has a girlfriend."

He found himself laughing with her. He liked Leah. There was a quality about her that seemed almost heavenly.

"Want some cookies and milk?" the little lady offered.


Tyler enjoyed the company, and he was impressed at how bright she was. He wondered if being outgoing was a Stafford trait.


Jaylin turned over and his stretched his arm, expecting to grab his boyfriend. He was surprised to find he was alone. Squinting out the window, he realized it must have been at least past five. He was about to get up when he realized he wasn't physically ready to get up. His teasing with Tyler had left him rather frustrated, even after a nap. When he realized waiting wasn't going to change anything, he cursed before getting up and roughly adjusting himself.

He walked down the stairs and was surprised to hear laughter coming from the kitchen. As he walked in he noticed Leah and Rachael, his brother's girlfriend, sitting with Tyler as they were fixing some vegetables and a salad. His mother and brother were at the stove trying to maneuver several pots and pans.

Tyler was the first to notice him and smiled when he made eye contact. Jaylin prayed that his boyfriend had been joking about the few weeks of abstinence.

"Hey, Jayse!" Leah said musically.

Everyone in the room turned to Jaylin as Leah got up and gave him a hug. She looked up worriedly. "Did you sleep enough? Tyler said your exams were really hard and you didn't get enough sleep because of them."

Jaylin looked at Tyler and they shared a secret smile, before Rachael spoke up, "Jayse, where did you meet this remarkable guy? He is so funny!"

"And so well mannered, too. He offered to cook for us, but I couldn't let a guest do that the first night." Mrs. Stafford turned back to the stove. "Oh, and yes, he can stay."

"Sorry, Mom. I forgot to call."

"You and your brother are the same. Full of surprises."

"Oh, that's not the last of the surprises," Rachael giggled.

Jaylin stared in horror at Rachael.

She knows! Jaylin panicked as he turned to his brother, who grinned apologetically.

Rachael just smiled at Tyler before looking towards Jaylin, giving him a wink and a thumbs up. His mother's back was turned so she didn't see anything, but his sister looked around quizzically. Tyler sat blushing in his chair.

The closing of the front door announced the arrival of Mr. Stafford. "Hey, boys!" he called from the front.

"In the kitchen, Dad!" Dwayne hollered.

"I think these are done," Rachael said, passing the cut vegetables to Dwayne and whispering something in his ear.

Dwayne nodded and turned to Leah. "Leah, why don't you show Rachael the piece you're singing for school?"

Leah nodded and grabbed Rachael's hand.

"Hey, Rachael, I guess you'll be staying for dinner?" Mr. Stafford said as he walked in.

"You know that's why I'm here," she joked.

Mr. Stafford picked up his little girl and swung her around before putting her down. Jaylin turned to Tyler, who smiled sadly at him. He realized this the first time Tyler had been with a family who were so close. He wanted to walk up to his boyfriend and hold him tightly.

As Leah and Rachael left the kitchen, Mr. Stafford exchanged greetings with Tyler. Breathing fast suddenly, Jaylin realized that telling his parents the truth was going to be hard.

"Tyler's staying here for the break, Stanley," his mother said as she walked up to her husband and gave him a kiss.

"That's great! Jaylin, what are you standing there for? Come and sit. I want to hear all about what's been going on with you and your brother," his dad said as he took a seat.

Jaylin turned to Dwayne, who nodded his head.

"Mom, Dad, there's something I need to tell you..."

His father looked at him thoughtfully. "What's that, Jayse? You didn't fail any courses, did you?"

Jaylin swallowed hard and looked around. He was about to fall over, but instead stumbled towards the dining room. He felt dizzy. He had to sit down, but the lights in the kitchen were too bright. He wondered if he was simply over reacting. His father helped him sit down, looking rather worried.

"Son, are you okay?"

His mother ran through with a glass of water. Seeing Tyler standing at the dining room entrance looking really scared, Jaylin could sense that Tyler was considering running again. He knew his boyfriend well. He smiled at him, trying to ease any discomfort in the boy's heart.

Jaylin almost gasped at the way Tyler smiled confidently back at him. It was like his boyfriend was encouraging him.

"Mom, Dad... I'm gay," Jaylin said suddenly. He stared at the patterns of the rug on the floor. He didn't know what else to do. He didn't want to look at his parents, afraid of what he might see.

"Jayse, honey, look at me," his mother said. As Jaylin looked up he was close to tears. His mother smiled at him with acceptance. "It's okay. Don't be scared."

He felt tears threatening to break from his face.

"Son, your mother and I have suspected for quite some time now. We were just waiting until you finally were ready to tell us," his father said gently. "I knew it was time when I saw your friend at the table."
His dad knelt in front of him and forced his son to look at him. "Tell me, is Tyler your boyfriend?"

Jaylin blushed and nodded silently.

"Well, that's good to hear!" his mom gleefully cheered. "I was hoping he was. You never brought home any friends except Sam."

Tyler returned a sheepish smile when Jaylin's mother smiled at him.

"Your mother is right in being happy, Jayse. Tyler is really a good looking man."

Jaylin just looked at the floor and began to shake.

"Jayse, what's wrong? Your mother and I understand. It's okay. You don't have to be scared to tell us something like this."

Relief washed over Jaylin's face as he looked up at his father.

"Thank you... " he mumbled, as tears washed his face.

He couldn't understand why he was crying. He didn't know why he felt so scared. For a minute he had doubted his parents, and now he felt ashamed and embarrassed about that. His parents would love him for who he is, he knew that, yet a cloud of doubt had been in his heart. He felt relief as the cloud simply vanished.

A pair of arms cradled him as he buried his face deep into the person who held him. He noticed the scent of Tyler and smiled. His boyfriend held him, shedding tears of his own.

Tyler and Jaylin talked with Jaylin's parents for several more minutes. They were happy that their son had found someone special. One question that was asked was how the parents had known about Jaylin.

"Son, I take pleasure in saying my children are good looking, but you really are a handsome young man. You were different from your brother, who chased women until he found Rachael. You never gave a girl a second look, no matter how pretty she was." His father chuckled at a thought that occurred to him. "Instead, you were quiet and would glance secretly at guys who walked by."

"What?" Tyler said in shock. "I never noticed his looks."

Jaylin's mother took Tyler's hands into her own. "I'm sure he looked at you a lot, but you might not have noticed it. Sometimes people are blinded by love."

Both Tyler and Jaylin blushed, making the woman laugh.

"I remember when the mother of a girl from your high school called me," she said. "The woman was so angry because her daughter had tried everything to get you to notice her, but you wouldn't say anything. She told me her daughter was crying and she wanted me to talk to you."

The stories went on as Jaylin continued to blush. Tyler looked at Jaylin several times, surprised at some of what he was hearing. The two held hands the whole time.

Dinner was served by Dwayne, who proved to be a far better cook than anyone in his family. After an enjoyable meal, the adults sat in the living room discussing various things. The subject of Tyler and Jaylin seemed to keep coming up. The two smiled at each other, quite taken at the acceptance they received from the family and Rachael.

"This day couldn't have been any more perfect," Tyler said as they made it back to Jaylin's room.

"Yeah, I know," Jaylin said, sitting down on his bed.

"Your parents are fantastic. I love them. I love your whole family."

"They love you, too. I've never seen my mom so happy. And Dad... wow, he looked really proud," Jaylin said quietly.

"Everything's going to be just fine, Jayse. Your family loves you; that's important," Tyler said sadly.

Jaylin quietly took the boy in his arms. "Hey, look at me. Your parents love you, Tyler."

"Not my dad," Tyler almost spat.

Jaylin regretted bringing up the subject. "I'm sorry, Ty. I really am. Don't be angry."

Tyler pulled away and looked into his love's eyes. "I can never get angry with you, Jayse. I love you."

"And I love you."

They shared a deep kiss of love and commitment.

Smiling in the middle of the kiss, Jaylin whispered, "I know how to make this a much more perfect night."

Tyler shook his head. "You're not getting off that easily. Just because you came out to your parents that doesn't mean I'm taking back my words."
Jaylin groaned as Tyler stripped to his boxer briefs and slipped into the bed.

"You can sleep in the bed with me, but if you cross the line, you're sleeping on the floor," Tyler teased.

Hoping he could make Tyler eat his words, Jaylin stripped seductively. Tyler just smiled and patted the bed next to him when Jaylin was done.

He can't last all night. He'll say something soon... Jaylin thought.

When he heard his boyfriend snoring lightly, he grumbled and tried to fall asleep. For several hours Jaylin twisted and turned while his love slept soundly.


Over the next week, the Stafford family prepared for Christmas. It was going to be a special one. Three families would be under one roof. Sam wanted to spend Christmas with Jaylin and Tyler, and she arranged for her family to come as well. Rachael and her family would join them. It was going to be a grand Christmas.

Tyler looked into a particular store at the mall one day. He wanted to get Jaylin a gift that was different from any other gift. He couldn't decide what he wanted to get his love, but something kept catching his eye, and he had walked by several times to glance at it.

"That looks nice."

Tyler smiled, knowing Jaylin's mother was behind him. She had needed to grab some last things at the mall and thought Tyler might enjoy going with her. He was grateful. He had tried going to the mall on his own using the public bus but had somehow gotten lost. It was hard to sneak away with his boyfriend hovering around him. Jaylin seemed more tense every day. Tyler was considering removing the ban he had imposed. Although he didn't show it, he was dying to be intimate with him, but he felt that if he gave in, Jaylin would surely believe he was at his feet. He didn't want his boyfriend to be overconfident.

Tyler sighed and wondered if he should buy that particular item for Jaylin. He had already bought presents for everyone else. He had bought Jaylin's parents a new family album. Mrs. Stafford had shown Tyler many photos of Jaylin, from baby pictures to recent ones. She had mentioned that she had more in a box somewhere but kept forgetting to buy an album to organize them. Dwayne was a big fantasy novel reader, and had read all the books Tyler mentioned except one. He decided to buy Dwayne the book, somehow knowing he would love it. He bought Leah a CD he knew she wanted. He had talked to the Staffords, and they agreed to let him buy it for her. Jaylin and his mom had planned on getting her the same CD. For Sam and Rachael, he didn't know what to get, but he figured girls like perfume. He had suffered an hour with a saleslady who spayed him with different products.

That left only Jaylin, but he was unsure about this gift

"Oh, just get it," Jaylin's mother scolded. "He'll love anything you give him. Give him a dictionary and he'll treasure it. If it's from you, he will."

Tyler smiled because he knew that was probably true. Finally deciding, Tyler nodded and walked into the store.

On the drive back, Tyler's mom asked him a personal question no one had ever asked him. "When did you first notice you like my son?" She smiled at him warmly before turning her attention back to the road.

Tyler blushed. "Actually, I first noticed his butt." That earned a heartfelt laugh from Mrs. Stafford.

"Oh, that is priceless. I also first noticed Stanley when we were freshmen at our university. He was bent over picking up a box and I noticed how his ass was really nice. My breath was taken away when I noticed the handsome man it belonged to, but boy was he cocky back then," she giggled. "It took years to get him to finally lose that arrogance."

"You know, that is exactly what happened with Jayse. My breath was taken away when he stood up. He's always smiling, and it's always appealing."

Mrs. Stafford sighed, "The Stafford men have a charm about them. They make the ones who love them do crazy things."

Tyler thought about Jaylin and readily agreed.

"Now that you mention it, I think arrogance is a trait that goes along with their looks. You can't lose one without losing the other," Tyler said thoughtfully.

"Dear, you are right, but is Jaylin arrogant? I thought I knew my son, but arrogance doesn't sound like him," she said as she turned onto another road.

"He is so arrogant. Only with me, though. When we're alone he makes it seem like I worship him. Now, let's get this straight, I do, but I don't want him to know. He would never give it up if he knew."

"That sounds like Stanley. I'm going to have to talk to Rachael. If Dwayne is the same, I need to teach you two some things about men. Well, our men, anyways." She smiled.

Tyler laughed and agreed.

They chatted about a few more things before they reached the house. As they stepped out, Jaylin waited patiently with his arms crossed. When Tyler appeared, so did Jaylin's smile.

"Hey, babe!" Jayse said excitingly as he embraced the boy. "Did you have a good time at the mall?"

The arousing scent of his boyfriend made Tyler melt inside. "Yeah, we had fun. We got everything we needed, too."

"Did you talk about me?"

Tyler raised an eyebrow. "Looks like you're still full of yourself. Maybe I should extend it another week."

Jaylin's face was masked with horror and Tyler laughed as he humbly apologized.

"So, what have you been up to today?"

"Come in and I'll show you."

Tyler turned to Mrs. Stafford to ask if she needed help, but she was too busy in her husband's arms to be disturbed.

Tyler was surprised to find the whole house decorated. The stairs and hallway had a nice Christmassy feel. They walked to the living room to find a large Christmas tree already hosting many presents. Tyler had never seen such a tree. He was breathless. All this made up for all the years his father had denied him a warm Christmas.

"I am so coming here every year for Christmas," he announced quietly.

"That's the plan. Now, look up."

They both looked up at a sprig of mistletoe hanging directly above them.

Before Tyler could say anything, Jaylin's lips sealed his own. He didn't struggle against the man. He wanted the kiss, and he loved it. When Jaylin finally pulled back, Tyler's eyes were still closed and his face flushed. Jaylin stood breathless, his face also a bit red. As Tyler opened his eyes he mouthed the word "wow".

"That was longer than Dwayne and Rachael's kiss."

Both turned quickly towards the voice. Leah was sitting on the sofa with a book on her lap. They hadn't noticed her there.

"Leah!" Jaylin seemed stunned. Wondering what he should say, he looked at Tyler.

"Jaylin," Leah said softly, "how old do you think I am? I'm already in grade 7. I know about relationships and stuff. Love is still love, right?"

Looking rather sheepish, Jaylin nodded his head while Tyler just chuckled. "I'm not as sheltered as you think I am, my dear brother," Leah said in a way that seemed like she was talking to a younger sibling. Jaylin looked surprised. He hadn't noticed it before, but his sister was maturing.

"I'm glad it's Tyler. I really like him," she said, smiling beautifully.

"Well, I'm glad I have your approval," Jaylin joked.

Leah looked at him with a raised eyebrow. Tyler wondered if all women know how to do that.

"You know, you guys are still under the mistletoe. There's a rule that says if you stay under it too long you have to kiss again longer than you did last," she said, as if it were a fact.

Blushing, Jaylin protested, "There's no rule like that. What are you..."

Without another word, Tyler covered Jaylin's lips with his own, like his lover had done to him a moment before. He felt more than one pair of eyes looking at him. When he was finished with Jaylin, who was left a bit lightheaded, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Stafford smiling at them. Mrs. Stafford nodded with approval, as if to say, "That's how it's done!"


Everyone was busy over the next few days. Dwayne was going crazy because he couldn't find a perfect present for Rachael. Leah had some winter break homework to do, and Jaylin's parent's were working. Jaylin and Tyler were left to themselves. They spent every waking moment together doing various things. Most of the days were spent playing games. Tyler couldn't believe Jaylin's love of games. He had thought Jaylin was kidding when he said he was a geek, but after seeing his collection, he was almost ready to agree.
Tyler valued the time just sitting with Jaylin and playing games. He was fascinated by a game they played together. Jaylin had let him play the greater part of the game, but took over in the tougher levels. Tyler loved the role-playing games. The one he and Jaylin played together was called Final Fantasy X. The story was woven around a couple who battled evil, but in the end were tragically separated. Tyler actually cried at the ending. He had enjoyed it so much he asked Jaylin if there were other games like that. He was happy to find out a sequel to the game would be released in a year or so. He looked forward to playing it with Jaylin.

The game had raised questions in Tyler. He knew that eventually people grow old and die. He wondered how he would deal with it when the time finally came. He found himself wondering if it would be better he died first. If he died, Jaylin would be heartbroken, but if the situation were reversed, Tyler knew he wouldn't be able to survive. It was like Jaylin was his air; he needed him to live.

Distressed by such thoughts, Tyler shared his concerns one night. He didn't know what to expect, and he was surprised by Jaylin's reply.

"Why think about it? We're living, right? If we worry about things like that, we miss out on the important stuff," Jaylin said wisely. "Let's just live."

Tyler drew strength from Jaylin. He envied him for being so strong, physically and emotionally. Jaylin had told him before, "Ever since I first saw you, I've wanted to protect you. I will protect you with my life."

As cliché as that sounded, Tyler thought of Jaylin as his protector. Almost a knight in shining armor. He surely could have been one in a past life. That was a fantasy Tyler rather enjoyed.


Tradition in the Stafford house was that they threw a party on the eve of Christmas. At midnight, each person gave one present to someone, only one. After the Christmas feast, they all enjoyed the company of one another. Tyler met Sam's parents, who loved and cared about Tyler as much as they loved and cared about Jaylin. They were shocked to discover Jaylin was gay, but they were supportive. Rachael's family was also supportive. Tyler couldn't believe it. He had always thought gays were looked down upon. Living with his father had given him that impression. That night he felt a sense of hope.

Everyone enjoyed the evening, particularly the special treat from Leah. She sang Christmas carols so beautifully that they seemed to be music from heaven. Tyler was astounded by her amazing voice.

Leah's singing reminded Tyler of the song Jaylin had sung. Although Tyler begged, Jaylin refused to sing it to his family, but when he stepped out to get a drink, Sam brought out a video tape. Sure enough, it had everything, including Jaylin's Speedo walk.

Jaylin ran back to the family room when he heard everyone cheering. He nearly fell over as he looked at himself walking down the aisle like a fashion model in an underwear show. His father and Dwayne pinned him to the couch as he bellowed and fussed for them to shut it off. No one paid him any heed, but Leah apologized to him, saying she really wanted to see her brother sing. When Jaylin's song finally came up, everyone was silent. Jaylin didn't argue anymore, and no one held him down, but he refused to look at the screen. There was definitely heat in his cheeks.

Midway through the song, Dwayne asked, "Why is he just staring at one place? Who's he looking at?"

Tyler blushed fiercely.

Mrs. Stafford turned to him and she immediately knew. She whispered something to her husband that sent him howling. By the end of the song, everyone knew and Jaylin looked like he was going to stay permanently red. When Tyler smiled at him apologetically, he grinned at him.

When it finally struck midnight, the presents were given out. Tyler gave his first. He wanted Leah to be happy, and she was. Her eyes widened with surprise and she smiled so brightly she could have been mistaken for the star of Bethlehem. Jaylin gave Sam her gift, which was a pair of earrings she really loved. After everyone had exchanged gifts, they began singing Christmas carols again. The night went on until Leah fell asleep on the family room couch. Jaylin lifted her up and everyone took that as a signal that it was time to go. After the last guest left, the family all went to their own rooms. Tyler followed Jaylin as he tucked Leah into her bed.

When they got to their room, Tyler pulled a large box from under the bed. Rather impressed at the size of the gift, Jaylin was worried that Tyler had spent too much on him. He understood that Tyler had some extra money, but he didn't think it was right that he use it on him. Tyler simply shrugged away Jaylin's worries and told him to open the gift.

Inside the box was a new leather jacket. It was short cut, and it looked really styling. Worried that it was too much, Jaylin turned to Tyler, who looked like he would be upset if Jaylin refused it. Jaylin loved it. It went with all his clothes and it was leather. He knew he would always wear it.

"Wear it, please?" Tyler asked with his cool eyes.

Jaylin smiled as he released his boyfriend. He turned around and placed the coat over his body. It felt nice, and it was the perfect size. He turned around and found his love wide-eyed.

"Does it look good?"

"Damn..." Tyler whispered, wetting his lips with the tip of his tongue, "That coat was meant for you. It's perfect."

Jaylin grinned. "That's because it came from you."

Chuckling, Tyler grabbed Jaylin in a warm embrace. "Your mom was right. You would love anything I gave you, even a dictionary."

"I would. Knowing I have you is a gift of its own. I would forfeit all the presents I would ever get, just so you are mine."

Whispering, Tyler brought his love close, "You don't need to. You already have all of me."

Jaylin kissed Ty deeply before presenting his own gift.

It was in a small golden box. Tyler swallowed hard, knowing that Jaylin had spent quite a bit on the item. Lifting the lid, Tyler gasped. It was a white gold chain necklace. Tyler had always wanted something like that. It was similar to Jaylin's but had a different pattern and was smaller. Tyler was about to kiss his boyfriend but Jaylin told him that wasn't the end of it. Lifting a lid inside the box, Tyler found an old-fashioned key. It was no bigger than two fingers.

Confused, Tyler wondered where he could use this key. "What is..."

"It's sort of a family tradition," Jaylin explained. "My great grandfather started it, and my dad told me about it when I was a kid. They give a key to the one they love most. A key to the heart. I love you, Tyler, and I will always love only you. No one but you has access to my heart you."

As he looked into Jaylin's eyes, he noticed a hint of seriousness. The deep eyes stared into his own, and he knew Jaylin wanted to say something.

"It's platinum. A reminder. So that you know that I will always be yours. You are my everything, Ty." Jaylin took hold of him and stared deeply into the emerald green eyes. "You have all of me. I am yours to make, or break. I promise my unconditional love to you, Ty. Forever."

The words bore into Tyler's mind like carvings into a stone. It was like a proposal, but it wasn't.

He was speechless, and Jaylin still held his stare. He didn't blush or fidget. He meant every word as if swearing his life to an oath.

"I promise you this, Tyler Edison Morton. I will love you for as long as you will have me... "

Tyler hushed his love by gently placing his fingers on his lips. "And you will always have me. I am yours, and you are mine. I will always love you. That will never change."

Somehow they both knew they would be true to their word. They knew there were better looking people out there, but they also knew they belonged to no one but each other. They just knew their love would never die. It was an eternal promise.

Taking hold of his love, Jaylin kissed him softly. Enjoying his love's embrace, Tyler breathed in all of Jaylin.

Slowly they moved to the bed. They kissed each other deeply while Tyler unbuttoned Jaylin's shirt. Jaylin was grateful. He really liked the shirt. Pushing him down onto the bed, Tyler crawled over his boyfriend and smiled at him.

"I guess this means the ban is off?" Jaylin asked, grinning.

"Shut up and make love to me."

That was all Jaylin needed to take control. Throughout the night, Tyler hoped the walls were a good sound barrier.


The world revolved around Tyler and Jaylin over the next few days. No matter where they went, their love was evident to those who saw them. On the family room couch, they cuddled, and were surprised to find Rachael and Dwayne there as well. Jaylin and Tyler somehow kept finding each other under the mistletoe. It wasn't until they were chased away by Mr. and Mrs. Stafford that they were told to limit the use of the mistletoe to once every four hours. As Jaylin nudged Tyler to his room, he turned and found his parents sharing a kiss of their own. He watched with interest. Jaylin had never kissed anyone other than Tyler. With Sam it was always a peck on the cheek. Tyler had told him his kisses were amazing. Jaylin now smiled, knowing where his talent came from.

Jaylin was surprised to see Tyler taking more interest in games. He was impressed that his boyfriend had finally gotten the hang of the games. It had taken forever for him to get Leah into games, and still she didn't find them as appealing as he did. Tyler loved them. Jayse watched his love with interest while he struggled through the difficult levels. He watched him laugh during the comedy relief and he watched him cry at the emotional parts. Jaylin was fascinated. When he had first seen Tyler, the boy had been afraid to talk. On the spur of the moment, Jaylin grabbed his lover in the middle of a battle and savagely kissed him. Tyler protested, saying someone could walk by. Yet, Jaylin didn't stop his attack. Soon, his boyfriend had been successfully persuaded.

The night of New Year's Eve, Jaylin and Tyler went downtown. The whole town was celebrating. Bars and stores remained open until eleven-thirty, when all the patrons and customers headed over to the town square to wait for the countdown. Jaylin and Tyler just toured the city, walking hand in hand most of the time. Some people gave them warm smiles, some looked at them oddly. Others, mostly younger kids, laughed in their faces. Jaylin smiled when that happened, knowing they were getting attention, and at that point he would stop and kiss Tyler deeply in front of them. The kids were obviously uneasy and dismayed, but Jaylin felt proud. Tyler would look at him and shake his head in wonder. No one gave them real problems. Tyler expected someone to spit on him or condemn him to hell. Nothing like that happened.

They hung out for awhile at an arcade filled with some kids, but mostly people who were back from university. Jaylin had the time of his life teaching Tyler to play pool. Some couples looked at them and smiled warmly. Jaylin knew a few of them from his old high school. He didn't care. It didn't seem they did either.

When Tyler finally got the hang of pool, Jaylin took a seat and sipped his pop. He watched as Tyler bent over to take a long shot. Jaylin found himself tilting his head and staring at his boyfriend's butt. He fought the urge to walk up behind his lover and just grind into him. Instead, he smiled, knowing what he wanted to do later that night, and simply adjusted his seating.

A sudden shriek made Jaylin almost drop his glass.

He turned his attention to a girl who stared at him with wide eyes.

"Jayse! Oh my God it's been so long," the girl said, out of breath. "How have you been? Where's Sam?"

Jaylin smiled and stood up to greet the girl.

Jessica... Damn. Of all the people..., he thought bitterly.

"Hey, Jessica..."

Tyler walked over and smiled at the two. He looked at Jaylin oddly.

Jaylin could almost hear Tyler's thoughts: "So, Jayse. Who's this pretty girl?"

Jessica. One of the biggest gossipers in the world. She was gorgeous, and a nice girl if you could ignore her big mouth.

"Oh, Jayse, is this a friend of yours?" Jessica asked timidly.

"Yeah," Jaylin said carefully, "this is Tyler. Ty, this is Jessica. A friend from high school."

Turning to his love, Tyler gave him a level look. Jaylin felt like he was going crazy. He knew that if Jessica found out about them she would make up stories. He remembered some of the outrageous stories she had told about people, incredibly altering the truth. When Tyler's gaze turned into a warm smile, all worry washed away from Jaylin. It was as if Tyler's smile cleared away the darkness. He smiled and remembered that as long as he had Tyler he could do anything.

"He's my boyfriend, Jessica."

For a moment they just looked at each other. Jessica's face was frozen with a smile that had shock mixed into it.

Jaylin saw that Tyler was also shocked, but he seemed proud. That meant a lot to Jaylin. All he wanted was to make this man happy.

"How could you!"

Jaylin turned to Jessica, who was enraged, almost bent to tears. "What?"
"You're an animal, Jaylin. How dare you do that to Sam! Do you know how much she loves you?" she yelled. People turned to them, some even looking at Jaylin angrily. They were getting the wrong impression. "How could you do this to her?" she yelled, raising her hand.

"Will you quit making a scene?" Jaylin said angrily, grabbing her hand as she tried to slap him. "She knew. She always knew. She was part of hiding it."

Anger still filled Jessica's face. She pulled her hand free and paced around angrily. "I don't believe this! How could you be...gay?" she yelled. Jaylin looked around, and sure enough people who knew him looked surprised. Some even laughed. "You were the most sought out boy in our year! Everyone thought you were taken! But... you were GAY?"

Before Jaylin could answer, a sharp voice cut in. "So what if he is? I am too, and he's mine."

Jessica and Jaylin both turned to Tyler, who stood with his arms crossed. Jaylin noticed his arm muscles were conspicuous, and couldn't help admiring them. They were not huge like his arms, but they were nice.

"He's mine, and there's nothing you can say or do that will change anything. All you're doing is trying to ruin a night for us. Why don't you just leave?" Tyler said with his head high.

Jaylin thought Ty looked really dignified, the way he kept a serene look on his face, as if knowing nothing would hurt him. Jaylin put an arm around him and turned to Jessica. "My man has spoken. Nice to see you again, Jessica."

The couple turned back to their pool table. Jaylin noticed a gleam in Tyler's emerald eyes.

"Want to jet?" Jaylin asked.

"Sure, we've played enough games," his boyfriend smiled.

As they walked out, some people stared at them, some smiled, and others laughed. It didn't matter to either of them. Jaylin would not stand for anything beyond that. If anyone confronted them, he would protect Tyler, but would definitely take on anyone who ridiculed their love.

They walked hand in hand out into the December night. They looked into shops and talked about nothing in particular. When they reached the center of town, quite a lot of people had shown up already. Some people were playing music and others were dancing. Jaylin looked at Tyler, who looked back questioningly. As if reading each other's mind, they walked towards the dancing.

The night couldn't have been more perfect. Moments into the countdown, Jaylin and Tyler embraced and stared into each other's eyes. They declared their love for each other and kissed their way into the new year. As the celebration erupted around them, they stood silently in each other's arms. They were in their own world. To them they were the only ones there.


The drive back to the university was filled with laughter and sexual innuendos. Several times Tyler brushed his hand over his love's arm, sometimes reaching over to grab between his legs. Several times Jaylin pulled over just to give Tyler a passionate kiss. The drive which would normally have taken four hours took close to six.

Jaylin had brought some dry foods from home to use for nighttime snacks. Tyler helped him take his stuff up. Wanting some time alone together, they first went to Tyler's room but Jem was already there. Jaylin greeted Jem kindly. Ever since Jem had discovered the truth about Tyler and Jaylin, he had stopped looking at Jaylin like he was food. He was able to talk to the boy normally. Seeing they couldn't possibly have time alone there, they went up to Jaylin's room to find Dave still missing in action.

Jaylin immediately took Tyler into a warm embrace, feeling him chuckle before he silenced him with a kiss.

"We've been crazy over each other the entire break, you know that?" Tyler whispered when they finally pulled away.

"Would you rather we hadn't?" Jaylin asked.

Tyler shook his head. "Not a chance, babe." For the millionth time that day, they kissed deeply.

"Holy fuckin' shit! You're fuckin' kidding me... "

Horrific gasps escaped from both Jaylin and Tyler as they turned to Dave, who stood at the entrance with way too many bags hanging off him.

Letting Tyler go, Jaylin advanced to his roommate. "Dave, calm down, man. I can explain everything..." His voice was unsure and hesitant. If Tyler hadn't known better, he could have sworn he was scared. Truthfully, he was. His knuckles had gone white and he stood stiffly as Dave switched his gaze back and forth between the two.

"What's to explain?" Dave asked. "You guys are a bunch of homos, right?"

Jaylin's worry was replaced with fury. His brows showed it. Tyler was about to step between them, but Dave corrected himself.

"Ah... sorry, what I mean is, are you guys gay?"

Jaylin compressed his lips, "Yeah, Dave... It's not a problem is it?"

Dave looked like the happiest man alive. "Fuck no! Holy shit, man. You see me around Jem. I like the dude more than you do. We actually hang out," Dave said with his head held high.

Somehow Tyler couldn't see that happening, but Jaylin understood it perfectly. Dave arrogantly boasted about himself while Jem sat and idolized him. He wondered if both were crazy.

"Shit, man. I was so scared, but shit. I'm so happy you're gay!" Dave said all too happily.

Jaylin looked at him oddly and turned to Tyler. "Um, I'm glad you can accommodate our relationship."
Dave shook his head. "No, you don't understand. Shit, I didn't know how to tell you this... " He suddenly looked enlightened. "That's why Sam said not to worry about it!"

Looking irritated, Tyler said, "Damn it Dave, just get to the damn point."

"You givin' me attitude, boy?" Dave said with a grin.

"I learned from the best," Tyler retorted.

They smiled at each other knowingly.

"Anyways... the night of um... University Idol... Sam and me... we were kinda drunk. Fuck, man, I didn't take advantage of her, so quit looking at me like that, Jayse," Dave said, turning red.

"It was quite the opposite. I was under her spell. We fooled around a bit. And things... escalated," Dave mumbled.

Jaylin stared wide-eyed at his roommate.

"You're not mad are you?" Dave asked meekly.

Tyler couldn't believe it. Dave being meek meant the end of civilization.

Jaylin smiled smugly. "Why would I be? I'm not dating her." Jaylin's smile suddenly turned into a cold stare. "But if you hurt that girl I'll break your legs, buddy."

Dave looked scared. Tyler laughed, and Jaylin stared.

"Dude, I would never do anything to hurt Sam. She'd kill me first and then give me to you. I even dumped my old girlfriend the moment I got back to California."

A low stare came from Jaylin and Tyler.

"It's not like that," Dave sputtered.

Somehow, in love, Dave had lost his edge. He almost seemed whipped.

"That girl back home is crazy. She wouldn't take no for an answer. I'd never have sex with her. Honest to God.

Both Jaylin and Tyler groaned as they looked at each other. "Buddy, we don't care what you do behind the closed door. In fact, we'd appreciate it if you don't tell us." Jaylin smiled at his roommate. "I trust you, man. Take care of her."

Dave smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. "Fuck, man, I've been fucking worried all break how I was going to tell you."

"It's cool, man," Tyler assured. "Looks like you got a bit of a tan. How was your break?"

For hours the three friends talked. Finally Dave got edgy and broke out the twenty-four pack, passing Jaylin and Tyler each a cold one. Tyler felt thirsty, and still disliked beer, but took it for his friend's sake. Jaylin just stared at his bottle and placed it aside. Dave shrugged and took a large swig out of his.

"You know what? If I hadn't walked in when I did, you would have broken the golden rule, dude," Dave said, laid back.

"Golden rule?" Tyler asked.

Nodding to each other, Jaylin and Dave replied, "There is no sex in the Dave and Jayse suite! None!"

Almost dropping his beer, Tyler laughed his heart out. His friends soon followed him. Tyler loved his new life. His father had tried to discourage him from coming here. He was happy to have had the brains to follow his heart. This was one life of many he might have lived.

Walking back to his room, Tyler stumbled a bit on the stairs but caught himself. Despite hating the taste of beer, he had had three of Dave's precious twenty-four. He was a lightweight and he knew it. He had told Jaylin he could manage, but now he was beginning to need his help.

As he walked out of the stairwell and onto his floor, he noticed his door was open. He was surprised to find a guy leaning on it, talking to Jem. As Tyler came up, the two finally noticed him.

"Tyler! There you are. Tyler, meet a friend of mine. His name is Alex, from the fifteenth floor. Alex, meet my cute roommate, Tyler."

Tyler had never seen Jem blush, but he was definitely blushing. Alex and Tyler made a formal greeting before Alex excused himself back to his room. Tyler walked into the room and fell onto the wrong bed.

"You've been drinking again, haven't you?" Jem asked.

"Hehe, maybe." Tyler felt his mouth stretch, knew he was smiling widely, and found it fascinating.

Jem made a pondering hum. "Maybe I should take advantage of you. While I can, that is."

"You do that, man, and I'll tell that Alex fellow. And Jayse," Tyler joked.

"Oh, God, you say anything to Alex and I'll kill you!"

Sitting up, Tyler smiled. "I was kidding. Calm down. Geez, you in love or something?"

Jem went red again and looked away. Tyler laughed and fell back on his roommate's bed. "Tell me about him... "

That got Jem going. In less that five minutes, Tyler was asleep, but Jem was just getting started.

Copyright 2004 Ryan Keith

Hey, guys! Did you like that one? Heh, it was fun to write. A bit of a festive feeling in there, but I had to put it somewhere. Stay tuned for the next chapter. Take care, buds^^.

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.

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