By SF Writer
Copyright 2002  Stormnation, All rights reserved.

Chapter 15: You don't know what you've got...

* * * * * * *

Lucas quivered as Storm gingerly ran his fingers over his abs. Slowly Storm continued his tactile teasing of Lucas abdomen area moving gradually upwards. Storm positioned himself over Lucas and he unbuttoned Lucas shirt buttons one by one. Lucas gulped both anxious and nervous as Storm’s breathing against his neck drove him to distraction. Lucas could control himself no more. He slid his hands up under Storm’s shirt and dug his fingers into his back pulling Storm towards him. Their lips tentatively teasing ea…

"Baby wake up."

"Huh?" Lucas mumbled.

"Wake up we’re nearly home." Storm said keeping his eyes on the road and stroking one of his hands through Lucas hair at the same time.

"We are?" Lucas said opening his eyes and yawning.

"Lucas you were drooling." Storm said wiping Lucas mouth tenderly. "Were you dreaming about Buffy or something?"

"I was?" Lucas said embarrassed. He sat up in his seat properly and smiled to himself "And last time I checked Buffy didn’t have a third leg…or a cute ass."

"Really? I always thought she did." Storm said winking back. "But yours is better."

"Oh boy…it’s gonna be a long day." Lucas gulped. 


* * * * * * *


"Party Party Party Party!" Cody yelled as he sauntered through the lunch table area. "Aint that right Marcel?"

Marcel stood talking to Carl Bentley and some of his other athletic squad teammates as Cody approached him. Marcel rolled his eyes and shook his head, almost feeling sorry for what he was about to do to Cody. He could kick Cody’s ass in revenge but Marcel could think of a lot more creative, less painful and just as effective ways of getting justice on Cody. Cody being the last of the goon squad to get their comeuppance.

The school was a buzz with activity, the hot topic being Marcel’s birthday bash for the absent Storm and himself. Everyone was going to be there, Marcel threw the best parties in town and the whole school knew it. He was the flavour of the week. Marcel made sure all eyes were on him as he turned to Cody.

"Dipshits aren’t invited." Marcel said bluntly before he walked away without saying another word.

Cody stood dumbfounded and humiliated, unbelieving of what had just happened. He could feel the multitude of students sitting at their lunch tables and standing up, all staring at him.

"Cody’s a dipshit?" came a whisper just within hearing distance for Cody. He bolted from the lunchroom as fast as he could, not wanting to hear the quiet jeers or laughs.

Marcel looked behind him and cringed thinking it probably would have been easier on Cody just to shake him around a bit and tell him he did a bad thing instead of giving him a dose of humiliation like Brad had gotten. Marcel tried to shake the thought from his mind and carried on to find Mike or Sarah.

"Ouch. That’s gotta hurt." Josh said walking up next to Marcel. "I hope I’m never on the receiving end of that."

"Josh?" Marcel said surprised. "You saw that did you?"

"Who didn’t? Anyway I was going to double check what time the party started but I’m not sure I want to now." Josh said smiling.

"I only do that to people who fuck with my friends. You just don’t go there with me. But I dunno Barrett, I think you got potential. Just have to lose that silly grin you got."


"Just kidding, I like that silly grin. The Party’s at 7pm. I’ve got a big announcement to make so don’t be late."

"Cool!" Josh said a little too enthusiastically. "Umm I’ll see ya then."

"What’s ya hurry?" Marcel said grabbing Josh’s arm and pulling him back. "I have it on good word you’re the packs newest member."


"Inside joke. Just come on. Unless you got somewhere to go."

"Na uh." Josh gulped. "I’m with you."

"Sweet. Let’s jet."


* * * * * * *


"Hi honey. How was school?" June asked as Dade sauntered through the front door.

Dade had a tired worn look on his face that worried June. Now that she thought about it she wasn’t sure if this look was just from today or if he’d been wearing it for a while and she just hadn’t noticed. She shuddered to think she hadn’t noticed it. She watched as Dade dropped his bag to the floor and walked slowly towards her.

"It was ok." Dade said kissing June on the cheek and wrapping his arms around her. "How was yours?"

"It was…ok."

Dade rested his head on June’s shoulder and stood there motionless for what seemed an eternity. June held her son close, a seeming peace falling over them both. Dade sighed and for the first time in a long while felt content. He felt…at peace. He’d felt so torn lately he’d forgotten what peace felt like. Almost forgotten the old Dade who had everything under control.

"You know what?" Dade said finally.

"What Son?" June asked stroking her hand through Dade’s hair.

"I feel much better." Dade smiled, his eyes twinkling and his face lighting up.

June sighed in relief, smiling herself as she looked at her son. She had a sudden flashback of Dade smiling up at her when he was seven years old after he’d won his first game and then another flash of him as a baby. Time had gone by so fast. Here her boy was nearly a young man. How long before the smile came from a man, and then perhaps even a father. June gulped as she had almost seen her life in a flash.

"Mom, what is it?"

"I was…just lost for a moment. You’ve grown up so fast. It feels like yesterday you were playing in the little league with Storm and Mike. And out in the yard playing in the treehouse. It just makes me wonder at how fast time goes by. Soon you’ll all be out in the world. Abby’s already out there by herself. Storm’s next. Mike. Then you."

"I know Mom. It sorta freaks me out sometimes thinking about it. I mean everywhere I turn in this house there are memories, you know?"

"Believe me, I know." June said sitting herself and Dade down on stools next to the kitchen bench where she had an afternoon bite set out for Dade.

"Sometimes I miss that, you know those days. If I can pick one point where I remember being most happiest it was back then. When I was in little league with Storm and Mike and…"

"And what?"

"And…when you and Dad were still together."

"You know…it’s funny. I miss those days too. Things always seem better in retrospect don’t they Son?"

"They do Mom."

"Son…" June said taking Dade’s hand. "There’s something I need to talk to you about."

"What is it Mom?"

"It’s Mike." June said flatly. "He’s going to be living with us from now on."

"You mean officially?"

"Yes. It’s time."

"I understand." Dade said seriously. "I understand. Is he ok?"

"I think so. In time he’ll be fine."

"You know Mom. Retrospect. In retrospect I can see all the signs. But I was too wrapped up in my own life to acknowledge it."

"We all were. We all were."

"Rough seas behind and ahead Mom?"

"Weather the rain…ride the storm…for when the calm comes it’s all too soon." June said closing her eyes.

"You don’t believe that."

"I know. It just makes me feel better."

"Don’t worry Mom. One day. One day."


* * * * * * *


 "Geez these tyres are like brand new! I can’t believe our luck!" I said cursing as I kicked the flat tyre that had prevented us from arriving home as planned.

"Well you should have looked where you were driving! Didn’t you see the glass on the road?" Lucas said throwing his hands in the air in frustration.

"Geez handle man. I didn’t mean to."

"I know I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I just really need to be in town right now. We are going to be sooo late."

"Well don’t take it out on me dickhead." I cursed.

"Geez we’re like a regular married couple and we haven’t even done the deed." Lucas laughed.

I just shook my head and smiled, I couldn’t think of anything to say to that one. I pulled the spare tyre off the back and begun the tedious process of changing the tyre. Now I’ve seen this done lots of times before. I’ve even helped out quite a few times. Even Mom could do this better than me though. Marcel can do this in a flash. I suppose it’ll come with practice.

"It’s fun watching you try and do this but we gotta hurry, here let me do it." Lucas said pushing me out of the way.

"What’s your hurry? Merlow aint going anywhere."

"Look it’s 4pm. We’re supposed to be there like an hour ago. The party starts at seven. I was supposed to help Sarah set everything up."

"Well Marcel and I have got a little dinner with Mom remember. And then that bloody party. I’m glad it won’t be any surprise crap. I hate surprises."

"Don’t worry Babe. You’re gonna have a great night. I mean, it’s your sixteenth man!"

"Geez, I didn’t even know you on your sixteenth. That’s freaky."

"What is?"

"You know…thinking about life before you. Or what your life was like before you even knew I existed."

"Well…my sixteenth was pretty sad. All my friends knew I was leaving so it was pretty depressing but we tried to make the most of it. I was so angry when my parents said we were moving."

"Do you miss your old friends?"

"I guess I do. I mean I came here not knowing anyone. But I’d say I scored pretty damn lucky meeting you on my first day at school. I miss my friends but it was different. I’ve got new friends. Really great friends. Man you have no idea how Marcel and I get on now. I love that dude, I can see why you and he are so close. And Mike well, I mean he and I are just like normal buds we piss each other off all the time. Really I feel like I’ve just inherited all your friends because that’s what they were before I came here."

"Hehe yeah you stole my thunder man. I used to be the man in school and with my friends and then you came and I dunno, I just lost the plot I think. You sorta took my spot. Or just made a better spot of you own." I said laughing.

"I know. Mike said that to me a while ago. I never meant to. It just happened."

"Probably because you have more stud potential than I do. You’re just that kind of guy everybody loves. I’ve got nothing on you man."

"It doesn’t really matter if everyone else loves me. Just one person. And you don’t really care if you’re popular or not. That’s probably why you are popular. I don’t really want to get into this I’m more popular than you crap because I don’t like comparing ourselves to each other. None of it matters."

"You’re right. I guess I’m just a bit jealous."

"Well don’t be. The last thing in the world I want you to be is jealous of me."


"Ok I’m done." Lucas said standing up and putting the flat tyre on the back of the wrangler. "I’ll drive the rest of the way."

"You’re in a bossy mood tonight. Why you so stressed out?" I said throwing Lucas the keys and sitting myself in the passenger seat.

"Because we’re going to be late. And I told Sarah I’d help her."

"I guess that means you don’t want to tell me."

Lucas revved up the car angrily and shoved it into gear "Storm, just quit it ok."

"Shit man. I don’t know what the hell your problem is. But if that’s how it’s gonna be…"

We drove on towards Merlow, entering the main highway on the edge of North Merlow through to where we all lived. I could feel Lucas tensing up every so often as if something was right on the tip of his tongue. I don’t know why he was in such a crabby tonight. Ever since he’d woken up he’d been moody. I had a few ideas why maybe but some of those I didn’t particularly want to face.

"I don’t know Storm. You just made me think of a few things. Like who I was before I met you. Before I came here. You really don’t know much about me do you? I don’t think I’ve told you much about my history before I came here."

"You’ve told me a bit. I’ve seen some of your old photos and stuff. But you don’t really talk about it. You’ve been here like over six months and it feels like a lifetime but I mean when you think about it you haven’t been here long. You’ve got a lifetime of history before you came to this place. I guess you miss that don’t you?"

"There’s like two Lucas’s. The one you love. And the one you never met. I just realise now how different they are."

"Well hey Storm 1 dug Sarah’s. Storm 2 digs Lucas’s. I’d say I was a lot different before you came to town too."

"We’ve both changed. I never found anyone I could open up to the way I do to you. Even when we were just friends I always wanted to be with you. I mean I’ve had best friends but none of them could get to me like you do. I mean you may have thought you were the one in love with me for so long but didn’t you find it in the slightest bit weird that I was at your house or around you practically every free minute I had? I mean I was the one chasing after you man."

"Probably didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to believe it."

"We’ve come a long way. Storm, you know when you think about it. Can you imagine your life going back to the way it was before we knew each other?"

"I don’t think I’d want to. In fact I know I wouldn’t. I mean even if one day we broke up, I think I’d have a hard time not having you in my life in some form."

"If we ever break up, you’ll be the one doing the breaking not me. And I’ll fight like hell to make sure that never happens. So don’t go there ok, you’ve already dumped me once and it damn near killed me. I’ll tell you the truth Storm…when you went into hospital and for a time we didn’t think you were going to make it. I know this is going to sound terrible and you’ll be angry at me but for an instant when I contemplated the thought of you not making it…I…I didn’t want…"

I knew what he was going to say and it made me as angry as hell. I’d never felt so angry and torn in my life. The very thought of what he was going to say made me sick to my stomach. The fact I had this hold over him made me wonder if I was a good thing or a bad thing. I tried not to burst and kept rubbing my forehead to distract my tears but just having Lucas thinking about not wanting to live made me shudder inside.

"Absolutely fucken unbelieveable. I don’t believe it. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE SAYING? When you say things like that it makes me regret us ever meeting because if we didn’t you’d never have felt that way to begin with. I’m so angry at you for even thinking that. I swear Lucas I will kick your fucken ass if you ever ever even think about doing something like that. That is never an option, do you understand me? NEVER!"

We made it finally to the Sheridan driveway as Lucas slowed the car and pulled into it. He looked a bit distressed and I could tell he wasn’t feeling too good about now. I know he doesn’t like it when I yell at him and I feel really bad because he gets so hurt by it but this is just one thing that I won’t put up with.

"I’m sorry Storm. It was just a fleeting thought I swear. I would never do something like that. But even the thought shows how much you mean to me."

"Lucas I’m not the be all and end all of your life. We don’t revolve around each other. If anything were to ever happen to me I expect you to just carry on and keep going strong."

"But you ARE the be all and end all of my life. I know you think it’s lame but it’s true. Don’t you get it? That’s what I mean, before I came here I was just me. But now I’m like, I’ve never ever ever felt so completely part of someone else and them part of me. I know it sounds pathetic but you know I’ve said goodbye to the old Lucas. All I want is to be with you now. And Storm I know if the darkest day came and anything did happen to you I’d keep going because that’s what you’d want me to do. But it wouldn’t be easy."

"Well look I’ve just proved I’m damn near invincible and I aint dying anytime soon." I said smiling, inwardly cringing at the realisation that I could have very nearly been pushing up daisy’s. "Just promise me it’ll only ever be a fleeting thought, ok?"

"I promise baby. You still angry at me?" Lucas asked nervously.

"Lucas…" I said softly leaning my head against his. "I’m sorry for getting so angry. And I’m sorry for swearing at you. It’s only because you mean so much to me, you’re so important. I don’t ever want you to think about letting this world exist without you. I know it was just a passing thought but it still scared me. I’m sorry for yelling at you."

"Well I’m glad you’re not angry. Because I’m a real crybaby when it comes to you being angry at me or yelling at me. I’m just a wuss."

"I know, and I’m sorry. I really am. But you have to know I love you don’t you?

"I think you should say it." Lucas said half smiling and teary eyed. "I definitely think you should."

"I love you. I love you Lucas Sheridan. Will you marry me?" I said grinning and trying to not burst out laughing.

Lucas just looked at me with a big smile on his face and shook his head. "You’re such a dork sometimes Storm. You always know how to make smile."

"I can make you do a lot of other things too." I said flicking my eyebrows up and down with a cheeky grin. "What are we doing here anyway loverboy?"

"Oh yeah! Clothes. I need clothes. And…other things. I’ll be right back!" Lucas said jumping out of his seat and heading towards his front door.

"Hey I’m coming up too!" I said as I jumped out after him and followed him to his room.

I quickly looked to either side as I walked through the front door to make sure no one was inside. I didn’t feel like bumping into Lucas parents so they could smother me for twenty minutes. They had a terrible knack of making me feel really good about myself but always seemed to put Lucas down maybe without even realising it. I couldn’t stand that. I can’t stand it. Nobody is better than my guy. Surely they should realise what an awesome son they have. I don’t know how they worked out he made me bi. What crap.

Thankfully there was no one in the house. I felt so mischievous today. Maybe because it was my first day out of that blasted hospital. I casually strutted down the passageway and pushed Lucas door open. My eyes almost popped out of their sockets as Lucas stood there in a pair of black boxers and nothing else. I’d seen this so many times before but dang this guy still did it to me like you wouldn’t believe. From his head down to his feet he just made me gulp and be even nervous to touch him I found him that beautiful. It wasn’t just the beautifully surreal eyes that seemed to sparkle a different colour whichever way the light hit them. Wasn’t just the flecks of hair that hung off the side of his face. Or the strawberry lips that I was so extremely possessive of. Or even the flawless skin and beautifully toned muscle definition he had. All that was beautiful eye candy that would’ve caught my attention anywhere in the world. But you couple that with Lucas heart and soul and seeing him like this just made him seem untouchable to me. From the inside out he had me won over. Standing here now I’d been reduced to the wanting mess of a Storm that wanted Lucas way back when. I felt like one of those teenybopper girls that fell in love with the untouchable guy they drooled over but never got close to what they wanted. I gulped and shook my head to attention, hoping I hadn’t been there dreaming too long.

"Oh sorry man. I didn’t realise you were actually getting changed here." I said red-faced turning to walk back out.

"Wait a minute!" Lucas said grabbing me and pulling me back in. "You’ve seen this all before lotsa times. What’s changed now? You can’t even look at me or something?"

Lucas had an angry look on his face that surprised me. Did I miss something here? He wasn’t angry at me for barging in, he was angry at me for apologising and walking out. Yup, that makes sense. "I don’t know Lucas. What are you getting so uptight about? I apologised. I’ll wait for you in the car."

"I don’t want you to apologise. I want you to look at me. I told you before I’m yours. All of me. I don’t like what you just did. It just made me feel like you weren’t completely comfortable with me. I don’t like it."

"I dunno. I just walked in and I saw you standing there…and well it’s been a while. But when I saw you I was like ‘Is he really mine?’ You’re just so beautiful man. Almost untouchable. I still have a hard time believing..."

Lucas pulled my arms around him and wrapped his own around my waist. We stood there just holding each other with our foreheads resting against each others in the familiar position that let us gaze into each others eyes or just hear the other breathing. It was like second nature now. Lucas brushed his face against mine and kissed my cheek ever so tenderly then moved his lips so they were just barely touching my earlobe.

"You’re so frustrating. When will you ever get it?" he whispered. "When will you realise you don’t ever have to be uncomfortable around me? When will you let me give myself to you?"

Lucas kissed me softly once more on the cheek, letting his lips linger there a little longer this time before he moved his forehead back against mine. His eyes locked into a gaze with mine and at that moment I think I just about lost it. He had me right there as soon as those beautiful eyes caught mine. It was all I could do not to melt right there. I was even having trouble breathing. I knew what was coming and it made me extremely nervous and excited all at once.

"Oh boy…" I gulped.

"Sssshhh." Lucas said putting his fingers to my lips.

Lucas hands fell to my waist and around to the buttons of my shirt. One by one he unbuttoned my shirt until he’d finally done all of them. I didn’t lose eye contact with him once as he slid my shirt off effortlessly. My heart was really going a hundred miles an hour now. I was so nervous, this was nigh on unbearable.

I could feel the cool breeze on my skin coming through the window and realised that the weather wasn’t that great outside. But inside was a different story altogether. Lucas fingers were dancing a tease all over my stomach to my pecs. His lips touched mine briefly and I instinctively moved to his lips again, unable to stop my hunger for them. Lucas moved one of his hands behind my head and pulled me towards him, our lips teasing each others till our tongues began to dance. To say I was starting to get into this would be an understatement of Godzilla proportions. Even as we kissed his fingers played with my nipple and I let out a little yelp inadvertently. Kissing Lucas is like an addiction, I can’t get enough of it. I could get stuck on these for hours. The undeniable passion that we both felt just made it that much more intense and meaningful.

Lucas eased me gently back towards his bed but I was so nervous and shaky I tripped over a pair of Lucas shoes and fell backwards onto the bed pulling Lucas with me. I hit my ass on the edge of the bed and fell back on it, Lucas landing on top of me. I tried not to laugh but couldn’t help it. This isn’t how these things were supposed to go. Lucas lifted his head off my chest and looked up at me smiling and shaking his head. He kissed his way tenderly up my torso till he reached my neck and sucked gently on it for an instant. He then lay on top of me with his head next to mine and kissed my cheek. I held him there like that just feeling him close to me.

"I really killed the moment didn’t I?" I said finally.

"You’re so nervous man. I could feel you shaking. Is something wrong?"

"No, I was just…like you said, nervous. I wasn’t really into it."


"I just find you daunting for some reason. I love holding you like this though, it’s been so long."

"Storm I don’t mean to push you or anything but we’re going to have to take this step eventually. Is there some reason you’re nervous about it? I mean are you sure you’re you know…"


"Are you sure you want to be with me that way?"

"Hell yeah. We’ve been through this. I don’t know why I’m nervous. You remember what happened last time we tried this though. It didn’t go very well."

"Well that was my fault. I really fucked up on that one. I’m so sorry about that."

"Lucas, don’t swear. I’m usually the one doing all the swearing. I don’t like it when you swear."

"Well it just shows how sorry I am. I really really really messed up that time. I hope that didn’t put you off, I promise it’ll never happen again."

"Let’s just get ready shall we? We’ve both got things to do."

"Can you just hold me like this for a little longer please Storm? It feels like forever since you held me like this."

"Anything you want baby. Anything you want."


* * * * * * *



"Yes Mike." June replied as she tried to trudge her way through the mounds of paperwork she had piled up on the dining room table.

"Are you sure it’s ok?" Mike said putting his hands on June’s shoulders and resting his chin on top of her head as she worked away.

"Am I sure what’s ok?" June asked her eyes not moving from their scanning motions.

"For me to stay."

"Of course it is Mike." June said getting up out of her seat and looking at Mike. "When has it ever not been ok? This has always been your home."

"I just wanted to be sure. I just wanted to make sure everything was ok. I think I’ll have to go back now though to get my things."

"Ok I’ll be with you in five minutes."

"No Mom. I think I have to do this myself. I can’t hide behind you. But I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you."

"Mike. I went to see your father last night."


"Things got quite heated."

"Did he hit you?"

"My point is…after a heated exchange your father agreed that it would be better for you to stay with me. At least until he sorts himself out."

"What do you mean until he sorts himself out? You mean I’m supposed to go back eventually? What the fuck is that?"

"Mike." June said firmly and subtly, Mike instantly recognising the tone in her voice.

"I’m sorry. But you can’t seriously expect me to like this. I don’t want to feel like some sort of throw around kid. I’m not going back and that’s that. How many times has he said he wants to sort himself out? Just tell me if you don’t want me to live with you. Better that than me waiting here till I have to get sent back. I’m not going back and that’s that. And not even you can make me."

"Ok Mike. All I wanted to do was try and salvage any kind of relationship you and your father have. And to tell him that you’ll be living with me. And I don’t know what you’re thinking but there’s no way in hell you’re staying anywhere but here so get any other thoughts out of your head. I’m not going to make you go back Mike. He should be ok when you get there but Mike I want you to promise call me if you need me."

"I will Mom."

June pulled Mike in to hug her and kissed him on the forehead while she held him. "Mike, are you ok with living here?"

"What do you mean? I’ve wanted this forever. If anything it’s come too late. I’ve always wanted to live with you. To live here."

"I just want to make sure you’re happy. I made a promise a long time ago and I intend to keep it."

"I know. I know. I love you Mom. Thank you."

"Stop saying thank you would you."

"I can’t help it. It’s your fault you know. You’re the one who raised me to be grateful and thankful for what you have. On top of a lot of other things."

"Well just remember that in your acceptance speech for MVP of the season ok?"

"Like I’m gonna win." Mike said smiling.

"Like you wouldn’t. There’s no one close to your level of consistency Mike. You perform week after week. Your average is close to the top of Merlow records. You’ll get that scholarship you’re after I know. You still have a few years left to have a bit of fun though. This is probably bad motherly advice but relax a little. Don’t push yourself too hard. You’ve got plenty of time for that later. Just try and have some fun ok?"

"Geez you’re the best. How many Moms just tell their kids to have fun? I love it. Don’t worry I’ll make time for fun. I just don’t want to slip up and have someone beat me to that scholarship."

"Who says you need a scholarship? You’re living with me now. Whether or not you get that scholarship you’re still getting to college. I don’t work just for the hell of it you know. That doesn’t mean for you to take it easy or anything. Just don’t be afraid that your college education is dependant on that scholarship."

"I know what. I know this is a long time away and everything. But can we make a deal? If I don’t get the scholarship and you pay for me then that’s fine. But if I get the scholarship you have to use the money to pay for yourself a holiday. Deal?"

"That’s a strange deal. I’ll take it."

"I’m going to get that scholarship. Then you’ll have to take a holiday. That week away you spent looking after Storm was about the closest you’ve been to a holiday since…since about three or four years ago. I wish you could go on holiday before I get that scholarship because that’s still ages away. Why do you work so much Mom? Why don’t YOU try and have some fun?"

"Because. Working keeps me busy. And I don’t have to stop and think about my own life. All I do is look after my kids and work. That’s about what June Marcus is these days."

"I think I speak for all three of us when I say you spend too much time working and worrying about us. You look after us, who looks after you?"

"I do."

"Nuff said. You need to worry about us less, work less and play more."

"Hey I’m the parent here."

"And a very good one." Mike smiled. "But you’re lousy at looking after yourself."

"He’s right Mom..."


"Storm!" Mike yelled in surprise.


* * * * * * *


"Sis, what’s wrong?" Jacob asked resting his chin on kitchen bench opposite his sister Claire. "Sis?"

Claire shook her head to attention and looked at Jacob in bemusement. "Oh nothing Jacob. How’s your day been?"

"It’s been real. So why so glum Sis? Come on now, remember who you’re talking to."

"My twin brother. You know Jacob it’s not the same calling you every night and telling you what’s going on. I miss having you here like this every day to talk like we used to. I’d hate to think that one day we won’t even be talking on the phone."

"I know Sis." Jacob said taking his sisters hand and holding it. "But we’re buds forever. I really miss being with you too. We just have to take what we can get. We can’t leave Mom or Dad completely alone."

"So we have to suffer because of them?"

"Sis, how many times have we been down this track? It’s almost a year now."

"And look what’s happened in that year. We went from calling each other every night and hanging out together every single weekend to calling each other every few days or a week and hanging out every other weekend." Claire said closing her eyes in frustration and trying to keep her strains inside.

"Sis you know I go out of my way to make time for you. It’s just hard with us being so far apart. I mean either you’ve got to sit in a bus for two hours with all the crappy stops it makes every Friday afternoon or sit in the car for an hour with Mom or Dad and their incessant whining. You and I both try our best but we can only do so much. It’ll get easier Sis."

"That’s what I’m afraid of. The day it becomes easier to forget about spending time with each other is the day we may as well be nothing but acquaintances to each other. I don’t want it to become easy to not hang out. I always want us to be close. I mean I’ve been in this town for like ages now and I’ve only made a few close friends. And even though I love Sarah and she’s a great friend she still hasn’t opened up to me the way she does her other friends. I wish we could just go home and have things the way they used to be."

"Sis, I’ll tell you straight. Things won’t go back. Mom and Dad are through."

"You’ll tell me straight?" Claire grinned. "Sorry, bad joke. You know I never thought we’d become one of those damn divorce statistics."

"I know what would make you happy Sis."

"And what’s that Jacob?"

"Lucas Sheridan."

"Nah I gave up on him a long time ago." Claire said almost convincingly.

"Yeah sure whatever. But he likes you too you know. Remember I saw him after school one time when you were both pretending you didn’t like each other. A few days before Marcel’s party. I saw the way he looked at you. He really *liked* you."

"Do you know how long ago that was?"

"Look if he felt it once, he can feel it again. Just tell me Sis, is it him you want? Are there any other candidates?"

"Well…he’s definitely at the top. Storm should be at that party tonight too, he’s up there. I have to admit I’ve been watching his little brother training on our school fields. Damn cute that guy. Babeness runs in the family. I’d say Marcel but well...we know about him. I don’t know, there’s something about Lucas though. He and I are great friends but he just makes me melt." Claire said blushing.

"Oh boy you got it so bad for him. I can’t believe you haven’t gotten him yet. I mean he must be absolutely crazy for not snapping you up."

"I’d feel a lot better if he were gay or something. Because then I’d know it wasn’t me that he was rejecting. But he isn’t. He just doesn’t like me that way. I guess I’m not his type."

"We’ll see about that. If you’re not his type then his type must be dumb, stupid and ugly. Because you’re smart, intelligent and beautiful. But then you’re related to me so hey, what can I say? He’ll be at that party tonight right?"

"No no no. Don’t even try it Mr.. Look if I ever get Lucas it’ll be because he wants me. I’m not going to do any of your tricks or whatever you’ve got planned just to get with him. It’s not my style. I want him fair and square or not at all."

"Hey now, I play fair. I would’ve just helped nudge him in the right direction."

"Well we better finish getting ready. I’ve got to get there early to help Sarah get things ready."

"Yeah Sis. So do I look ok?" Jacob asked turning around so Claire could see all of his outfit.

"Absolutely killer Jacob. You look babelicious. Marcel will snap you up."

"I’m hoping so!" Jacob said grinning. "Good luck to both of us."

"I wish."


* * * * * * *


 Josh stood in the mirror looking himself over. He wanted to look his best tonight. Had to look his best tonight. Josh knew he was never as ‘cool’ or fashion savvy as Marcel or Storm or their friends. They all seemed so cool to Josh. He knew tonight he had a chance to impress everyone or at least to try not to make a complete idiot of himself. Josh had even gone all out and bought himself a new outfit, went to the hair dressers and got himself a new look that he hoped would make Marcel notice him.

Josh looked himself over one more time, making sure his hair was just right. He adjusted his dark grey v-neck constantly, even though he knew he didn’t really need to. He was a bit worried that he would look ‘gay’ as the top he bought made his football build stand out and accentuated his muscle definition. But he knew at least that he looked good in it and that was what he was aiming for tonight, his white drill pants off setting the dark grey v-neck he wore. This was the first time he’d actually dressed up for something like a party and so far he was having lots of fun. Maybe a little too much fun. He didn’t usually fuss like this but he didn’t usually get invited to parties like this unless it was with Brad. And those times were usually just spent standing behind Brad to make him look good. This was the first time Josh himself had been invited to a party personally. Josh was finally satisfied with the way his hair and his outfit looked when he heard a knock at the door.

"Joshy, Braddy is here." Josh’s little sister Carly said from the other side of Josh’s door.

"What?" Josh yelled in surprise.

"Braddy is here. He’s standing right next to me. Open the door."

Josh opened his door in an almost rage filled state. "Carly, go play in the living room." Josh said sending his sister away.

"Ok. Bye Braddy." Carly smiled as she waved to Brad.

"Bye Carly Bear." Brad smiled. "Have fun."

Carly smiled back at Brad and went off down the passageway. Brad smiled back at her then turned back towards Josh and was met with a steely glare.

"What are you doing here Brad? I hope you’re not looking for another fight. I don’t remember you being welcome at my house anymore either."

"Come on Josh, we used to be best pals. Look your family doesn’t know we’re not friends, Carly still loves me. Your Mom still thinks I’m a good boy. Your Dad still thinks I’m a good guy for you to hang out with. Can’t we just forget about everything and be friends again?"

"We were never real friends. What do you want?"

"Ok Josh. Look the reason I’m here…"

"Well come on, spit it out." Josh snarled impatiently.

"I don’t know why I’m doing this."

"Why you’re doing what? Make it quick I’ve got things to do."

"Oh…yeah I heard you’d been invited to the party."

"Yeah too bad you’ll have to stay home and play with yourself. Is there a point to this ‘visit’?"

"You really hate me now don’t you?"

"Now there’s an understatement."

"Josh you were a really good friend to me. The best friend. I knew it, I was just a jock. I thought acting the way I did would make sure people would respect me."

"I put up with you. I was weak. I’m not anymore. Now you really are wasting my time so if you just came here to blow off about how pathetic you are I’ve got better things to do. And by the way…that vice captaincy is as good as mine. So long Brad."

"I know you’re going to get it. You deserve it. Josh I just came here to apologise. I’m really sorry for the way I’ve treated you. I really am. I just thought it was the only way to be popular and make people respect me."

"You mean fear you. Those days are over. Sarah’s pretty much taken care of that."

"I know…I just wanted to say sorry. So…sorry." Brad said turning to leave.

Josh caught Brad trying to feign a smile as he left and it made Josh feel raise his eyebrows in puzzlement. Could Brad really be sincere? Josh knew on rare occasions throughout their friendship Brad would drop the act and be sincere with Josh but those times were few and far between. There were enough of them to keep Josh holding onto Brad over the years though. Maybe this was just another one of those rare moments that Brad was having to try and win Josh back.


"Yeah?" Brad said turning around suddenly and over excitedly.

"Do you really mean it?"

"I mean it. I’m sorry."

"Then I accept your apology. No more fighting between us? You’re bad for my game."

"You’re not that great for mine either. You pack quite a wallop. I’m surprised I can even walk I’ve had my ass kicked so many times lately. I guess it’s true what goes around comes around. They just never said it came around and came around and came around and came around…"

"Well maybe next time you won’t be so willing to knock people around."

"I know. I deserved all I’ve gotten. You know something though? I like being a loser without the act then being a jock with the act. At least the loser is the real me."

"I hate to agree with you. But you are a loser. Just tell me something? Is this some sort of trick?"

"No. No tricks."

"Brad…umm you wanna hang out for a bit?"

"Do you mean it?" Brad said, his whole face lighting up with a smile.

"Umm yeah. You know we could still kill an hour before I have to go. I thought that’s why you came over…so we could be friends again."

"It was. It is. Can we hang out Josh please? Please?" Brad said enthusiastically.

"I make the rules this time. You’re hanging out with me, not me with you. And we’ll take this slowly. Don’t think we’re best friends or anything."

"I know. I know. Thanks Josh. I really mean it. Thank you heaps. I really mean it. I’m so happy. I’ve been so pathetic all week with no one to talk to. I’m so glad you’re letting me hang out with you."

"Just don’t turn back into Bad Brad on me ok?"

"I won’t. He’s gone. Nobody’s scared of him anyway. So what do you wanna do?"

"Well I’m all dressed to go out so we can’t go play footy. I got some new CD’s today though. You wanna listen to them with me?"

"Yeah man!" Brad smiled happily. "Yeah man! I’d love to. Cool! Shall I get us some drinks or something?"

"Sure Brad. You know where the fridge is."

"Cool. Ok I’ll be right back." Brad said throwing his bag down on Josh’s bed.

Josh thought about what was happening. He hadn’t expected it that’s for sure. And when he thought about it, he didn’t really want to be friends with Brad anymore. Even if Brad was different now. Josh was moving onto different things and Brad wasn’t one of them. At the same time however, Josh knew Brad himself was going through a bad time and as much as he had despised Brad, if he could help him he would. Brad really seemed eager for the company which was completely uncharacteristic of Brad. Or at least it was of the recent Brad. When Josh and Brad first met Brad was like this. But that was a long time ago. And Brad had changed a lot since then. It reminded Josh that Brad wasn’t a complete asshole though.

"Here Josh." Brad said giving Josh a bottle of Coca Cola as he sat down on Josh’s bed.

"See these are the ones I got." Josh said taking the new CD’s he’d bought off his desk and throwing them onto his bed next to Brad.

Brad picked up the CD’s and looked them over curiously. "Cranberries…cool…Backstreet Boys…umm yeah…Britney Spears…now there’s a hot chick…Supernatural! You got Santana. He’s my fav do you know that? Nice CD’s. Specially that Santana one. Can we listen to it first?"

"It’s ironic that you like the Santana CD the most. It’s not for me. I think you still think my music taste sucks." Josh smiled. "I guess some things will never change."

"You always liked different stuff to me though. I just don’t get into those umm…"

"Teenybopper groups?" Josh said smiling.

"Umm yeah. But I mean it’s cool that you like them and all. So if Santana isn’t for you, who’s it for?"

"It’s for a friend. You know, Dade. That guy you punched for no reason." Josh said tensing up again.

"Oh." Brad said quietly.

"Why DID you hit him Brad? I mean he *never* did anything to you."

"I don’t know. I wanted to get to Storm…I was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it. I’m trying to make amends with everyone. Including Dade…and Storm."

"Knowing Dade he’ll just forgive you straight away because he can’t be bothered wasting his time dwelling on it. But Storm…you’ve got one hell of task there Brad. Maybe you should just stay away from him."

"I have to apologise to him. I had my reasons but none of them were good enough for me to beat him down. I think we got a bit carried away."

"There’s your second understatement of the day. You made a lot of enemies that day. What I can’t figure out is that you guys used to be friends. I mean you were friends before I even knew you. What happened?"

"Well…he was ‘my’ best friend. But I wasn’t his. You know what I mean? He didn’t come to my 12th birthday party. He just couldn’t be bothered."

"That’s what this is about? How long ago was that Brad? Can’t you let things go? I mean he was…lemme think…he was only 11 for crying out loud."

"Well I thought he was my best friend. Hardly anyone turned up, but I felt the worst when he didn’t come because he didn’t feel like it."

"I can’t believe you can hold a grudge like that. That’s pathetic. That’s really pathetic. Geez."

"You’re right it is. When I think about it and look back I realise that it’s a stupid reason. I beat him up because he wouldn’t be my friend. That really is fucked up."

"Don’t swear in my house Brad."

"Sorry Josh."

"So what do you think Storm will do?"

"Probably beat me ten different ways to hell and paint me 90 shades of black and blue."

"Can I watch?"

"Umm…if you want."

"I was kidding. As much as I’d like to see Storm get even with you…I don’t really want to see any more violence. And from what I know of Storm, he won’t get even with you by kicking your ass. Not his style. Not unless you start a fight. Otherwise I think he’ll just blow you off or make you suffer some other way."

"I’m not looking forward to it. But I’ve got to do it today. Sarah said he’d be back today. Josh do you know if what I did had anything to do with Storm going into hospital?"

"Who knows? I doubt it or you’d have the police knocking on your door. From what Dade told me you could be responsible for aggravating what was already there but I don’t think you were the direct cause. I’m sure you have something to do with it but you’re not the main reason."

"Oh man…"

"Anyway Brad. Throw in a CD. We can talk more about this after you’ve finished with Storm. Are you playing tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I think Mike’s getting me moved out of first string though. So I’ll probably start on the bench. I think I’ll have to work hard to gain my spot back. Everyone’s got my number now."

"Like I said. It’s my turn for some paydirt. I’m getting that vice captaincy off you. Feel free to defend it. But I’m going for it. I don’t care if I have to take you or Lucas out. I’m getting it."

"I’ve already had it taken off me. Doesn’t help I haven’t been performing though and I no showed the last game. Plus Mike just doesn’t want me in there anymore. And he pulls the strings. So if he wants me out…I’m out."

"He only does what he thinks is best for the team. At a time you were the best VC but not anymore. Mike is a good captain. He knows what’s best for us."

"He is. He’s a good guy. He’s Captain of the team, has the best girlfriend in the school. Has lots of friends. He’s got it all. Except for his drunk ass Dad. What a loser that guy is."

"Hey don’t talk about that. It’s none of our business."

"Doesn’t matter anyway. Mike practically lives at Storm’s house. Always has."

"Yeah. Well that’s his business not ours."

"Yeah ok. I won’t talk about it."

"Maybe you should go over to Storm’s house soon."

"I don’t really want to. I’m honestly scared shitless of facing him."

"Brad, don’t swear in my house!"


"You have to face him eventually Brad."

"Yeah I know. I know. I’m just…scared that’s all. I’m chicken shi…umm yeah."

"If I were you…I would be too." Josh said frowning at Brad. "I would definitely be."


* * * * * * *


"I try and I try and I try. But these fricken males that say they’re gonna do something. Mike, Lucas, Dade. Not one of their lazy asses turned up. They should all be hung by their…"

"Ouch Sarah. Don’t do that. I’m late I’m sorry. Please except my humble apologies oh mighty Sarah!" Lucas said dropping to his knees and mock begging in front of Sarah.

"It’s a good thing I like you Mr. Sheridan. Now come on and help me. You’re a credit to your gender. As for those other bozos that didn’t turn up."

Lucas made a cringing face and threw his arm around Sarah "No worries Sarah Babe. We can fix them up later. Now let’s get this party started. Oh hi Claire."

"Hi Lucas." Claire smiled as she and her brother Jacob approached Sarah and Lucas. "I thought you could use an extra hand so I asked Jacob to come early."

"Hi J’s."

"Hey Jacob Dude."

"Hi guys." Jacob smiled. "I hope I can help with something."

"Yup, ok. Claire, you and Lucas go get Marcel’s surprise ready and Jacob and I will go get Storm’s ready."

"But I wann…"

"No Lucas. There’s still lots more to do after that so let’s snap to it. Lucas you can show Claire what to do. Come on Jacob."

"Yes Sir Boss Sir!" Jacob said saluting as he followed Sarah.

"Geez." Lucas said shaking his head in disgust and almost cursing at Sarah’s bossiness.

Claire saw the disgusted look on Lucas face and her spirits fell below zero. "Look Lucas. I can go find something else to do if you want."

Lucas looked at Claire surprised, realising how she must have felt. "No no that’s not what I’m angry about. Just Sarah’s bossiness. She knew I wanted to do Storm’s surprise." Lucas sighed. "After all he is my best friend."

"She means well though."

"Yeah. She does. I’m glad she didn’t try and invite Brad the stupid loser."

"Knowing him he’ll probably invite himself. And he sure is a loser that’s for sure."

"I will never ever like that guy. Or trust him. He just makes me sick." Lucas said angrily.

"That’s one thing we agree on."

"I’m sure we agree on lots more."

Lucas headed upstairs to Marcel’s room where his surprise awaited. When he opened the door and Claire saw what was inside her face went bright red and she covered her mouth to try and stop from laughing out loud. "Oh my goodness."

"I know. Mike picked it. Isn’t it demented Dude?" Lucas smiled.

"I’m not a Dude. Don’t call me Dude. It makes me feel like I have to pump up my chest or something and talk like this ‘Yo my boyz wassup? I’m checkin out the surf with my totally tubular wave rider man. Check it out!’" Claire said putting on her best surfie voice imitation.

"I don’t talk like that do I?"

"Nah. You’re way cuter when you talk ‘Dude’." Claire smiled.

"Well you know your chest doesn’t really need pumping up either..." Lucas said smacking his head at what a doofus he’d just been. "Sorry I didn’t mean to say that."

"It’s ok." Claire said "You’re still cute though."

"You’re pretty cute yourself." Lucas said blushing.

"If I didn’t know better. I’d say you were flirting with me. But since I know better." Claire shrugged. "Let’s get down to business."

"Aaaaahhh." Lucas gulped.

"I meant Marcel’s surprise!" Claire said almost screaming. "Lucas you have a one track mind do you know that?"

"Sorry Dude, I mean Babe...or whatever you wanna be called."

"Well I like Babe. But it’s up to you." Claire said smiling brightly.

"It suits you." Lucas gulped. "What am I saying?"

"What do you mean?"

"I can’t believe I just flirted with you like that. I’m so sorry. It won’t happen again."

"But…what if I want you to?" Claire said stepping towards Lucas nervously. "I’ve always been attracted to you Lucas. If you don’t give me a good reason to stop what I’m about to do then I’m gonna do it."

Lucas heart was racing a hundred miles an hour, he couldn’t believe what was happening. He couldn’t believe how exhilarating this felt. He was nervous, his palms were sweaty and he was having trouble breathing. This had only happened to him before when…when he wanted Storm.

"Well Lucas?" Claire said brushing her hand against Lucas cheek and moving her lips ever so closely to his until finally…


* * * * * * *


 "Dade! Hey Dade!" I yelled heading upstairs.

I’d managed to catch up with nearly everyone now except Mike, Sarah and Dade. Dade more especially I wanted to talk to because we hadn’t spoken since before I went into hospital. I could sense something wasn’t right but I had no clue on working out what.

I threw my bags into my room and was about to flop down onto my bed and let my eyes let me rest for a while but I wanted to try and see what was up with Dade first. It didn’t really feel like my birthday for some reason. I don’t know why.

I messed my hair around a little and headed towards Dade’s door, which was uncharacteristically shut. "Dade? Dade bud you awake?" I said knocking on the door gently.

"Yeah I’m awake." Dade replied softly, his voice barely audible through the door.

"Dade, can I come in please?"


I opened the door and walked in slowly. Dade sat at his desk with his headphones on but no music playing. He was facing the window and his back was towards me. I thought he might be reading something but he wasn’t. He just sat there staring out the window.

"Uhh Hi Dade. Long time no see. How is everything?"

Dade just flunked his head down and I waited for some kind of response, for him to say anything. I thought he wouldn’t do anything but he quickly stood up and without looking me in the eye he just came over and gave me a hug and patted me on the back.

"Hi Storm. Glad to see you’re ok. Welcome back." Dade said quickly letting go and returning to his seat and putting his headphones back on, this time with the music up.

"Ummm ok. Well I guess…I’ll see ya later." I said bewildered.

I turned to walk out the door figuring I’d have to sort this out some other time since Dade didn’t want to talk to me. I had no idea why he didn’t but I knew better to just leave Dade while he was like this. Not that I’d really ever seen him like this much before. I kept going over all the events prior to me going into hospital and I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything to piss Dade off. Only time would tell I guess.

"Storm…wait." Dade said just as I was halfway out the door.

"What is it Dade?"

"Uuum. Here." Dade said getting up and walking over to his wardrobe where he pulled a large wrapped box from the top and handed it to me. Always I noticed trying to keep his eyes away from mine as if he was afraid I’d see something in them. "Happy Birthday."

"Oh wow, thanks Dade. This is so cool." I said sitting down on his bed and tearing off the wrapper.

"No don’t open it yet. Wait till you’re by yourself."

"But why? Is it a bomb or something?" I said jokingly.

"That’s not even funny." Dade said in such a deadpan serious tone it surprised me.

"I was just kidding man."

"Yeah well you’re not funny."

"Dade man don’t be so serious, you’re freaking me out."

"I may resent you Storm but that doesn’t mean I want to kill you. Don’t even joke about that stuff."

"What the fuck?" I said shooting to my feet. "Kill me? What the fuck are you on? Holy shit man. Kill me? What are you whacked out or something?"

"I didn’t say I was going to kill you!" Dade said grabbing my arm.

"Hey get the fuck off me!" I said pulling away. "You just stay the hell away from me."

I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. Sure he said he doesn’t want to kill me but the fact that the idea is even sitting in his head suggests something is seriously wrong here. I had to get out of here. I couldn’t think straight. I turned to open the door but before I could Dade slammed me up against the wall and pinned me there. I couldn’t believe the strength he had, I was completely pinned against the wall and I couldn’t move my arms. His shoulder had rammed me hard in the gut when he pushed me against the wall and the hard hit send an excruciating jolt of pain through my body that nearly made me spasm.

"Ahh shit Dade it hurts!" I cried.

Dade suddenly let me go and I slid down against the wall and hit the floor. I curled instinctively into a ball to protect myself from any further attacks. I was sobbing profusely, shaken and shocked and in disbelief. I’d had fights with Dade before but this was the first time I was actually scared of him. Scared that he wanted to hurt me.

"Storm I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you I just didn’t want you to leave. I didn’t think. I’m sorry."

The pain quickly subsided and I began to regain my composure. Dade was down next to me looking frantic and wanting to do something to help but was too scared to even put his hands on me. He turned away for an instant and I seized the opportunity jumping to my feet and rushing across to the hallway to my own room and slammed the door behind me, quickly putting on the lock. I rested my head against the door just as I heard some mighty banging against it.

"Storm Storm! Lemme in! Please!" Dade yelled.

"Fuck off you weird little shit! YOU JUST STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!!" I screamed. "I don’t wanna have anything to do with you! You stay away from me you hear!"

"Don’t say that! Don’t say that." Dade whimpered.

"Dickhead get away from my door. Go back to your own room. I can get out of the window you know. You can’t get me."

"Sttoooooorrrrmmmm ppplleeeaaaassseee." Dade cried.

"I said fuck off. Now look I’m not scared of you anymore. The shock’s gone. I’ll come out there and kick your ass if you don’t fuck off."

I didn’t hear any noise from him except a gentle sob. I figured he must have been sitting against the door or something. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. He just totally freaked me out. I couldn’t believe this was my brother. This couldn’t be my brother. What the hell had happened while I was gone to make him turn on me?

After about five minutes I quietly unlocked the door and popped my head around slowly. Dade was still standing there leaning against the wall. His eyes locked onto mine for the first time since I got back .

"Storm I’m so sorry." Dade sobbed.

I could see in his eyes that he was sincere. They showed me how sorry he was and how lonely I think he was. I almost melted right then and wanted to let him in so I could find out what was wrong but my cautionary side still wouldn’t let me.

"It’s ok Dade. Just go back to your room. We’ll forget this ever happened."

"Can I come in please?"

"No. I don’t think that’s a good idea."

"But I’m your brother."

"Coulda fooled me."

"Ok then." Dade said his head hanging down and turning to walk away.

"Why do you resent me?"

"Can I come in?" Dade asked again.

"Promise you won’t try anything?"

"I promise." Dade said nodding his head in regretful emphatic ness.

"Ok then. You can come in." I said opening my door.

Dade sauntered in slowly and as soon as he was in my room he turned around and threw his arms around me so he could hug me and he wouldn’t let go. My first instinct was to push him away because I didn’t really know what the hell was going on. But he was still my little brother and something definitely wasn’t right so I had to try and find out what. I wrapped my own arms around him and held him there. I could feel the shakiness in his breath and body and I started to get a bit panicky.

"Why Dade? What’s wrong?"

Dade didn’t say anything to me. He let his head rest on my shoulder and kept holding on to me. I thought he’d fallen off to sleep or something. I heard him sigh finally, almost in contentment.


"I think I missed you more than I thought. It’s good to have you back bro."

"What’s going on Dade?"

"I…I don’t know."

"Yes you do. Why did you say you resent me? What was that cold shoulder act about when I got back? And why the hell did you slam me up against the wall when you know I just got out of hospital? What the fuck is going on Dade?" I said letting go and sitting down.

"I…I can’t tell you."

"Then get out. I’ve been slammed around by enough people. I don’t need to be from you. I don’t care what your reasons are for resenting me, but you better know next time you attack me I’ll give it straight back to you."

I don’t think Dade expected me to say that. He probably expected me to just be the big brother and pat him on the back and say everything’s cool. Well not anymore. I’m looking out for number one from now on. I tried to be nice but I’ll be damned if I let people walk all over me. I almost wanted to get up and hook Dade I was so angry at him. Where did he get off being like that?

"Are you hard of hearing?" I said harshly.

Dade lowered his eyes and turned to walk out the door. "I’ve really screwed things up haven’t I?"

"You sure have. Pat yourself on the back on your way out."

Dade walked out and closed the door behind him slowly. I had so many conflicting emotions right now. Seeing my brother walk out with his head hanging down like a lost soul and his eyes looking nearly empty and as if he was just dead inside. But I didn’t know how to help him, I’d tried but there’s only so much I can do when he pulls that shit on me.

I lay down on my bed and closed my eyes trying to get a bit of sleep in before the party. For some reason though I got up and locked the door. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t seem to go to sleep without doing that. I laid back down and closed my eyes finding it relatively easy to just drift off.

I sat straight back up with a start after what seemed like a split second when I heard banging on my door. The banging gave me such a shock I nearly screamed. What a wuss.

"Storm why the hell is your door locked? I can’t come in and maul you if it’s locked can I?"

"I’m coming Blondie." I said smiling.

I recognized that voice easily. Who else could it be? I got up and unlocked the door and he pushed it open before I could even open it.

"Hey Marcel." I said happy to see my bud.

"Hey Sexy." Marcel said picking me up by the torso and giving me a great life choking hug as he lifted me off my feet, kicking the door closed behind him.

We fell onto the bed and Marcel quickly moved his head towards my neck and began groping me while he made stupid noises. His hands were copping as much of a feel as they could while his tongue went to work on my neck. I’m not ashamed to say this was getting me rather excited.

"Marcel get off me!" I said laughing. "Stop being an idiot."

"Oh man you’re no fun. It’s my birthday you gotta gimmie some!" He said grinning from ear to ear.

"I’m married sorry. You’ll have to ask ‘Mr. Right’ to give you a ‘hand’ instead."

"Mr. Right never says no to me." Marcel grinned.

My sides almost hurt we were so demented. Six years of us being idiots like this. How on earth did the rest of the world survive us? We both sat against the wall and just kept looking at each other and then shaking our heads with stupid grins on our faces.

"Happy Birthday Bud." I smiled.

"Happy Birthday."

"So this is where we’re banished to until dinner right??"

"Well you know I can think of a few interesting ways to pass the time."

"Yeah I bet. It’s all you ever think about."

"Only when it comes to you."

"Hey don’t tease me I’ve had enough excitement for today."

"Ha ha! Admit it. I turn you on don’t I?"

I looked over at him and raised my eyebrow "Hell yeah. You’re a babe Marcel who the hell wouldn’t you turn on?" I said gulping at the sight of the blonde babe.

"I knew it I knew it. You never really used to be. I could tell. But the last few weeks, there’s been that whole sexual tension thing going on. I love it."

"Now you’re just getting ahead of yourself. Marcel, so you set my primal instinct meter off. Get over it."

"I’m gonna be grinning for days."

I was getting a bit way excited here. I hate to say but sexually Marcel turns me on more than Lucas. Marcel just sorta had this big sexiness about him and the way he carried himself. It really really turned me on. Only physically. Although I’m sure if I wasn’t with Lucas I’d steal Marcel away from his fan club. I tried to close my eyes but all I could see were images of Marcel’s body. Oh this was bad.

"You gotta stop teasing me Marcel or stop being so damn sexy. You’re corrupting my thoughts."

"You want me." Marcel said hitting his head with his hand. "I can’t believe it. You’re trying to stop yourself from just ripping our clothes off and getting jiggy with it. Just admit it. You want me!"

"Whatever you say Bud."

"You know I’ll always be hooked on you Storm. I can’t help it. That’s why it’s probably a good thing that…"

"That what?"

"That I want you and Lucas to be happy."

"Thanks Marcel. I really mean that." I said taking Marcel’s hand and holding it. "You rule."

"I know. I know. But it’s much better hearing it from you."

We sat there for a while not saying anything to each other just looking at the opposite wall. I didn’t feel like moving at all and it felt nice just spending some time with Marcel since we hadn’t in a while. He didn’t take his hand away from mine either, actually interlocking our fingers eventually. I have to say I quite liked it.

"This is weird you know?"

"What Storm?"

"Holding hands. I mean I really like it. You see when girls who are friends do it, it’s no big thing but you never catch guys doing it. But I like holding your hand and your my friend. I hope that doesn’t make me a Nancy."

"No not a Nancy. A Jane."

"Hey!" I said pulling my hand away.

"No no, I’m kidding. It’s cool. It’s like that song goes. ‘I wanna hold your hand’ by I forget."

"I think it was a Beatles guy." I said giving my hand back to Marcel.

"We’re going to have a great night tonight Storm. The best night."

"It’s our sixteenth man. It has to be the best night. The best for the best. Forget the rest…" I said smiling.

"Geez I really hate that line now." Marcel said shaking his head.

"Well get used to it. It’s stuck on you for life."


* * * * * * *


"Ok so we’ve been sitting here for about half an hour. The party’s about to start and Claire and Lucas are nowhere in sight. Where the hell are they?" Sarah cursed.

"Probably doing the deed somewhere."

Sarah’s demeanour dropped like an anvil. Her eyes staring blankly at the ‘happy birthday’ banners that adorned the walls. She didn’t believe that Lucas was capable of cheating on Storm but they’d been gone so long. Her mind began thinking more than she wanted it to.

"The deed better be worth it." Sarah scowled. "Jacob I think we’re nearly done. Everything’s about all set up. The DJ’s here. Food’s arrived. The people should be flooding in soon."

"That’s good. What time will Marcel be here?" Jacob said wiping the sweat off his brow.

"Well he should be at Storm’s now."

"Oh ok. Thanks Sarah."

"No worries. I better go see where Mr. Sheridan is." Sarah said heading up Marcel’s large staircase.

"No wait!" Jacob yelled. "Ummm don’t we need to…uhh adjust that banner over there! I think it’s crooked!"

Sarah paused and gave Jacob a funny look. "No I think your eyes are crooked. Because that banner is straight."

"Wait Sarah!" Jacob yelled.

Sarah paid him no attention and walked up the rest of the way and headed towards Marcel’s room. She got to the door just as it opened and Lucas and Claire walked out laughing at something. Sarah shook her head and smiled to herself wondering how the heck she let herself think Lucas would do anything to jeopardize Storm and his relationship.

"I am such a dumbass." Sarah mumbled under her breath.

"Oh don’t say that Sarah. That’ll make me a complete Neanderthal." Claire said smiling at Sarah.

"What are you two smiling about?" Sarah said herself smiling as she saw the stupid grins on Lucas and Claire’s faces.

"Oh Sarah Dude wait till you see what we did to Marcel’s surprise." Lucas said with a big smile on his face.

"Yeah Sarah you’re going to just love it."

"Really? What did you do?" Sarah asked inquisitively.

"Well Claire wanted to do..." Lucas said trying to be serious with a red face.

"I did not! It was all you!" Claire said grinning.

"Oh Dude you’re dillusional. We’ll have to get you to the doctors."

"Get you to the doctors soon if you don’t shut up." Claire smiled.

"You have got some serious attitude problems, I’m gonna have to get them sorted out."

"Attitude! I’ll give you attitude!"

Sarah stood in bewilderment as Claire and Lucas moved straight past her in their own little conversation seemingly forgetting all about her. She watched them walk away smiling and laughing together and had a queasy feeling in her gut.

"Chemistry. That was chemistry. This isn’t good. Not good Sarah." Sarah said to herself.


* * * * * * *


"Ok Dade, Be ready by the time we get back." June said kissing Dade bye.

"Mom I don’t want to go. I’ll just hang with you tonight."

"I’m working tonight remember?"

"Mom I don’t want to go."

"Why Son?"

"I just don’t want to Mom. I don’t want to be the tag along."

"Since when have you been a tag along?"

"Since I was born." Dade gulped closing his eyes to try and stop any tears falling.

June wiped one of Dade’s silent tears away and kissed him gently on the forehead. "Oh boy. We’ve really got to get to the bottom of this Dade. I’m really worried about you."

"Nothing Mom. Don’t mind me. I’ll be fine. You have a good dinner with the two old men. I love you Mom. See ya."

"Ok Mom we’re ready!"

Dade turned to see Marcel and Storm bounding down the stairs. He subtly stepped to the side as they went past and headed up stairs trying not to draw anyone’s attention.

"Bye guys. Have a good time." Dade said trying to sound convincingly peppy.

"Yep." Storm said flatly.

"Bye Dade." Marcel said watching Dade saunter up to his room and close the door behind him.

Dade closed the door behind him and leant his head against the door as the flood of tears came. He walked to the middle of his room and looked out his windows to the night sky that approached trying to find some sort of resolution. His overwhelming sense of regret and loss in the last few weeks had driven him to lows he’d never been before. Dade felt as if he had nowhere to turn to and nothing to look forward to. He’d hurt his mother, ruined his relationship with his brother and pushed away the best friend he ever had. He couldn’t handle the emotional gauntlet he’d been run through lately. He lay his head in his hands crying as he stood in the middle of his room with nothing but the incoming night to soothe him.

Marcel burst into the room suddenly and Dade looked up in surprise, wiping his eyes and smiling to try and hide the fact he’d been crying. Marcel looked at Dade and saw straight through his attempt to put on a happy face. He walked right up to Dade wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close in a clinching embrace. Dade at first still surprised let his guard down, almost grappling his fists into Marcel’s back to draw him closer. Dade let out all the hurt he had pent up inside, drenching Marcel’s shoulder with his tears and shaking Marcel with his sorrow filled wails.

Marcel stood there rocking Dade gently, trying to soothe and comfort him. Dade’s hands always trying to pull Marcel ever closer. "It’s ok Dade. I’m not going anywhere till you’re ok. That’s all that matters."

"I love you so much Marcel. How’d you know I needed you?" Dade asked finally.

"How long have we known each other? What a silly question."

"It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. I’ve missed you so much. My life’s gone to hell."

"No it hasn’t. It’s only been a week."

"And I noticed all of that week. Do you know how much I needed this? You’re my hero. You really are. I’m sorry Marcel. I’m sorry about everything. I’ll do anything you say. I’ll give you anything you want just please don’t stay away from me. When you’re not around, I feel completely alone. Nobody understands me like you do Marcel. If Storm had of come in here I wouldn’t have let myself cry. Only you make me feel like I can be open. Only you make me feel safe. And loved. I know you don’t love me and you don’t want to keep hearing about this and I feel really pathetic but I can’t live without you. I really really need you. I need you around me so much. I don’t even want to let go of you right now." Dade said leaning his head back down on Marcel’s shoulder and closing his eyes.

"I’m always going to be here for you. All you need to do is call."

"You’re so special you know? I don’t know what I’d ever do without you. Oh man, I’m sorry! I’ve totally wet your shirt. I’m sorry man. This is like one of your best shirts. Oh man I’m so sorry Marcel. Geez I can’t believe I slobbered that much, what a crybaby. I’ve ruined your shirt. I’m sorry man."

"Dade Dade calm down. It’s only a shirt. I’d give a thousand shirts just to make you feel better. I feel…so lucky that you even let me lend you my shoulder to cry on. I can always get a new shirt, I can’t get a new Dade."

"I know man. I just…I’m sorry. I know you’re about to go out to dinner and then your birthday party and I know you like to look your best. I hope it doesn’t like mark or anything."

"Dade, Dade fuck the shirt."

"Do you really want me to? Won’t that be hard?"

"You know what I mean. I’ll just grab another one."

"Well you…you could borrow one of mine…if you wanted that is."

"Well to be honest I’d love to keep wearing this shirt and never wash it again so I can keep Dade on it. But you won’t let me go out with it now will you?"

"No. I don’t want you going out with this shirt on. I think I’ve got the perfect one. Course it’s not as expensive as yours but it’s one of my favs." Dade said going into his wardrobe and pulling out his favourite maroon shirt. He only wore it on very special occasions, as it was his very best naturally it’s the only one he could think of giving Marcel.

"Geez why does everyone think I just revolve around money or something? I don’t care how much it cost. My life doesn’t exist for material luxuries. My shirt may have cost more…" Marcel said taking Dade’s shirt "but damn man this feels like gold. I love this shirt. This is your favourite one. Are you sure you want me to wear this?"

"Could I give you any less than my best? I mean you know the drill. Only the best for Marcel. Now let’s get you dressed so you can go to dinner. You shouldn’t even be here you’re going to be late." Dade said unbuttoning Marcel’s shirt as if he’d done it a thousand times before which he probably had since they’d dressed each other up for big nights before many times.

"Yes Mom. Anyway they’ve gone ahead. I just had to see you."

"You better watch what you say. I might think you love me or something."

"Maybe I do." Marcel said looking down at Dade’s fingers as they worked the last button off.

Dade slipped Marcel shirt off and Marcel kept his arms up so Dade could slip on his shirt. Dade hung Marcel’s shirt over his shoulder and began doing the buttons up on his maroon shirt. "Maybe you do. But not that way. Don’t tease me."

"Who’s teasing?"

"You are. Now quit it." Dade said adjusting the collar and looking Marcel over. "Well I think it looks good but you make anything look good. Anyway you’re good to go. Now get out of here."

"Man this shirt feels so awesome. I think I get a kick that it’s your shirt too. Makes me feel good. Now what if I just rather stay here and hang out with you?"

"What if I just kick your ass all the way to the restaurant?"

"Ok then. Come on."

"I was kidding. That dinner is for you and Storm and Mom. Not me. Get out of here. You’ve got lots of things to do tonight. Before I forget I’m really glad you came because I can give you your birthday present. I just really hope you like it." Dade said opening his desk and pulling out a small cylinder shaped package with an expensive looking bow around it.

"Why are you giving it to me now? I thought all the presents were getting opened at the party."

"Umm well. I’m not coming. So I may as well give it to you now or you’ll never get it."

"Umm wait." Marcel said scratching his ear "I must be hearing things. For a moment there I thought you were game enough to say you weren’t coming. Like you had an option or something."

"I’m just not in the mood Marcel. Plus I had a fight with Storm and he hates me now. And I wasn’t sure where you and I stood so I just didn’t want to cause any grief for anyone and figured I’d stay home."

"Well you figured wrong. The party starts at seven. But you’re going to be there at 6.30. Are we clear?"


"You’re not ditching me on one of the most important nights of my life." Marcel said grabbing Dade’s arms. "You tell me now if you’re coming or not. If you’re not coming the whole party is off. All of it."

"What?" Dade yelled in surprise.

"You heard me. What’s the point of having a birthday party if you can’t share it with the people who mean the most to you? If you don’t come Dade the whole night is off. All I need to do is call Sarah. I’m not having a party without you."

"But Marcel…"

"But nothing. You coming or what?"

"Ok. I’ll be there."


"I promise."

"You never had an option anyway. I would have come over and dragged you kicking and screaming if I had to. You would’ve hurt me a lot if you hadn’t of come Dade."

"I’m sorry. I’ll be there I promise."

"Good." Marcel said kissing Dade on the cheek, Dade blushing in surprise and smiling. "Thanks for the shirt. I love you man. And thanks for the present. I’m not allowed to open it yet am I?"

"Nope not till you’re lying in bed tonight or by yourself. Now get outta here." Dade said pushing Marcel out the door. "Hey Marcel."


"Thank you."

"What for?"

"For being you and being there when I needed it. I really appreciate it."

"Anytime Dade. You promised me you’d come right?"

"I promise. Now go on, people are awaiting your presence oh Mighty Marcel."

"Bye Dade."

"Bye Marcel."

Dade smiled as he watched Marcel run downstairs and out the door. In that short space of time Marcel had managed to pick Dade up almost entirely. Dade feeling better than he had in ages. All he needed was his Marcel treatment. Dade shook his head smiling as he went back into his room.

"He loves you Dade. Maybe not the way you want him to, but he sure loves you. You’re a lucky guy." Dade said smiling to himself. "Very lucky."


* * * * * * *


Sarah looked at her watch and sighed in relief. She’d finished everything she assigned herself ten minutes after seven but considering how lacking her help was she was quite happy with how she’d done. She stood at the large doorway to Marcel’s house waiting for Storm and Marcel’s arrival. She knew they’d still be having dinner with June Marcus and they would probably be a bit late. Sarah really felt like the organiser tonight. She wanted to make sure everything ran smoothly and that Marcel’s house stayed in one piece. And that most of all everyone had a kick ass time. The house was already starting to fill up with invited partygoers and there was a nice sized pile of presents waiting for the birthday boys.

"Excuse me, it’s Frank right?" Sarah said walking up to the guard watching the front of the house. It was one of the trade offs Marcel’s parents made with him, no party without security and adult supervision. Sarah was quite relieved for this though as she knew this party would be one of Merlow’s biggest. Aint no party like a Marcel (or Sarah for that matter) party.

"That’s me. What can I do for you?" the guard replied.

"Hi my name’s Sarah."

"I know who you are. You’re the person running this party right?"

"That’s right. I just thought I’d let you know so you can tell your guys that I’m about to kick it off. There’s a lot of people here already but I imagine it’ll start filling up even more real soon. Can you let me know when Marcel and Storm get here?"

"Well since you’re running this thing tonight you may as well take this." The guard said giving Sarah a walkie talkie. "If there’s any trouble just let us know where it is and we’ll check it out. I’ll call you when they get here or if we see any trouble. We may need you to identify people."

"Oh boy won’t this be a fun night. At least you get paid." Sarah smiled. "I’ll see ya."

Sarah headed towards the main dance area. This is what used to be Marcel’s living room that extended onto a large decking area which was then followed by an extreme sized pool. You wouldn’t believe it if you met Marcel on the street because he never flaunted it but he came from an extremely wealthy background. Sarah had known Marcel since he’d come to Merlow six years ago but she was still impressed a bit by how awesome his house was. It had everything you could dream of, the obvious being it was just right to hold the best and the biggest parties plus it had a massive pool, home theatre, rumpus with a mini gym built off it, a kitchen souped up to feed an army. Sarah always had fun converting Marcel’s house into a party zone. Right now you wouldn’t think it was a house it looked like one big night club.

The crowd of teenagers began mulling towards the DJ area that was slightly elevated off the ground so everyone could see the DJ or whoever was on the microphone. Sarah would be that person for most of the night. She stepped onto the makeshift stage and picked up the mic, waiting the ecstatic crowd to quieten down.

"HEEEELLLLOOOOOOO MERLOW!!!" Sarah said finally, smiling as she brought the crowd to life.

The large mass of teens went wild and began shouting out Sarah’s name. Sarah had to admit, she loved attention about as much as Marcel. She was loving every minute of this.

"Sarah will you marry me!" said someone Sarah couldn’t recognise standing towards the back.

Mike quickly jumped on the stage and grabbed the mic off Sarah. "No you can’t she’s mine! All mine!" Mike said swinging Sarah into his arm and bowing her backwards as he kissed her feverously catching Sarah off guard at first until she wrapped her arms around Mike’s neck. "Thank you that’s all." Mike grinned letting Sarah up before he jumped back off the stage again.

"WOooOOOOoOO!" came crazed mumurs and yells from the crowd.

"Well in case you didn’t notice, that’s my guy. I love him." Sarah said blushing with pride as she tried to regain her composure. "Ain’t he great?"

Sarah stood there for a while trying to come down from her moment of heavenly bliss. She caught Mike’s eye and smiled at him proudly as she shook her head. ‘I love you.’ Sarah mouthed subtly. "Well for the minority of you that don’t know me. I’m Sarah Leo. Your Master of Ceremonies for this here party tonight. The two birthday boys aren’t here yet. I suppose they’re trying to be fashionably late. Well we’ll teach them when they get here. There’s no point in the rest of us not having fun. So I want to thank everyone for turning up. Thanks for all the presents too, you guys really went wild. You’ll spoil our two studs. So let me hear now…who wants some music?" Sarah said holding her hand to her ear.

"We do!"

"I’m sorry I must be deaf. I said, WHO WANTS SOME MUSIC?"


"And who came here to party?"




"Well then what do ya say we get this party started!" Sarah said throwing her hands in the air.


"That’s my name. Now shut up and dance!" Sarah yelled signalling the DJ to hit the music.


* * * * * * *


Well that's the end of part one...go have an OJ, grab a bite to eat, take a break or whatever and then click here to see part two!  It's time to PARTY!

Stay Tuned for Chapter 15b: 'Till it's gone.' and send me a note to let me know what you thought of Chapter 15a
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