By SF Writer
Copyright 1998-2006  StormNation, All rights reserved.

SF32: Love is...
Season 4: The Price We Pay For Glory
Part 1 of 2

* * * * * * *

Dade sat in his brother’s old room. He’d be in here all night, crying softly to himself. He still couldn’t believe that he’d actually left. He felt numb inside. He knew he’d hurt Storm but they’d always gotten over it in the past. Perhaps the timing of his mother’s death had just made it too much to bear. Perhaps it was the change in the running of the household. Maybe the sale of the house and Dade’s backing of it. Either way, Dade never imagined he’d feel this alone. He blamed himself for pushing Storm away. He never once thought that he’d actually push him too far. That one day, Storm would just say he’d had enough.

The room felt cold and empty. Desolate and barren. So many times he’d come in here and turned to his brother for support or offered support in return. Blaming his brother for things he hadn’t done, resenting him for reasons he didn’t understand himself. Turning on him behind his back. It may not have been why he left, but it was why he was gone.

Daniel Sr. was already fast asleep in June’s bed. He figured he’d be all alone. He didn’t even hear Mike coming up the stairs. It wasn’t until he heard the door creak open and the sliver of light broaden that he realized he wasn’t alone.

"Dade? Where’s Storm?" Mike asked as he entered slowly. "What’s wrong?"

Dade paused for a moment, composing himself before he responded.

"He left. He's moved out."

"To where?"

"Lucas’ house."


"He had his reasons." Dade said stoically. "I’m one of them. But there were others. I’d rather not get into it."

"Are you ok? You wanna crash in my room?" Mike asked sympathetically.

"That’d be nice." Dade said feigning a smile. "But…I don’t think I could sleep anyway. Thanks for the offer."

"It’ll be ok, Dade. Storm’s having a hard time with everything. Maybe this will be good for him. Maybe it’ll help him move on."

"I never thought he’d actually ever leave. So many times he came close but he never actually left. Now he’s gone and I know him, he won’t be back. He’s gone."

"You can always go see him at Lucas’. It’s not that far away."

"I don’t think I’d be welcome. There’s so much you don’t understand, Mike."

"You’re telling me." Mike said as he shook his head. "I’m just starting to realize that tonight."

"Why?" Dade asked with concern, deflecting the attention away from himself. "What happened?"

"There are so many people in the world, Dade. So many people who just…get off on hurting other people. So many bad people. It makes me so angry." Mike said as he sat down on the floor next to Dade and put his arm around him. "I found out something tonight that I never expected. I’ve never wanted to intentionally hurt someone but tonight…I wanted to kill. Seriously. So many bad things, Dade. You feel so powerless sometimes. So helpless."

"What happened? Can you tell me?" Dade asked with even more concern now than before.

"I’m sorry, Dade. I can’t. I wish I could but it’s not my place to say anything."

"You look…sad. I know it’s been rough the last couple weeks but you still look sadder than usual. I hope that whatever it is works out for you."

"Thank you." Mike said with a gentle smile as he pulled Dade a little closer.

"I’m so glad you’re here, Mike." Dade said leaning his head on Mike’s shoulder.

"I’m not Storm, Dade. But I’m still your brother. I’ll always be here if you need me. And I know that no matter what happened between you and Storm, he’d be there if you really needed him too."

"I know that. But even if Storm were here, I’d still be glad you’re here too. I don’t think I tell you that enough."

"I don’t need to be told." Mike said he kissed the top of Dade’s head. "I know."


* * * * * *


"Wake up, Sleepyhead." I said with a smile as I gave Lucas a good morning kiss. "The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day."

"It is?" Lucas mumbled as he turned back over and put a pillow over his head. "Well hopefully it’ll still be a beautiful day when I finally get up."

"Lazy bones." I said with a laugh as I grabbed the pillow and whacked him with it.

"Dude! You know I need my beauty sleep!"

"Come on, it’s like seven already. Get up!"

"How long have you been up for?" Lucas grumbled as he turned over to me and opened his eyes groggily.

"Couple hours. I went down to work for an hour, went for a run and still got home before you woke up."

"Good for you, Dude. I forgot how much I didn’t miss your early mornings. I don’t have any football training this morning, this is my sleep in. Gimmie a break."

"Aww poor baby." I said cheekily. "I’ll let you go back to sleep then."

"Too late." He said as he sat bolt upright. "I’m up. I hope you’re at least planning on making me breakfast."

"Mira’s already made it. That’s half the reason I’m waking you up."

"Come here." Lucas said shuffling over so I could sit with him. "At least gimmie some Storm fix first."

I lay my head back on his shoulder and snuggled into him a bit. He put his arms around me and we just sat there for a while. Not really saying anything, just enjoying the moment. It wasn’t till a few minutes had passed that I realized Lucas was enjoying the moment a little bit too much. He’d gone back to sleep.

"You win, Beautiful." I said giving him another kiss as I eased him back down and pulled the cover over him. "I love you, Baby."

He didn’t answer but just the soft rising of his chest and his gentle breathing was enough for me. I never ever thought I’d be so completely in love like this. I never thought I’d be so content or secure in someone else. I’ve always been such a control freak, holding back to save myself the risk of being hurt. It had done me more harm than good in the past.

The person lying on this bed is the other half of my soul. It used to scare me to admit that. It would scare me to completely give in to him. But I had. It didn’t kill me. It made me stronger. When I look at him, I feel…safe. That’s a lot for me.

I threw my bag over my shoulder and with one last look, headed downstairs. Mira had gone through the trouble of making us breakfast so the least I could do was sit down with her and eat it. I entered the kitchen with a smile on my face and sat down at the table. She sat down next to me and filled my glass with OJ. An egg white omelette with some steamed asparagus and fruit on the side were all part of the menu this morning. Doesn’t sound too appetizing but I know Mira makes sure Lucas eats right for his football. She knew I was into the same kind of food as I was into my fitness even more so than Lucas. He sure wasn’t complaining.

"Thanks, Mira." I said gratefully as I started eating. "Sorry, I couldn’t get sleepyhead up."

"He’ll come down when he’s ready. He likes sleeping in when he has the chance these days. I hope you’ll both look after each other after we go."

"We will. Thanks for letting me stay, I really appreciate it."

"This is your home as long as you want it to be. I’ve always liked you, Daniel. I wish John and I were going to be here a bit longer. I know I’m not your mother, but I would have liked to have kept an eye on you for a while. Make sure you’re doing ok."

"I’m doing ok. I just pretend Mom’s up the road. I can go to her grave and talk to her when I need to so she’s around when I need her. But thank you for caring."

"You know I love you, Daniel." Mira said kissing the top of my head as she began preparing Lucas’ breakfast. "You’re a good boy…no, young man. I hope you’ll become part of our family one day."

"Thank you." I said fairly overwhelmed and enamoured by her comment. "Thank you."

"John and I will both be leaving tomorrow but I’ll be flying back in now and then, just to make sure you two are doing ok. You’ve lived with my son before so you know he is pretty easy to live with. It might be a bit hard for him to adjust to at first, being independent and having to take on extra responsibilities. You have your freedom but you also have the hard things like paying the bills and looking after the house. I know you’re already used to doing things like that but I think this will be a first for my son. I hope you can help him along the way."

"I’ll do my best. He’ll be fine. I think he’s going to miss you guys a lot though when you go. Probably more than he thinks."

"I know. I’m going to miss him too. Our home has been a very happy one lately."

"I better go." I said as I finished the last bits of food on my plate. "I have a lot to catch up with at school."

"Ok, Daniel." Mira said coming over to give me a hug. "Have a good day."

I never realized how emotional Mira actually was. She looked as though she could cry at any minute. I think it was a combination of her preparing to leave Lucas behind and she worried about me too. She felt sorry for me and did everything she could to make me feel comfortable. She did a great job and I have to admit, I’m going to miss her too. Her, Lucas and I have come a long way. I’m glad we’re so much closer now. She tries to tread the line between being caring and overbearing. She doesn’t want it to look as though she’s trying to replace Mom for me but her natural maternal instincts always come through.

"You have a good day too, Mira. I’ll see you later."


* * * * * *


"Hey!" Dade yelled as he spotted Marty Lee heading towards class. "I wanna talk to you!"

Marty Lee turned to see Dade fast approaching him. He stood there with a confident, arrogant look on his face. He knew what he’d done but it was as if he didn’t seem the slightest bit fazed.

"Dade." Marty Lee said with a fake smile.

"Why? Why’d you do it? Why’d you tell Storm?"

"Because I could."

"Do you get a kick out of this? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?"

"You did it to yourself, Dade. I tried to help you."

"This is between you and me now, Marty Lee."

"Don’t blame me for your mistakes. I haven’t done a thing wrong."

"You’re sick. Did you think I was going to become your little sex toy or something? I know that’s what you wanted. Storm blew you off so you thought you’d try me. But it didn’t work. You were never trying to help me."

"That’s where you’re wrong, Dade. I was trying to help you. But you crossed me. People don’t get to cross me. Brad crossed me and look what happened to him."

"What?" Dade said in shock. "You did that to Brad?"

"I did."

Dade stood there in disbelief. He was disgusted with himself for ever thinking Marty Lee was anything but a complete freak. Not only was he a freak, he was a dangerous freak. It wasn’t usual for Dade to feel fear or to back away from a fight but for some reason, he was afraid of Marty Lee.

"Am I your next victim?"

"Are you?"

"Hell no. Go to hell you sick freak. Bring it on." Dade said as he moved into a ready stance.

He taunted Marty Lee with a come to me wave of his hand. Marty Lee barely even laughed at the action. He made no movement whatsoever. This just served to unsettle Dade even more. Usually he had so much more control of himself. He usually had more bravado than this, more power. He realized he used the anger inside him, the shame. He used to use all of it to fuel him. But it was gone. The flipside of being at peace with yourself.

"You don’t want to do this, Dade. I don’t want to hurt you. Especially with so many witnesses." Marty Lee said with a smirk. "But don’t worry, you’ve made it clear where you stand. And just like the rest, your time will come. You can be sure of that."

Marty Lee walked off, leaving behind him a rather shell-shocked Dade. As gutsy and fiery as Dade could be at times, he knew he was no match for Marty Lee. He was getting there but he had a way to go yet.

"Shit, I’m gonna get my ass kicked."


* * * * * *


I sat outside the school cafeteria in a secluded spot that had been ‘claimed’ by the pack and a few select others. I had a lot of school work to catch up on so I was using my free period to do it. So far I hadn’t bumped into Dade and that was great for me. He was the only person I didn’t want to talk to. He was the only person I really had a problem with right now. Not Dad, not Abby, not anyone else, just him.

The weather was still playing havoc today. I always read a bit too much into the weather. Must have to do with my name or something. I like rain but I don’t like foreboding skies. Today the sky was exactly that. Luckily rain hadn’t come yet so I was free to work outside. I was so busy concentrating on my work though that I didn’t even see Lucas approach until he sat down beside me.

"Hey, Dude." He said with a smile.

"Hey. Did you have a nice sleep in?" I asked with just an acknowledging smile before I returned my attention to my work.

"Yeah. I don’t know why I was so tired. I should have woken up so I could have come to school with you. Mira said you had a good talk this morning. I think she feels better leaving me now that she knows you’re going to be there."

"Are you sure this is what you want? This is a pretty big step."

"Positive, Dude. That house is too big for me to have for myself. I’d get lonely. We have so much history, Storm. We’re ready. I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t want it so much. I want you around all the time. I guess…losing June and almost losing Sarah, I don’t…" Lucas said before he took a breath and tried to compose himself. "I don’t want to lose any time with you. We just never know when our time will be up. I don’t want to waste a minute. I want you with me. I don’t ever want to lose you."

He placed his hand over mine and smiled at me with watery eyes. Not tears, just a bit of emotion. I interlaced my fingers with his and smiled back.

"I love you too." I said with just the slightest hint of watery eyes myself. "Thank you."

"Do you think I crowd you, Storm? I miss you when we’re not together and then I think I take up too much of your time because I want to be around you so much. I don’t want to scare you off but then I still want you around all the time. That’s why I asked you to move in. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but I’m really happy with us. And with everything that’s happened lately, I want you around permanently. Can you handle that?"

"If anything I think we haven’t had enough time to ourselves. Do you want to do something tonight? Just me and you? I know you want to spend time with your parents so maybe after they go to bed we can just head out for a little while and do something. Sound good?"

"Sounds great." Lucas said as he gave me a lingering kiss. "I’ll let you get back to your study. I just wanted to say hi. Oh and…there was something else…"

"What is it?" I asked curiously.

"Well, Dude…you know…" Lucas began saying nervously. "The school ball is coming up…I…"

"Oh…" I said as a rush of butterflies came over me.

I knew the ball was coming up but I hadn’t really given it any thought at all. I knew that since Lucas and I had come out to the school as a couple that the ball might be an option for us. To tell you the truth I was still pretty nervous about the idea. Coming out was one thing, I was still getting used to the whole ‘being out’ bit.

"It’s ok, Dude." Lucas said dejectedly with a little shrug of his shoulders. "I understand."

"Babe, we’re going." I said hurriedly.

"We are?" Lucas said as his face lit up. "For real?"

"It’ll be…different." I said with a smirk. "I’m sure we’ll survive. We might even have some fun."

"We better." Lucas said with a great big smile. "I’ll talk at ya later, Dude."

"Ok, Babe. I’ll see you later. Love you."

"Love you too, Babe." Lucas said as he stood up and walked off with a smile.

I held my breath, waiting for the feeling inside me to dissipate. It’s hard to describe but I’m so happy right now and it’s all because of Lucas. There’s so much else going on in my life. So many other things that I should be worrying about. Lucas is the only reason I feel so grounded. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be doing a hell of a lot worse.

"Storm, you ok?"

"Is there a sign out saying I’m in here." I said with a smirk. "Just kidding, Bro. I’m fine."

"I passed Lucas. I think it’s really sweet the way you and Lucas have come along. You really seem a lot more solid these days. It’s good to see you finally settled with him. Dramas are way too overrated."

"I love him so much, Mike. All I want to do is make him happy. I never thought I’d feel like this. I always knew I loved Lucas but…the way I feel has changed. I’m so grateful he’s in my life. Listen to me, I sound like a pussy."

"You’re still raw, Storm. You’re feeling everything times ten. It’ll be that way for a while. Make the most of it. Try not to start getting into the old habits of taking things for granted. I’ve learned with Sarah that you can never take a minute for granted. Try to keep her in mind when you think about Lucas. Appreciate him as much as you can. I know Sarah’s going strong right now but I’ll never feel like I can completely relax. I’m grateful for every second I have with her. And I think Lucas is for you what Sarah is for me. It’s a good thing."

"Mom said she’s going to be ok. So she’ll be ok. We just have to keep rallying around her. We’re all here now. We all want Sarah well. I know I speak for everyone when I say we’ll do whatever we have to. Is she still coming out today?"

"Yeah. She’ll be home by the time I finish school. I wanted to be there but you know how she is. She told me she didn’t want me missing any more school. She’s right. For her and more especially for Mom. They both have faith in me."

"I have faith in you."

"Thanks." Mike said as he pulled a envelope out of his backpack. "I got your letter."

"I’m sorry I couldn’t speak to you face to face before I left but our paths didn’t cross. That’s why I left the letter in your room last night. Me leaving had nothing to do with you, Bro. I hope you can understand where I’m coming from."

"It’s ok." He said reassuredly. "And I might be one of the few people who think this might be good for you. If this is what you have to do to be happy, I’m behind you all the way. You just call me when you need me. I’ll be here."

"You’re the best." I said as my heart felt like it had just melted. "Thank you. Thank you."

"Listen though, Storm. I know it’s been rough the last couple weeks but I need your help with something." Mike said with a serious tone in his voice.

"Anything." I said concerned. "What’s up?"

"It’s Marcel. Have a closer look at his leg next time you see him. He’s been through hell. I spent all night trying to find a way to deal with what he told me and I came up with nought. The only reason I’m telling you this is because I know you can help him too. He’s always thought highly of you. He needs you."

"Not Dade?"

"He needs the guy who helped him at the playground. You remember him?"

"I understand."

"I did my best but he’s going to need a bit more to help him through this. It’s up to you and me now. He came home for us but it’s time we came home for him."

"Geez. Now you’ve got me worried." I said with distraught anxiety.

"You should be. You have no idea what he’s been through. He told me not to say anything but secrets don’t help anyone, Storm. I’ve told you enough without giving any specifics. You’ll have to get those off him."

"Ok. I understand."

"I’ll see you later. Oh we’re having a welcome home for Sarah tonight. We can work out the details later." Mike said patting me on the arm before he headed off to his own class.

I stood there with a little bit of dumbstruck and a whole lot of worry. I should have known there was something wrong when Marcel first came back. I was just too busy wrapped up in my own shit being angry with him for stupid reasons that I didn’t pick up on it.

Crazy scenarios ran through my head and I hoped all of them were wrong. I kept trying to figure out what Mike had meant by Marcel’s leg. I knew he had a limp, I figured he’d pulled a hamstring or torn a muscle. Maybe he’s depressed because it’s going to affect his training. In the end I figured that nothing would come of this guessing so I would just have to wait until I saw Marcel again.

Time had come for my next class and I’d done little to catch up with any study. I’ll have to find a better quiet space next time. I headed back into school and paid little attention to everyone else in the halls around me. I’d had a lot of people coming up to me today, asking me if I’m doing ok. I know they mean well but you start getting sick of after a while. You just want to get on with everything.

I sat in class not really paying attention to the front. My fingers spun my pen around and my eyes ventured to oblivion. So many thoughts running through my head. So many things on my mind. I just seemed to zone out for almost the whole hour in an attempt to clear myself.

"Daydreaming?" Carl asked as he prodded me in the shoulder with his pen.

"Mind your own business. I’m trying not to concentrate here."

"You ok?"

"Oh not you too." I said annoyed. "I’m ok. Do you want to broadcast that across the school so nobody else will ask me today?"

"Easy does it, Cloud Strife."

"Sorry." I said with a sigh as I ventured back to playing mindlessly with my pen. "Don’t mind me."

"It’s ok. Are you alright though?"

"I’m doing ok. Trying not to think about it. I just want to get on."

"Well if you need someone to help distract you for a few hours. I’m free tonight."

"And easy too I hope." I said with a mischievous grin.

"Glad to see the punkass in you is still there." Carl snickered.

"What can I say, Carl? You bring out the best in me."

"Nah, Mate. You brought yourself out."

"Oh that is so lame." I moaned back. "You can do better than that. That is so beneath our sophisticated level of smartassness."

"Nah, Mate. The only thing beneath you is Lucas when you’re playing ride the pony."

"Oh…you didn’t." I said red faced. "You punk. You’re beating me. You’re actually beating me."

"I’m just as shocked as you are."

"Yeah, but you’re not half as good looking."

"Ahh that’s better, Storm. That’s more like it." Carl said with a smile. "I’d feel bad if you let me beat you."

"I’d feel bad if I looked like you."

"Oh now that’s just cold. People think I’m attractive you know."

"You’re right. And they’re all ugly too."

"Oh, oh, oh. You’re bad. You’re real bad. You don’t play fair."

"Don’t knock the pony unless you try it, Buddy."

"Ok, that’s more than I need to hear if I want to keep my lunch in my stomach. Thank you." He said grinning at me. "Strictly a feline lover here."

"Ahh, Carl. Thank you." I said smiling sincerely at him. "I needed that."

"Anytime, Buddy. You know I’m always here when you want to verbally humiliate somebody."

"You’re better than you let on." I said standing up as the bell rang. "That scares me."

"Not as much as you and Lucas doing the pony scares me."

"Quit while you’re ahead, Carl." I said with a grin. "Quit while you’re ahead."


* * * * * *


Marcel waited anxiously for Sarah to be wheeled out in her wheelchair. She had insisted she did not need it but Connie had made certain that she at least used it to the front doors of the hospital. Marcel agreed with Connie and wished Sarah wouldn’t be so stubborn but at least she was able to be stubborn. That was the main thing. He still hadn’t spoken to Sarah since the funeral and he wasn’t completely looking forward to speaking with her. He knew she’d be able to read him like a book. If Mike could do it then Sarah sure as hell would.

Finally he heard what sounded like a wheelchair approaching from around the corner. He stood with the passenger door ready and waiting to receive Sarah. Sure enough, it was her. His face lit up with a brimming smile as he came face to face with a very unhappy Sarah. The fact that she was so visibly unhappy made Marcel happy. She still had her fiery streak.

"Blondie!" Sarah yelled in surprise as Marcel stepped forward and gave her a kiss.

"Hey, Sarah. How you doing?"

"I’m doing much better. Still have a ways to go but you know me, I am invincible. I’ll be ok, Blondie."

"Your Mom said I could give you a ride home. That ok with you?"

"I’d like that." Sarah said with a warm smile. "I hate to say it but…I might need a bit of a hand getting in."

Marcel threw Sarah’s bags in the trunk before he came around and helped Sarah out of her chair. He lifted her into his arms with ease and she smiled coyly in response. Marcel helped her into the front passenger side as if she were a piece of silk. Fragile and beautiful at the same time.

"See you at home, Mom." Sarah said to Connie as she kissed her goodbye.

Marcel jumped into the drivers seat and revved up the engine before he pulled out. Sarah sighed in relief as she breathed in the open air of freedom. She’d spent so long feeling like she was a captive in a white walled prison. It was good to be out again. Being in such good shape had helped her keep some of her strength during her rehabilitation. Nevertheless she still felt pretty drained. She didn’t have the energy she usually had.

"You look tired, Sarah." Marcel noted sympathetically. "When do you start chemo?"

"Next week. If I’m lucky I won’t be on it for very long."

"And if you’re not lucky?" Marcel asked with concern but his eyes not once wavering from the road.

"Chemo till I die."

"That’s not even funny."

"Wasn’t supposed to be." Sarah said deadpan. "I’m not looking forward to it but I always had a feeling it would come to this."

"We’re all here, Sarah. If you need anything, just call me. I’ll be here in Merlow for a while. I’m not leaving till you’re doing better, that’s for sure."

"Thanks, Babe." Sarah said as she leaned her head on Marcel’s shoulder. "I’m so glad you’re here. What about you, Blondie? What’s going on with you? You’ve been different since you came back. Did you just get old while you were gone or was it something else?"

"I should have guessed." Marcel said with a smile. "Mike was right."

"About what?"


"Something did happen to you while you were gone?" Sarah asked curiously. "What was it?"

"I don’t think I need to be bothering you with any of my problems. Not now, Sarah. I’m ok. Really."

"You never were a good liar, Marcel. Don’t try starting now."

"Sarah…" Marcel pleaded as he turned into Herren Park by the lake.

Marcel helped Sarah down to the lakeside so she could sit for a while and enjoy some fresh air. They sat down on the beach, Marcel wrapping a blanket around Sarah so she wouldn’t get cold. He put his arm around her and they just sat there for a while, soaking in the combination of cool air running down from the mountains in the distance and the heat of the glowing sun above.

"This is nice, Marcel." Sarah said contentedly.

"I don’t want you out here too long. You might get sick."

"Bit late for that." Sarah smirked.

"I’m sorry, bad choice of words."

"It’s ok. So now are you going to tell me what’s going on with you? I’m not a porcelain doll, Marcel. I won’t break. I’m still your friend and I still worry about you whether I’m sick or not. Please talk to me."

"You’re more than just my friend, Sarah. You’re my family." Marcel said with a gentle kiss on the top of her head. "Ok, I’ll tell you. I already told Mike so I might as well tell you."

"Ok. Go on."

"The more I say it since I came back, the easier it gets. The better I feel. First June, then Mike, now you."

"Well it can’t be that you’re gay because it’s a bit late for that. Don’t tell me, you’re straight." Sarah said with a mischievous grin.

"No…" Marcel said as he droned off about what had happened to him at Drake.

Sarah sat there stunned as Marcel told her of his terrifying experience. He was right, it had become easier for him to say without feeling like he was going to break. But it never got easier for the people he told. Just like the night before, Mike was devastated when Marcel told him about his assault. He cried tears filled with despair, guilt and rage. Sarah’s were no different except hers were filled with so much sadness. Marcel wished he hadn’t told her but he knew she wouldn’t let up till he did. When he’d finished, she just sat there completely numb and heartbroken. She couldn’t believe what she’d heard.

"You should’ve come home. You should’ve told us." Sarah cried as her sad eyes looked out over the lake. "You shouldn’t have waited so long. How could you last all this time without breaking down? I don’t know if I could have survived something like that. I’m so sorry, Marcel. We should have never have let you go. We should have made you stay here with us."

"Just like Mike, you act like there’s something you could have done to stop this from having happened. It’s done. I’m still here."

"You better make sure Mike is at school. He might do a runner to Drake and end up on the evening news for beating the shit out of these fucks."

"It won’t help you to be angry. I don’t want you to carry this, Sarah. I wish I had of been able to go through this without telling you but you guys just know me too well."

"You’re such a hero, Marcel. You’re strong, loyal, dependable and caring. You just go through life trying to help others and never want to burden anyone else. Sometimes though, we want you to share your grief with us. We want to help you. There’s no way in hell I’m ever letting you go back there now. You can’t let these guys get away with this. If you don’t do anything I know one of us will. If June were still here, she’d be making calls right now to get some action."

"I know. I told her the day she died. Mike told me he’d respect my wishes and leave it alone. I don’t expect it to be that simple with you."

"You’re damn skippy it won’t be that simple with me. They…they hurt our blondie. No, no they’re not getting away with it. I’ve got nothing to lose. Maybe I should just go up there and rip their fucken balls off."

"That’d be funny." Marcel said, surprising himself with a laugh.

"I’m serious. How can you find it in you to laugh at this?"

"The more I talk about it, the easier it gets for me to put it behind me. I’m stronger than you think, Sarah. I won’t let this beat me. They won’t break me. I don’t like having secrets and I knew you guys would start figuring something was wrong. That’s really the main reason I’m telling you guys. Because I know you care about me and worry. At least now you know what you’re supposed to be worrying about."

"Wait’ll you tell Storm. He’s gonna kill them. Don’t forget that boy’s got a temper on him."

"I know." Marcel said with a reminiscing smile. "He seems to have done a bit of changing himself lately though."

"We’re all getting older. I worry about him. I don’t know if he’s really going to be over June’s death for a long time yet."

"None of us are." Marcel choked with pain in his voice. "I sure won’t. I’ve never lost anyone so close to me before. I don’t want to go through it again anytime soon. That’s why you’re going to get better, Sarah."

"You know what we need, Marcel?" Sarah said in deep thought.

"What, Sarah?"

"A party. We need a party. There’s been so much pain lately. We need to get together and just have some fun."

"Sounds like a good idea, Sarah." Marcel said with a guilty smile.

"Ok, what’s that look for?" Sarah asked accusingly. "They’re throwing a party for me aren’t they? A surprise party?"

"If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise."

"Well maybe it’ll be a good excuse to get everybody together. For us to just chill out and remember that we have each other. I think we need something positive. It’s been rough for everyone lately."

"We were going to have it tonight but we all thought you needed a night to rest first so we were thinking tomorrow night when you’re a bit more rested."

"Ahh ya bunch of women." Sarah said with a mock scowl. "You must think I’m just going to fall to pieces any minute. Not gonna happen. But tomorrow night does sound good. It’ll be fun."

"Pack party aye?" Marcel said with a happy nod. "It’s been a while since we had one of those. That sounds like a great idea."


* * * * * *


"Storm, your Dad’s here." Lucas said tentatively as I sat at his desk, catching up on some homework.

"Ok." I replied nervously. "I’ll come out now."

I took a deep breath and tried to control my nerves. I half expected something like this but was still not looking forward to talking to Dad. I knew he’d probably try to talk me into coming home. I wasn’t angry with him, I don’t really have a right to be. I think he’s still pretty shell-shocked himself about this whole situation.

I headed to the front door where Dad was waiting for me. He greeted me with a half smile and I returned the gesture. We headed out onto the porch and closed the door behind us. I knew Lucas would be inside worried about what was happening out here. Probably Mira too.

"Hi, Dad." I said awkwardly, uneasy tension between the two of us.

"Hi, Son. Do you think we could go for a ride? Can I buy you dinner?"


"Please, Son. I’m not here to pressure you or make you feel guilty. I just want to spend some time with you. That’s all. I’ve already told Lucas that I was going to ask you."

"Ok, Dad." I said as I followed him to the car.

We still didn’t say much as we headed off. Every second seemed to grate on like minutes. A short drive felt like two hours. No animosity or anything, just awkwardness. I did feel bad for leaving but I still think I did the right thing for myself.

"How was school? You hanging in ok?"

"It was ok, Dad."

And that was it until we arrived at a restaurant called Rebo’s. It was favorite of mine and Dad’s a long time ago. A lot had changed since then. For starters I wouldn’t be ordering the kids menu. We arrived inside and sat down at our table. Both being over courteous and polite to the other. We placed our orders and sat there with our drinks, mine a simple OJ and Dad’s a glass of beer.

"You feel like I let you down, don’t you?" I said finally as Dad took a swig of his drink.

"I’m your father, Storm but I know I haven’t been there enough for you and Dade over the last years. I can’t expect to come in here and just slot right back into your life. I never asked to be in this position, but even if your mother was still here, this is where I was planning to be."

"I know, Dad. I could tell she was waiting for you to come back to her. She wanted us to be a family again." I said with slight pangs in my throat. "I’m sorry for leaving the way I did."

"It’s my fault, Son. I haven’t been thinking straight since your mother died. The same reason you wanted to keep the house is the reason I wanted to get rid of it. It was selfish of me. It hurts to be there."

"I’ll be honest with you, Dad. I don’t think my leaving really had anything to do with you selling the house. I just wanted to leave. It’s still too raw for me. She was the most important woman in my life. She meant the world to me. I can’t be in that house right now. I’m sorry, Dad."

"It’ll get better, Son. You might not think it now but it will. I’m still adjusting to being a full time father again, I’m going to make mistakes. I would have liked to have had time with you before you did go out on your own but under the circumstances, I can understand you wanting to be somewhere else."

"Are you still planning to sell the house and take Dade with you?"

"No. I can’t move back to Merlow right now. Abby’s going to come down and look after your brother."

"Are you coming back?"

"I’ll fly back as often as I can till I settle down here permanently."

"Ok." I said as I felt a rush of guilt flow over me.

I really felt as though I wasn’t a part of this new unit. That I wasn’t needed. But the way Dad spoke to me, the veiled sadness in his voice just proved that I was still very much a part of this family. And I’d let him down by leaving.

"Just because your mother’s gone, doesn’t mean you don’t have a role to play. You’re still my oldest son. I love both you boys but…I still look to you to help me. You showed so much responsibility when I left. It must have felt like you were being pushed aside with me coming back. I never wanted you to feel that way. I’m sorry, Son. You’re still just as important a part of this family as before."

"I don’t think Dade would be too happy to hear that." I said with just the slightest roll of my eyes.

"Go easy on your brother, he’s had a rough time lately."

"He has?" I said half annoyed. "We all have."

"Even before your mother died. He was doing it rough. I don’t know what’s going on between you two but we’re all the family we have left now. Try to make an effort."

"That’s all I’ve done, Dad. I’ve tried to make efforts for him. If I’m angry at anyone, it’s just him. Angry isn’t the right word. I’m…bitter."

"Let it go, Son. He misses you something terrible."

"He’ll live. I don’t want to talk about him anyway. He’s not worth it." I said shrugging my shoulders. "I’m not here to feel bad towards people. It won’t help."

"I’m not asking you to come home, Son. But you know that you’re as much a part of that house as any of us. If you ever want to come home, you’ll always be welcome."

"Thanks, Dad."

"I don’t know how to say this, Son. But I hope you don’t take too much after me."

"How do you mean?"

"Running away from your problems. That’s what I did. I left. By the time I finally got a chance to come home again, it was too late. Don’t turn into me, Son. You’re your mother’s son. She never ran from anything. She was always a trooper. You turn out like her and you’ll be unstoppable."

I didn’t respond to what he’d said. I sat there indignantly for a while with silent, watery eyes. I felt like he was right in a way. I love my father but I don’t want to turn into a runner like him. I guess moving out was me running away. Running away from my hurt and I guess even running out on my home.

"Thank you for coming to see me."

"I’m your father." He said with a proud smile. "It’s in my job description now."

"I’m glad you did."

"If you still need me around, Dad. I’m not that far away. I wish I didn’t leave now but what’s done is done. I just have to live with it. I still hurt over Mom and I felt like I was being pushed out of something I’d worked so hard for. I guess I was used to being the man of the house. I guess you’re the man of the house again." I said with a smile of my own.

"You grew up too fast, Son. That was my fault. Maybe you’ll have at least some time now to just…be a teenager."

"Bit late for that." I said with a laugh. "Seventeen going on twenty five here."

"No matter what you may think, I’m proud of you, Daniel. I know your mother was. You make sure you look after yourself out there ok?" Dad said as he held his hand on my forearm, his eyes glistening as he spoke. "No matter where I am, I’m just a phone call away. You remember that."

"I will, Dad. I will." I said with tears in my eyes. "Thanks."


* * * * * *


Josh sat at the dinner table surrounded by the rest of his family. He’d barely touched his meal. His fork would play aimlessly with his mashed potatoes. He’d throw a small smile to Carly every now and then when she’d give him a strange look.

"You ok, Joshy?" She asked inquisitively.

"Fine, Carly bear."

"You’ve hardly touched your dinner, Son." Petra Barrett asked with her typical concern. "Is everything ok at school?"

"Girl trouble, I bet." His father said with a proud smile. "How is everything with Claire? She hasn’t been around the last couple days."

Girl trouble. If only he knew, Josh thought to himself. None of them knew. None of them had any idea. He’d come to the realization that he liked guys. He was…gay. He still had a hard time admitting it to himself. He’d fought it so much. He still fought it. Not just for himself but for his family. Right now he was the perfect son. He was a stalwart on the football team. They still thought he had one of the most attractive and popular girls in school as his girlfriend. He was a good student. A respectful person. He was everything they wanted.

The thought of it all made his stomach turn. If only they knew. If only they knew their son felt like a fraud.

His family was traditional in values. The father went to work every day. The mother took care of the house. The son obeyed his parents and set a good example for his little sister. That was the way things worked in his family. He did his best to make them proud and never made any waves at home or at school. Never argued with his parents. Always used his manners. Still called his father, Sir.

He loved his family and didn’t want to do anything to cause any turmoil or upset them. That’s why he’d fought so much to just be normal. And he’d succeeded for a while. But only a while.

"Everything’s fine. I’m just not feeling too well. May I please be excused?" Josh said finally, hoping to let that be enough to satisfy their attention.

"Dear, get the boy some panadol."

"You just go to your room and lie down, Josh. I’ll be there in a minute." Petra said as she left to grab her son some medicine.

"Yes, Mother." Josh said as he stood up and cleared his plate away. "Goodnight, Sir. Night, Carly Bear."

"Goodnight, Son. Get some rest." Colin said before he returned his attention to his newspaper.

Josh walked silently to his room and pulled out his night boxers. He headed into the bathroom and began his nightly shower. He stood under the hot spray for a moment, resting his head against the shower wall. If only he’d just held on to Claire for a while longer, maybe he would’ve grown to love her the way she wanted him to. But that wouldn’t have been fair and that’s why he ended it. She was too good a person to be led into false hope.

He began scrubbing himself down a little too excessively. His skin almost becoming raw as he tried to wash himself free of his affliction. That’s what he called it now. He knew now what he was but that didn’t mean he wanted it. He’d already decided he’d stay single rather than turn the life of his family upside down. It was his own sense of duty that did it.

He knew he couldn’t be so unfair as to lead Claire into a false relationship once he knew he wasn’t what she wanted. But he wouldn’t upset the order in his family either by coming out to them. He’d have to live the lie that he knew so many others lived. But even that made his stomach turn. He’d never lied to his parents about anything before. He was always taught to be honest, respectful and dutiful.

That’s the main reason he decided he’d stay single for the rest of his life if he had to. At least this way he wouldn’t be hiding a secret life with a boyfriend, he wouldn’t be leading a girl on and he wouldn’t upset his family. This was the only way Josh could think of to serve his parents and stay as honest as he could. He wouldn’t be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. He’d be asexual.

Neither the soap nor the warm rinsing spray of the shower had helped him cleanse himself of what he truly wanted cleansed. He dried himself off, brushed his teeth and headed back to his room. He changed into his night boxers before he heard a knock at his door. He slipped on a night shirt and opened the door to find his mother standing with his panadol and water. He accepted the items gracefully and bid his mother goodnight after her usual fussing over him.

His family was a bit straight compared to many other families he knew. They weren’t overly exciting or modern but they were his family and he loved them. That’s why he knew he’d never do anything to hurt them, even if it meant he’d be hurting himself in the process. And right now he really he was hurting.

The panadol slid down his throat with the added water and he hoped that somehow it would help clear his mind. It didn’t. He turned off his light and lay back on his bed. His chest felt heavy with the weight of responsibility he felt and the torment he experienced. As he drifted off to sleep, he prayed that the morning would bring a miracle and he’d be normal. That he wouldn’t feel so torn. Only time would tell.


* * * * * *


One thing I was having a hard time adjusting to was a lack of my own space. I didn’t anticipate this one. I didn’t really want to go back to Lucas’ right now. He’d no doubt be spending some quality time with them and I didn’t want to interrupt. Not in my state anyway. My evening with Dad had left me a bit emotionally wrought. It was a good meeting and cleared a lot out of me but it left me pretty well…run down. I was feeling pretty depressed about leaving home now. I felt as though Dad was moving in on my role as man of the house but he wasn’t. He was having just as hard a time adjusting to our situation as I was.

I still think I made the right choice by moving in with Lucas. Mom’s death is still a bit raw and the house is still a bit too much a reminder of her being gone. Plus it’ll be good for Lucas and I. It’ll be good for me as well. It’ll be the first time I’ve been able to just really worry about myself. I know I still have to think about Lucas but it’s not the same as the role I played back home. I just wish I had of left under better circumstances.

So where am I exactly? I got Dad to drop me off at the dojo so I could do some training. I figured it might help me to work a little angst out of me. I’ve been here about an hour now. Sensei Takada had entrusted me with a key a long time ago. Being the top student has it’s advantages. It’s been nice to just be here on my own and sweat out some stress on a training mannequin.

My eyes narrowed as I heard the sound of a door swinging open. I turned to see Marty Lee standing there with an observing rove in his eye. I really didn’t get this guy. He confuses the hell out of me. One day he’s nice, next day he’s a prick.

"I saw the lights on as I was driving past. Just wanted to see who was here."

"Well now you know." I said as I turned back to the training mannequin. "Close the door on your way out."

"Mind if I train with you?"

"Yes. I do."

He came over anyway and just leaned against the wall. He watched me continue training and didn’t say a word. I ignored him at first. Soon though his presence was starting to annoy the hell out of me. He wasn’t doing anything to me but just him standing there was enough. He seemed to be studying me innocently but with Marty Lee it’s hard to tell if anything’s innocent.

"Marty Lee, what the hell do you want? You only seem to turn up when you want to ruin my day. If you’re thinking I should be grateful for you telling me what Dade did, you’re mistaken." I said intentionally flexing a bit of sweat and muscle in front of him in the hope it would remind him that I was the champion around here.

"It wasn’t personal, Storm. I was just training him."

"I’d hate to think what that involved."

"It’s a pity he gave up. I think he could’ve beaten you one day."

"Something that must frustrate the hell out of you." I said with a cocky snarl. "Since you so obviously can’t. You’ve been here all this time and you’re still number two."

That only seemed to illicit an indignant grunt from him as he looked at me with veiled contempt. There was no mistaking it now. Love wasn’t lost between the two of us. I was making that clear right now. I’d given up trying to figure Marty Lee out but from now on, he’d only be what he entered my life as. A Nemesis.

"What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"You don’t want to find out how good I am." Marty Lee said a wink. "Just ask Brad. See you at school."

He started walking away and I found myself fuelled with a silent rage. My eyes followed him and he reached the door, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Typical male bravado.

"One of these days, Marty Lee. You and I are going to finish this."

"You’d better keep training then." He said with a smile before he left. "Till that day…"

"I look forward to it."


* * * * * *


Dade took a deep breath as he stood in the doorway of Marcel’s house. He’d been standing there for almost five minutes now. Wondering what to say. What to do. The night of June’s death, Dade had the slightest inkling that things might pick up with Marcel. But ever since then, Marcel hadn’t really given any indicators to Dade.

"You’re supposed to knock when you want someone to open the door for you." Marcel said with a cheeky smile as he leaned against the open door.

"Shit, you scared me." Dade said in surprise. "Sorry."

"Come in." Marcel said as he stepped to the side and waited for Dade to enter. "Do you want a drink or something?"

"No, that’s ok. I’m fine."

"Well I do." Marcel said as he headed off towards the kitchen.

Dade watched Marcel walk off and almost felt ashamed when he realized he was checking Marcel out. It had been so long since he’d looked at Marcel that way. But he was walking around the house in a pair of tracks and nothing else. And with a fit bod like Marcel’s, you couldn’t blame Dade for looking. A broad grin passed over Dade’s face as Marcel disappeared from sight.

"Still…even now…" Dade said to himself as he shook his head. "It’s still you."

Dade snapped back to attention when Marcel returned with two cans in his hand. Both diet coke. He placed them on the coffee table beside Dade before Marcel gave him a puzzled look. Marcel’s eyes narrowed slightly and he cocked his head to the side as Dade stared at him.

"What?" Marcel asked dumbfounded. "What is it?"

"It’s you…you’re here."

"Yeah…" Marcel said giving Dade one of his own trademark eyebrows. "And?"

"You’re here." Dade said with a blissful smile. "You’re not flying in and out again. You’re not passing through. You’re here."

"Oh." Marcel replied with a smile as he nodded his head in understanding.

"You know why I’m here. Don’t you?" Dade asked with eyes that half pleaded and half hoped.

Marcel didn’t respond straight away. Dade could tell by Marcel’s body language that he’d suddenly tensed up. Dade’s hopes dashed somewhat as he could feel Marcel become awkward and uncomfortable. Not exactly the reaction Dade was hoping for. At that moment he almost regretted coming. He felt as though he was forcing himself onto Marcel when he clearly didn’t seem overly interested in return.

And then Marcel surprised Dade by stepping up to him tentatively. They stood inches apart from each other now. Dade’s eyes were wide with nervous anticipation. He gulped anxiously as Marcel’s awkwardness seemed to have left him. In place, all that remained was the calm, controlled demeanor that was typical of Marcel.

"Yeah, I know why you’re here." Marcel said finally.

"Good." Dade said as he stepped up to Marcel and quick as a flash, planted him with a kiss that only Dade could do.

For a moment, Marcel gave in. Dade’s heart beating double time as he tasted the lips of the one he thought he had lost forever. If there was one thing he’d learned lately, it was that life was too short to ever have regrets. He didn’t want to regret never having Marcel again.

Marcel was caught by surprise by Dade’s rash advance but truthfully, he loved it. And he knew this was typical of Dade. It wasn’t the first time he’d jumped Marcel like this.

He let the kiss continue, almost feeling as if he could melt any moment. He’d never met anyone else who could kiss the way Dade could. He just moved him every time. Something about him sent Marcel’s butterflies off every time.

It was only when Dade’s hands had wandered down a little too far that Marcel jumped back. Dade stood there in complete bewilderment as Marcel backed off like a bat out of hell.

"What? What did I do?" Dade asked trying not to look as a rejected as he felt. "I…I’m sorry, I thought…"

"I’m sorry, Dade. I just…I can’t." Marcel said as his eyes betrayed no sense of the turmoil he felt inside. "It’s not you, I’m just…I’m not ready."

"Why?" Dade asked with a pang in his throat. "I know you still care for me. Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you didn’t. I can’t go into it. I just…I’m sorry. I can’t be with anyone. Just please…"

"I’m sorry." Dade said with a look of confusion on his face as he turned to walk towards the door. "I’m sorry."

"No, Dade." Marcel said with frustration in his eyes. "Please. Don’t leave like this. I don’t want you to feel bad. You didn’t do anything wrong. You have to believe me."

"I don’t understand." Dade said quietly. "You…you don’t want me anymore?"

"I don’t want to hurt you, Dade. So I’ll be honest. I’m just not ready."

"All this time and you’re still not ready?" Dade said shrugging his shoulders. "Not ready or just not interested? You seemed pretty interested a minute ago."


"No." Dade said sharply with frustration in his eyes. "You’ve left me twice and I still keep waiting for you like some idiot. Just tell me if I have a chance. Even now. After all this time, it’s still you. Why can’t we give it a chance?"

"Dade, please."

"No. You’re hiding something from me, I know it. You know my secrets. It’s my turn to learn yours. You came here carrying some chip on your shoulder. If that has anything to do with us not being together, I deserve to know why. Don’t you think so?"

"The old Dade returns." Marcel said with a smile. "Nice to see you again."

"Please." Dade said stepping tentatively towards Marcel. "Please, you don’t know how long I had to work myself up to coming here. I miss you. I need you. You’re here and you know you’re not leaving again anytime soon. So why not me?"

"Dade, you don’t understand."

"Then make me." Dade said firmly but with enough softness in his voice to ease Marcel’s defenses.

Marcel stood there indignantly. His arms crossed as angry tears welled up in his eyes. He stared at Dade piercingly, his eyes narrowing as Dade stared back with bewilderment. Finally Marcel’s eyes downcast and he let out a frustrated sigh.

Dade knew something was seriously wrong here. He wanted to comfort Marcel but all the walls were up around him. If Marcel didn’t want help, he wouldn’t let you give it. His body language screamed ‘help me’ and ‘leave me alone’ all at once. He could see the pain on Marcel’s face and as much as he needed to be with him right now, he didn’t want Marcel to hurt any more than he already was.

"Do you want me to leave?" Dade asked finally.

"Please." Marcel struggled to say as pain filled tears fell from his eyes. "I can’t do this. Not yet. I’m sorry."

"Ok." Dade said as he headed to the door and turned back at the doorway. "Just remember, I was your friend as well before I was anything else. If you do need me…"

Marcel stood alone, bitter and angry tears falling down his cheeks. He continued to stare at the doorway that Dade had just walked out of. He didn’t know why it was so hard for him to just come out and tell Dade what was wrong with him, just like he had to everyone else. Shame? Fear?

Marcel screamed in frustration as he fell into the lounge suite behind him. He broke down with angry sobs, holding his head in his hands as he rocked himself back and forth. Angrily he kicked out at the coffee table in front of him and inadvertently hurt his injured leg. This just frustrated him even more as he picked up the coffee table and threw it against the wall.

Racked with torment filled tears, he picked up his cordless phone and speed dialed a mobile number. He paced back and forth as he waited for an answer.




"Storm, can you come over please." Marcel sobbed, struggling to compose himself. "I need you. Please come."


* * * * * *


I jumped out of the jeep and ran to the front door, eager to see what was wrong with Marcel. He didn’t make phone calls like this unless something was really wrong. It wasn’t like him. He’s the brave one. He’s the strong one. Something must be up.

I didn’t even bother knocking on the door, I just ran straight in to see Marcel huddled on the floor next to a smashed coffee table. His head was buried in his kneesMy first thought was that someone had attacked him.

"Marcel, what happened?" I asked urgently as I rushed to his side. "Who did this?"

"I did." He said as he raised his head and I finally made eye contact with him.

His eyes. I’ve never seen them like this before. So much hurt inside them. So much disillusion.

"Hey, hey, what’s wrong?" I asked with intense concern as I knelt next to him. "What happened?"

"Storm…" Marcel cried as he grabbed onto me for dear life and began sobbing profusely on my shoulder.

He gripped onto me so hard I thought I would bruise. He cried with a pain that felt as if it had been buried for way too long. I had no idea what was wrong with him but he was bloody scaring the crap out of me now. This isn’t like Marcel.

"Mate, mate, what happened?" I asked desperately as I held him. "Talk to me, Marcel. You’re scaring me. What happened, Mate?"

"I’m sorry, Storm." Marcel whimpered. "I just needed the Storm that used to look after me. Do you remember him? Remember what it used to be like?"

"I remember." I said with a knowing nod. "Does this have something to do with what Mike was telling me? He said you might need the Storm from the playground. I think I understand what he means now. I’m here, Marcel. Whatever you need, you just tell me. I’m not going anywhere until you’re ok. Just tell me what’s wrong and I promise I’ll do whatever I have to."

"There’s something I have to tell you, Storm. Something I should have told you a long time ago. I tried to do it on my own but I can’t. I need you. You and I were best friends remember? Before Lucas came. Do you remember that? You used to look out for me. I need my mate back. I need you to be there for me, Storm. It just got too much. I can’t handle it anymore. I need my buddy back."

"You’ve got him." I said reassuringly. "You’ll always have him. I’ll always be here when you need me. I’ll always look after you whenever you need me to. Just tell me what’s wrong, Marcel."

"I should never have left, Storm. I should have stayed here. Something bad happened to me, Storm. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over it and it’s starting to ruin me. I can’t take it anymore…"

I sat there holding him. Letting him grab onto me. Reminding me of the way things used to be between us. Long ago, Marcel used to depend on me as much as I depended on him. Back when he and I were best friends, Mike was my surrogate brother and Sarah was my girlfriend. The time before Lucas. I’d almost forgotten.

I continued to hold Marcel as he told me why he was so upset. Told me what had happened to him. Told me why he was so upset. His head remained on my shoulder as he spoke with an almost drone filled voice. I was glad because if he had of seen my face, he would’ve stopped talking. My eyes filled with stoic and disbelieving tears. Silent and controlled. My eyes shining with hurt and anguish.

As he continued though, my eyes became increasingly filled with one thing. Rage. My teeth clenched beneath my closed mouth. People had hurt our blondie. They’d hurt him. I’ve never wanted to kill before but…this is as close as I’ve ever been. Even more so when he told me he hadn’t informed the police. I couldn’t believe this. No wonder he’s so cut up. No wonder he needs his buddy back.

I couldn’t do anything to keep my own tears at bay. I held onto him even more now, resting my head on his shoulder as I rocked him gently. I kissed the side of his head and told him that everything was going to be ok now. That he wasn’t alone. That we were all with him. That I’d never abandon him again.

Shit, now I know why he’s seemed so dark since he came back. Those fuckers hurt my blondie. I want to kill them. I do. But more than that, I want to look after our mate. My heart broke as he finished telling me his experience. I hurt for him right now, I couldn’t believe what he’d just told me.

"Man…" I said still in shock. "I don’t believe it. I’m so sorry I haven’t been there for you. I can’t believe how petty I’ve been towards you since you left. We all should have known something was wrong. You’ve gone all this time just holding this in."

"I told June before she died. I wasn’t going to tell anyone else. But Mike knew something was wrong. Then I told Sarah. But I needed you. You were always the one who looked after me. Can you help me?"

"For starters, I’m staying here tonight. Lucas will understand."

"No, I don’t want to interfere, you just moved in."

"Trust me, if he knew what had happened, he’d be over here too. I’ll take care of him, don’t worry. But tonight, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be alone. What about Dade, have you told him? I wasn’t sure if you two were…back together."

"He came over tonight. He tried to get things started again but I can’t. It’s too soon. That’s why I got so upset. He kissed me and I just fell apart."

"Marcel, that’s completely understandable. But now that you’ve gotten this off your chest with most of us, you’ll be able to start moving forward."

"I feel safe with you, Storm. Mike and Sarah. June. She was always the best. But with Dade it’s the opposite. I feel like I have to be strong for him but I just can’t right now."

"You don’t have to explain yourself. Just rest." I said as I helped him up the stairs to his own bedroom.

He lay down on top of his bed and I sat next to him, holding his hand and just doing my best to ease his pain. He didn’t say anything, he just lay there staring into oblivion. I had no idea what thoughts were running through his head. I had no idea what he’d been through. I know Marcel is a strong person but this is too much for someone to carry on their own.

"I knew I’d have to tell you eventually. Everyone. Even Dade. I knew it as soon as I came back. I just can’t keep secrets from you guys. Secrets just lead to lies. And I’m not a liar. So I knew that coming back would mean you guys would find out. But I had to come back for Sarah…and then June was killed…everything just seems too much lately."

"The only thing any of us need to remember is that we’re in this together. We’re a pack remember?"

"I know, Storm. Sometimes though, I feel like the outsider. Like I never quite fit in. I try to but…I dunno."

"It’s you, Marcel. You try too hard. But as far as the rest of us are concerned, we love you to bits. You’re our resident hero. Both you and Mike don’t get enough credit for what you guys do. It’ll change. You’re home now. Everything will get better." I said reassuringly as I squeezed his hand.

"Things are changing so fast. I’m scared that after June’s death, things just won’t ever be the same again. I mean you moved out of home. You never would have left if June were still alive. Have you spoken to Dade much lately?"

"No. Not since I left."

"You should. You really should, Storm. I’m not the only one with secrets." Marcel said trying not to look as grave as he sounded.

"You know, you’re the second person tonight to say that about Dade. I get the feeling I don’t know my little brother as well I should."

"Just remember that he’s your brother and everything will work out."

I just responded with a nod and contemplated what he’d said. I rubbed his arm reassuringly and his mood seemed to lighten a little.

"We’ve had some good times over the years, haven’t we?" Marcel said surprising me with a small smile.

"Hell yeah, Blondie. Some awesome times."

"Good." Marcel said nodding his head. "Thank you for coming over. I needed this."

"I still love you. Probably more now than before and I still loved you heaps back then too. You’re an awesome person, Marcel. So loyal. So willing to serve others. You deserve some happiness. It’s your turn now."

"Thanks, Storm." Marcel said with a sigh. "You’re not too bad yourself. You’re a prick sometimes but you’re starting to mellow out a lot lately. But you’re still awesome."

"Thanks…I think."

"I’m serious." Marcel said assertively. "You brought us all together. This all started with you. You may think we forget that sometimes but I don’t."

"Hey, I came here to look after you. Not the other way around."

"Well, I’m feeling better so you can get lost now." Marcel said with a cheeky grin.

"That’s it, just use and abuse me." I said with a grin of my own. "You sure?"

"I’m sure." Marcel said with a contented sigh. "I needed that. It’s been a long time since I let you look after me. Thank you."

"Anytime, Bud." I said as I leaned over and gave him a hug. "Anytime."

"Only one person left." Marcel said as we held each other.

"Oh yeah, that guy."

"Don’t be like that, Storm. He’s your brother."

"I know. Do you want me to talk to him?"

"You would?"

"I think you’ve drained yourself out telling the rest of us. I can tell Dade."

"Thanks, Storm. But…I dunno. I think he’d be hurt if he heard this from someone else. I’d better tell him myself."

"You’re nothing but a hero, Marcel. You always try to do the right thing. And that means you usually do things the hard way." I said with a smile on my face. "But that’s why we all love you so much."

"That’s rich coming from you. I think you and I are sometimes a bit too alike. Except I’m not as much of a stubborn, opinionated, judgmental prick."

"You’re just an inspiration." I said sarcastically. "That’s the second time you’ve called me that in like a week."

"The only reason I can get away with calling you that now is because you’ve changed. You’re not as stormy as you used to be. It’s good. Weird but good." Marcel said with a wry look on his face. "I’m ok though, I really am. Thank you for coming over, Storm."

"Like I said before, anytime. I better go then." I said as I gave Marcel one last squeeze and surprised him with a little peck on the lips. "Just so you know I love you."

"They taste better than old strawberry lips, I bet." Marcel said with a grin. "You don’t know what you missed out on, passing me up for old Dude boy."

"Bye, Marcel." I said shaking my head as I headed off. "Love you, Buddy. I’ll see you tomorrow."

I was going to stay with him tonight but I got the feeling that he was ok now. And Marcel’s one of those people who appreciates his own space these days. Maybe it’ll give him some time to think.

As I left the house and jumped into my jeep, I lay back against the chair and tried to absorb everything that had just happened. I still hadn’t really accepted what Marcel had told me. Angry, shocked, hurt for Marcel. I really did just want to kill somebody. That’s a terrible thing to think but it’s how angry I am right now. I find myself walking the line between wanting to be an avenging friend and someone who wants to respect their friend’s wishes. Ok, maybe not kill but sure as hell bash the shit out of these guys. I feel like showing them where the name Storm came from.

"Just settle down, Storm." I said as I began taking deep breaths.

I feel myself starting to come apart lately. People seemed to have notice that I’ve matured and I believe that I have but lately…I feel my anger coming back. That deep anger I have within me that I wish I didn’t. Sarah’s sickness. Mom’s death. Dade’s betrayal. Marcel’s torment. I don’t think it would take much more for me to just lash. I feel it there inside and it scares me. I know in the past I’ve done stupid things when I’m angry but for some reason, this time it feels worse. I’d just have to do my best to keep things in check. To just be Daniel and not Storm. We’ll see.


* * * * * *


Sarah sat on top of her bed, enjoying the solitude and peace of her own space away from that cursed hospital. For the first time since she went in, she had her first real bit of peace. All to herself. She savored the moment. She tired of the struggle to put on a brave face for everyone else. Moments like this by herself she could just…breathe and not try so hard to be strong. She wanted to be but it was becoming harder and harder for her to keep it up.

She worried for her ‘boys’. She knew now that June was gone, they would rely on her even more than before. She mostly worried about her love, her promised one, Mike. She felt positive and tried to be positive but she had moments when she contemplated the worst. She wondered how he’d cope. Even now he never complained about all the extra attention he paid to Sarah. Never complained about taking care of her. It just came automatically for him.

"I have to beat this." Sarah said with a tired sigh. "For them. For me. I have to."

She pulled out a letter that was left on her bed today by none other than her Mike. A little note that he’d left for her before he went to school. She opened it with a smile, even though she knew he was just downstairs it made her miss him.


‘Hey Mate,

I just wanted to leave a small welcome home message for you. I hope you’re happy to be home. I just wanted to tell you again how much I love you and let you know that I’m thinking of you. I’m so proud of you for fighting on the way you have. Every day I look at you and thank god that you’re in my life.

Even now you’re reading this and I’m somewhere else but you know that I’m thinking about you. If ever you need me, I’m just a thought away.

Love you,


Sarah’s eyes welled up as she held the note to her lips, trying to inhale the smell of her mate’s cologne on the paper. She didn’t know what she’d done to deserve someone so dedicated and caring as her Mike. The thought of her losing her battle with her cervical cancer didn’t scare her because she was afraid to die. She was afraid to leave Mike. Afraid to leave her family, her friends. Everyone who cared about her. She knew what June’s death had done to so many. The void she left behind. Sarah didn’t want anyone to go through that again. Not for her.

"Hey, Sweetheart. Sorry to disturb you." Mike said softly as he entered Sarah’s room with a tray of OJ and Sarah’s medicine. "I just wanted to bring you this and say goodnight before I went home. Unless you want me to stay?"

"Wanna sit next to me?" Sarah asked with watery eyes as she patted the bed next to her.

"Love to." Mike said as he sat down next to Sarah and instinctively wrapped his arms around her. "What’s up?"

"Have I told you today how much I love you?"

"Yep." Mike said with a nod. "You have."

"Not enough for my liking." Sarah said as she closed her eyes and rested her head on Mike’s chest. "Not nearly enough."


* * * * * *


I lay back on mine and Lucas’ bed, just processing everything that had been happening to me and our little group lately. We’ve had our fair share of miseries but it seems like Mom’s death won’t even be the last of them either. I feel myself slipping back into that angry person I used to be. I don’t know what it’ll take for me to just snap.

I know enough about myself to admit that I’m not at my best when I get like this. I either lash out at people I shouldn’t or I start isolating myself and going into my shell.

"Hey, Babe. Everything ok?" Lucas said as he sat at the end of the bed and pulled my feet onto his lap.

"Yeah…" I said as I shifted the gaze of my eyes from the window to Lucas. "Why?"

"You have that…look on your face."

"What look?"

"That angry look." Lucas said sorta cross. "That look like you have a lot on your mind."

"Sorry." I said, doing my best to brighten up for Lucas. "I do have a lot on my mind. Don’t mean to be a drag."

"Anything I can help with? I haven’t seen that look on your face for a long time. What’s up? Still your Mom?"

"No…I mean partly. I don’t really want to say anything. It’s just…shit in my head." I said trying to diffuse an inquisition. "I can deal with it."

"Sorry, Mate." Lucas said shaking his head. "We both know what happens when you try to deal with ‘shit in your head’ by yourself. I end up on the receiving end."

I couldn’t help but laugh at that. He was right. So many times, I’ve lashed out at Lucas unfairly in the past. I like to think I haven’t done that lately and I do my best to show him how much I appreciate him. But I think he’s scared I’m going back to my old ways of letting things fester inside me until I snap. He’s right.

"I’m sorry." I said containing my laughter. "You’re just so right."

"This is a new start, Babe. We’re doing really well." Lucas said soothingly. "Talk to me."

"I can’t." I said with a disappointed sigh. "Not because I don’t want to but just because I’ll be betraying someone’s trust."

"Dude, don’t keep secrets from me. If they’re going to affect our relationship then you have to share it with me. Not because I want to pry, but because I don’t want you carrying this around so much that it starts effecting us.."

"Secrets…" I said remembering back to what Marcel had said. "Ok. I’m allowed to tell you this, I just didn’t want to. Something happened to Marcel while he was gone. About a month ago he was attacked by a group of guys from Drake. They…they hurt him, Lucas. I can’t even say what they did it just makes me want to vomit. But they hurt him…do you understand what I mean?"

The look on Lucas’ face said he understood perfectly. He was completely floored by what I’d just told him. You could see the look of disbelief and hurt in his face. He didn’t say a word, he just sat there staring back at me in shock.

"The reason he has a limp is because they stabbed him with a pocket knife when they were finished with him. Can you understand now why I’m just a tad angry?"

"Dude…" Lucas said as his eyes welled up. "That’s…"

"I know. I feel like it’s my fault he kept this to himself. When he left the last time, I was a complete shithead to him. I just tuned him out like some old guitar. I wasn’t a friend to him at all. Even when he came back. If Mom hadn’t died, I probably would have still tuned him out. I’ve let him down so much when all he’s ever been is loyal to me and everyone else here. This isn’t fair. He deserves better. He deserves some happiness. And the people who did this deserve to have their fucking cocks cut off."

"Dude, Dude, this isn’t your fault. I know why you’re angry now but just like you can’t bring June back, you can’t change what happened to Marcel. I feel terrible that this happened. I want to be there for him. With everything that’s happened, the last thing we need is for you to get angry again. We all need to stick together. We’re both going over to Sarah’s tonight and we’re going to have a good time. We’re going to enjoy each other’s company and be supportive. I know Marcel and so do you. You know he doesn’t want you to interfere. I think we should kick some ass. I think we should ask Marty Lee to help us even but Dude, as harsh as this may sound, we don’t have the power to say what happens next. It’s up to Marcel. All we can do is support him. I’m still stunned by all of this. It’s horrific. Did he tell the police?"

"Honestly, I don’t really know what’s happening there. I wish Mom were here. She’d know what to do."

"I wish I knew the answers but I don’t. I can only tell you what I feel is best. You know as well as I do, Dude that I’m not always right. But I always tell you how I feel."

"Well right now, I’m feeling pretty low to be honest. The main thing that keeps me strong Lucas is you." I said with a grateful smile. "If you weren’t here, I’d be a lot worse."

"Thank you." Lucas said as he shuffled up the bed and gave me some of his strawberry lips.

"Do you put something on your lips?" I said cheekily, just bathing in the bliss that resulted from his kiss. "Your lips should have worn off on me now but mate…you still got it. I should be feeling a bit lower than I am right now but…"

"Dude…" Lucas said shaking his head. "Don’t tease me now."

"Your parent’s are gone…" I said with a little wink. "It’s been a while. Don’t ya think?"

"Oh yeah." Lucas said with a great big grin on his face. "Most definitely."


* * * * * *


Dade sat at his school desk with a look of distraction all over him. His mind played back the events of the night before with Marcel. He knew if he pushed it with Marcel there was always a chance he would be rejected. But he never actually believed it would happen. He just figured Marcel was waiting for Dade to make the first move again.

Just when he felt as though he were putting his life back together, things seemed to fall apart on him. Home just wasn’t the same anymore. He still hadn’t spoken to his brother since he’d left. Marty Lee seemed to have it in for Dade now as well and now Marcel for some reason just didn’t seem interested anymore.

Dade wondered whether he was just destined for bad things. Wondered whether nothing good could come from someone who was born out of something so bad. His eyes betrayed his confusion and he felt himself slipping back into the funk he was in before he confronted his mother.

It was then that he raised his eyes and saw someone sitting in front of him looking just as funked up as he was. Claire. Dade hadn’t spoken to either Josh or Claire for the last couple days and only now did he think that was fairly strange. The connection between Dade and Claire had always been Josh but he still knew her enough to tell when she was down. Not something usual of a person as warm as Claire.

"Hey." Dade said as he moved to the desk beside Claire. "Long time no see. You ok?"

"I suppose you heard." Claire said dejectedly, her eyes never leaving the paper she sketched on aimlessly.

"Heard what?"

"About me and Josh."

"You broke up?" Dade asked in surprise. "What happened? I thought things were great between you."

"You know me, Dade. I always pick em."

"Whoa…but…I thought…Josh?"

"Yes. Josh. He loves me. I just don’t have the one thing he needs. Balls." Claire said with a sigh. "And not just any kind either…"

"What do you mean?"

"Dade…you’re really more intelligent than you think but sometimes…you’re just so thick."

Claire continued focusing her attention on the sketch pad in front of her as Dade tried to digest what she’d just said. He felt himself slip a grin as he took grasp of what she meant. He wasn’t sure how to handle the revelation. He never thought of Josh that way but it made him feel good to be wanted. If he really was. But still, Josh? Surely not. Not after all this time.

"You mean?" Dade asked again, looking for some kind of certainty.

"Do you want me to spell it out for you, Dade? Josh isn’t straight. He was fooling himself and me at the same time. He wants you, Dade. Something made him switch on. I think it was when June died and he saw you hurting or maybe even before that when you were angry at him."

"That’s what friends do though. You sure you’re not confusing things?"

"Dade, I really don’t want to have this conversation with you. Least of all you. Please. I love Josh. I still do. I told myself it could work between us. It’s like there’s two of him. There’s the Josh who loves me and the Josh who…thinks you’re the hottest thing to walk on two legs."

"Easy solution."

"What’s that?"

"Threesome." Dade said with a grin.

This elicited the response that Dade had hoped for. A smile from Claire. He hated that he may have had something to do with her feeling so low. He took it upon himself to try and make her feel better or at least smile.

"Dade…it’s no wonder so many people want you. You’re not just sex on legs, you’re sweet and disarming. Sometimes I wish you weren’t. Then it’d be easy for me to blame you for all my problems."

"I never meant for this to happen, Claire."

"I know, Dade. But it still hurts. I guess I was fooling myself but when I had him, he was everything I wanted. In the back of my head I always worried that he may someday have doubts but I thought….I hoped that he would fall in love with me by then."

"You know, you and I are in the same boat. Josh rejected you. Marcel rejected me. Why don’t we piss both of them off and run away together?" Dade said with a smirk.

"Don’t do that, Dade." Claire blushed. "I’m still sulking here. It wouldn’t help to start getting me all hot and bothered."

"Me?" Dade said innocently.

"Yes you. You big tease."

"We’re both single ya know." Dade said with a wink. "Wanna get outta here?"

"Dade!" Claire said with a red face. "Stop it. You’re killing me here."

"Come on…" Dade said as the bell rang to signal the end of class. "I’ll make ya scream."


Dade leaned his elbow on Claire’s desk, covering her sketch pad as he looked up in her demure eyes. He never meant to push things this far but she was right, he was a tease.

"You know back when I was a good little straight boy, going out with all the hot girls. I used to think you were the hottest girl in school. I still do." Dade said with a sigh. "You deserve a man who can appreciate you. I may just be that man."

"You’re a menace, Dade Marcus." Claire said with a smile.

"Least I made you smile."

"You did at that. Some things never change. You’re still a horny little bastard." Claire said as she stood up and packed her bags.

"I won’t argue with that."

"But it would never work. It’d just be sex." Claire said sarcastically. "Just for the lust."

"You say that like it’s a bad thing?" Dade said as he threw his hands up.

"Bye, Dade." Claire said as she kissed the top of his head. "Thank you."

Dade watched Claire walk away with a smile on his face. At the very least he’d made her feel a bit better. Perhaps he’d even made himself feel better.

"You weren’t really trying with her, were you?" Carl said as he bent over Dade’s desk.

"I hope not. Because if I was really trying, I failed miserably." Dade said with mock disgust. "I must have lost my touch. Spend too much time pining. Maybe it’s time to turn into a little devil again."

"I don’t know how you do it. Think you could give me a few pointers?"

"Trust me, with my luck. I’ll just confuse the hell out of you." Dade said shaking his head. "You’d best just run for your life."

"Yeah, I heard you had a habit of making straight boys want you."

"You’re straight?" Dade asked cheekily as he packed his own bags.

"Ha ha, funny little bi boi."

"Who told you?"

"Who had to?" Carl said shaking his head. "I do pay attention you know. And you don’t exactly go out of your way to hide it. I don’t care or anything but I am the guy who sits on the outside of your little pack, I see more than you think."

"You’re right. I am. I was just curious. And I’m not bi. I’m horny. And right now…you’re looking pretty good." Dade said smiling mischievously as he looked Carl up and down and stepped closer to him.

"Whoa, Dude. No thanks!" Carl said as he high tailed it out of class.

"Damn!" Dade said sarcastically. "I must have really lost my touch."

Dade walked out of class with a smile on his face. Making Claire feel good made him feel a little bit better himself. That was until he spied his older brother down the other end of the hallway. The first time the two had crossed paths for two days now. Storm still hadn’t seen him and Dade himself wasn’t sure if he should create an awkward situation by making his presence known.

He felt himself fill up with nervous tension as he contemplated what he should do next. He wanted so much to have Storm even just say hello to him. To acknowledge him. To be fair, Storm hadn’t openly blown him off yet but Dade didn’t feel confident that he wouldn’t. In the end the option was taken from him when his brother walked off in another direction without seeing Dade.

All of a sudden, Dade felt nothing but loneliness rush over him. The hallway was crowded with students, all in an important little world of their own. It may as well have been empty. The pain he’d managed to rid himself of just before his mother died had only been replaced by an empty void. He suddenly realized now just how isolated and cold his world was becoming.

For so long his family unit and more importantly, his core support had been his mother and his brother. He always did value them but only now did he truly realize just how valuable they really were. For now he felt as though he had neither.

He rubbed his arms, trying to stave away the chill that existed only in his mind. Sure he had others in his life but he knew at the end of the day, they could never replace his family. The ones he had spent his entire life with. The ones who would clothe him and feed him. The one who called him her miracle. The one who would come from nowhere to save him on Reese Bridge.

He walked on, completely devoid of the smile that embraced him only minutes earlier. How quickly it had given way to the somber, desolate face that Dade now wore.

"It’s all my own fault." Dade whispered to himself. "I killed her and I pushed him away."


* * * * * *


I leaned back against a group of lockers. Trying to both keep myself hidden and contemplate what my own ears had just heard. He blames himself. Dade. My brother.

As angry as I’ve been with him, I find myself again wanting to protect him. To spare him from any more pain. I fear he’ll go back down the track he walked before. The strange aura of depression that seemed to follow him wherever he went. At first I thought it was Marcel. I know it isn’t now. The weird thing is I noticed he seemed to come back to normal when Mom died. I still haven’t figured that out. And now two different people have told me there’s something I don’t know about my brother.

All I do know is that right now the look on his face is one I don’t like. I’m sure he feels alone and isolated. Maybe only now is he realizing how much he misses Mom. And me too, I suppose. I can hear that little voice in my head saying that it’s time for me to be a big brother and try to help him. Maybe I should listen. I know that right now, Marcel is in no shape to help Dade through this. He has his own problems. Any anger I had at Dade seemed to dissipate when I saw his face and heard him say those words. It’s still there but it’s in the place it should be. One word comes to my mind right now. Priorities.

"Dade." I said surprising him as I put my hand on his shoulder.

"Storm!" Dade almost yelled as he jumped back, realizing it was me. "Where’d you come from?"

"You know how it is. Big brother is everywhere." I said with a gentle smile.

"How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough to hear you say things that aren’t true."

"They’re not?" Dade asked with sadness and uncertainty in his eyes.

"Let me buy you a milkshake?"

"You mean it?"

"Come on." I said patting him on the back as I ushered him towards the parking lot.

We sat pretty much in silence for the short ride to the local café, Orry. We could have gone to the school cafeteria but I wanted a bit more privacy than that would allow us. I knew Dade’s favorite milkshake was lime but I gave him the courtesy of choosing it before I ordered. Mine of course was strawberry. No surprises there.

"You want some lunch?"

"No thanks." Dade replied with a small smile of recognition. "I’m not hungry."

"Me either." I said as we took a seat at one of the outside tables.

The weather today was a pearler. Sun was high but with just enough cool breeze coming over the lake to offset it. Dade seemed a bit happier now than when I’d first seen him but he still appeared to be somewhat nervous. Even I was a bit anxious now, trying to pluck up the courage to say what I needed to. Looking at Dade now though, my anger at him seemed to melt away even more. Right now he was just my little brother. All the times we’d shared in the past came flooding through my mind and I couldn’t help but smile.

"What?" Dade asked with his trademark eyebrow. "What’s so funny?"

That just made me smile even more. All he needed to do now was flash his dimpled smile at me and I’d forgive him for anything. He is my brother after all.

"Nothing. Just you that’s all. You look good. How’s everything going at home?"

Dade just shrugged his shoulders and slipped a frown at me as he sipped his shake. Obviously that was a sore point for him. He was the only one left there from our main unit. Except for Mike of course but his situation was a bit different.

"Thanks for…this." Dade said with a feigned smile. "I wasn’t expecting it."

"I spoke to Dad last night. He told me he’s not going to sell the house anymore. Abby’s coming back home to stay for a while."

"I don’t suppose that means you’ll be coming home now?"


"Didn’t think so." Dade said with a sigh. "I don’t suppose telling you that I’m really sorry would change your mind either?"

"I think it’s a bit late for that, Dade."

"Storm, I am sorry." Dade said with frustration, his eyes showing just a tinge of tears beginning to form.

"Dade. There’s a reason I wanted to talk to you. Marcel and Dade both seem to think there’s something you’re not telling me.

"You’re never coming back now, are you?"

"I don’t think so, Dade."

"Well then how about I just move in with you and Lucas?" Dade said with just a hint of sarcasm.

"Don’t think that would work either."

"You two going to the school ball together?"

"Yeah we are. Should be interesting." I said with trepidation on my face. "But anyway, there’s something I wanted to ask you. Something I didn’t give you a chance to say the other night. Both Dad and Marcel have both said there’s something going on with you that I don’t know about. If I don’t need to know about it, you don’t need to tell me. But if you think it’s important and you want to tell me, I’m listening."

"Oh, fuck." Dade said shaking his head. "Way to throw me a curveball."


"No, I just wasn’t expecting this." Dade said as he closed his eyes and held his head in his hands. "Shit. Oh man."

"You don’t have to tell me. I just figured, I’ve had two people tell me I should give you a chance so here I am. But even if you don’t tell me, I’d still like us to talk."

Dade sat there for a moment as if he were deciding whether or not to tell me anything. I could see fear and anxiety in his eyes. I wondered what it could be that he’d be so scared about. But it was obvious he wasn’t too eager to say anything at all. He did though. Eventually.

"You have no idea how much what I am about to say, scares the hell out of me. I already feel like I’ve lost you, Storm. And when I tell you this…I just don’t know what your reaction will be."

"What is it?" I asked anxiously. "This has got something to do with you being on that bridge, doesn’t it? I know there’s something weird going on with you, Dade. I’m not stupid. Maybe I should have spoken up or pried but you know that’s never been my style."

"I’m just going to say it. You know that Dad wanted me aborted right?"

"Uhh…carry on…"

"The reason he wanted that is because Mom was raped and I was the result…"


* * * * * *


Marty Lee stood just inside the doorway of Orry, trying not to be obvious as he listened to the conversation between Dade and Storm. He could see the look on Storm’s face as Dade told him his secret. He felt himself actually filling with sympathy as he saw the stunned look on Storm’s face. He just couldn’t seem to form any words to respond to Dade.

Marty Lee’s mind was still absorbing the conversation himself. He hadn’t meant to pry, actually he admitted to himself, he did mean to pry. That’s why he came here. But he wasn’t expecting this. He almost pitied them.

Even now he could see that Storm still hadn’t reacted. He was still sitting there just numb. Dade had begun to cry now and it made Marty Lee feel…bad. He had no idea what these two were going through before but he knew now it was beyond him to toy with them anymore than he already had.

As he watched the absolutely devastated Storm lower his head in utter disbelief, Marty Lee continued to feel even more confused. He wanted to get to Storm so much since he arrived in Merlow and then Dade entered the picture as well. But the two of them had been through so much lately. Even for his standards, there was no honor in hurting people when they’re already hurting.

He could see now that Dade was trying not to draw attention to himself as he cried silently. Storm was still in shock over the whole thing. Marty Lee could sense that maybe now would be a good time to show some true form. At least for this one moment.

"Dade." Marty Lee said emerging from his hideout. "Come with me."

Marty Lee just nodded to Storm genuinely that everything would be ok as he grabbed Dade’s arm. Surprisingly, Dade came easily as Marty Lee led him to his own car. He opened the door for Dade as he hopped in, still in a daze of dejected and silent tears.

Dade didn’t say a word as Marty Lee hopped into the driver’s seat. His head just fell back as he stared aimlessly at the lakeside. Marty Lee felt himself fill with concern at his former protégé’s state. He looked as though he’d just lost his whole world. Like he’d given up.

"Everything’s going to be ok, Dade. He’ll come around."

"No he won’t." Dade said finally. "You saw his face."

"He’s just a little shell shocked. Give him some time."

"A little? I’d say he’ll be catatonic for a while. And besides, what do you care? What am I doing here?"

"I have no idea. But I promise you, I’m only here to help. I can take you anywhere you want."

"A hundred miles in any direction would be just great. There’s no one else I can turn to. It wouldn’t matter where you took me."

"Marcel?" Marty Lee asked, surprising himself with the offer.

"He’s not interested. Just do what you want with me. I don’t care."

"Ok." Marty Lee said as he turned the ignition and drove off.

He was doing his best to think of a plan and the best thing he could come up with was Mike. So he headed back to school which surprised Dade. Luckily Mike was on the football fields next to the student parking area. He left Dade in the car and ran over to the captain of their football team.

"Mike, I need your help." Marty Lee asked uncharacteristically with a plead in his voice. "Please."

"What is it?"

"It’s Dade."

"What!?" Mike shot back urgently as he ripped his dirty shirt off and threw it to the ground. "Where is he? What’s wrong?"

"He’s not hurt but I’m worried. There’s something I think I should tell you first. You’re a part of the family so I don’t have a problem telling you this. I overheard a conversation between Dade and Storm…"


* * * * * *

Well that's probably the biggest chapter of Season 4 so far. 

In my opinion there are varying degrees of love.  Each can be just as important as the other.  Whether it's between two people in a relationship, a deep friendship or family.  How do you actually define love?

Let's take Dade and Storm for example.  Storm now knows Dade's secret.  Should it change the way he feels about him?  Especially when you consider Mike's place in the Marcus family when he isn't even blood.  Do you think Dade and Storm's relationship should change at all?   Do you think it will?

Dade's starting to take a few backwards steps and there are really only two people who can help that right now.   Marcel's situation is understandable as far as Dade is concerned.  But what about Storm?

There's a lot to consider in this chapter.  Both Marcel and Dade are trying to work through their separate problems.  Sarah's out of hospital but her mind is obviously consumed.  Josh seems to have enough on his plate just dealing with his recent admission of his sexuality.   The only one who seems to have more of a grip on things right now is Lucas.

And then there's Marty Lee.   Just like Mike said in the last chapter, he's a hard one to figure out.

Stay Tuned for the next chapter and send me a note to let me know what you thought of this chapter.
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