This story involves sexual contact and male/male relationships. If this is something that you find offensive, you have no business being here and need to leave now. If you are under the age of 18 or not of legal age in your area, GET OUT. If this content is illegal in your area LEAVE.

This story is property of the author and is not to be copied or posted elsewhere without written permission of the author. All characters and plot lines are fictional. Any resemblance is strictly coincidental and should be noted as such.

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"Roman Harris-Warrick?"

Danny sounded surprised and I guess he had a right to be. I hadn't shown any interest in Roman before so it was bound to raise a few eyebrows when I suddenly started asking for his number.

"No, the other Roman," I said just because I was ornery. Troy had just walked out ten minutes ago and even though I refused to accept it, I was upset.

"What other Roman?" Danny asked.

"There is no other Roman, tard. Just gimme his number." I was starting to get impatient and I wasn't in the mood to play games with Danny.

"What do you want it for?" he asked suspiciously.

"None of your fucking business. Now just hurry up and give me his goddamn number."

Silence. Danny was stunned and so was I. I had never spoken to one of my friends like that before.

"Dude," Danny said cautiously, "are you okay?"

I felt like an ogre for snapping at him. He had no idea what had just happened, how shattered I was feeling. It wasn't fair for me to take out my frustration at Troy on Danny.

"I'm sorry," I said. "Can you just give me Roman's number? Please?"

Danny hesitated for just a minute before saying, "Sure, lemme find it for you."

He put down the receiver and I heard paper rustling, then he picked it back up again and said, "Here it is."

He gave me the number and I wrote it down. When I was done, I said thanks and hung up before Danny had a chance to start asking questions about why I was so surly.

I went up the stairs and headed straight for my bedroom. I entered my room and went to the bath, dropping Roman's number on the dresser on the way. Then I went to go get cleaned up. What I saw in the bathroom mirror shocked me and stopped me in my tracks.

For starters, I had rapidly drying semen smeared all over my chest. Also, the right side of my neck was red. Very, very red. It must have been from Troy was squeezing the shit out of me as he came. Erotic asphyxsiation.I knew that by the time the party came around I would have a big bruise there.

For some reason that made me angry, knowing that he had left a mark that others would be able to see. He'd successfully branded me his fucktoy and it was partly my fault. I let out a frustrated sigh. Hurriedly, I stripped out of my pants and jumped into the shower. I felt the need to get clean. To wash myself until all trace of Troy was gone.

The water hit me hard, but I liked the jolt. I didn't adjust the temperature; I just let the water heat until it was burning. I didn't care. The hotter the better. I wanted it to hurt, so maybe next time when I was tempted to do something stupid I would remember. Again, I felt the need to cry, but I didn't give in. Crying was for bitches, and I wasn't a bitch.

I rushed through the shower, knowing that I didn't have a lot of time till the party. I still hadn't done anything to prepare and I had a laundry list of things to do. I wasn't stressed, though, cause it wasn't really a party, just more of a get together. Plus, there wasn't a lot to be done anyway. I had decided that I would do things barbecue style so everything would be outside. It would make the clean up easier because people wouldn't be able to mess up the house.

I hopped out of the shower and didn't even bother with a towel. Instead I just walked back into my room soaking wet and started going through my underwear drawer. I still had to call Roman, but I honestly didn't know what I would say. I considered just telling him that I knew he had a thing for me and then inviting him over and offering to fuck him tonight.

The more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed. I wanted to get back at Troy and, presuming that he gave a shit, this would be the best way to do it. I was still horny because I hadn't gotten off while Troy was here and Roman was a good-looking guy. He obviously liked me, so why not just take advantage of what he was offering?

Because that wasn't who I was, I thought. And despite everything that was going on, I still liked Troy. He was the one that I wanted, and trying to substitute him with someone else would only end in disaster. But, it didn't look like Troy was going to stop being a jerk any time soon. So, what the fuck was I supposed to do? Wait around for him until he got tired of being an asshole?

Screw that. I was seventeen years old, and rapidly approaching my sexual prime. Troy wasn't the only piece of ass around. I was mentally psyching myself up to call Roman, and it was working. I knew that I wasn't thinking sensibly. Just a moment ago I had established that I wasn't the kind of guy that would use another person to get over someone. It looked like I was going to prove myself wrong.

I picked out some underwear and put it on. I was only a little moist now and the underwear clung my skin. I walked over to where I had dropped Roman's number and picked it up. I then went over to the side of my bed and sat down. I stared at the seven digits on the piece of paper for a long while before reaching for my phone. This is it, I thought and began dialing Roman's number.


So, I had called Roman's number, but he hadn't answered and the call had gone to his voicemail, leaving me no option but to leave a message. So, I did. I told him about the party and invited him over. Now all I had to do was wait and see if he would show up.

At the beginning of the week I had been so excited about this party, now I no longer cared about its outcome. I was just mechanically going through the motions of setting up. I brought out the grill - my dad's pride and joy - and set it up under the awning. We already had tables and chairs in our backyard, and a pool, so there really wasn't much for me to do except bring out the speakers and the food.

The whole thing took me about fifteen minutes and I was done. I went to the kitchen and started looking for some fluorescent balloons I'd purchased earlier in the week. I'd spotted them at Spencer's at the mall and thought that it would be cool to scatter them around the pool as a form of decoration. When buying them, I'd thought of how awesome they would look and how much everyone would like them.

The truth was, I no longer felt like it. I didn't feel like exerting the energy or putting in the effort. Still, I didn't want them to go to waste so I opened the bag and started blowing them up. I added a little water to each to help hold them down, and then I took them over to the pool in groups of ten.

It took me five trips because there were fifty balloons. When I was all done, I went over to our pool house and hit the switch for the under water pool lights to come on. The effect was magnificent. Because it was getting dark out and the balloons had a glow-in-the-dark quality, it looked like the pool was filled with thousands of stars. Having done that, I returned to the house to get my cell phone, which I had left in my room.

Every time I walked past the hallway, I was reminded of what Troy and I had done there only hours before. And even though I tried not to, I kept remembering his words before we were interrupted by my dad's phone call. "The last time we were together ..." what? What had Troy been about to say? I was driving myself crazy trying to come up with possible ways to finish that sentence.

I was right about my neck. By the time it was eight o'clock, Troy's fingerprints had turned purple. I thought about going upstairs and changing into a turtleneck to hide the bruise, but that would have been stupid. It was almost seventy degrees out, not to mention that wearing a turtleneck to a barbecue was just ... retarded.

I was just about to sit down and wait for people to start arriving when my phone rang. I looked at the caller I.D. - it was Danny.

"Hello?" I said.

"Hey dude, where are you?" Danny asked.

"I'm at home. Where are you?" I replied.

"I'm at your home too. I'm out front."

"Oh," I said, "well come on back to the pool."

"Okay," he said.

He made no mention of my earlier grouchiness and I was glad. I knew I owed him an apology but I didn't really want to get into it. If things went right, I was gonna have a good time with my friends tonight, hopefully get high and maybe even get some ass.

I stood up just as Danny stepped through the glass doors that separated the kitchen from the patio.

"Hi," he said as he came up to me.

"Hey," I said. I decided to get any awkwardness out of the way right then.

"About earlier, I was ..." I began.

"It's cool, man," Danny said, brushing aside my attempt at an apology.

"Okay," I said, nodding. I was glad for his easy dismissal because I didn't really want to talk about it either. I decided to change the topic. "Did you bring the stuff?"

"No, it was Scott's turn to get the stuff," he said.

"Where is Scott?" I asked.

"He went to pick up Troy before heading over," Danny said. He watched my face very closely for a reaction when he said Troy's name. I was proud of myself because my expression didn't change.

"Cool," was all I said.

"Why don't we start the barbecue while we wait for the others to get here?" Danny suggested.

"Yeah," I said, and we both headed towards the kitchen to get the meat out of the freezer.


Half an hour later the party was in full swing. There were people all over the place and everyone kept talking about the balloons in the pool. I was glad that I had decided to use them after all. I was actually having a good time and I hadn't thought about Troy for about five minutes. I wasn't a very good cook, but I was doing a good job of not burning the meat to a crisp, which seemed to be enough for everyone.

I kept looking around to see if Scott had arrived. I convinced myself it was because I wanted to get the stuff and not because he was bringing Troy. To my left I heard Donna, a beautiful, chubby girl with honey blonde hair laughing and it brought me out of my reverie. She was laughing because of something Ian said, and then I heard her mention that Scott had arrived. My head snapped up.

I watched Scott come through the glass doors leading from the kitchen to the backyard followed by Troy. My breath caught in my throat when I saw him. My first thought was `God, he looked good', followed by `God, how I wanted him'. I wanted him so much that I felt sick to my stomach just thinking about how much I wanted him. It tore me up that he thought of me as a random person. I wanted to mean something to him. even though I didn't want to admit it, he meant a lot to me.

I looked away before he caught me staring and pretended to concentrate on the meat I was grilling. I still hadn't gotten a call back from Roman so I had no idea whether he was planning to show or not. I didn't think he knew where I lived so I was expecting him to call and ask for directions. The night was still early so I wasn't worried about it.

A few people had noticed the bruise on my neck and had asked me about it. I wasn't about to tell them how Troy's fingers had caused it while he had been in the throes of his orgasm so I just said nothing. Everyone accepted my silence except for Danny, who was giving me a knowing smile. I couldn't imagine what he was thinking and I didn't feel like trying to figure it out.

Ever since seeing Troy my pulse had been going crazy. I was so excited that he was here. Now all I needed was for Roman to show up so that I could throw him in Troy's face. Perhaps if I hadn't been so hurt and confused I would have noticed how evil my plans sounded. It was so not like me to plot this way. I pretended not to notice that Troy had arrived, but I watched him out of the corner of my eye. That way I would know the exact moment when he started to head towards me.

I wasn't sure whether or not Troy had seen me yet, but I didn't want to look and check what he was doing. I knew that he would eventually make his way over to the grill cause that was where the food was. He was a teenage boy and the only thing teenage boys liked more than sex, was food. It wouldn't be long before he headed over here; all I had to do was wait.

My prediction turned out to be right because not more than ten minutes later Scott came up to me at the grill closely followed by Troy.

"Hey dude," Scott said.

"Hey," I said. "Danny says you've got the stuff."

"Oh, yeah," Scott said, smiling.

"Hey," Troy said, cutting into the conversation. He sounded so nonchalant that one would have never known what the two of us had done together earlier.

"Hi," I said, barely sparing him a glance before turning back to Scott. If Troy was going to act like nothing had happened, then I could pretend too.

"When do you wanna light the shit up?" Scott asked.

"As soon as I'm done with the grill," I replied.

"Cool," Scott replied, "lemme know when you're done." And with that he turned and headed off, leaving Troy and I to face each other.

I finished flipping some burgers and put them on a plate. Troy just watched me, quietly, in that way that was uniquely his own. I had no idea what he was thinking, but I knew that it probably had to do with his visit earlier that afternoon. Just thinking about what we had done on my hallway floor made me flush. I hoped that he would think it was the heat of the grill making my face red.

It was times like these that it was obvious Troy wanted to say something. I could see that he had something on his mind; it was only a matter of what. One thing I was beginning to learn about Troy was that he liked to take his time.

"Look -," he finally began, but just then we were interrupted.

Someone said, "Liam?"

We both turned and around and saw none other than Roman Harris-Warrick standing less than ten feet away. When had he arrived at the party?

"Roman?" I asked stupidly. I had no idea how long he had been at the party.

"Hi," he said, shyly stepping closer.

"How did you get here?" Another stupid question.

Roman just shrugged. I glanced at Troy and caught the frustration on his face at having been interrupted. It seemed like every time he got ready to say something, we were interrupted. The look he was giving Roman was one of intense irritation and I felt a spark of excitement. This is exactly what I wanted. Roman had been here less than ten seconds and he was already helping me get back at Troy. Troy looked like he wanted to ask Roman to leave.

"Listen, do you mind ... ?" Troy began, but I didn't let him finish.

Before I had time to properly think about what I was doing, I moved forward towards Roman and embraced him, saying with forced enthusiasm, "I'm so glad you could make it."

Roman seemed a little taken aback at the unexpected show of affection and mostly remained immobile, but I wasn't really paying attention to him. I stepped back in time to watch the shock on Troy's face fade away to reveal something else. It was an emotion I couldn't name, but it seemed an awful lot like pain. I knew that I must have been imagining things because it couldn't be. Troy's gaze flicked back and forth between Roman and I as if seeing us for the first time.

"Uh ... thanks for inviting me," Roman stuttered.

I smiled at him, but what I really wanted to do was smirk at Troy and say, "see, you're not the only guy in the world". But, that would have been way too childish, so I refrained and said instead, "Of course. I really wanted you to be here."

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Troy flinch and had to fight to keep from smiling. It felt good to know I was getting to him. I had no idea when I had become so sadistic, but I was on a roll and I wasn't ready to stop yet. I took hold of Roman's hand and turned to Troy, saying, "Would you mind excusing us?"

I asked the question in a sickly sweet voice, all the while knowing that it would only annoy him more. I watched in disbelief as a tick formed in Troy's jaw. I could tell that he did mind, but I watched to see what he would do. For a split second he looked like he was about to say no, but instead he turned and walked away without a word. I kept my eye on him until he disappeared into a small group of people on the other side of the pool, then I permitted myself a small smile.

I turned back to Roman, who looked a little confused at what was going on and suddenly I felt bad for my unwitting pawn. Roman seemed like a really nice kid, and despite all my attempts at rationalizing my behavior, I still felt a twinge of guilt for what I was doing. I came close to calling a halt to the farce but I remembered all the times Troy had walked past me in the last year like he didn't know who I was. I recalled all the times he had pointedly ignored me and looked through me for an entire year, and my resolve hardened.

The first part of my plan had gone well; I had succeeded in getting under Troy's skin just a little. It was now time for me to really put my plan into action. I led Roman towards one of the tables that I had used as a makeshift bar. He looked a little uncertain, but I guess that was to be expected since this wasn't his usual crowd. I didn't think he knew anyone else at the party besides Danny and I, but he kept glancing around as though he was looking for someone.

"Do you want something to drink?" I asked.

"Uh ... sure," he said slowly.

I smiled reassuringly at him in an attempt to make him feel more comfortable. I wanted him to relax and have a good time. He returned my smile shyly and I noticed that he had a really nice smile. In fact, Roman was a pretty good-looking guy. He had a kind of geek chic that made him adorable yet hot at the same time. I wondered why I had never noticed this before. I knew the answer - it was because I had never had eyes for anyone other than Troy.

"Let's go sit down somewhere," I suggested.

"Uh ... sure," Roman said again.

I cast a surreptitious look around to see if Troy was still watching. When I was sure that he was, I faced my guest. I smiled at Roman again and led him over to some vacant chairs underneath the awning. Once I had him seated, I went to go find us some drinks. When I returned with our beverages, I handed one red plastic cup to Roman and then took a seat next to him.

"Thank you," Roman mumbled before taking a huge gulp of his drink.

I watched his Adam's apple bob while I sipped my own drink. All around us, people were eating, laughing and drinking. I knew it wouldn't be long before they would start taking off their clothes to get in the pool. The water was just too enticing, and since it was heated, the guys loved to swim at night at my house. But I knew that wouldn't be until later, and right now I wanted to get to the business of Roman Harris-Warrick, and more specifically, the feelings I knew he had for me.

"So ... how are you enjoying the party?" I asked, although I could clearly tell that he was nervous. I just needed something to segue into conversation.

"It's ... uh ... nice," he responded.

"I'm really am glad you came," I said again, looking into his eyes, which I now noticed were an amazingly clear cornflower blue.

Roman just ducked his head a little and blushed. He was so shy! No wonder he had never come up to me in all this time. It was lucky for him that I had decided to do his work for him and take the initiative in bringing us together. But now that I had done that, I didn't know what to do next. So, I stalled.

"How's school going?" I asked for lack of anything better.

I watched Roman's brows sink down in a frown before he replied, "Fine."

I didn't blame him for being confused. It was a weird question for me to be asking. Maybe small talk wasn't such a good idea. I should probably just cut to the chase while I was still ahead. I decided to throw caution to the wind and confront him.

"Listen," I said, leaning forward, "I know you like me."

"What?!" Roman said, before he started sputtering.

He quickly sucked in his breath and then took a hasty gulp of his drink. I waited for him to recover from his shock. I didn't want him to feel embarrassed because I had discovered his feelings for me. I expected him to come up with denials, but once he lowered his cup he just looked at me like I had sprouted horns on my head. That's when I realized that this wasn't a normal reaction for someone who'd had their secret crush not only discovered, but revealed. Instead of being embarrassed, Roman was looking at me like I was crazy, which could only mean one thing ... I'd made a huge mistake.

Still gasping, Roman asked, "Why would you think that?"

He sounded as if I had just suggested that we eat live snails, and that irked me. It wasn't that implausible. Why did he have to make it sound like such a ridiculous assumption? There was nothing wrong with me. Why shouldn't he like me? I was a nice guy. I could feel myself becoming unreasonably mad. If Roman didn't like me then why was he always hanging around me?

"I really like you as a friend but not in the way that you think. I ... I like someone else," Roman said tentatively.

"Who?" I asked in a challenging manner, certain that he wouldn't be able to come up with anyone else.

"Uh ... Troy," he answered, and then, "Troy Harrington." I guess he wanted to clarify, in case I thought it was another Troy.

"What?!" Now it was my turn to stammer. I couldn't believe this shit. Roman liked Troy? My Troy?

SHIT, my mind screamed. Roman had just admitted to liking Troy. Did everyone like Troy? I happened to look to my left and I spotted Troy standing rather inconspicuously in the shadows. He was looking directly at Roman and I, his gaze unwavering. I had the overwhelming need to get away, to be by myself.

"I ... I'm sorry," I said, turning back to Roman, "I have to go." I began retreating to the house, leaving Roman to stare after me.


Upstairs in my room I was thinking about Roman and Troy. I still couldn't believe it. Roman liked Troy? What were the odds that my backup guy would have a thing for the same guy I had a thing for? The worst part of it was that I could remember being Roman a mere year ago; young and seriously crushing on Troy with misguided ideas of coupledom.

With that came a number of unpleasant scenarios. I could just imagine Troy taking advantage of Roman's naiveté just as he had taken advantage of mine. I couldn't imagine Troy turning down a freebie. And that's what Roman was: a freebie. Besides, Troy's claim to fame was all in his pants. he was known for his sexual prowess and promiscuous ways.

I couldn't be grateful enough that we had been interrupted that afternoon. It was pretty safe to say that Troy had been using me again.

I was brought out of my thoughts by a knocking outside my door.

"Liam? Are you in there?" It was Danny.

I kept quiet just hoping he would go away. I knew he would have questions and I wasn't up to answering them. He would want to know why I had disappeared from my own party, and then he would insist that I return downstairs. I just wasn't up to it. But if I didn't respond, Danny would just keep pestering me until I did.

"Go away!" I called.

"Come on, dude. Let me in," Danny said.

"Just leave me alone," I refused.

"Dude, you're being a douche right now," Danny responded.

"Please. I just wanna be by myself right now," I said. I waited to see if Danny would leave.

"Okay," he finally said, "I'll be back later."


Danny emerged from the house and made his way, single-mindedly, to where Roman was still seated under the awning.

Roman took one look at Danny's angry expression and his heart sank. When he had seen Danny run after Liam, he had assumed the worst. He had always suspected, despite Danny's denials, that Danny liked Liam. They were more than just best friends. Danny had sworn there was nothing going on between them and Roman had foolishly believed him. Now there was no denying the reality of the situation. When faced with a choice, Danny had chosen Liam. It was Liam he had run after, Liam he was worried about.

Roman watched Danny approach and fought to remain calm.

Danny wasted no time with niceties and immediately confronted Roman, saying, "What did you say to him?"

"Nothing ... I ..." Roman stammered.

"It's not nothing," Danny insisted, his face a mask of anger. "He's in his room and he's really upset. Now what did you say?"

Instead of answering, Roman turned and hurried off leaving Danny to stare after him for a few seconds before following. Roman wasn't sure where he was going, but he couldn't face Danny's anger any longer. Too bad Danny wasn't content to let him walk away.

Just as Danny almost reached Roman's side, Troy intercepted Danny to find out how Liam was doing. Danny didn't have time to discuss it, so he muttered something and hurried after Roman, leaving Troy to stare after him in frustration. He caught up to Roman just as he was about to reach the pool house. Grabbing onto Roman's arm, Danny pulled him to a stop.

Roman whirled around and said, "I ..."

The rest of what he was going to say was cut off when Danny's lips landed squarely on his own, effectively silencing him.


Twenty minutes later I was still lying on my bed like a big loser and missing my own party. I felt like such a fool. Troy wasn't interested in me and I had been totally wrong about Roman.

Luckily, before I was able to sink any deeper into depression, there was another knock at my door.

"William?" It was Scott.

I thought about just remaining silent, but then I remember that he had the stuff. I slowly rose off my bed and went to open the door. Scott took one look at my miserable face, then pulled out a Ziploc bag with an unidentifiable white powder inside of it.

"What the fuck is that?" I asked, warily eyeing both Scott and the bag like it was toxic.

"Relax," Scott chuckled, "it's not what you're thinking - it's just Ritalin. Crushed."

That was the thing about Scott; sometimes it was like he was on a one-way trip to becoming a junkie. I worried about him. His eyes were a little bloodshot and his demeanor was a little imbalanced. Suddenly, a line from the movie `Kids' popped into my head: "You will grow up to be a vegetable, kid". That certainly applied to Scott, if he kept doing so many drugs.

"Where's the stuff," I asked.

"Right here," he answered, pulling a crumpled brown paper bag out of his pocket and handing it to me.

I looked at the stuff indecisively, before walking back over to my bed, opening my nightstand drawer and dropping it in. I turned back to Scott.

"Hey," I said out of the blue, "you wanna go swimming?"

Scott looked at me like I was crazy for about a second before saying, "Sure."

The pool was automatically set to always be at a sixty-five degree temperature. And for some inexplicable reason I felt the need to swim. In the back of my mind, I was hoping that Scott didn't drown.


"Jesus," Danny said, sitting up. He was panting hard and his body was still thrumming from the recent pleasure he had just experienced. He turned to look at Roman who was lying next to him naked under the sheets.

"I didn't tell Liam about us ... I promise," Roman said, lifting his hand and trailing it down Danny's chest.

Danny's heart thumped and his cock stirred. Already? he wondered. Very gently, doing his best to hide his reaction from Roman, he eased Roman's wandering hand away.

"We have to get back to the party," Danny said.

"Are you mad at me?" Roman asked.

"No," Danny sighed, "it's just that ... we shouldn't have done this here. Someone might have seen us."

Roman reached up and ran his hand down Danny's muscular back. Danny felt the caress all the way down to his toes.

"Don't," he barely choked out.

"Why," Roman asked, the confusion evident in his voice. "You like it."

Danny let out a breath of frustration. He had followed Roman to the pool house and they had fucked. Again. Danny hated himself. He felt as though he were taking advantage of Roman. They had started sleeping together three months ago in secret. When he had discovered that Roman liked him he had been surprised and flattered, but he had never thought anything would come of it.

Then Roman had looked at him with his big brown eyes filled with sexual curiosity and Danny's resolve had shattered. In a moment of weakness he had kissed Roman and discovered that Roman was inexperienced. He had told himself that he would just teach Roman kissing, because the boy was in sore need of a lesson.

The first time that Roman had tried to kiss Danny, he had done so without an ounce of finesse. He had just mashed his lips to Danny's and swung his face from side to side. It was Danny who had had to teach him how to slow down, how to savor the taste and enjoy the feel of the other person. Danny had shown him how to open his mouth and slide his tongue.

Once that invisible line had been crossed, Danny could not go back. He had given in to temptation and slept with Roman. And he hadn't been able to stop. Instead of his need lessening over time, it had only increased. He had thought that after a while the two of them would eventually be satisfied and the relationship would end, but instead the opposite had happened.

Now the longer they continued to sleep together, the more the hunger that he had for Roman grew. None of his friends knew about the relationship. In fact, nobody knew. And Danny desperately wanted to keep it that way. He knew he had to end this thing with Roman before someone got hurt.

Roman noticed the look on Danny's face and knew that something was wrong. Stomach churning with dread, he asked, "What's wrong?"

"We can't do this anymore, Roman," Danny replied. He felt stiff and awkward having to end things this way and added, "I'm sorry."

Roman didn't say anything in response and Danny waited. The silence stretched out, painful and taut, until Danny didn't know if he could take it anymore. And then Roman rose and began putting on his clothes without a word. Danny watched him get dressed, struggling to find something to say. He knew that he had hurt Roman, but he didn't think he'd had any other alternative. They couldn't continue seeing each other. Things were getting too serious. It was better this way.

Roman fought not to break down in Danny's presence. The truth burned like acid, threatening to overwhelm him but he held it together long enough to get dressed and exit the pool house. Keeping his head lowered so he wouldn't have to make eye contact with anyone, Roman headed straight for his car.

Danny didn't follow after him - the way he had run after Liam - and Roman tried not to let that fact add to his pain. Knowing that Danny was through with him made him want to curse. Not only because his chest ached, but also because he had behaved so stupidly. He had been so gullible. Roman had thought the reason Liam invited him to this party was because Danny had finally told his friends about them and they wanted to hang out with him. How wrong he had been.

No one would believe he'd slept with Danny Stedquest anyway. Danny was the hottest guy at school and he was just ... well, he was upset enough as it was without adding to it by thinking about how his peers saw him. Just knowing that he liked Danny, but that Danny was in all likelihood ashamed of him - why else would he insist on keeping their relationship a secret? - and probably secretly had a thing for Liam as well, made him even more upset.

He had just turned the keys to his ignition, when he heard a knock at his window. He looked up to see Troy Harrington standing by his door. He felt a moments fear as he considered what the big boy could want. Maybe Liam had told him that Roman had a crush on him and he had now come to kick Roman's ass?

Roman had only used Troy's name because he hadn't been able to think of anyone else when Liam had grilled him. It had been on the tip of his tongue to say Danny, but he had come to his senses in time. Since Troy was the only other person he knew of at the party, he had felt it safe to use his name at the time. Now, as he looked up at Troy's face, he wasn't so sure it had been a wise decision.

"I was wondering if I could get a ride," Troy said.

Danny let out a sigh of relief and said, "Sure. Hop in."

Troy quickly went around the car and got in the passenger side. It just so happened that Scott and Liam were coming out of the house at the exact same time, and Liam watched, stunned, as Roman and Troy drove away.