If you are offended by male/male relationships, or male/male sexual relationships, then you shouldn't be here in the first place. If this conduct is illegal in your area, you must EXIT NOW.

This story is not to be copied or posted elsewhere without permission from the author.

If you are interested in a story about gay teenage males, then please take your time and enjoy. Feedback/comments/suggestions and even complaints are welcome at DomLuka@aol.com

Chapter eighteen: What's with Reilly Chesley?

I was late to my first class on Friday morning because I had taken the time to walk Aiden to his. But, I had also run into some other delays on the way. The first was Janie. She was alone in the hall, without her usual group behind her, so I was surprised that the bitch had the nerve to talk to me.

"You know, it all makes sense now." Janie said, almost sweetly, as she detoured herself in my direction.

"What's that, Janie?" I asked coldly. But, as soon as I asked, I was sorry that I did.

"Why you're still hanging out with that faggot." She replied in the same sweet voice.

"You know, that `faggot' was supposed to be your best friend." I retorted.

"Hey, I tried to help him." she said defensively.

"You tried to make him into something he's not." I frowned.

"I was going to save him!" she hissed, "You're the one who ruined it! I know my brother saw Aiden at your house, Owen. Now I know why he liked you so much. You're the reason he wants to be queer." And then that sweet smile returned, "It's because you're a fag too... And I'm going to prove it."

I knew I shouldn't let her get to me, but as she walked away I just stood there. Something about the matter of fact tone in her voice scared the shit out of me. After all, I was still terrified of coming out. And I didn't like the idea of Janie proving anything. What the hell did she mean by that anyways?

I probably would have taken more time to think about it if I hadn't turned the corner to find someone on the ground, holding himself up against the lockers as he gasped for air. It wasn't just any kid, either. It was Reilly Chesley, the same kid that Aiden had saved from Dennis Gordon the day before.

I dropped my backpack and ran down the hall when I saw that he was trying to reach for his inhaler, which had fallen from his bag a few feet away from him. I grabbed the inhaler and practically forced it into his shaking hands as he clutched his chest and gasped for air, but he just dropped it, leaving me to pick it up again.

"Shit!" I cursed, looking around the empty halls, "Hey, I think you need this..."

I felt like I was pleading with him to take his medicine. I did not know how to deal with a situation like this. I placed the inhaler at his mouth, unsure of what else to do, and he placed his hand over mine and we pressed the trigger a couple of times together. He inhaled and then grasped his medicine with both hands, holding it to his mouth again as I held him up so he wouldn't fall over.

I watched him closely, scared out of my mind at the wide, panicked look in his eyes as he continued to raggedly gasp. His face was flushed and his hair was sticking to his forehead with sweat as he struggled to breathe.

"Help!" I shouted, when I realized that he wasn't getting any better, "Somebody help!"

I looked towards the nearest classroom door and got up to go to it, but when I turned away he grabbed my arm, his eyes pleading as he stared at me. I turned to him as calmly as possible, meaning to convince him that I wasn't abandoning him.

"Hang on, Reilly." I said, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze before I ran into the nearest classroom, much to the chagrin of the teacher teaching it. But, once she understood what was going on she followed me back into the hall with half of her class behind her, and poor Reilly was rushed away to the nurses office.

Apparently, an asthma attack these days is treated like a heart attack when you're at school. I was taken down to the nurse's office too, mostly because Reilly couldn't talk and everyone wanted to know what happened, not that I had much of an explanation. I was just glad that he'd be all right. Of course, when they called the ambulance I freaked out all over again. But, that was just standard procedure, or so I was told.

I was left pacing in the hall, wondering when someone was going to give me a pass so I could get to class. It wasn't as if I was waiting around to talk to Reilly. I didn't even know the kid.

About fifteen minutes later I went for a bathroom break, and it was when I got back that my day got even weirder. Just outside the door to the nurse's office, stood Dennis Gordon. He was just standing there, obviously with nothing to do. Only, I wondered if he was sick, because he did seem paler than usual.

I didn't want to see Dennis Gordon, but I did want my pass so I could go to class without getting in trouble. So reluctantly, I moved back towards the office. But, when I got closer I realized that the door was open, and Dennis was listening to the conversation inside.

One of the paramedics was talking to a man and a woman, who both looked concerned. I was guessing that they were Reilly's parents.

"He'll be okay." The paramedic explained, "We're pretty sure that a panic attack brought it on this time."

Panic attack? Suddenly the way that Dennis Gordon was fidgeting by the door made sense. Aiden had told me that Dennis was picking on Reilly yesterday, and how frightened Reilly had been. I imagined that having a tormentor like Dennis when you're as small as Reilly could cause anyone a panic attack. I could also imagine that I hadn't been the only one in the hall with Reilly when he did have the attack.

And now, that asshole Dennis Gordon was probably here to cover his own ass in case Reilly decided to talk. When Dennis turned around and saw me there, the deer in the headlights expression on his face was enough to tell me everything I needed to know. Asshole.

But, Dennis recovered quickly and then he just glared at me.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" he demanded.

I wasn't going to say anything to Dennis. It seemed like every time we met face to face like this we ended up exchanging blows. And, I probably shouldn't have talked to Dennis then, but I ended up opening my mouth anyways.

"I'm waiting for a pass." I said casually. "They brought me down here after I found some kid in the hallway who couldn't breathe. He was scared out of his mind...you wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Dennis?"

Dennis stepped closer to me, almost in my face. Something about what I had said had definitely pissed him off, but more than that, he actually looked nervous.

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about." He spat, and then with a shove to my shoulder he stormed off down the hall without another word.


"Hmm," I sighed, "This was a good idea." I was stretched out on my sofa with my head in Aiden's lap, eyes closed, as he ran his fingers through my hair.

We had come home for lunch today, and I wasn't regretting it. It had been a long morning, and after dealing with everything it was nice to get away from school for a while. I think it was a nice break for Aiden too. Lunch seemed to be the worst time for him, when he had to deal with the dirty looks and crude comments the most.

"You'd better not fall asleep." Aiden laughed, "We have to get back to school soon."

I groaned and rolled onto my back, opening my eyes to look up at him.

"I don't want to go." I pouted.

"I know you don't." Aiden replied, running his fingers through my hair again. "But don't worry about Janie, okay? As long as we keep saying that we're just friends, no one can prove anything."

I frowned at the mention of Janie. I had told Aiden about my encounter with her earlier that morning, and I think he had been angrier about it than I was.

"Does that bother you, Aiden?"

"What Janie said to you? You know it does." He frowned, "I think I should try to talk to her again. At least I can try to convince her that there's nothing going on between you and me."

I sat up and turned on the couch to face him.

"But there is something going on between us." I stated, "And don't talk to Janie. Please. It just makes things worse when you talk to her."

"I don't have to talk to her." Aiden sighed, "And I know what's between us Owen." He took my hand again and gave a small squeeze, "But that doesn't mean that everyone else has to know."

"But doesn't it bother you?" I asked, "I mean, how many people have you told that we're just friends?"

I watched as Aiden looked away for a moment, thinking. He was obviously deciding whether or not he wanted to tell me something. When he looked back again he was frowning.

"A few." Aiden admitted. "A few people have asked."

"And doesn't it make you angry?" I asked, "To have to lie, because I'm too afraid to come out?

"What? Owen, no. Why would I be mad? I mean, I won't lie. Sure, it would be nice to be able to hold you hand, or give you a hug whenever I want, or even to tell people that we're together when they ask. But, no one else has to know, Owen. It's none of their business. Besides, if I know, and you know, isn't that all that matters?"

"I guess." I sighed. "I've just been thinking a lot, about what Leo said, you know? And now that you're out, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if...I don't know..."

"Hey," Aiden said, he reached out and touched my chin, drawing me to look at him. "Owen, if you're thinking about coming out, just remember that it needs to be your choice. I'm happy with what we have, whether or not anyone knows about it."

"It just doesn't seem fair that you have to go through this alone." I frowned.

"But I'm not alone." Aiden insisted, "You're with me. I won't lie and say that it's easy, because it's not. At school it's definitely hard. There are guys who think I'm coming on to them every time I look in their direction, and I have girls propositioning me, saying that they can change my mind."

"Hey!" I scowled.

"It's not like I'm interested, Owen." Aiden laughed. "But it is hard. Now when people throw around the word fag, I know they mean me. And I hate having to walk away to avoid getting into fights. I hate having to ignore it. But what am I going to do? Fight everyone?" he shook his head. "It sucks, Owe. And if you think you can come out and everything will be all right, then you still have more thinking to do. You're going to get those same looks that I do. And even if it meant that we could be more open with each other, you have to remember that people are going to talk about that too. It's your choice, Owen. But, if you're asking what I think, then I think, unless you're ready to deal with all of that, you're better off left in the closet, as long as you have a choice about it."


I shoved a few books into my locker, glad to have them out of my backpack. One more class to go and then the weekend was mine. And Aiden's. Neither of us had to work until Monday, and although we weren't taking our trip until next weekend, I was looking forward to spending the time with him, nonetheless.

It had been a stressful week, and I hoped that spending some time away from school would do us both some good. Getting away from Janie would be a good thing too, I reminded myself, as I turned away from my locker and saw her for the second time that day.

She didn't talk to me this time. But, the look she shot me as she passed by seemed far worse than any words she could have said. It was that awful, hateful scowl of hers that put me on edge. But, I tried not to let her get to me as I continued on my way. I suppose it seemed interesting, and unsettling to me that I was seeing more of Janie now than I did when she and Aiden were still friends.

I had almost made it to my next class when I saw another face that I could have done without. For the second time that day I saw Dennis Gordon. I don't know what he was doing in the same hall, but this time was different. Once again, instead of confrontation, or one of his dirty looks, his eyes met mine for a brief second before he actually looked away and continued on his way. But that wasn't all.

Maybe it was odd, me paying that type of close attention to Dennis Gordon. After all, he had walked away from being within five feet of me without a word. For all intents and purposes, Dennis Gordon was ignoring me. Just what I'd always wanted. But something seemed strange. Not just the fact that he did ignore me, but there was something familiar about that look in his eyes, he almost seemed lost. That asshole façade was temporarily gone and even when a few of his jackass friends started calling out to him, he continued to walk away without so much as a backwards glance towards them.

I shook off whatever strange, familiar feeling that was bothering me about Dennis and went to class. I decided that whatever change I sensed in him probably had to do with the fact that he was nervous about what had happened that morning with Reilly. He was probably just worried that if anyone found out that he had anything to do with the younger boy's panic attack, there would be hell today, and he wouldn't want that. Not with a football game this weekend.

Too bad I couldn't prove that he had anything to do with the condition that I had found Reilly in. But, I was sure that Dennis was responsible somehow. I wondered if Reilly would talk. He had been taken home after his episode this morning. Poor kid. I really did feel sorry for him. Maybe when he came back to school I'd have to make a point to see if he was okay. Not that I was exactly eager to make any new friends. I was still dealing with losing Adam.

Adam had taught me a lesson, though. Well, actually he more-so reminded me of something I learned a while ago. People couldn't be trusted. Maybe this sounds harsh, but I had discovered that I couldn't always trust even the people who were closest to me. But, that didn't mean that I couldn't trust anyone. The list of people that I trusted was slowly growing, and I think I was grateful for that more than anything. I just didn't know if I wanted to add to that list, just yet.

But, when I thought of Reilly, I really did feel for him. I remembered what it was like to be in a new school. I had wanted to be invisible then. I imagined that he wished that he were invisible after meeting Dennis. And Reilly probably didn't have very many friends. It really wouldn't hurt me to get to know the kid. After all, Aiden seemed interested in him.

"Walk me to class?" I looked down to where someone had looped their arm with mine and then smiled into Lacy's face. I didn't often see her at school, outside of class.

"Sure." I replied, after checking my watch, "Where ya headed?"

"Gym." She frowned, making a face and crinkling her nose.

"That's on the other side of the school!" I complained, now that I was two doors away from my own class.

"Deal with it." She giggled, "Besides, you have plenty of time."

I groaned, but smiled and turned Lacy towards her class anyways.

"I saw Janie following you earlier." Lacy said a few minutes later, "What's that all about?"

"Just Janie, I guess." I shrugged.

"I'm sorry for what she's doing to you and Aiden, Owen." She said, "But I can't say I'm surprised."

"Aiden's the one she's doing it to." I replied. "He trusted the wrong person, that's all."

"Oh, please. You know you're feeling all of the bullshit as much as Aiden is." Lacy scoffed, "I would be if he was my boyfriend."

I turned my head and gaped at Lacy. Actually, my feet stopped working and she actually had to drag me along with her.

"Don't look so surprised." Lacy rolled her eyes. "I've suspected Aiden for a while. Besides, Ryan is one of my best friends, you know."

"Ryan told you?" I demanded.

"Of course not. I just pay attention to who he hangs out with. And, it wasn't that hard to figure out. I could tell that first day at the mall when Ryan set you and me up to go to the dance, the way you and Aiden were looking at each other. It was really sweet." She sighed, "That, and when he was fighting with Janie at the dance you wanted to go after him when you could have been feeling me up."


"What?" she laughed, "If you'd made a move I would have gone for it."

Damn her. I'm sure I was as red as a fire hydrant after that remark.

"All I'm saying is, that I hope it works out for you and Aiden. And don't worry about Janie. She's just a bitch anyways, and when people get tired of talking about Aiden, they'll realize that she's the one with the problem, acting like the scorned girlfriend. No wonder she does so well in drama."

"You're probably right." I smiled.

"And, there's always a new rumor around the corner to distract the mindless masses. I've hardly heard a thing about Aiden today. Everyone's talking about the poor guy who ran out of the locker room with a hard on."

"What?" I asked incredulously.

"You didn't hear?" she shrugged, "The other day a new kid ended up in a compromising position after gym class. People are saying that he made the mistake of looking at Dennis Gordon when it happened."

I wasn't much for gossip, but this was definitely an interesting story, and suddenly, something clicked in my head.

"Reilly Chesely?" I asked.

"Yeah. I think that's his name. He's new here. Poor guy. And then I heard that he got sick this morning, some kind of panic attack."

"I know. I was there." I nodded, "but I guess now that explains why Dennis has been after him..."

"Probably." Lacy laughed, "You know, I feel so sorry for that poor boy, but, imagining the look on Dennis's face when it happened is just too funny."

I guess I could see some humor in that. I had no doubt in my mind that homosexuals terrified Dennis more than anything. I suppose that whether or not Reilly was one didn't matter in Dennis's mind. But, if what Lacy said was true, and it had really happened, I couldn't help wondering about Reilly Chesley. Either way, I felt even more sympathetic towards him than ever, because whether or not he way gay; the poor guy had technically already been outed.

But, a small part of me, the part that only cared about Aiden, was happy that the attention was momentarily off of my boyfriend. I was just sorry that a guy that seemed as frail as Reilly had to be the one to take it off of him.


I looked down at the photo of two, identical, dark-haired, young boys, no older than three or four, sitting on a park bench with their arms tightly around each other and smiling widely for the camera.

Friday evening left Aiden and I stretched out on the floor by his bed, where he had pulled out a box of old family photos. Aiden looked so happy in most of them, with his brother. He looked happy with his parents too, and his parents looked happy together.

I enjoyed seeing Aiden in the pictures, seeing who he was as a child. I noticed that he often had the same look in his eyes in those old photos that he had when we had gone camping, and played in that ungodly cold water.

But, I was watching Aiden, more than I was looking at the photos. I watched the emotions play across his face with every one, from happiness to embarrassment sometimes, and then sadness when he remembered that the pictures no longer represented his life, only a past now, out of his reach.

But he did smile. I wondered if I'd be able to smile at all if I revisited my past through pictures. I didn't think that I could see the faces of my father or my mother, even smiling, without remembering the way that they looked the last time I had seen them. Ugly and hateful.

I didn't even want to consider the emotions that I would feel if I saw Dan again. It was one thing to remember, but to see his face in a photograph, and his smile...I didn't know if I could handle that. I couldn't imagine what Aiden was feeling, remembering half of his family, who he didn't have anymore.

"Not many people around here remember Asher." Aiden frowned, "I mean, Ryan and Leo, Ben, and Jake, they never met him. But Janie knew him, even Adam. Asher was kinda like you. He never liked Janie, either." Aiden smiled, but then it faded, "I see people we grew up with every day. Some of them were Asher's friends. After he died, they were always nice to me, you know? But no one ever mentioned him. It's like they were trying to forget...one of those same people ran into me at school today. Literally. He was one of my brother's best friends once. He looked right through me, Owen...then he called me queer and walked away."

I put my arm around Aiden's back and moved closer against him, leaning in so that the sides of out heads were touching.

"Who was he?" I frowned, wondering who had upset Aiden.

Aiden looked at me and smirked at the look on my face.

"Why? So you can go play tough guy?" he laughed. "I don't think so. Every time you go start trouble your face gets all banged up, and I rather like it the way it is."

"Well, if that's what keeps you around," I sarcastically shrugged.

Aiden smiled and leaned in to drop a soft kiss on my lips, but as usual I tightened my grip around him and pulled him closer, teasing his lips open and thrusting my tongue into his mouth. Aiden turned and wrapped his arms around me and then rolled, until my body was stretched out over his and we pulled away from the kiss to look at each other.

"We don't have to go out tonight." I said.

"We promised Ryan." Aiden grinned, "Besides, it'll be fun. I think we could use the break."

"Yeah." I sighed, resting my head between his shoulder and his neck. "Did he say where we were going?"

"His place." Aiden replied, reaching up to run his fingers through my hair.

"His place? What about his mom? I don't know if I can stand a whole night with her around. She asks too many questions."

"Yeah, she does." Aiden laughed, "But Angie's a nice lady. She asks questions, but she's pretty cool about most things. Besides, she won't be around tonight. She went to a wedding this weekend, so it works out."

"Hmm." I sighed. "When are we going over there?"

"I think we're already supposed to be there." Aiden replied.

I nipped his neck and he jumped, right before I rolled off of him and stood up. I offered him my hand and helped him off the ground before we began to pick up all of the old photo albums together, and caringly placed them back in the box.

"Thanks for sharing these with me." I said.

"I'm glad I did it." Aiden replied, "I hadn't looked in a while...maybe next time you can dig out your old boxes."

"I'll show them to you," I said hesitantly, "But I don't know if I'm ready to look, just yet."

"Hey," Aiden smiled, wrapping an arm around my waist as he kissed my cheek, "Whenever you're ready."

"Thanks." I replied, hugging him back before we pulled apart and headed out of his room. "I need to go upstairs before we leave." I said, "I already told Tony I'm going out but I need to tell him where I'm staying. I just want to catch him while he's home."

"You go ahead." Aiden insisted, "I'll meet you back here."

"I'll be five minutes." I smiled.

Aiden gave me a quick kiss at the door before I headed upstairs to talk to my brother. I knew that Chris was back at the club tonight, and because Jake usually worked Fridays there I assumed that Tony would be going by later too, so I wanted to catch him before he left.

"Tony!" I called as I walked through the front door. But, I probably didn't need to shout. Tony was in the living room, stretched out on the sofa, and he wasn't alone.

When I walked in Tony and Jake dislodged themselves from the sofa, and each other, while Jake turned his back to button his jeans and Tony attempted to straighten his shirt. I tried not to laugh at the shocked look on their faces, but failed miserably.

"Sorry." I laughed.

"Oh, shut up," Tony smirked, and then smiled at me, "I thought you were going out."

"I am." I replied, "Just wanted to say I'll be at Ryan's... I didn't realize you had company...hi Jake."

"Owen." Jake nodded as he sat on the sofa again, pulling a pillow into his lap.

"Okay." I nodded, "Well, I'm gonna go. I'll knock next time...but, you do have a room, Tony."

I laughed and caught the pillow that my brother threw at my head and I tossed it back to him as he took a seat next to Jake.

"Hey, wait a sec." Tony called as I turned to head back out the door, "Chris said you were planning on taking a trip with Aiden, any idea when that will be?"

"Next weekend." I replied, "Why?"

"Just curious." Tony replied, "You know, by the time you guys get back Aiden's mom should be back too. Do you know if he's heard from her?"

"He hasn't mentioned anything." I said. "Isn't she in rehab anyways? How would he hear from her?"

"She was supposed to get a few phone calls." Tony sighed, "She said that she'd be calling Aiden."

"She hasn't, at least as far as I know." I replied. "I'm still trying to get Aiden to move in here for a while when she gets back."

"Just don't push him." Tony insisted, "He's going to have to work things out with his mom, no matter where he is, but we just want him to know that he has the option to come here."

"I know." I nodded. "I'm gonna go, see you guys later. Um, have fun."

"Hey," Tony called as I reached for the door again, "Are you sleeping at Aiden's tonight?"

"Ryan's." I replied, "I'll be back in the morning."

I couldn't help noticing that Jake and Tony both looked happy that I wasn't going to be there. I couldn't really blame them. The last few nights of sleeping at Aiden's, just us, had been nice. Knowing that Leo and Ben were always at Jake's place, I wasn't surprised that they were happy to have a night alone together.

"Oh, Owen," Jake called, "Just one thing, did you ever get the address for the job we're staring on Monday?"

"Not yet." I admitted.

"You can leave it with me." Tony told him, "I'll get it to him."

"Thanks guys." I smiled. I waved and left before any more questions could come up, and a few seconds later I was knocking on Aiden's door again. I heard him call for me to come in and as I entered, his back was to me and he was holding a phone to his ear.

"No problem," he said, "Hang in there, okay?" Aiden turned and smiled at me as I wondered who he was talking to. Maybe it was his mom, except his tone seemed too light for it to be his mother. "Yeah. I'll see you later. Bye Reilly."

Reilly? As in, Reilly Chesley? Again? That kids name just kept popping up today. I watched as Aiden hung up the phone and then he turned to me again.

"Ready to go?" he asked.

I just nodded and waited to see if he planned on telling me anymore about that phone call. I didn't want to be jealous, and I told myself that I wasn't, but Aiden had only met Reilly a few days ago. When did they exchange phone numbers? I'll see you later? What did that mean? Sure, I felt sorry for Reilly and I truly felt for his situation if what Lacy had told me was true, but I didn't feel sorry enough for him that I liked the idea of my boyfriend showing an interest in him, especially if he was gay and really was staring at Dennis Gordon. I mean, Dennis Gordon? That's just wrong.

Okay, this jealousy feeling wasn't exactly something that I was proud of. But lets face it, now that I was with Aiden, I didn't want to lose him. And now that he was out, who knew how many closeted guys were interested to know about it. Or maybe someone who wasn't closeted was interested. Maybe Reilly wasn't closeted. Maybe Reilly could give Aiden something that I couldn't because I was.

Yeah. I was being a paranoid idiot, but I couldn't help it. I had never had anything like what I had with Aiden. I was happy with him and I could see myself being happy with him for a long time. There was no way I wanted to lose it now.

When Aiden didn't say anything about that phone call even after we were in my truck and on our way to Ryan's, I had to ask.

"That was Reilly Chesley you were talking to?"


"I didn't know you guys were friends."

"We aren't." Aiden shrugged, "I mean, I don't really know him. I just thought that I'd call and see how he's doing after what happened this morning."

"Huh. So, how'd you get his number?"

"I know someone who works in the office...not everyone's stopped talking to me, Owen."


I could feel Aiden's eyes on me, and when I took a sideways glance at him I could see the smirk slowly making it's way across his face.

"You're jealous." He said quietly, but there was still teasing in his voice.

"Am not." I mumbled.

"Yes you are." He laughed.

"I am not!"

I didn't shout it, but my little outburst sent Aiden into a fit of giggles. I just shook my head as I pulled up into Ryan's driveway, but hearing Aiden laugh was enough to place at least a small smile on my face, even if I didn't see the humor in the situation the way that he did. I turned off the truck and watched him, waiting for him to calm down, and by the end of it I was beginning to laugh myself, just from watching him.

Finally Aiden stopped laughing and reached across the truck, grabbing my jacket and pulling me to him so fast that I had no choice, not that I wanted one, but to lean in and let him kiss me. It was slow and soft and expressive. Just enough for Aiden to get his point across: I didn't have anything to worry about.

"You're cute when you get jealous." He remarked, resting his forehead against mine after he pulled back.

"Cute?" I demanded with mock disgust.

Aiden nodded and then tilted his head, bushing his lips against mine again.

"I just wanted to see if Reilly was okay." He replied, becoming more serious. "It can't be easy for him. His first week at school seems to have been pretty much disastrous."

"Pretty much?" I replied, "The kid got caught staring at Dennis Gordon and then ran out of gym class with..."

"I know." Aiden nodded. "That first day that I helped him he admitted that he'd been looking at Dennis. I heard the rest around school."

"You knew he was...one of us?"

"Yeah." Aiden replied, "He's kind of obvious. I just felt...sorry for him, I guess. He's new and he's having a rough time, I just thought that it couldn't hurt to be his friend...he said to thank you, by the way. For this morning."

"Why?" I asked, "I didn't do anything but freak out." And that was true. I had been terrified this morning.

"You helped him." Aiden stated, "And he says thank you. I thought I'd go see him tomorrow. You should come with me."

"I don't know, Aiden..."

"It'll be fine." Aiden insisted, "Come on, we can show him that there are some friendly faces around here."

He was giving me that look. The one where his eyes peered up at me from under his lashes. It was that innocent look that could also be incredibly lecherous. I would have gone to see Reilly with him anyways, but that look didn't hurt.

I lifted my hand to the back of his head and lightly took a handful of his hair. It was down again today, as soft and straight as always. I liked his hair up or down, but when it was down there was always that desire to touch it. Maybe it was because of the first time I had ever seen him with his hair down, in the club, wearing that snug blue t-shirt. I couldn't touch him then, not really. Sometimes I found myself wanting to touch his hair just to remind myself that I could.

It was dark in the car, but the dim light from the streetlight was shining on his face and I could see his dark eyes clearly as I guided him forward and kissed him again. This time it was longer. I could feel his tongue, lightly brushing my lips, pressing against them until I opened and let him in. I pressed my tongue against his and kissed him harder as his hand moved to my arm, his fingers digging into my coat sleeve.

The sudden loud knocking on the window broke us apart with a start. My heart jumped to my throat before Ryan suddenly jumped belly first onto the hood of my truck and comically pressed his face against my window.

"Nock it off!" Aiden laughed at him as I tried to breathe again. I looked at Aiden and he smiled at me before we got out of the truck and I gave Ryan's shoulder a shove as he hopped off of my truck, laughing.

"Asshole." I muttered.

"Get in here." Ryan smirked as he led the way to his front door and Aiden and I followed.

I'm not really sure what I was expecting for the night. With Ryan, you never knew. But, I wasn't expecting Lacy, curled up on the couch on the sofa, watching whatever movie was on, dressed in a pair of green flannel pajamas with her hair pinned up and a mask of green goo on her face that matched the clothes she was wearing. She had a bottle of tequila in one hand-a drink I never would have thought that Lacy would touch-and she was picking at a huge burrito that looked like take out-completely like her.

"Hey guys." She said, nonchalantly as Aiden and I sort of paused, trying to decide whether to laugh at the sight that she was, or to be terrified of it.

When Ryan sat down next to Lacy and took the bottle from her, we were still standing there staring at her, our usually beautiful and charismatic friend, now looking...well, I don't know what she looked like. The green mask covering her face was throwing me off completely.

Ryan noticed that we were staring and laughed at us. Lacy looked up and giggled.

"Get over it and sit down." Lacy stated. "This is what I look like before I go to bed."

"Sorry." Aiden smiled, recovering faster than I did, "We didn't expect you, Lace. And you're gorgeous, as always."

Aiden went to sit down and looked shocked when I suddenly took his hand and twined my fingers with his. He obviously hadn't been aware that Lacy knew about us, but when he looked back at me questioningly I just smiled at him as we sat down together. He seemed to understand well enough when he saw Lacy and I exchange a brief smile.

"What do you mean you didn't expect her?" Ryan remarked, taking a quick drink from the bottle, "Do you really think I was just going to sit here all night and watch the two of you make out? No way was I going to be left out."

"So is that why I'm here?" Lacy laughed.

"Yup." Ryan grinned, "I'm just waiting for you to get all of that gunk off your face, and I'll be all over it." He nodded confidently while Aiden and I laughed at the no-nonsense look on Lacy's face as she narrowed her eyes on Ryan.

"The gunk, isn't coming off, and you won't be all over anything, Sader." He flinched when she pinched his side, and he choked on the drink he had been taking. Lacy just laughed while he cursed and wiped away the alcohol dripping down his chin, "Now where's my salsa?" she concluded.

Ryan gave her an incredulous look and then slowly smiled before he got up to go get what she had requested, passing the tequila to Aiden on the way. It was interesting to see Ryan interact with Lacy. There was definitely a noticeable chemistry between them, but sometimes they seemed like they could pass for brother and sister.

"I had no idea you guys did these sleepovers." Lacy commented as she waited for Ryan to return. "It's kinda cute. Reminds me of my girlfriends."

"We do not remind you of that." Aiden laughed, taking a drink from the bottle, "And what are you doing here anyways? I thought you and Ryan stopped seeing each other a while ago."

"We did." Lacy shrugged, "But we still hang out, as friends. That's what we're doing tonight. It seemed much better than going out." We watched her stretch, much like a cat would do, content and sleepy. But, when Ryan returned with a jar of salsa she poured it over her burrito and began to eat like no one had ever fed her before.

As it turned out, Lacy was right. Just hanging out at Ryan's was a lot better than trying to go out somewhere. It was actually more of a relaxing evening than I thought it would have been. We watched movies and we drank and we talked. Conversation was light and mostly everything that was said was utter nonsense.

It was perfect.

I could almost see all of the stress Aiden had built up and hidden away over the last week wash out of him. Of course, that could have been because he was getting drunk. He got drunk pretty quickly, actually. I'd never really seen him like that before. I had a good buzz going, but Aiden was definitely drunk.

I doubted that he let himself reach that limit very often, because of his own mother's drinking problem, but as we hung out with Lacy and Ryan he let go. It wasn't that he was a bad drunk, he was just different. He took off his shirt when he got too hot and he spoke more freely, not that anyone minded. We were all pretty much goofing on each other, mostly teasing Lacy until she finally went to wash that muck off her face. And, every time Aiden laughed he'd turn into me and laugh into my neck.

I wasn't sure if it was the environment we were in, with just Ryan and Lacy, because he had been affectionate that night with Tony, Jake, Leo, and Ben, but tonight every time I looked at him there would be a kiss or an affectionate touch waiting for me.

He kept giving me this subdued look, too, every time he looked at me I felt like he was looking for something. Maybe I was imagining it, or maybe the nature of that particular look escaped me, but every time I saw it I got this strange feeling in my gut, the kind that made me feel light headed and made my mouth go dry. Sometimes it felt like we were the only ones in the room.

When the night first started, there was a lot of talk about staying up until sunrise, but as the tequila slowly disappeared and we ran out of movies to watch, and finally when Lacy passed out on the sofa, it became pretty apparent that the rest of us would be joining her soon enough.

Somehow, despite being just about as drunk as Aiden, Ryan managed to carry Lacy to his room and tuck her into bed. Ryan took the couch and put Aiden and I in the guest room. It wasn't exactly as comfortable as either of our beds, but it worked well enough.

Aiden went straight to the bed and after slipping off his shoes, practically rolled onto it, over the comforter while I turned off the light. I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark and then stripped down to my boxers, enough to be comfortable, and folded my clothes, placing them neatly in a chair.

When I made my way over to the bed I was certain that Aiden had passed out. I peeled off his socks and then reached for his pants. He hadn't put his shirt back on since he had taken it off and so I wouldn't have to wrestle him out of that at least. But, I was surprised when I began to unbutton his jeans and his hands came down over mine, and my wrist brushed up against what felt like the beginning of an erection.

His hands remained over mine as I unfastened his pants and his fingers massaged the backs of my hands, almost absently until I began to pull his pants down and off of him. He was wearing boxer-briefs again, something I hadn't see him in for a while. I had to resist the urge to touch the outline of his semi-hard cock, packed away tightly under his shorts. Aiden managed to lift his butt off the bed to assist me, but as soon as the jeans were off and I took them to the chair to join my clothes, he rolled onto his side and closed his eyes.

"Hey," I said as I joined him in the bed and touched his shoulder. Aiden turned his head and in the dark I could see his eyes as he stared up at me tiredly, "Let's get you to bed."

He looked momentarily confused and I laughed as I wrestled him under the covers. At least he helped. It wouldn't have been an easy task if he hadn't. I expected that it wouldn't take Aiden very long to really pass out, so when I joined him under the covers I was surprised when he suddenly turned into me, and then he was kissing me.

I hadn't expected it, so it was sloppy at first. I could feel his tongue on my face and his teeth graze my chin before I opened for him and felt his tongue invade my mouth as he wrapped one arm around me, tightly pulling me to him as his fingers dug into my back and his other hand cupped the back of my neck, holding me to him.

The urgency of the kiss, and the way he touched me was surprising, considering that a few minutes ago he was about to pass out. By the time he reached down and cupped the bulge rising in my boxers I was breathless. I pulled away from the kiss and placed my hand on his wrist and pushed my hips forward, against his hand as he wriggled his fingers, massaging my balls.

"Aiden...here?" I questioned, "Ryan and Lacy..."

"We'll be quiet." He whispered. I bit back the sudden groan rising in my throat as he suddenly wrapped his fingers around my erection, squeezing through my boxers. His arm tightened around me again and I moved with him as he guided me over him.

I straddled his thighs as I kissed his face and slowly sought out his mouth, his lips already parted and waiting as I kissed him. He cupped the back of my head and kissed hard and deep, against my slower, subtle responses.

I wasn't sure what had gotten into Aiden, not that I minded it. Actually, the way he was aggressively touching me, kissing me, had me harder than I ever thought I could be while drunk. It was just different. He almost seemed desperate for the contact, and if that's what he needed right now, from me, I didn't want to disappoint him.

I hooked my fingers in Aiden's shorts and began to pull them off. He sat up, still kissing me as I worked the underwear down his legs and when he was free of them, he pulled me down again, his tongue still thrusting into my mouth as he moved his hand from my erection, up my chest. His thumb and forefinger latched onto my right nipple and I whimpered against his mouth at the shock of the pinch and the jolt that seemed to move through my body and straight to my cock.

I think it was the urgency and aggressiveness of his actions that made me realize that all of this behavior, drunk or not, was because of something that Aiden needed. I can't say I understood it, because I didn't. I knew that things had been hard for him recently, and as I thought about that, the earlier look he had given me suddenly made sense.

I think he wanted to forget, if only for a little while. He wanted to forget his mom, and he wanted to forget school, and Janie, and all of the friends that he had lost over the last week and maybe even the ones that had supported him. Maybe drinking himself into a stupor and spending a night among friends had helped in some ways, but now he wanted something from me. Aiden wanted to let go, and it seemed that he wanted the same thing from me. He needed me. I'm not sure that realization could have made me feel any more wanted. It made any jealousy I felt earlier like such a stupid thing.

I suddenly wanted to make this about Aiden. Only, the way that his tongue was thrusting upwards into my mouth and his fingers were manipulating my nipple as he held me to him, lifting his knees so that my weight sank between them, left me completely breathless.

I was over him, on top of him, in the more dominant position that we seemed to so easily switch back and forth from, and yet I felt like I had no control. He had worked me up so fast that my erection actually ached, tenting my boxers and I was at such a loss, trying to keep up with his sexual induced frenzy that I didn't even know what to do with my hands, other than grip his shoulders and hold on.

His arm tightened around me even more, if that was even possible, and he pulled me firm against his chest, my erection pressing against him, alongside his. But I pulled back and slid my hand down his stomach, moving my palm over the length of his cock and I grabbed his balls. It wasn't hard, but it was enough to make him gasp, and as he did, I pushed my tongue back against his, into his mouth and kissed him slowly.

I could feel it when he started to relax. His grip on me loosened until his hands were only lightly on my back, his hips arching up off the bed, into my hand. When I pulled my mouth away from his he tilted his head back, eyes still closed, and I moved my mouth teasingly over his throat and down his chest. I pulled my hand away from his groin and rested it on his hip as I reached his naval and lightly grazed the skin just below his bellybutton with my teeth. I moved lower and licked the head of his erection slowly, flattening my tongue over it and soaking up his pre-come.

Aiden sighed and spread his legs, wider. Even in the dark it was easy to see just how exposed he was to me and I stiffened my tongue, moving it down the length of his erection and over his balls, placing my hands on the backs of his thighs and lifting his knees as I deliberately pressed my tongue against his perineum and moved in strokes, over the space between his balls and his sphincter.

His hands closed over my head and his fingers gripped my hair as I pressed the tip of my tongue against his hole, pressing a slow circle, loosening him up before I pressed in. He was warm against my mouth and I felt his body clamp down over my tongue as he pushed against me and moaned. I almost wished that we were somewhere else, so he wouldn't have to bite back and swallow his cries. I hadn't realized just how much I loved simply listening to him, until then.

I was certain that the alcohol would put off his orgasm for at least a while. I knew that as even as hard as I was, it would likely take a while before I came, but when his body began to clamp against me and several times he lifted off of the bed, stiffening, I moved up to his cock and took him in my mouth, forcing myself down as far as I could get, and oddly enough thinking that we'd better not make a mess in Ryan's house.

But, he didn't come. I felt like he was holding back as I pressed my tongue against his shaft and lowered myself on him repeatedly, bringing as much of him as I could stand up against my throat. I noticed his grip in my hair had loosened, and then he said words that I'd only heard once before and took me completely off guard.

"Oh god, Owen, fuck me. Make love to me."

I thought that hearing something like that after Dan might make me panic, but it didn't. I gently let his cock drop from my mouth and crawled up over him, inadvertently placing the head of my erection against his ass with only my boxers between us.

Aiden cupped my face in his hands as I looked down at him, making out his features in the dark, and I wasn't afraid, not even when he pushed back against the head of my cock. And, I think I understood something, then. What Aiden was asking for, he wanted it. He wasn't giving himself up to me; he was sharing something with me. And I wanted it. I never thought that I would want it so bad, all teenage hormones aside. I wanted it. I wouldn't be taking anything from him, but we would be crossing a line, and we'd both want it.

But, I already knew my answer, and I wasn't afraid to say it this time. There was no guilt, just honesty. Maybe my reasoning doesn't make sense. Of course, I didn't want it like this, in someone's guest room with Aiden still...well, drunk. I wanted him sober, completely self aware, whether or not he was at that exact moment. I guess I just wanted it...different. I wanted my first time with Aiden to be different from anything that I'd experienced before, just like my whole relationship with him felt different from anything that I'd had before.

"No." I shook my head slowly, noting that he seemed confused, but not upset. "Not now. For our first time, I want you to do me."

I think I surprised Aiden as much as I surprised myself. We both knew that I probably wasn't ready for something like that. Hell, he could hardly touch my ass like that without me flinching. But, I knew that I wanted it. And I knew that if I were ever going to want it, it would be with Aiden.

I watched a slow, lazy smile spread over his lips and then he guided me down and kissed me. It was soft and expressive and all I needed to know that he was all right with my decision, and when I pulled back I went right back to his unattended organ, taking him in my mouth until he came.

I crawled up next to him and cuddled against his side as he recovered, and when he turned and reached for my boxers I caught his wrist and kissed his cheek.

"Not tonight." I smiled, "Go to sleep, Aiden."

When I said that I wanted it to be about Aiden this time, I had meant it. I was still hard as a rock and my cock ached, but it was a comfortable ache. I was still hard as I snuggled up with Aiden and watched him fall asleep, but I was also, completely content.


Any plans we may have had for Saturday were out the window when Aiden and I woke up around noon at Ryan's house. Lacy surprised us all with breakfast, and it was good to know that she could cook as well as she could eat.

I think Aiden was the only one who was really hung over, so he was quiet, but he held my hand all through breakfast, and every time he looked at me he'd smile. But, it was a different smile, and a different look, just another one that I didn't quite understand. Each time he looked at me I ended up feeling that warm feeling in my gut that seemed to fan out over my entire body, making me blush. And every time I blushed, Aiden would laugh at me and things would feel normal again.

When we left Ryan's I think we were still tired, even if we had slept half the day away. We ended up back at my place. Tony had left a note saying that he and Jake went out, but Chris was home for a while and the day became one of those lazy Saturdays where activities included eating and napping for the most part.

Actually, we didn't do much of anything until Sunday morning when Aiden woke up with more energy than I had on a good day, his hangover obviously gone, and he suggested that we go see Reilly Chesely again.

"Why can't we just see him at school tomorrow?" I asked, tying my shoes as I sat on my bed. Aiden was already dressed and ready, leaning against my door and watching me.

"It's not all day, Owen." He smirked, "Besides, I think Reilly could use some new friends as much as we could right now."

"I'm happy with the friends we have." I replied, and then smiled at him, "And you. I'm definitely happy with you...but I'm not sure I like the idea of new people, Aiden." I admitted, "After Adam...I mean, I thought he was this great person and then..."

"Reilly is nothing like Adam." Aiden insisted, "And I'm not asking you to be his best friend, just come with me to see if he's okay. I'm sure he wants to see you anyways, that way, he can thank you himself."

"I don't want him to thank me." I complained, "I didn't do anything. Besides, he can do that at school too."

"Well...you don't have to go with me."

"You know I will anyways." I replied, "I guess I'd just rather have another day of doing nothing. And, I'm not in the mood to share you today, anyways."

Aiden outright laughed at my last comment and when I realized how ridiculous and pouty I sounded, I smiled back at him as he came over to my bed and wrapped his arms around me. He sat down and pulled me back so that we were lying down, facing each other.

"Did you really mean it?" he asked.


"The other night at Ryan's, when you were talking about our first time."

"I wasn't sure you remembered all that." I smiled, "You haven't said anything."

"I wasn't that drunk." He frowned, "And, it was the first time that anyone's ever said no to me before."

"I don't doubt that." I laughed, "But, you're not angry, are you? That I said no?"

Aiden just smiled and leaned forward to kiss my forehead.

"No, I'm not mad." Aiden insisted, he slid his hand down my back and rested it on my ass as he gave me a measuring look, "But I guess I just want to know why. I mean, I've bottomed before, and I didn't think that you'd ever want to. I thought that if I ...did you even want to? When I asked?"

"Oh yeah." I sighed, and Aiden laughed, "I mean, I really, really wanted to. I still want to. It's just, for our first time, I want it the other way around. I want it to be something I've never done before."

"Okay," Aiden smiled, and then leaned in to kiss me again. "But, let's just make sure you're ready, okay? I don't want to do it if you're going to regret it, I mean..."

"Hey," I laughed, "Believe me, when I'm ready, you'll be the first to know."


I stood outside of a large house, four stories at least, and quite frankly, it looked kinda creepy. It was in the hills, but hidden towards the back. It was where the more wealthy people in town lived, but this house was secluded from all of that. It was definitely older. I think it had once been painted white, but the paint had faded away and now it just seemed gray. The house itself seemed to be buried in a sea of trees and weeds, the only ones cut down were probably done so to keep up with the fire code. The place was definitely in need of some work.

"Are you sure this is the right address?" I asked Aiden as he knocked on the door for the second time.

"It's the one I got from the office." Aiden shrugged.

"The school office? You mean he doesn't even know that we're coming?"

"He'll know when he sees us." Aiden smirked.

I rolled my eyes at him, but despite myself, found myself smiling back. We didn't have to wait very long this time for the door to open, and when it did, an older man wearing what looked like a casual Sunday suit greeted us. He had the same blonde, curly hair that Reilly had, same small features. Of course, he was taller than Reilly, standing a few inches taller than me. He was probably the same height as Aiden. He even wore glasses like Reilly. Only, the older man's glasses seemed to fit his face better, and he was actually quite handsome.

But the one thing that stood out about him, was that he looked kind. Actually, he looked downright approachable; despite the suspicious look he was giving us. I was surprised how much I felt at ease, just being in his presence. It could have been because Aiden was with me, but still, I wasn't used to feeling safe around older men, especially ones who were fathers.

"Can I help you?" he asked. His voice was definitely suspicious, wary even.

"Hi," Aiden smiled, "I'm Aiden, and this is Owen. We go to school with Reilly and we just wanted to come by and see if he was feeling better."

The man's eyes darted from Aiden to me as the suspicious look slowly faded, and then finally settled on me. Maybe he struck me as a nice guy, but when he looked at me I still felt that familiar deer-in-headlights feeling rising up in my gut.

"Owen?" he asked, "Owen Dovan?"

I looked questioningly at Aiden but he just shrugged, so I looked at the man again.

"Yes, sir."

And then he smiled. It was one of those friendly smiles that was meant to put you at ease.

"I'm sorry," he said, "Please, come in, I'm Reilly's dad. You can call me Paul."

He shook both of our hands and led us into the house. It looked as large on the inside as it did on the outside, but better put together with fresh paint on the walls, only there were boxes scattered everywhere, so obviously, the family was still in the process of unpacking.

"Reilly's up in his room." Paul explained, "I'm sorry you guys surprised me, he hasn't exactly mentioned any friends."

"I think we've both only met him once." Aiden admitted, "But it would be great if we could just see how he's doing."

"Of course." Paul nodded, looking at Aiden, "Why don't you go on up? His room's the third door on the left, second floor."

"Thanks." Aiden smiled.

I started to follow Aiden towards the stairs, but when the older man's hand suddenly came down on my shoulder I jumped and spun around, startled.

"Oh, sorry." Paul said, obviously noticing my discomfort. Aiden must have picked up on it too, because he was suddenly next to me, his hand on my shoulder, which was much more welcomed than Paul's. "I was just wondering if I could talk to you for second, Owen."

I looked at Aiden again, clearly confused. Aiden looked just as confused, and gave me a small shrug.

"Um, sure." I replied, glancing at Aiden to let him know that I was fine. He smiled at me and then headed for the stairs again, leaving me alone with Paul Chesely.

"I just wanted to thank you." Paul replied once Aiden was gone, "My wife and I didn't get the chance to when we were at the school, but someone mentioned that you were the one who helped Reilly."

"Oh," I replied, "I'm sure anyone would have. All I did was call for help." I honestly didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I hadn't done anything, really. And seriously, I wasn't sure that I was comfortable with the attention.

"But not everyone would have." Paul insisted, "Believe me, I know...would you like a drink?" he suddenly asked, turning to walk down a wide hall.

"Um, no thanks." I replied, following him because I wasn't sure what else I was supposed to do. If I had known that I'd end up talking to a parent when I had agreed to come over here, I probably wouldn't have come.

He led me to an open kitchen, probably the only room that was completely unpacked in the whole house. It was actually really homey, instead of a huge dining table that you might expect to find in a house as large as this, there was a small, round family table, and I had a feeling that it was used a lot. The table was where Paul directed me as he went to the refrigerator and grabbed two sodas, despite the fact that I had declined his drink offer.

"I know you probably don't know Reilly," Paul said as he took a seat across from me, "But we really are grateful for what you did for him. You might not understand this Owen, but Reilly has had these attacks before. He's been in public places and people have just walked away from him. I'm not saying that everyone has, but enough people to keep his mother and I worried. We really are grateful that you were there for him, and it means even more that you would come to see him. Reilly hasn't really had many friends."

"Um, it's no problem, but, it really was Aiden's idea to come over here." I admitted.

"Yes, I'm sure it was." Paul replied.

Huh? What the hell was that supposed to mean? The way he said it threw me, like I wouldn't have come over here on my own. Okay, so I wouldn't have. But still, I wondered why he had said that.

"You know, this is the first time that Reilly's been in a real school. He's a really smart kid, but early on his mother and I decided that he should be home schooled...we were trying to protect him, you know? He was always so small, so... fragile. He's had panic attacks since he was really young. I think it's because people intimidate him. We really did think we were helping him, keeping him home. But it also hurt him." he said sadly.

I wasn't sure why he was telling me this. It was strange to walk into a stranger's home and have them talk to you like they'd known you forever. I wasn't sure that I was comfortable with it, or with Paul telling me about Reilly, without Reilly there.

"We just wanted to protect him." Paul continued, "But he didn't have any experience with people that way. Reilly may be a bright kid, but he tends to be very sensitive too. He'll trust just about anyone. He's been hurt because of it. And now he's in school, because we think it's something that he has to go through. But, we still worry about him, his mother and I. We know that it's not easy and...well, we're just grateful that you were there when you were."

"It's no problem." I shrugged, still not sure why he was telling me any of this.

Paul was staring at me, making me feel uncomfortable. It almost seemed like he wanted to say something else, but instead he smiled and offered me his hand.

"Well, it was nice meeting you, Owen. You're welcome here anytime. Your friend too, Aiden, right?"

"Yeah." I nodded, shaking his hand. "Um, thanks Mr. Chesley."

"Paul." He called after me as I walked away, eager to get back to Aiden after that strange conversation.

I remembered Paul's earlier directions and found Reilly's room easily. The door was open and I could see that Reilly's room, unlike the rest of the house, minus the kitchen, was already organized and unpacked. His room was large, and seemed pretty simple, except that he had a lot of books. Walls of them actually. I guess that a guy like Reilly would have a lot of reading material, not having many friends.

I could see Reilly was perched on his bed. He looked different, wearing a pair of jeans and an un-tucked t-shirt, and I noticed that his glasses were gone. Without them you could see his face better, and he really did have an attractive quality to him when his face wasn't hidden behind those thick glasses. He was also looking at Aiden, who was looking over Reilly's book collection. I knew that look that Reilly was giving Aiden. I probably had it a lot. My boyfriend was hot, and obviously Reilly noticed. I guess that answered the question of whether or not he was gay.

And, of course I felt jealous, but it faded quickly because the only thing that mattered was that Aiden wasn't looking at Reilly in the same way.

"Don't worry," Aiden was saying as I knocked on the opened door to announce my presence, "just hang in there, and I told you before, you can come to me." They both looked towards the door, noticing me. I couldn't help noticing that Reilly looked disappointed to see me, but he smiled anyways and stood up.

"Hi." I said.

"Hi." Reilly replied, nervously taking a step forward, "Um, thanks for coming over, Owen. And um, thanks for the other day."

"No problem." I smiled.

"Ready to get going?" Aiden asked me. I was surprised. We had just gotten there. I had been almost positive that he would want to hang around for a while.

"Sure." I shrugged.

I was actually relieved that we were leaving. It was strange talking to Reilly's dad, and digesting what he had told me about Reilly. I really did feel sorry for the guy, even if he did have an obvious crush on my boyfriend. Meeting Reilly made me feel grateful though. Maybe I had lost a few friends this week, but I was happy that there were still a few people who I could count on. Reilly didn't have anyone, and while I had been alone before, there had always been someone who I could go to. Maybe Aiden was right. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to befriend Reilly Chesely. I still didn't think I needed any new friends right now. But Reilly obviously did, and not everything was about me.

After a quick goodbye, Aiden and I were in my truck again, heading home. Both of us seemed to be lost in our own thoughts. Aiden was probably thinking about whatever conversation he had had with Reilly, and I was thinking about what it would have been like to never have a friend in the world, to be constantly sheltered by your parents. But Reilly had good parents. He couldn't complain about that. At least, his dad was nice. I'm sure his mom was the same way.

As I thought about whether or not we would see more of Reilly, my mind flashed back to Friday night when Aiden had first suggested visiting him, and something clicked in my head.



"How did Reilly know that you and I knew each other?" I asked, "On Friday you mentioned that he said to thank me. How did he even know that you knew me?"

"Well," Aiden smiled, "I wasn't sure that I should tell you..."

"Tell me what?"

"Do you remember Tuesday? When Phil and Adam picked a fight with you and Ryan at school?"

"Like I'd forget." I mumbled.

"Well, do you remember afterwards? When I took you to the darkroom?"

"Yes." I said carefully, unsure of where this was going.

"We weren't alone in there." Aiden concluded.

It took me a second, but I understood what he was saying fast enough.

"That little shit!" I cursed, "He was in there? Reilly was there? He saw us?"

"Calm down." Aiden laughed.

"Calm down? Aiden, I kissed you in there, he saw us..."

"Owen, he won't say anything." Aiden insisted.

"Did you know he was here?" I demanded.

"Not at the time." Aiden replied, "But I can't blame him, Owen. He wasn't spying on us. He was hiding from Dennis."

"I guess." I frowned. I really couldn't blame Reilly for that. Besides, he was probably just scared when he saw us come in and didn't want to let us know that he was there.

When Aiden's hand fell on my knee I glanced over and saw that he looked concerned.

"Are you okay?" he asked me.

"Yeah." I managed to smile, "You're right. He won't say anything. Besides, it's probably a good thing that he saw us together."

"Oh?" Aiden raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah," I smirked, "At least that way he knows you're taken. That guy has a serious crush on you."

"Ya think so?" Aiden asked, feigning interest.


He just laughed at me and took my hand, holding it for the rest of the drive home.

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