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 Twenty-Two: Decisions

I glanced over at Aiden as we drove. I wasn't surprised that he had dozed off. All of that hiking, and even when we weren't hiking had been tiring. I almost felt bad about waking him up. But, I'd already run through the drive-through for fried chicken and now I was parking in front of the hotel.

I pulled off my jacket after putting the truck in park and then reached back for my longer coat. There was no way that I'd be checking into a hotel with a big come stain visible on my pants. As it was, I had to ask Chris to call ahead to make sure I got a room, being underage. Tony wouldn't do it because he was still trying to talk me out of going.

Fortunately, there was no trouble getting the room. The only trouble was finding parking, so it gave Aiden another ten minutes to sleep before I woke him up and we went inside. Room three-one-four. I don't think being in a hotel room alone together was a big deal for either of us. We were just happy to see a bed. Two beds, actually, not that we'd be needing both of them. And we had food. Food was good. I think we ate everything in a full ten minutes. And that's all we did. We ate and ate and when we were finally finished Aiden leaned back on one of the beds and smiled at me as I started to peel of my shirt, frowning down at the spot on my jeans.

"So what are we doing here, Owe?" he asked. "Not that I'm complaining...but you didn't want to camp, and I always figured that if you wanted to sleep in a bed we'd just go home."

"Do you want to go home?" I asked.

"Nuh-uh." He shook his head, "I'm happy right here...just curious."

"I figured we'd stay the night here. I want to go somewhere tomorrow." I replied.

"Where?" he asked.

"Somewhere fun." I smirked, dropping my pants and kicking them across the floor before I crawled up next to him, sliding my hand under his shirt as I made myself comfortable.

"Fun," he repeated thoughtfully, as he moved his hand up, over mine. "Does that mean were not leaving the room?" he raised his eyebrows suggestively at me and I attacked his stomach with my fingers, ticking him until he grabbed my wrist to stop me. It wasn't that I didn't like his idea; actually, it seemed like a pretty good one, to stay in the room all day tomorrow. I just liked hearing him laugh.

"Okay," he relented, "where are we going tomorrow?"

"I don't know," I smiled, leaning down to kiss his neck as he loosened his grip on my wrist and I slid my hand further up his shirt, over his chest, "I think I like your idea better. Let's just stay here all day."

"Okay." He leaned into me, placing his hand over mine again when my thumb brushed over his nipple. I laughed. It certainly hadn't taken him long to agree with me.

Aiden shot me a glare but closed his eyes as I moved my mouth over his brushing my tongue over his lips and when he opened for me I pulled back, smirking. He looked completely insulted when I climbed off the bed and headed for the bathroom, but when I looked back at him he was smiling, looking content.

I was glad Aiden seemed happy for the time being, I just hoped that he didn't fall asleep before I got back. I was in desperate need of a shower. After the day we had I could smell myself without lifting an arm, and I stank. I wanted to feel clean before I curled up with Aiden to go to sleep. I wanted to be clean especially if we weren't going to sleep.

I left the bathroom door open, probably because I had a habit of doing that. But, if Aiden wanted to consider it an open invitation that was just fine with me. And fortunately, he did.

I had just finished lathering my hair when I felt his arms close around me from behind and I turned around to face him. He was smiling at me as I poured more soap into my hands and began to massage it into his hair while he slid his hands down my back, resting his palms on my ass and pulling me forward until I felt his erection, hard against me and my body reacted naturally as my own cock began to harden.

"I'm glad we did this." Aiden mumbled, closing his eyes as I worked the lather into his hair.

I leaned forward as he tilted his head back and moved my tongue over his throat, avoiding the trail of soap running down his neck and Aiden's grip tightened around me as he moved closer, until we were practically standing in the same place.

"We still have to call your brothers and check in." Aiden reminded me.

"We'll call later." I mumbled against his neck as I turned him until his back was facing the water so I could rinse the soap out of his hair. "It's still early, they can wait."

"Right, so we'll risk Tony coming down here after us because he's worried." Aiden chuckled.

"Fine." I groaned "I'll call them. Later."

He smiled at me as I cupped the back of his head and pulled him down, kissing him, parting my lips and closing my eyes as his tongue abruptly thrust into my mouth. I pushed back against him, wrapping my arms around his back and pulling him closer against me until I felt his erection firmly against mine. It seemed like a comfortable feeling, just being there. But, as he deepened the kiss and moved his hand around, his fingers raking down my chest and over my stomach, I pulled away before the situation could escalate.

I definitely wanted more, but not in the shower. I wanted to get into a comfortable bed first. So I kissed Aiden's cheek before stepping back under the water to rinse off. Of course, Aiden didn't exactly make my wanting to wait any easier. I got the feeling that he wasn't trying to make it easier.

I knew that I should get out and go call Tony and Chris, if anything to get it over with. But, one tends to get distracted when a naked Aiden is in front of them smearing lather all over his chest, his arms, his legs, his ass...I was going to offer to do his back for him when he reached down and wrapped his hand around his erection, giving it a stroke, as if to wash it, but the way his hand tightened around his cock and moved slowly from the base up the length, and his thumb brushed over the head, caused my eyes to snap up to his. He was grinning, obviously teasing me.

It wasn't that hard for him to tease me, either. I'd been hard practically since Aiden got in the shower. I just shook my head at him, laughing, and then pulled back the curtain to get out, but Aiden suddenly wrapped his arm around me and pulled me up against his chest. I wrapped my arms around him and reflexively moved my lips over his, thrusting my tongue into his mouth and leaning into him as he reached down, cupping my balls, just enough to make me jump. I leaned into his hand but pulled away from the kiss, dropping my chin to his shoulder for a moment while I hugged him.

"Hurry up in here." I murmured against his neck, just before kissing him there, "I'm gonna go call my brothers."

Aiden kissed the side of my face before releasing me, running his hand from my neck to my ass as I got out and grabbed a towel, wrapping it around my waist on my way back out to the room. I found my bag, dropped near the side of the bed and opened it up, searching for the cell phone. My hand brushed up against the box of condoms and I paused, lifting them out of the bag.

Just holding them made me nervous, but it didn't really take a genius to figure out why I'd gone to the trouble of buying them. Or why I'd brought them along on our trip. I mean, I knew that I didn't have to do anything tonight, and Aiden didn't even have to know that I'd come prepared. There was no pressure at all. Except, I was definitely thinking about it.

From the beginning, I'd known that I'd want my first time with Aiden to be right. I didn't want to have any regrets. I didn't want Aiden to have any regrets, so I'd been taking my time. We'd been taking our time. But, ever since that night at Ryan's, when Aiden wanted to cross that line, I'd been thinking about it. A lot. Every time he touched me I was tempted. And now, the timing seemed right to me.

Aiden said he loved me. And I knew I felt the same way, only, I hadn't exactly said it back yet. I was having a hard time finding the right time. But I guess maybe, there was no right time for things like that. I would say it to him. I knew that I wanted to. But maybe I just needed to stop thinking so much and let everything happen naturally.

I decided that I'd worry about all that later, shoving the condoms back into my bag and lifting out the cell phone. I dialed the number and dropped face down on the bed with my feet hanging off as I propped myself up on my elbows, bringing the phone to my ear as I waited for someone to answer.



"Owen," he sighed, "You're there?"

"We're at the hotel." I explained, "Just checked in. Everything's fine."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure." I stated.

"Alright." He said after a moment, "You remember our agreement for when you get back?"

"I remember." I frowned. I knew that Tony just cared about me, but sometimes it got annoying. "I'll talk to Ben...just, give me this weekend to not think about it, alright?"

"That's fair." He agreed. "When will you be home?"

I started to answer but bit back a gasp instead when the towel around my waist was suddenly yanked away and I felt Aiden's warm hands on my ass as he climbed up on the bed between my legs. I felt him pulling my cheeks apart and didn't even have time to look back before I felt his breath against my cleft and then his tongue circling my sphincter. I at least moved the phone away from my mouth before I moaned.

"Owen?" Tony called.

"Yeah, sorry." I replied, sucking in a breath as Aiden pressed against my hole with his tongue, just enough to make it twitch as he pushed my legs further apart with his knees. "Um, we'll be home in time for dinner. I gotta go Tony."


"I'll call you in the morning." I said quickly, "Bye." I hung up the phone and dropped it, just as Aiden pushed his tongue in, past my sphincter. I wanted to yell at him for doing that while I was on the phone with Tony, but as he pushed in further and pressed his thumb against my perineum, all was forgiven as my eyes rolled back and I groaned against the mattress.

I lifted my hips, pressing back against him and he took the opportunity to slide his arm under me, pulling back, up onto my knees. I felt his tongue move up my cleft and then his mouth over my back as his finger replaced his tongue against my hole. It didn't escape my attention that I was completely comfortable with him there, either. I sat up on my knees and leaned back against his chest as his teeth nipped at my ear and I pushed back against his finger, wanting Aiden to know that I was comfortable with it too, when he seemed to hesitate.

Something about my actions seemed to make him happy because he groaned softly against my ear before his arm tightened around my chest and I felt his digit push past my entrance. He'd done it quickly, pushing in as far as he could go and there had been a slight sting, given the lack of lube and it caused me to gasp and jump, but the discomfort faded quickly and was replaced with the feeling of his finger moving inside of me.

It was strange, feeling something inside like that. I guess it had been a little strange the first time he'd done it. It was a feeling that I wasn't yet accustomed to, but I wasn't complaining. I was actually surprised with myself, pushing back against him, wanting more of that feeling, and he hadn't even hit my prostate yet.

I had a flashback of Dan. It wasn't a sexual one, like I was picturing him there with me instead of Aiden, or anything like that. It was rather, a memory. I remembered the way that Dan always liked when I did to him, exactly what Aiden was doing to me, and he never seemed completely satisfied, always pushing back against me, like he wanted more. And now, I finally understood how he felt.

I wanted more of that feeling, even that initial sting of being penetrated. I wanted to be filled up and to feel Aiden in me, on me, against me. I didn't really care, I just wanted more. The idea scared the hell out of me, but I felt like I was ready for it. And if I wanted things to happen naturally, well, nothing felt more natural than when he hit my prostate and I lurched up, pressing back against him as I turned my head and his lips were waiting for mine.

I closed my eyes, pressing back against his tongue as it entered my mouth slowly, the same time that his finger brushed up against my spot again. My body clenched around him and my breath itched. I could feel my knees shaking and that familiar jolt in my balls, but somehow managed to hold off coming as I moaned and then spoke against Aiden's mouth.


Well, that definitely wasn't he had been expecting to hear, but his finger froze, motionless inside of me as he pulled back, looking concerned.

"Does it hurt?" he asked, looking dumbfounded.

Hurt wasn't the word that I would use, but at the moment my ability to form words was limited so I just leaned in and kissed him again, reaching back and taking his wrist as I guided his finger to withdraw and I turned around, wrapping my arms around him and pulling him against me, grazing his cock with mine. Aiden's hands moved loosely to my shoulders, still uncertain, even as I cupped the back of his neck, moving my fingers through his shower-damp hair as I thrust my tongue into his mouth, urgently against his. When I pulled back I found myself kissing his face, moving my lips over his chin, up to his cheek as I felt his breath, hard on my face.

"Get my bag." I mumbled out, glancing behind him where it rested on the floor.

I watched his dark eyes narrow curiously before he did what I asked, reaching over the bed. He didn't need to bother grabbing the whole bag, as soon as he reached in, his hand hit the box of condoms, and the lube wasn't that far away from them. Lifting them both he regarded me curiously, while my eyes seemed to drift between Aiden and what he was holding.

"You're sure?" he asked.

I looked between the condoms and the lube, not really needing to ask myself that question but finding it necessary, nonetheless. And finally my eyes rested on his member, completely erect, sticking up against his stomach, and admittedly, as much as my body was saying don't talk, just do, I couldn't keep that intruding thought of you want to put that where? >From entering my mind. It was definitely bigger than a finger, and I had enough trouble getting it all in my mouth, so I couldn't help the doubt I was feeling. But, it all dwindled down to one thing, I wanted it.

I moved my hand from his knee, up his thigh to his waist and as he leaned forward I wrapped my arms around him, closing my eyes as he kissed me and I guiding him back, over me as I sank back against the pillow.

I'd only been in this situation once before, and I'd been on the other end of it. I'd also heard that for the first time it would have been easier if I was facing the other way, but I didn't care. In a sense, I was still terrified of what was coming and at some point I'd need to relax for it to happen. I'd never be able to relax if I couldn't see Aiden.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. Part of me just wanted to get this first time over with so I wouldn't have to worry about it any more, but Aiden didn't seem to be in any hurry at all. He dropped the condoms and lube on either side of me and when I felt his hands on my knees I tried to be as cooperative as possible as he guided my legs apart, moving closer to me until the backs of my thighs were resting on his parted knees and I felt the shaft of his erection resting against my balls.

Aiden began to pull away from the kiss but I cupped the sides of his head, holding him to me as I thrust my tongue into his mouth, so he stopped pulling away and pressed back as he moved his body down over me, pressing his chest against mine as he wrapped an arm around my lower back, causing my body to arch while he gently pulled the pillow out from under my head with his free hand, until my shoulders were flat on the mattress.

When he did pull back to look at me I found myself pushing his hair back, out of his face and arching up when he wrapped his hand around my erection, surprising me. I hoped that he knew that if he kept that up, it would be over before it started.

"Just do it fast." I said worriedly, causing Aiden to give me an inquisitive look, eyebrows raised as he bit his bottom lip.

"You're scared?" he asked quietly.

I gave him a look that I hoped would tell him how stupid that question was, and he smiled at me.

"We can do it the other way." he suggested, "I don't mind, Owe. You don't have to do this."

Now that was tempting, the idea of flipping Aiden over and driving into him until he came, but not what I wanted. Not this time. I moved my hand over his, wrapped around my erection, and lifted my head, pressing my lips lightly against his before I fell back against the bed again.

"I want to." I insisted, "Just... do it fast."

He gave me a reassuring smile before dropping his mouth down to kiss my neck as he released my cock to fondle my balls, rolling them against his fingers as I took in a breath and arched up against him.

"No." he mumbled as I tilted back my head and he moved his tongue against my throat, before lifting his head to kiss my chin, looking at me as his hand moved lower, fingering my perineum. "Do you trust me?"

I nodded, closing my eyes and sighing as he moved his mouth over mine and I felt his finger brush against my hole.

"Then relax." He insisted, just before I opened for him and he pressed his tongue into my mouth. I jumped when I felt his finger press deliberately against my hole and he withdrew his arm from around my back. I could vaguely hear the snap of the cap to the lube as he moved his mouth to my ear, nipping at my lobe before kissing down my neck, and then over my chest.

I buried my fingers in his hair as I felt his finger against my entrance again, massaging the lube around my sphincter before he pushed in, this time easily. I let out a breath and lifted my hips of the bed, towards him as his digit moved inside me, the familiar feeling taking over as he hit my prostate and his mouth moved over my nipple, his tongue flicking out, causing it to harden.

I lifted my knees, spreading them apart as he moved lower, pushing his finger deeper, leaving my prostate and then pressing against it again, just enough to make my jump as his mouth moved past my navel and I tightened my grip in his hair as his tongue flicked out against the head of my cock before his mouth moved over it, sucking gently.

I almost objected to this treatment, knowing that I'd never last before we actually got around to the act that I was interested in at the moment, but as his mouth slid down my cock, warm and wet and his tongue pressed against my shaft, I found my eyes rolling back while I gripped his hair, holding him there and thrusting my hips off the bed until I felt his throat tighten around the head of my cock and I groaned.

I opened my eyes, feeling lightheaded as I glanced down at him, peering up at me from under heavy eyelids while his head began to bob over my cock and I rocked my hips lightly, in time with him, pressing up into his mouth and then pushing back against his invading digit.

As my head fell back against the mattress I felt a slight pressure against my ass and instinctively stretched my legs wider as he worked a second lubed finger into me. He moved slow, rotating his fingers as I lifted my hips off the bed, his mouth moving down the length of my shaft and his throat against the head of my cock, distracting me from the small moment of discomfort as he suddenly pushed both fingers in deep.

I groaned, arching up and releasing his hair, wanting to avoid pulling it out as I gripped the bedspread. It sounded like an echo, hearing myself groan as he pushed deliberately over my spot again. I felt a tug in my balls and my body clamped down around him while my eyes rolled back as I came against his tongue, still moving over the head of my cock.

But, the electric feeling that seemed to shoot through my body, practically numbing my legs didn't end as he continued to stroke over my prostate, and when I stopped coming my reaction was delayed when his mouth suddenly dropped over mine and his tongue thrust into my mouth.

As I recovered from the abrupt orgasm, I felt more pressure against my hole, this time whimpering against his mouth as he began to work a third finger in, which seemed impossible to me at this point. It was almost painful this time, although not something I couldn't handle. But the feeling of stretching, being entered more fully felt somewhat overwhelming as my cock, still sensitive from my orgasm brushed against his stomach. And I was still hard. My erection had hardly deflated after coming and that had never happened to me before. I raised my knees higher and pushed back against his fingers, curving inside me to hit my prostate, and then as I recovered from the intense sensations invading my body I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer, pressing my tongue back against his.

Aiden groaned when I moved my hand between our bodies and wrapped it around his cock, squeezing lightly as I lifted my head from the bed and deepened the kiss, and as he thrust his fingers in deeper, I reached to the side, grabbing the box of condoms and struggled to tear it open. Somehow, what kind of condom we used no longer seemed as important as it had that morning when I was buying them.

Aiden pulled back from the kiss, his lips looking as swollen as mine felt as he pushed his hair out of his face and breathing heavily, he looked at me as I managed to tear a condom away from the pack and I tore the wrapper.

"Do it now." I insisted, feeling so stretched that I didn't think it was possible to be any more ready for him. My hands were shaking when I moved the condom over his erection, stretching the rubber to get it over the head, and as I began to roll it down his shaft he placed his hand over mine, causing me to look up at him and away from the blue condom that I'd been staring at, stretching over his cock.

When Aiden's eyes caught mine he leaned down and kissed me, just softly. That kiss seemed so out of place, considering that everything else about the moment seemed to be moving so fast. My breathing. My heartbeat. My hands were shaking because I felt like I couldn't get the damned condom on him fast enough. I'd just come and I felt like I already needed to again, and I was pushing back against his fingers. But when I tried to deepen the kiss Aiden only kept it light, until my breathing began to even out some and I slowly lifted my hands to cup the back of his neck, closing my eyes as he gingerly rested his forehead against mine, and as he suddenly withdrew his fingers from my body I grunted a small protest and my eyes snapped open, disliking the sudden empty, cold feeling that seemed to be left behind.

I leaned into him as he kissed the side of my face and guided my hand away from his cock, laughing softly when I didn't seem to want to let go. But, I wasn't laughing. Some of that panic seemed to come back as he began to apply a generous amount of lube over the condom, and when I felt the head of his cock, pressing against my ass I felt myself tense as my arms went around his back, only holding him loosely even while my fingers nervously dug into his back.

"You okay?" he whispered. I must have gone completely tense because Aiden had stopped moving and now his hands were on my shoulders, rubbing gently. I let out a breath and nodded against the side of his head before I pulled back and looked at him.

Yeah. This was definitely what I wanted. And I thought I was ready for it this time. Not just physically, but emotionally too. I knew that I could wake up in the morning without regretting anything.

I reached up, running my fingers through his hair as I cupped the back of his head and pulled him down to me, moving my mouth over his and kissing him gently this time, the way that he'd kissed me before. He moved his hand under me, and I lifted my hips slightly off the bed to make it easier for him.

I could still feel his cock, pressing against my hole and the lube sliding against my skin, and as I deepened the kiss I pushed back against him, feeling comfortable like that. At least, it was comfortable until he suddenly pressed forward. Hard.

At first I jumped, but his hand slid around to my hip, keeping me there and the pressure against my sphincter felt like I'd just been hit, but as he quickly pressed forward, the head of his cock sliding in through my entrance, I bit back whatever disgruntled groan threatened to escape my throat and I buried my face against his neck.

I'd expected it to hurt, I really had. But, expecting it didn't really take away from the surprise. For a second I had the urge to scream at him for causing that burning pain that seemed to be searing through my ass at the moment, and my fingers, which had previously loosened their grip on his back, dug into his shoulders. Instinct told me to tell him to take it out, but remembering how I'd been on the opposite end of this scenario before, I kept my mouth shut, knowing that it would be easier if he just didn't move, which he didn't.

He was already kissing my face, moving his mouth to my ear and flickering his tongue out over my earlobe, sending a chill down my body as his hand moved in a soothing circle against my hip.

I, for the most part, just laid there with my eyes clamped shut, desperately willing my body to relax. As it was, my cock had already started to deflate and I was just about ready to call the whole thing off, when that initial pain started to subside and then, he was just there, like a dull ache.

As I gradually began to move my hands up and down his back I could feel him shaking, trying to hold still as I leaned into him where he was kissing my neck. I began to flex my muscles experimentally against him and his breath hitched. He began to pull back to look at me as I slid my hands down his back again, this time reaching down and cupping his ass, pulling him into me, and as his cock slid further in it expelled surprised groans from both of us.

I felt Aiden's fingers, digging into my hip as he moved his lips over mine, kissing me, and when he suddenly pressed in further, until I felt his balls against me I gasped against his mouth, trying to relax enough to accommodate him.

But I liked it. I liked the feeling. Past that initial pain I liked feeling filled, except, filled didn't seem to describe it. It felt more like, tight. I hadn't been aware that it could feel tight on the receiving end, but that was the word that came to mind.

And then he began to move. I wasn't sure I wanted him to move yet. It wasn't really painful, but I was just getting used to feeling him there. I didn't complain though. I slid my hands down to his waist, holding him in a way that gave me a sense of some control over the situation, my hands following him as he withdrew slowly, and then pulling him forward as he thrust back in.

After his first few thrusts he cupped my ass, lifting my hips slightly off the bed and as he thrust in again the head of his erection slid over my prostate, causing me to arch up and my cock twitched, quickly springing back to life as he aimed his thrusts for that spot, and I began to push back against him, lifting my hips and pacing myself in time with him.

I began to tighten my muscles, squeezing him on his thrusts. It hadn't been deliberate at first, but when Aiden's back arched and he pushed in harder in response, it became deliberate as I realized that he liked it, and I found that it caused him to speed up his actions, which I liked, long, deep strokes.

I cupped the back of his head, pulling him closer as I turned my head and kissed his neck, pulling his skin between my teeth and he moaned against my ear as I slid my hand down his back, dipping my fingers into the cleft of his ass and lightly pressing against his hole as I pulled him towards me and he thrust in again.

Aiden turned his head, and I opened as I felt his tongue against my lips, sliding past my teeth and into my mouth. I lifted my knees against his sides as he began to thrust in harder and I positioned my finger against his ass, rubbing over his small puckered sphincter every time he moved. I took in a breath as he whimpered against my mouth and slid his hand between our bodies, wrapping his fingers around my erection and expertly stroking me as his thrusts became harder and faster, more deliberately striking my prostate.

I could feel his body tense, arching upwards and I purposely tightened my muscles around him again as I lifted my head, thrusting my tongue into his mouth and swallowing his groan as he came, still thrusting and stroking my cock, and I held him tighter, pulling his chest down against mine as I spent myself between our bodies. I moved my arms up, wrapping them around him as his weight collapsed over me and he breathed against my ear, kissing it.

"That was so right," I murmured, my breathing still labored, sounding like I was talking to the room rather than anyone in particular, "you can do that...anytime you want."

Aiden turned his head, closing his eyes as he pressed his lips gently against my still parted ones before he tiredly dropped his head back alongside mine, as if unable to hold it up any longer.

We were both still damp from the shower, sweating now as the air in the room slowly cooled our skin. I closed my eyes, sated as his cock began to slowly deflate inside of me and I clamped down on it again, refusing to let him slip out just yet as he sighed and whispered against my ear.

"I love you, Owen."


I woke up feeling different. I wasn't sure what it was. Maybe it was because I was in an unfamiliar bed, or maybe it was because I still needed another shower after last night. Maybe it was because my butt was still sore. It was uncomfortable, but thinking about the reason why I was sore made me smile. Only, even before I opened my eyes I felt like I was going to get emotional. It was that same feeling you get after waking up from a bad dream, but it didn't really make sense for me because I'd slept perfectly last night.

I slid my hand across the bed, reaching for Aiden, but when I didn't find him there I realized what that strange feeling was all about. He wasn't there, and realizing that made me feel panicked and abandoned. It was probably unreasonable; in fact I knew it was. But, after last night I didn't like the feeling of waking up alone.

As soon as I realized that Aiden wasn't there I was sitting up an opening my eyes, unable to help the way that I felt relieved when I realized that he wasn't far away at all. It looked like he'd just taken another shower and now he was buttoning up his shirt, but when he saw that I was awake he moved right back over to the bed and laughed when I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him down with me.

"Don't do that." I mumbled, closing my eyes and burying my face against his neck. Now that he was back with me, I wasn't opposed to going back to sleep. "I thought you left."

"And where would I go?" he smiled.

I hummed my I don't know and took in a deep breath against his neck. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those days that I didn't want to let go of him. In a way that made me feel pathetic, but I didn't care, because at the moment I was happy.

"It's getting late." Aiden warned me when he realized that I was about to fall asleep again, but he didn't try to move, instead he tightened his arm around my back, "If you wanted to do stuff today you should get up."

"Uh-uh." I groaned.

"Alright." He sighed, and then proceeded to tickle me until my eyes snapped open and I pushed him away, onto his back before I turned over and straddled him, wincing when my ass came to rest of his waist, reminding me that it was still sore, and causing Aiden to laugh again.

"You okay?" he asked.

I smiled, nodding before he cupped the back of my neck and I leaned down to kiss him.

"Go take your shower." Aiden smiled when I pulled back, placing his hands on my hips and gently guiding me off of him. "I'll get breakfast."

I sighed, nodding my agreement as I watched him stand up. I didn't even like the idea of being separated from him long enough to take my shower today. I'd never felt like that before, and it confused me. I'd never felt so dependant on another person's presence, and I had no doubt that it was all because of last night. After that, I just wanted to be with him, I wanted at least some part of me, touching him for as long as possible as a reminder that he was there.

It was difficult, trying to make sense of my feelings, and for a moment I felt guilty, remembering Dan again. After we'd had sex, all he wanted was for me to tell him that I'd loved him, really loved him, and I couldn't even do that. I'm not sure how I would have felt if Aiden did that to me. I'd probably be devastated. And with Dan, I'd left his house an hour after everything had happened. Now, I wished that I would have stayed longer, if anything, to just be with him, now that I understood how important that seemed to be.

Aiden seemed to sense something while I just stared at him because he smiled and then didn't hesitate to sit down again, opening his arms and letting me sink against him as he hugged me. I think the worst part was, that I had all of these strong feelings for Aiden and I couldn't even express them. And he was right there. All I had to do was open my mouth and tell him that I loved him, but every time I opened my mouth to do it I couldn't quite seem to get the words out.

All of a sudden I felt completely tongue-tied around Aiden. And it was aggravating. I didn't love Dan, not the way that he wanted me to, and he'd died three weeks later, before I'd ever had the chance to express how important he really was to me. I guess it put life into perspective in some ways. Maybe that explained why I was feeling so clingy with Aiden. I did love him, and I was trying to let him know how I felt without actually having to use the words. I don't know why I was having so much trouble saying them. But it was something that I was determined to get over.


Aiden jumped to the side, away from me as two boys and a very small girl pushed and shoved each other as they passed between us. Aiden waited as the frustrated mother ran after them, giving us an apologetic look before he smiled, took their picture and then moved to stand next to me again.

"We've been here for two hours and the only pictures you've taken have been of people." I pointed out.

Aiden smiled at me and then looked out into the African Wild Dog habitat where six of the animals were pacing near the fence at the far end, staring intently at the two Cape Buffalo on the other side, through the tall bushes. I sort of felt bad for the dogs. It seemed like a sick joke to place them next door to an open buffet that they'd never reach.

Aiden hadn't stopped smiling since we reached the zoo. But, like I'd said, the only subjects that had been able to get his camera's attention so far were the people. And there were plenty of people. It was definitely a busy Sunday, despite the cold weather and the fact that half of the zoo was shut down for the season.

"People are more interesting in pictures than animals," Aiden replied. "At least to me."

"And here I thought you'd like the zoo." I laughed.

"I do!" he insisted, "I've never been here before."

"Never?" I asked incredulously.

"Animals freak out my mom." He shrugged, "when I was little we went to places like water parks and fairs, as long as we stayed away from the animals," he smiled. "My mom really can't stand them. I remember when we were six Asher found this old homeless dog. It was really messed up, dirty, smelly, missing and eye, and it had this big bald spot on its butt from scratching fleas. He brought it home and asked if we could keep it."

"I'll bet your mom loved that." I smirked.

"You have no idea." Aiden shook his head. "Asher was so stubborn. Mom wouldn't let the dog inside and told him to get rid of it. But he wouldn't put it back out on the street. Mom actually cried when we both decided to sleep outside with it."

"What did your dad say?" I asked curiously.

"He went out and bought dog food." Aiden replied with a wan smile. "Anyways, the next day, Asher and I went all around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and asking people if they wanted a dog. They all took one look at him and slammed the door in our faces."

"What happened to the dog?" I frowned, not sure that I liked where this story was going.

"Well," Aiden smirked, "We couldn't find it a home, and we were pretty upset. But, when we were on our way home, mom pulled up beside us and told us to get in-with the dog. She'd been on the phone all day because she didn't want us sleeping outside with it again. She found a really nice lady who said that she'd take him...I think mom was crying the whole time in the car, with all the windows rolled down telling us to keep the dog away from her."

"But she helped you find it a home." I smiled, "I guess that was nice of her."

"Yeah." Aiden nodded. "She wasn't very happy when we all ended up with fleas, though."

"You had fleas?" I laughed.

Aiden made a face and scratched his head, as if remembering, causing me to laugh harder.

"Shut up." He smirked, "but yeah...it was really nice of her. I think that's one of the best memories I have of my mom. I know she said that she only did it to get her kids back in the house but...you know, she knew that it would break our hearts if we couldn't find him a home. She did it for us...that's how she used to be, before she started drinking. Before Asher died, everything my mom did was for us, even when she wasn't getting along with my dad, we always knew that we were important to her."

"I'm sure you still are." I replied, "Important to her, I mean."

"I know." he sighed. "It's just hard sometimes, Owe. She's been through this treatment thing before, and for a lot longer than two weeks. And things are always great when she comes back. You know, I look forward to it. It's like having my mom back for a while, but it's reached the point where I don't let myself get my hopes up, because it hurts so much more when things turn to hell again."

"Maybe you're right about this time." I suggested, even if I didn't quite believe it myself, "maybe this time...things will be different."

"I hope so." He sighed, "With all the other crap going on at home, I really need it to be different this time, Owen."

He had a thoughtful expression on his face, but he looked sad. I swore that if his mom hurt him again I was going to seriously hate the woman. Aiden didn't deserve that crap, and I wished that there was some way I could just fix it all for him, or at least make him feel better. But unfortunately, the only thing I could really do was be there for him.

I had that clingy feeling again, and all I wanted to do was reach out and take his hand. And then I thought, why the hell can't I? Sure, the zoo was completely crowded and I'm sure certain parents didn't want to explain it to their children when they asked, mommy why are those boys holding hands? But, I couldn't help thinking that it wasn't fair to Aiden and me not to be able to do all of those normal things that other couples did.

And I knew that the problem was mostly me. Aiden was out and I wasn't. But, I loved him. Maybe it was because we weren't in our own town, or maybe it was the attitudes of those hikers yesterday, or the fact that I wanted Aiden to know how I felt, that drove me to reach out and take his hand, lacing my fingers with his.

He didn't notice at first, he was still walking. But when he did notice he looked down at our locked fingers and then inquisitively at me, as if he was wondering if I was aware of what I was doing. I smiled at him, squeezing his hand to let him know that I did in fact know what I was doing.

Not that it didn't scare me. I was looking at Aiden, and only Aiden because I was afraid to see the reactions of other people. But, when Aiden gave me a small smile that seemed almost grateful, I realized that those other people didn't matter. He did. And it made me feel a little sick, to think that he would feel grateful over a simple gesture like holding hands.

It was such a small action for other people. For us, I guess it was a big thing. But it shouldn't have been. Aiden should be able to hold my hand whenever he wanted to, and vice-versa. I was pretty sure that we cared about each other just as much as any of the hetero couples, probably more than many of them. We should be able to show it. Unfortunately, I wasn't so sure that I'd feel this way when we got back home, but for now, I was going to enjoy the freedom of the moment.

As we walked like that, I began to feel a little braver and I looked around, into the faces of people passing. I guess you could say that I was surprised at how many people didn't notice us. There were a few people who even smiled at us, and then a few who gave us funny looks, and admittedly, I defensively stared them down until Aiden laughed and squeezed my hand, silently telling me to knock it off.

"Hey," he smiled, "come here."

He tugged my hand, nodding for me to follow him up a path leading to an enclosed exhibit. I don't think that Aiden actually knew where he was going; he was just looking for somewhere less crowded and more private.

People began to thin out as we reached the top of the hill and then we moved around a brick wall and down some stone stairs into an enclosed brick room with benches. The back wall was a large widow looking into an underwater pool with a polar bear swimming in it.

Of course, I was immediately distracted by the bear, and I released Aiden's hand and moved towards the window for a closer look. But before I could make it there, Aiden grabbed my arm and pulled me back to sit next to him on a bench. He was giving me another inquisitive look.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Why do you keep asking me that?" I smiled.

"I don't know." he shrugged, "maybe I'm asking now because you just outed yourself to who knows how many people and it's just not...like you."

"You've got a point." I admitted casually. Aiden laughed and nudged my shoulder with his.

"Seriously." He insisted, "What's gotten into you?"

"I don't know." I sighed. "Maybe I just don't care what people think anymore, at least the one's here...I don't know. I guess I just thought, I want to be your boyfriend."

"You already are." He smirked.

"Yeah." I smiled, "but I think we've got a pretty good thing going, I sort of wanted other people to know it too. I mean, there are still certain people that I'm afraid to tell, and I can't promise that I won't be afraid if I come out at school, but hiding it...it just feels wrong. Like, we're ashamed of it or something. And I'm not. I think I still have some thinking to do. But, I think some day soon, I won't care who knows the way I feel about you."

I found myself smiling at him, even if he was trying to analyze me at the moment, and I think I took Aiden, and myself, off guard when I suddenly leaned forward to kiss him without even checking to see if there was anyone around first. He didn't pull away, but he definitely seemed reserved, probably wondering if I'd lost my mind. Holding hands was one thing, public displays of affection were quite another.

I nipped at his bottom lip, pressing harder until he figured out that I wasn't going anywhere and he cupped the back of my head, closing his eyes and opening for me as I kissed him, and then I suddenly pulled back to look at him again, realizing that I wasn't finished.

"I do, you know." I said.


"Love you." I smiled, "It's just not easy for me to say. I'm not really good with all of that mushy stuff."

Aiden smiled and turned on the bench until he was straddling it, facing me. He placed his hand against my stomach and leaned forward until his cheek was resting lightly against mine, and his mouth was close to my ear.

"I know you do." He replied, "You don't have to say it, I do know." and then he laughed, "And you say mushy stuff all the time, you're just completely unaware of it. And, I love you too."


I felt sad, going home. There were things at home that I wasn't looking forward to dealing with. But, I guess it wasn't all bad. I felt closer to Aiden than ever after our trip, and I was actually looking forward to telling someone about it, like my brothers. I knew that they were worried about me, and I hoped that they would see that some time away was just what I needed.

The only drawback was, that now that I wanted to spend every moment possible with Aiden, we wouldn't have that much time. I knew that it was important for him to spend some time with his mom, and if that was what he needed, then I was going to give him the time to do that. Besides, he was probably right. There would be plenty of time for us, and if patching things up with his mom would make him happy, then I would be happy too.

We got home right before dinner, just like I'd promised Tony.

"Are you coming up to eat with us?" I asked Aiden as I handed him his bag and we headed towards the building.

"Let me check to see if my mom's around first." He replied. "She might have a meeting tonight, but if she's home..."

"Yeah." I smiled, repeating my thoughts aloud, "you should spend some time with her."

"If she's home I'll come up later." Aiden smirked at me, "I wouldn't want to go to sleep without saying goodnight."

"You'd better." I replied as we reached his door.

"Come in for a sec." He insisted, "I don't want you to go away yet."

I smiled at him and followed him inside, unprepared for the warmth that I found in his apartment. The lights were on, and the house smelled like food, being cooked in the kitchen. Even the television was on and it actually looked like someone was actively living there for once.

"Mom?" Aiden called.

I watched as Karen knightly came out of the kitchen with a smile on her face, and she looked good. Those dark circles that had been under her eyes were gone and she actually looked like something other than a zombie. There was definitely a change in her, and it brought a smile to Aiden's face as he went to hug her, not standoffish at all.

"You're back." she smiled, looking him over like mothers do, "did you have a good time?"

"Yeah. A really good time." Aiden grinned back at me, making me blush.

"You'll have to tell me all about it." Karen insisted, and then turned her attention to me. I felt a little nervous standing there, after the last time that I'd encountered her, and knowing that Aiden had told her that we're together. But now she was smiling, extending her hand, "Hi, Owen."

"Hi." I replied, taking her hand for only a brief moment.

"Hey, don't go anywhere." Aiden said to me, "I'm gonna go drop off my bag."

I nodded, feeling a little uncomfortable, being alone with his mother. Karen watched as Aiden disappeared down the hall before she turned to me again, and I was completely put on guard when her smile turned into something that looked more like caution.

"Owen," she started, "can I get you something to drink?"

"No thanks." I said quickly, suddenly wishing that Aiden would come back.

"You know, Aiden's been mentioning you. You really mean a lot to him."

I braced myself for the don't hurt my son speech, but said, "He means a lot to me too."

"I'm sure he does." Karen replied, nodding. "And I'm sure you know that Aiden and I have had our share of problems. I wasn't really sure if...if he should be living with me. I know he deserves better than I was giving him..." I was surprised at this admission, but I kept my mouth shut, feeling that it was wrong to agree with her, even if it was true. "But I've been doing a lot of thinking. I want another chance with him. He's my son...and I know that soon enough he's going to be moving out on his own...I need this chance with him."

"Aiden wants to make it work too." I offered, hoping that it was the polite thing to say. Besides, it was true.

"I know he does." Karen smiled, "Aiden always wants to make it work. And this time, I'm going to make it work too...he really does think a lot of you, Owen. And your brothers. I do too. I guess I just wanted to thank you, for looking after him. He's never really talked to me about one of his friends before...but I guess your more than a friend, aren't you?" I blushed, feeling put on the spot. What the hell did she expect me to tell her? "And I know you only want what's best for him." she continued, "just like I do. So I'm sure you'll understand that Aiden and I need our space right now."

I stared at her for a moment, trying to figure out what she meant by that last statement, but I didn't really like the serious tone in her voice.

"Aiden will have plenty of time for his friends later." Karen continued, "and special friends. I'm sure you understand, Owen. Right now, I think it's best for him to be with his family, so we can work on putting it back together, without distractions."

I really didn't like the sound of that. I found myself feeling angry. She was calling me a distraction? And just what the hell was she and her drinking problem?

"You're telling me to stay away from him?" I frowned, needing her to clarify.

"I'm telling you that I want what's best for him." she replied, carefully, "and right now, I think that he needs to be home with me. I heard what's going on with him at school...I think we need to deal with these things as a family. A...boyfriend, isn't a distraction that he needs right now."

I immediately bit my lip to keep from yelling at her. A distraction? And how did she know what was best for him? The woman was hardly there. And after this weekend, Aiden seemed like so much more than just a boyfriend to me. Now this woman was telling me to stay away from him? I felt sick to the stomach thinking about that scenario. I started to open my mouth to tell her just that, but Aiden reappeared, smiling at us, and I tried not to scream when Karen looked at me sweetly.

"Would you like to stay for dinner, Owen?" she asked.

Was she kidding me? I almost said yes, just to see what she would do. But, instead, I flashed her a disapproving look that I hoped Aiden couldn't see before I turned towards him and forced a smile.

"Actually, I should get home." I stated. "I wouldn't want my brothers to worry."

"Alright." Aiden smiled. "I'll see you later?"

"Uh, sure." I replied, feeling uncomfortable when he kissed my cheek in front of his mom, who was giving me a pointed look that told me that she'd been serious before. "Bye Aiden." he gave me a strange look when I walked out the door, probably because I'd gone rigid since he'd left to put his bag away.

I walked up the stairs, wondering what the hell I was supposed to do. Aiden wanted to work things out with his mom, I knew that much. If I told him what she said then there was always the possibility that he wouldn't want to believe me. He could end up angry with me, and I didn't want to lose him that way.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt to give Aiden and his mom some space. I'd planned on that anyways. Maybe I could keep my distance for a while, better than I'd thought. But, if Karen Knightly thought that I was just going to go away completely, then she could kiss my white, sore ass.

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