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

Lying on the bottom bunk face down, I sighed as I folded my arm under my head to prop it up and faced the wall to keep some of the light out of my eyes. It was hardly past ten o'clock on a Friday night and I felt exhausted. The day had been emotionally draining more than anything, and it had left me with mixed feelings, mixed thoughts, and no sense of direction when it came to how I should sort through them.

I let out a breath as I felt the one constant comfort I seemed to have return when Aiden sat down on the bed and let his hand slide down my bare back, until he teasingly decided to snap the elastic band of my boxers. I jumped somewhat, but couldn't help releasing a small chuckle as I rolled onto my back and placed my hand over his as it came to rest on my stomach. My boyfriend looked as tired as I did. His hair was down and it looked like he'd stepped into his grey sweats but hadn't bothered to pull them up all the way, just enough to cover his groin, and I had a good enough view of his butt because of the angle he was sitting. Even as tired as I felt, the view was enough to cause my eyes to wander, and Aiden to roll his eyes at me before he became more serious and moved to lay next to me as I stretched out my arm, so that it comfortably wrapped around him.

"Why didn't you ever mention it?" he asked, and I sighed. I knew exactly what he was talking about.

About thirty minutes before, as we drove home from the house that Leo and Jake shared, Aiden had finally asked me about some of the things that I talked about with Ben. It hadn't been that difficult for him to get me talking. I'd come to so many personal revelations and had been fed so many upsetting, confusing facts today that I needed to vent it somewhere, so I told Aiden everything that had happened at the mall with Dennis Gordon, and that led us to talking about the conversation that I'd had with Ben afterwards. Somewhere in there, I'd mentioned that last day with my parents, what had happened, what had led up to my entire downfall, and Dan. It was Dan who caught Aiden's attention when I mentioned the car accident. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I'd never really given Aiden the whole story until after I said it out loud.

"A few reasons." I admitted. "A lot of it was because... I don't like talking about Dan. It's hard, you know? I was never able to give him what he wanted and then he died. I always felt guilty about that. He was also the first person I ever really lost. At the time, he was the only one who understood me, so when he died... I don't know, I guess I lost it... and I don't like to remember." I tried to force a smile to mask the troubled emotions I was feeling and turned my head towards Aiden. "The other reason... I think it was because I didn't know how to tell you. Every time I really thought about it, was after you mentioned your brother or your dad and... I don't know. I didn't want you to think that I was comparing losing Dan to you losing your family."

"You thought that I'd think you were competing?" Aiden asked incredulously, but with no anger in his voice.

"I guess it sounds stupid." I admitted.

Aiden reached for my hand and I felt myself shifting even closer and sliding my knee between his thigh as he laced his fingers with mine.

"I wouldn't have thought you were trying to compare tragedies," Aiden said. "Just so you know, Owen, there's nothing that makes your losing Dan any less important than me losing my dad and Asher. We could have talked to each other about it... if you'd told me then at least I would have known that you understood."

"We can still talk about it," I pointed out the obvious, and then lightly began to rub his back when he pouted. "You're not mad at me, are you?"

Aiden released a small groan as he tilted his head forward until our noses were touching and he closed his eyes.

"No, I'm not mad. I get why you didn't want to talk about it. I won't hold it against you if it was too hard. It's just... I keep waiting for you to open up to me, Owen. It's like every time I turn around with you there's another surprise."

"At least I'm not boring." I smirked, and Aiden gave me a pointed look before he smiled too and kissed the tip of my nose.

"I guess you're getting better." he admitted as he tried to wedge himself even closer to me, until I could feel his semi-hard erection pressing up against my thigh. I responded by sliding my hand down to his butt and tucking my fingers into the elastic band that was already low on his cheek, where we both seemed to settle in comfortably. "I'm glad you called me today, Owe."

I just smiled at him, feeling content there in our bed, on top of the blankets, with his breath lightly hitting my cheek. I knew he was happy that I'd talked to him today, and he was definitely happy that I'd called him and asked him to meet me with Ben and Leo. I guess he was just happy to be included. But the truth is, before I called Aiden from the mall parking lot earlier... I didn't give it a second thought. I don't think I could have imagined Aiden not being there today.

"I love you." I said quietly, and then blinked. It seemed strange, those words coming out of my mouth like that. No more than a week ago I was convinced that I'd never be able to say them comfortably, but now they seemed to pop out of my mouth without warning. That was alright, though. Those words never failed to make Aiden smile, and they always, always, got me kissed. I closed my eyes when his mouth came over mine, thinking that I could fall asleep very comfortably knowing that he was kissing me. But, it was over too soon, and he was pulling back, causing me to open my eyes and I found that he was curiously watching me.

"Are you doing alright?" he asked me, in a more serious tone. My smile faded with the question, but I gave him a small nod. I didn't really respond further. I knew what Aiden was asking, but I was too tired to discuss it, let alone think about it, and when I let my head drop and closed my eyes again, Aiden seemed to understand because he cupped the back of my head with one hand and reached to turn of the bedside light with the other. In the dark, I shifted closer to Aiden, preferring the warmth of his body to the covers, and as I closed my eyes I tried to think of anything except for the one person who had been occupying my thoughts way too much lately. Dennis Gordon. Too bad it didn't work.

This morning when I woke up and headed for school, I'd wondered if he'd be there, and if he was alright. By the afternoon I'd both seen Dennis, and realized why I had such an obsession with helping him. An hour after that, I was in Jake and Leo's house, the one that Chris was thinking about buying, with Aiden sitting next to me, Ben in the kitchen ordering food, and Leo in front of the television, pretending that he was trying to decide which movie to play while he simultaneously talked to us about a difficult subject that I was beginning to regret bringing up in the first place.

When I first asked Ben what had happened between himself and Dennis, the question seemed innocent enough to me. When Ben insisted that Leo be around for it, I began to suspect that it was even more serious than I had originally thought. As soon as Ben and I reached the house I realized that it had probably been a mistake to even ask, because Leo was already agitated when we walked through the door. Ben had told Leo exactly what he wanted to talk about when he'd called him, and obviously, Leo didn't take the news very well. The whole time I'd been waiting for Aiden, Leo and Ben had been in the kitchen arguing in lowered voices. It mostly just sounded as if Leo needed to calm down and Ben was trying to convince him to do so.

After Aiden had arrived things calmed down, though. . . unless you count the fact that Leo was suddenly unable to stop complaining about Dennis Gordon, and Aiden was looking at me like it was all my fault.

"You can't trust him," Leo stated with a pointed look over his shoulder at me. "I can understand why you might feel sorry for him, Owen, but don't. He's an asshole, just as bad as the rest of his family."

"Don't you think you're being a little over dramatic, baby?" Ben called from the kitchen.

"No," Leo retorted gruffly, and then turned his attention back to Aiden and me... but mostly me. "You should stay away from him. You'd be an idiot to want to help that jackass with anything."

"Leo." Aiden frowned, with a hint of a protective tone in his voice and I looked at him, feeling somewhat surprised. I would have thought that Aiden would agree with Leo on this, but I guess he didn't like the tone that our friend was using with me. At least it seemed to defuse some of Leo's frustration, because he smiled at us and let out a breath.

"Sorry, Owen. It's just that, I know Dennis a lot better than you do. I've been there with him. I know that it's easy to look at his family, and see how they treat him and want to help, but the thing is, it's pointless. He doesn't want help. I'm not saying that he's happy, because I'm sure he's not, but the thing is... in the end, Dennis is going to be just like them. In a lot of ways he already is. You really shouldn't trust him." Leo glanced towards the kitchen and raised his voice somewhat, "Ben learned that the hard way."

"What happened?" Aiden asked, and I leaned into him, just as curious to know as he was. After all, I was the one who'd asked the question in the first place. But, before Leo could answer, Ben came out of the kitchen looking frustrated and sending a glare at his boyfriend.

"Don't act like I made some huge mistake that you saw coming." Ben snapped, and then calmed somewhat as he looked at Aiden and me. "Dennis was Leo's friend. They were really good friends when Leo and I started seeing each other."

"Don't remind me." Leo rolled his eyes.

"Well someone needs to," Ben remarked, "because you're acting like you forgot about it. Trust me, I don't exactly care for Dennis, either. But, hating him isn't going to help anything, Leo. Saying you absolutely can't trust him doesn't sound fair, either."

"I can't trust him!" Leo snapped. "No one can!"

"Oh?" Ben raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms. "Who was the first person that you told you were gay?"

"That was different!" Leo immediately said, sounding defensive.

"You told Dennis?" I blurted, interrupting the argument that was about to erupt from the other couple and causing them to both look in my direction. "Dennis was the first person you told?" I asked Leo, definitely surprised by this news."

"How did he react?" Aiden asked curiously, obviously interested in the details.

"I think you'd be surprised," Ben answered for Leo, probably because Leo looked disgruntled by this entire conversation. He did seem to calm down, though, when Ben slipped an arm around his back and they sat down together.

"He didn't freak out." I said blankly, and then looked between Aiden and the other two. "Did he?... I mean, he didn't freak out when I told him about me. I was surprised then, but... I don't know. It doesn't really make sense, with the family he has. I mean, look at Adam. He likes everyone, but it seems like his family is just as homophobic as Dennis's... but Adam's is freaked out by the gay thing and Dennis just... acts like he is."

"Oh no." Aiden suddenly groaned, and I looked over at him curiously as my boyfriend stared at Leo with a disbelieving look on his face.

"What?" I asked, looking between Leo and Aiden, noticing that Leo suddenly looked uncomfortable.

"I don't think he's gay, Aiden." Leo said, and suddenly I understood what had by boyfriend so disturbed. "I mean, I can't be sure. He likes girls, he always has, but..."

"He's probably bisexual leaning towards Leo." Ben remarked, and that immediately got my attention.

"You and Dennis?" I demanded, looking at Leo, who was becoming flustered.

"It was nothing." Leo replied through gritted teeth.

"I don't see why you can't even admit to it." Ben said nonchalantly to his boyfriend. "We all know that Dennis is an asshole but even I can see why you'd be attracted to him. He is sort of..."

"Will you just stop it?" Leo demanded.

"He's hot." Ben finished, and I noticed that Aiden looked over at me, wanting to see my reaction. I just frowned at him, hoping that he didn't think I was attracted to Dennis. It was weird enough knowing that Dennis Gordon wasn't Mr. Hetero himself... and that he and Leo might have...

"Am I the only one who doesn't know how to respond to this?" Aiden remarked after a moment of silence, and then looked sorry when Leo finally lost his patience and stormed out of the room. Ben sighed, and Aiden looked at me, almost apologetically, as if it was his fault that Leo was upset. But, I knew better. This was my fault, and that's probably what prompted me to get up and follow Leo.

I found him in the back yard, which hadn't changed much since the last time that I was there. He was digging around an old tool box when I approached him, and I watched as he removed a hidden pack of cigarettes and a lighter before he glanced over his shoulder at me.

"Close the door." he stated, and I did as he asked as I watched him light up, and then cough on the smoke.

"You smoke?" I asked.

"No." he stated, even as he took another drag. "I quit. Ben hates it."

"Oh... look, Leo, I'm really sorry. I was just curious about Dennis and Ben when I saw how they looked at each other at the mall. I didn't know it would cause any trouble. If I knew, I wouldn't have asked."

Ben studied me for a long moment and then shook his head.

"You didn't start any trouble, Owen. I just... hate talking about Dennis, and I really don't like admitting that there was a time when we didn't hate each other. .. He's just.... not that person anymore."

"But you guys...." I started hesitantly, "you and Dennis...."

"It was a long time ago, Owen." Leo sighed. "It was never anything serious, but then Ben came into the picture and Dennis just... changed."

"Was he jealous of Ben?" I asked.

"I don't know," Leo shook his head. "Maybe. Probably. It was a lot more complicated than that." I thought that Leo was blowing me off when he moved over to the same picnic table I'd passed out on the night that Aiden brought me to a party over here, but when he sat down, he waved me over. I went silently, and as I took a seat up on the table with him, my feet on the bench, he continued. "You wanna know how Dennis reacted when I told him I was gay?"

"How?" I asked, when Leo didn't continue.

After taking another dag from the cigarette and then abruptly putting it out, Leo's shoulders slumped a little and he let out a breath. "He was scared, Owen. When I told Dennis... I was so afraid that he'd hate me. At the time, I was afraid everyone would hate me. I mean, I knew that Ryan hung out with Ben, and everyone knew about Ben... I don't know why I told Dennis first. His family was fucked up back then too, you know? I was one of the few people his parents would let him even have over, but that was alright because we really were friends. He cared about me... at least, I thought he cared about me. When I told him... he was scared."

"He was afraid that if anyone found out they'd think he was gay too?" I asked, reminded of the current situation I found myself in with Adam.

"No," Leo sighed. "That's the thing, Owen. I don't think he cared about that. I mean, he didn't care about it as much as he cared about me getting hurt. He'd convinced himself that if anyone ever found out I was gay, that something would happen to me. He kept saying, I don't want you to get hurt. And, you know what the sad thing was? When he begged me not to tell anyone because he was worried about me, I actually got scared too. It wasn't until after I really started talking to Ben that I realized that there wasn't anything to be afraid of-and Dennis knew that, too. He wasn't afraid what would happen if anyone found out... he was afraid of what would happen if his family did."

"Leo... didn't he have a reason to be afraid, though?" I wasn't exactly sure what Leo was getting at right now. It seemed to me that Dennis really had been a friend to Leo at one point, and I could hardly blame him for being afraid of what his parents might do if they had discovered that one of his friends happened to be gay.

"Yeah, he did." Leo nodded. "But...like I said, it was complicated. His family might have been a big problem for him... but Dennis was a problem, too. Before Ben, Dennis was really the only one who knew I was gay. When I started spending time with Ben... he wasn't exactly happy about it. Like I said, I was one of the few people his parents would allow him to have over, and I think maybe he was upset that... I wasn't spending as much time with him. He sort of didn't like it that when I was with Ben, I wouldn't mess around with him anymore, either."

"So you and Dennis really were...." I just couldn't picture it.

"It really wasn't a big deal." Leo was quick to say. "I mean... I guess it was sort of a big deal to me, at the time, but that's only because Dennis was the only guy I'd ever been around who would..."

Leo frowned and roughly ran his fingers through his hair. It was obvious that he wasn't exactly comfortable with this discussion. To be honest, I couldn't blame him. I was feeling somewhat uncomfortable just knowing that Dennis Gordon could have some underlying interest in his own gender.

"Anyways," Leo shook his head, as if to clear it, "I never thought that Dennis was interested in anything more than a little fucking around here and there. But, after Ben came into the picture... Dennis sort of started to show more of an interest. He didn't like Ben from the beginning. Ben was already pretty much out and Dennis was afraid that if people saw that I was spending all of my time with the faggot, then they'd figure me out. We started to get into these fights about it. Ben... Ben knew that Dennis was my friend. He started to feel like it was his fault that we were fighting so he tried to get involved a few times. I think... he thought that if he talked to Dennis, he could fix the problem."

"Is that what happened between Ben and Dennis?" I asked, somewhat incredulously. "They were fighting over you?"

"I wouldn't put it like that," Leo actually laughed. "Ben wanted us all to be friends. Dennis would end up telling him off or threatening him, and it was me and Dennis who ended up fighting. When that happened Ben felt even worse and since all he wanted to do was make things better, he just kept trying to fix things until finally I came out at school and stopped talking to Dennis altogether. Things were a fucking mess with Dennis by then. I had... warned him that I might be coming out. We weren't exactly getting along because of his attitude towards Ben, but I still talked to him about it. He swore up and down that if I came out, someone was going to get hurt. He was so scared, but I was tired of hiding, and I thought he was overreacting... so I stopped listening to him."

"He wasn't overreacting." I said under my breath, knowing well enough that Dennis had a reason to be afraid.

"No," Leo sighed. "But after I came out it seemed like he was. My family hardly blinked when I told them, at school there were a few problems but I found out who my real friends were. Everything seemed fine except for the fact that Dennis was harassing me and Ben every time we turned a corner. It was like he couldn't get enough practice saying the word faggot. I hated him so much for that. He was supposed to be my friend, you know? He was the first guy who ever kissed me. I never would have expected him to turn into a bigot. But the thing is, I only saw one side of the story. Ben... Ben knew I was upset about it, so he went and did some asking around. That's when I figured out that Dennis was never afraid for me. He was afraid for himself."

"I can understand that." I said quietly, hoping not to offend Leo. "I mean, if I had his family, I might act like him too." The fact that I'd thrown around words like faggot or queer at suspected gays came to mind. It was in another life, but that didn't change the fact that it had happened. Who knows, maybe I would have turned on my best friend too, if I knew it would protect me from my father.

"You have no idea, Owen." Leo remarked, staring blankly towards the house. "I mean, you've met Dennis's dad, I'll give you that. But, you haven't met Lyle."


"Dennis's brother. He moved away to go to school just this last year. You're lucky he did, I'm sure he would have made your life more miserable than Dennis ever managed to. He'll probably be back this summer... just a word of warning, if you see him, walk the other way."

"He's really that bad?" I frowned, not liking the idea of running away from anyone.

"He makes Dennis's parents look like saints." Leo remarked. "The reason Dennis was so afraid of what would happen if I came out, was Lyle. Lyle told their parents, and then he started hassling Dennis. I mean, I knew that he was an asshole before that. He used to beat the crap out of Dennis trying to teach him how to be a man. But I guess when Lyle found out that he'd had a queer sleeping over at his house and coming over for barbeques he sort of freaked out. He tried to pick a fight with me a few times, only I had Ryan there to back me up, and a few other friends... but Dennis didn't have anyone when his brother started in on him. That's why Dennis acted the way he did. He literally had to prove to his brother on a daily basis that he wasn't gay, or his life became a living hell."

"Then why do you hate him so much?" I demanded, feeling annoyed with Leo... and somewhat defensive, considering that in many ways, I had been just like Dennis. I almost felt like I needed to justify the way that he acted to justify the way that I had acted in the past, whether or not there was an excuse for it. "If you knew that he was only acting like that because he had to..."

"Oh, believe me, I didn't fault Dennis for that once I knew what was going on." Leo stated. "You have no idea how guilty I felt. In some ways I even wished that I would have stayed in the closet. I never stopped to think that coming out could hurt someone else. No, when I found out what was going on I wanted to do something to help him. I even went to Dennis and told him how sorry I was. I asked him if there was anything I could do, but all he said was to stay the hell away from him... so that's what I did."

"So why do you hate him, then?" I frowned, forgetting the question that had brought this whole thing up in the first place, but Leo reminded me of it a moment later.

"Ben." he said quietly. "I stayed away from Dennis. Ben... he was sort of like you. He got it in his head that it was his fault that Dennis was having trouble at home and he thought he could help him. He wouldn't accept it when I told him that we should just stay away... the first time he approached Dennis about it he came back with a black eye."

"That's why you and Dennis really started fighting." I noted.

"What would you do if someone hurt Aiden?" Leo smirked at me.

"You mean if Aiden would let me do anything about it?" I laughed.

"Okay, so Ben and Aiden are a little different. Ben's more like the turn the other cheek type. He tends to believe that bad people will eventually get what's coming to them, so he doesn't like to start conflict when it's not necessary. But, he doesn't always see the conflict he's starting until it's too late. Even after that first time, he wanted to help Dennis. Ben knew that Dennis was getting shoved around at home, and he even knew that he couldn't do anything about it by himself. So, he went and told a few teachers at school." I rolled my eyes at that, remembering that Mr. Gordon was a friend to half of the school staff. Leo saw the gesture and nodded. "Yeah, so when that didn't work, Ben told his mom. She of course, called the police, but it still didn't do any good because Dennis just told them that nothing was wrong. What it did do, was make things even worse, because after Dennis figured out that it was Ben who told, he went after him, and I ended up fighting him again... about a week after that, I don't know, maybe I wasn't thinking, but I tried to talk to Dennis again. He actually apologized to me, but he made it clear that he didn't want me or Ben anywhere near him. I made Ben promise me that he'd stay away... he promised me...."

"He didn't stay away?"

"No." Leo frowned. "He saw Dennis apologizing to me as a good thing and tried to talk to him again. Dennis was actually nice to him, but he still didn't want any help. I guess... I'm not entirely sure what happened. A few weeks later, Dennis called me after school. He was really upset, and when I finally got him calmed down, he did the last thing he ever would as my friend."


"Wake up."

I opened one eye and glared daggers at Aiden's smiling face. He was already dressed, and looked like he'd been up for a while.

"It's Saturday." I complained, pulling the pillow over my head, which he promptly pulled away.

"And it's time to wake up." he insisted, this time pulling the covers off of me.

"Why?" I demanded, closing my eyes again. Maybe we'd gone to bed fairly early the night before, and even after my long Friday I'd slept well enough, but it was Saturday, and I didn't recall having to wake up for any reason. "What time is it?"

"Seven thirty." Aiden informed me. I opened my eyes at that, gave him a mutinous look, and then rolled right back over to go to sleep, with or without pillows and a blanket.

"Goodnight." I said grouchily. "I'm going back to bed and so are you. Get in here."

Okay, I didn't expect Aiden to follow that order, but he didn't have to laugh at me.

"Fine, I guess we'll have to do this the hard way." he remarked.

"Leave the cold water in the bathroom." I mumbled.

"Cold water would be letting you off way too easy," he remarked, right before he was straddling my back and tickling me, leaving me to scold him through my laughter.

"Aiden knock it off! Why are you waking me up? It's still early. It's Saturday!"

"Yes, we've already established that." he smiled as he shifted enough to allow me to turn over onto my back. "But Tony's waiting for you, and I've gotta go with Jake."


"Owen," Aiden frowned. "You're going shopping with your brother and then you're meeting me at the new building, remember?"

I groaned. Last night after getting home from Leo's Tony had talked me into going shopping with him, and Aiden had asked me to go see the other building that his dad had left to him. He'd been excited about it, so I hadn't hesitated to agree to go. Of course, I didn't realize that the day would be starting so early. But, my boyfriend was looking at me expectantly, so I wasn't about to go back to sleep.

"Fine," I relented as I reached for him, and he smiled as he stretched out over me and dropped his mouth over mine. Some mornings one kiss from Aiden was all it took to wake me up. This was definitely one of those mornings, and the next thing I knew my morning wood was a full blown erection and I was holding him tightly to me and wrapping my legs tightly around his waist to assure that he wouldn't be getting away easily.

"We have to go," he laughed as he moved to his knees in an attempt to get away from me, but it just wasn't happening, as I tightened my legs around him and somehow managed to unbutton his jeans and get his pants pulled down over his ass in the process. He wasn't exactly making it difficult for me, lacking underwear again. "Owen!" he hissed in a breath as his eyes slightly widened, but I only smiled up at his startled expression for a moment before I cupped the back of his head with one hand and pulled him down for another kiss, while I possessively placed the other hand on his ass and pulled him forward until my erection was firmly pressed against his cock, which was fast at responding. It took him all of a second to stop trying to get away from me as he suddenly pulled up and removed his own shirt before he was over me again and making quick work of getting my boxers off. I let my fingers tangle in his hair, messing his perfectly combed back ponytail as he kissed his way down my chest, and then I arched my back and released a groan as he reached down and cupped my balls. My grip only tightened in his hair a moment later and I parted my knees further as he took the head of my cock into his mouth and then smoothly swallowed his way down my shaft. My eyes rolled back and I began to lift my hips, thrusting upwards gently in time with the way that his mouth was moving over me. It was definitely turning out to be a good morning.

"Come here," I said quietly, with a gentle, urging tug on his hair, and he complied, releasing my cock long enough to turn his body, kicking off his shoes in time for me to shove his pants the rest of the way off. I guided his knee over me and moved an arm around his back, gently pulling him towards me until his balls were over my chin. I took a moment as his mouth reclaimed my erection, but when the blissful feelings washed over me again as he rotated his tongue around the head of my cock, I placed my hands on his ass, pulling him further down, and rather than taking his now full erection into my mouth, I found myself licking up from behind his balls until my tongue came to press deliberately against his hole, eliciting a surprised groan from him right before I pressed in as far as I could, feeling his body clamp down around me.

I didn't really waste much time with foreplay as I used my tongue, thrusting unto him until his knees were shaking and he was moaning around my cock, doing his own thorough job of turning me into a pleasure induced mess. I wasn't sure where my sudden need to jump my boyfriend first thing in the morning came from, but I was glad I did. I guess I'd been feeling stressed out lately, dealing with coming out at school, wondering about Adam, wanting to know if we'd ever be friends again, and of course my visit with Leo and Ben the night before had me feeling particularly stressed out and thinking about Dennis Gordon again. But, I was pleased to say that as Aiden's throat closed around the head of my erection and I arched upwards as I spent myself into his mouth, all of those stressful thoughts were nowhere near my mind.

As I came I reached for Aiden, wrapping my fingers around his cock and slowly stroking, knowing by the way that his body was continuously shaking, and the way that he was pushing back, that he wouldn't be far behind me as he gently moved his tongue over my cock once more before he turned his head and gently began to kiss my thigh, sucking my skin into his mouth as his breathing became heavier. I had a mark by the time he came between us, and I didn't bother trying to clean it up as I helped him turn and pulled him down over me. It would be a reasonable enough excuse to shower together.

I closed my eyes as I pushed his hair back out of his face as he leaned down and kissed me, obviously no longer thinking about trying to get me out of bed.

"Remind me to wake you up too early every morning," he remarked as he relaxed and settled in against me.

"No complaining about being late?" I asked in mock surprise.

"Shut up," Aiden laughed, kissing my cheek. "So I take it you're feeling better?"

"I am now," I shrugged. "Let's do something today."

"We are doing something," Aiden reminded me. "We're actually supposed to be doing it right now... and don't forget Ryan's having his party tonight. You still wanna go, right?"

"We can do that," I sighed, "but I meant you and me. Let's go do something after you show me your building."

"Alright, like what?" he asked.

"I don't care, as long as I can do this whenever I want," I smiled as I leaned down, and proceeded to kiss him for the next ten minutes before he finally convinced me to get out of bed.


When Tony suggested that we go to the strip mall instead of the actual thing, I was all for it. According to the channel four morning whether report, we were in for plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. I definitely didn't want to spend it inside. I guess someone should have informed me that the channel four weather report was always wrong.

When a thunderstorm rolled in and it started to pour, I would have been just fine going home, but Tony insisted that I needed new clothes for summer, even if it was still a few months away. I think he just felt guilty about wanting to move in with Jake, because he wouldn't let me pay for anything, and every time I turned around he was watching me with a thoughtful expression on his face. By the time we were both ready to sit down to lunch, I'd had just about enough of that.

Fortunately, the outdoor food court was equipped with umbrellas. It was still cold, but at least we'd keep somewhat dry. Tony was already waiting with our food when I joined him at a table. I'd said that I needed to use the bathroom, but I'd actually been finishing up in a store, and as I approached Tony I made a point to drop a newly acquired bag in front of him without actually dropping it on his food. He looked at the bag, and then regarded me curiously.

"What's this?"

"Open it." I replied as I took a seat and reached for one of the two cups of chile on the table that accompanied more burgers than we'd end up eating.

My brother raised an eyebrow as he reached for the bag and pulled out the contents, a boxed up toaster.

"Is the one at home broken?"

"No. It's a housewarming gift." I explained. "For you and Jake."

"A toaster?" Tony asked, with a hint of wonder in his voice that made me smile.

"You both like toast, right? I didn't know what else to get."

"What does this mean, Owen?" he asked cautiously as he held onto the box with both hands, as if it would break otherwise, and I let out a breath. That was a good question. What did it mean? I guess it was fair to say that ever since my brother mentioned moving out, I'd been thinking about it nonstop. It was also fair to say, that I didn't want it to happen. I wanted us all to be together. I didn't even care if Jake moved in with us like Aiden had. I just wanted to stay a family.

Only, we were a family. I had to keep reminding myself of the fact, but deep down I knew that it really didn't matter where we lived. Tony deserved to be happy, and he also deserved the support of his family, mine included. The toaster had seemed like the easiest way to express this to him, considering the fact that actually telling him would result in way too much emotion on my part. I wasn't sure that I could find the words to express to Tony that it was okay with me that he move out. But now, I knew that I needed to find them.

It was actually my last conversation with Ben that had brought me to the decision that I needed to do something to show Tony that I'd be alright. Before I'd seen Dennis and Mrs. Gordon and had my little freak out, Ben had mentioned Tony moving out, and he'd pointed something out to me that I'd been thinking a lot about. I'd come to realize that if I wasn't in the picture, Tony wouldn't hesitate to move in with Jake. Maybe I had never flat out told my brother not to go, but by not saying anything at all, I was doing exactly that. Tony was waiting for me to tell him that it was okay. By not giving him at least that, I was doing the exact thing that I'd been afraid of since day one; I was holding my brother back from living his life. It seemed... selfish, to not at least give him this.

"It means... I'll want toast when I visit you and Jake." I answered.

Tony stared at me for a long moment, while I avoided his eyes. I really didn't want to get all sentimental sitting under an umbrella on a rainy day where anyone could see it. Of course, Tony didn't seem to care about something like that.

"Owen... are you sure?"

I finally looked up and nodded. Tony looked hopeful, but still uncertain.

"You wouldn't leave me," I found myself saying, and then became annoyed because I could feel myself choking up already, something that I swore I wouldn't do. I would have stopped talking there, if my brother would have let me.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I was angry," I said after a moment, letting out a breath before I looked him in the eye. "When you and Chris left... I was angry. For a while I thought I hated you." Tony noticeably flinched at that, but I kept going. "You just disappeared. You left me there to deal with them. You didn't even say goodbye."


"But I understand now. I still don't like it... but I understand. You were the first person I saw when I woke up in that hospital, Tony. Even before you told me... I knew that you weren't going to leave me again. I get it, you know? You're not leaving just because you're moving in with Jake. As long as I know that... I'll be fine. Besides, if it were me... you know, moving in with Aiden or something, I'd want you to be happy for me too."

"Aiden already moved in." Tony reminded me with a raised eyebrow and a smile on his face.

"You know what I mean." I replied. "I'm just... I'm okay. As long as you and Chris are both still around, I'll be fine. So, move in with Jake. I think you should. You've kept him waiting long enough already, right?"

"Probably," Tony smiled. "But you know, I really don't have to..."

"Yes you do, Tony." I cut him off. "It's what you want. I think you should."

Tony fell silent for a few moments, obviously lost in his own thoughts as he looked between me and the toaster. I wondered what he was thinking. I felt that I'd said everything that I needed to say for now. If I started to tell him just how grateful I was for the time that he'd already given me then I knew I'd really get choked up, and I couldn't have that. I started eating my chile, actually, I started eating just so I wouldn't be tempted to say anything else. But finally Tony put down the boxed up toaster and sighed as he looked across the table at me. I knew that look. He wanted to give me a hug, so I just smiled at him.

"You know I'll be leaving you and Aiden with Chris..." he smirked.

"Don't worry," I remarked, "we'll take good care of Chris."

"Okay." Tony laughed. "Just don't make him too crazy, okay?"

"Like you'd ever let that happen." I smiled. "You're not leaving, remember? You're just moving out."

"Right." he nodded. "Owen... about what you said before... you could have told Chris and me how you felt about us leaving you with mom and dad like that. I know you've mentioned a few things before, but if you ever wanted to talk about it..."

"There's nothing left to say." I shrugged. "I know you're sorry. I don't want you guys to feel guilty about it. You did what you had to do, and it all worked out, right?"

"Yeah, I think it did." he smiled. "So, you're really okay with this?"

I just rolled my eyes at him, but I think the fact that he was still asking if I was alright, was all the assurance I needed to know that I really would be okay. Our conversation turned to lighter topics, which was something I think I needed. I told him my plans to spend the day with Aiden when we were finished here, and how I'd probably be home late because of Ryan's party. Tony mentioned that he was going out with Jake later, and that they'd probably be talking about moving a little more-although he still insisted that nothing was decided for sure yet. All in all, it was a good visit with my brother.

By the time we finished eating the whether had become even worse, to the point that it was pouring, but Tony wanted to get a few things for home like more sheets and towels, since Aiden was living with us now, and he decided that I should have a pair of shoes for every day of the week. I think sending me off on my own to buy shoes was his way of trying to keep me from following him around, begging to leave.

An hour later I was walking under the covered sidewalk to meet Tony, pulling up the hood on my sweater because it didn't seem to matter if the sidewalk I was walking on was covered or not. The wind had picked up and I was getting wet and cold from this storm anyways. I was just thinking that Aiden and I should have stayed in bed this morning, where it was warm and comfortable, when something happened that completely convinced me that we should have.

During my visit with Leo and Ben last night, I'd asked myself how I would feel when I saw Dennis again. Knowing what I'd learned last night, would I still pity him? Would I still feel like we had the same things in common? Would I want to help him? And if I did, would it be for more of a reason than that I was seeking my own redemption through his situation? Or, would I want to throw a right hook his way?

I got my answer when I rounded the corner and came face to face with Dennis Gordon, hiding under the same type of sweater hood that I was using for shelter against the wind. It was a surprise to see him, considering that the place was mostly empty because of the weather, and as he paused and noticed me at the exact same moment I noticed him... I so wanted to beat the crap out of him.


While I was outside, sitting on that picnic table with Leo, he'd mentioned that the day Dennis called him, he had a bad feeling as soon as the phone rang. He explained it as a gut instinct, knowing that there was something wrong. When he heard how upset his former friend sounded on the phone, how panicked, he knew that he was right.

"As soon as Dennis mentioned Ben's name, I started to feel sick." Leo explained. "I knew something was wrong, but... I don't know, I guess I didn't want to believe it. I mean, it couldn't have been more than an hour before that I dropped Ben off at home. He said he had homework... we were going to meet a little later after dinner. Even before Dennis started talking, I kept telling myself that Ben was fine. I just saw him... there wasn't anything wrong with him. But, as soon as Dennis said that Ben was at the school, I started panicking. He said that I needed to get down there... I tried asking him what was going on, but he hung up on me." Leo let out a breath and looked at me. I was just listening at this point, watching the troubled expressions play across his face... and I felt my stomach knotting up as I imagined getting a phone call like that. "Ryan was with me. He pretty much kept me calm long enough to call Ben's mom. We thought that maybe Dennis was just playing some kind of joke, but when I called, Ben's mom said that he was supposed to be with me... that's when I really knew that something was wrong. I told her to call the police before I even hung up."

I found myself growing apprehensive as I listened to Leo. Hearing this, gave me an idea of what happened, but I was still afraid to hear it.

"The cops were already there when Ryan and I got to the school." Ben continued, and I noticed that his knee was nervously bouncing and his voice was beginning to crack. "Ben's mom got there before us, but she saw him first... and she just started screaming...."

"Leo..." I said carefully, when he didn't say anything for a few minutes after that. His eyes were beginning to glaze over, but I couldn't tell if he looked sad or... pissed off. Either way, I felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest as I imagined what it would have been like for Leo, knowing that Ben was hurt... knowing that something was wrong, and then hearing screams... "Leo, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked..."

"He's beautiful, isn't he?" Leo suddenly said with a wan smile. "I've always thought so. Ben... he has those amazing eyes. Did you ever notice that when he smiles, that he sort of squints the left one? It's always been like that. It's one of those little things that I just... appreciate about him. There are so many things about him... I'd know him anywhere. But when I did see him... I didn't know him Owen... he didn't look...." Leo paused to take a deep breath, composing himself somewhat before he continued. "His mom just kept screaming that he was dead. I just about lost it right there. There was just blood... and you should have seen what they did to his face. I don't know how I didn't just lose it right then."

"Did Dennis do it?" was my obvious question, but that seemed to agitate Leo even more.

"That's the fucked up thing. I don't even know. But, I know it was his fault. Ben doesn't remember all of it... that's probably a good thing. But sometimes I think that it bothers him, that he can't remember. He doesn't know how he got to the school because he remembers going to Dennis's house. They must have dumped him at the school afterwards. Sometimes when he talks about it he'll remember new details..."

"They?" I asked.

"Lyle Gordon and his buddy Eric Hodlin." Ben's voice spoke up from over by the house, and Leo and I looked to see him standing there with Aiden, who looked as troubled as I felt. Ben continued to speak as the two of the crossed the yard to where Leo and I were sitting. "Lyle, of course, being Dennis's brother and Eric was his friend from school. Assholes. I wasn't expecting them... just Dennis."

"What were you doing at Dennis's house in the first place?" Aiden demanded, in a way that would suggest he wanted to scold Ben for it, and it actually made Leo laugh.

"He was there because you can't tell Ben there's anything that he can't do." Leo remarked as he took Ben's hand, as soon as he was in reach, and pulled him towards him.

"Yeah, I have to learn the hard way." Ben remarked before he looked at me and Aiden, who moved to sit next to me and leaned over so that his chin rested on my shoulder. I don't think either of us could understand why Ben and Leo were smiling. I was feeling completely depressed, knowing full well what it felt like to have someone bigger than you beat you just because... they didn't like what you were. The fact that for me, it was my dad had been hurtful enough. Maybe Ben hadn't had to deal with someone who was supposed to love him, but it sounded like he had more to deal with than just Dennis Gordon, and the thought made me sick, and quite frankly, outraged. Ben seemed to notice that we didn't see the humor in the situation, and he grew more serious. "I was still trying to get Dennis to talk to me." he admitted. "That morning at school, I tried to talk to him but he blew me off. There really wasn't anything unusual about that... but after Leo dropped me off, I got a phone call."

"Dennis." Aiden frowned, and Ben and Leo both nodded.

"He said he wanted to talk about Leo." Ben explained. "It was stupid of me, but I went over there because I thought that Dennis really did want to make things right with Leo. When I got there... I still believed that, because Dennis... he was actually being nice. He even apologized for all of the shit he started with us. We were just talking, you know? He started telling me about all of the shit his family put him through, and how he didn't know what to do about it..."

"He wanted your help." I commented, and Ben made an unreadable face.

"I don't know," Ben replied. "I thought he did. I started to make suggestions, but he just shut them all down, saying that there was nothing that he could do, and then, I suggested that we call Leo...sorry guys," Ben sighed, "things get a little fuzzy here. I think... Dennis said that before we called Leo he wanted to finish his chores. He was supposed to rake the leaves out of the back yard or something... it didn't really make sense." Ben let out a breath and shook his head as he turned and allowed Leo to place an arm around him as he joined all of us at the table. "I remember asking him why we couldn't call Leo first. I probably should have figured something was off when he didn't answer me... I just didn't figure it out until I followed him outside and ran right into Lyle and Eric."

"They're the ones who hurt you?" I asked, not bothering to hide the disgust in my voice.

"Only after Dennis set him up." Leo said angrily.

As I said before, I considered Ben a friend. In fact, the way that he put up with me and my problems without getting paid for it made him a friend for life. He was helping me work through things that I'd always thought would either stay buried or make me crazy, and for that, I owed him more than I'd ever be able to give back. I guess the thought of anyone hurting Ben was just as upsetting as the idea of someone hurting anybody that I cared about. But what was even more upsetting, and incredibly disturbing, was the fact that someone who I felt sympathy for, someone who I wanted to help, regardless of my motives, was one of the people who were involved in Ben's attack.

"We don't know that Dennis planned it," Ben said rationally to Leo and then looked back in my and Aiden's direction. "What I remember after that happened fast. It was like they were waiting for me, but..."

"Because Dennis fucking set you up." Leo stated, obviously unable to hold his tongue.

"But, I can't be sure." Ben continued, but seemed to lean into Leo more. "When I saw them there... I'm not sure why, but I actually expected Dennis to do something. I mean, obviously I knew how his family felt about me. I knew how Lyle felt about me. But, I guess... when Dennis asked me to come over I thought it would be okay. . . I figured out that I was in trouble when Lyle started yelling. He wanted to know what my faggot ass was doing at his house, and Dennis, he didn't say anything. He just stood there."

Aiden had grabbed my hand at some point, and the way that his thumb was digging into it and shooting a sharp pain up my wrist was enough to get me to look away from Ben and at my boyfriend. His head was still down and his chin was still on my shoulder as he focused on Ben and his words. I hadn't seen the look that was on Aiden's face since the night we came home together after the drive-in and his mother bombarded us, drunk and angry. I subtly pried his thumb away from digging into me and he looked up, flashing me an apologetic look, but it still didn't mask the obvious anger that was there. I guess I couldn't blame him, though. I knew that he'd been fed up with Dennis. He was especially fed up with me thinking about Dennis all the time, and after hearing what Ben and Leo had to say, I was feeling guilty about that. And entirely confused.

I felt like I'd wasted my time. All of the worrying I did over whether or not Dennis was alright, the effort that I'd made to make sure he was okay... it all seemed like such a waste now. Maybe it was wrong to think like that, maybe it was wrong to judge someone for past actions that I didn't even have the whole story about. But, I couldn't help it. At the moment, I didn't think that Dennis Gordon deserved anyone's help, especially knowing that he could just stand there and watch as Ben went through what was probably the worst experience of his life. What confused me, though, was Ben. How could he have listened to me as I talked about needing to help Dennis? How could he have remained objective enough to help me with my own problems when he had all of this hanging over his head?

"Lyle grabbed me," Ben suddenly said, developing a far away look in his eyes as he made the action with his hands. "It was like, I couldn't talk. My voice got caught in my throat and... he shook me. When he threw me down, Eric must have shoved me because I remember I felt like I was being hit before I even hit the ground, and my body turned... my head..." Ben reached up and gingerly touched the side of his head, as if the pain would still be there, and as I watched Leo gently take his boyfriend's wrists and pull him back against his chest, I felt Aiden shifting closer to me and I automatically put my arm around him and let my hand slide up the back of his shirt, wanting to be closer to him. "I hit my head." Ben continued. "They started kicking me, and I tried to cover my face, but Eric... I think he picked something up and hit me with it. . . I think I passed out then. I woke up when they broke my leg, but...."

"Why the fuck aren't they in jail?" I think my sudden outburst made everyone jump, and once again I was confused at how calmly Ben looked at me.

"We couldn't prove they did it." he explained. "When the cops went to the Gordon house they couldn't prove that I was there, and Dennis, Lyle and Eric all said that they were together at a movie. Even the guy who worked at the theater said that he saw them there."

"That's such bullshit." I spat out.

"Trust me Owen, we did what we could." Leo stated.

"All I've wanted to do since, is move on." Ben added.

"Look, Owen..." Leo sighed. "I don't like it, I've never liked it. But... you need to move on too. Leave Dennis Gordon alone. You'll never, ever be able to trust him."


Dennis was acting... different. He was standing in the rain, not under the awning, and he wasn't fearfully looking over his shoulder. I guess that meant that his parents weren't with him. For once, the fact that Dennis seemed to be temporarily free of his parents was not working in his favor.... considering the fact that I suddenly wanted to lose all control and thoroughly kick his ass.

I don't think that I realized just how furious I was after hearing Ben's story until seeing Dennis there at the strip mall. Personally, I think I had developed Leo's stance on the matter, believing that Dennis set Ben up. Even if Dennis was innocent of that fault, however, he was guilty for another reason as far as I was concerned. How could he just stand there? Sure, I'd just stood there before, but that was when someone was beating the crap out of me, not someone else. Dennis knew what it was like to be pushed around. He knew what it was like to be abused. How the hell could he just stand there and let that happen to Ben? They could have killed him.

"What are you doing here?" Dennis asked, as if I was supposed to be somewhere else, and instead of responding, I found myself glaring at him. Who the hell did he think he was? He was looking at me funny. He didn't exactly have the defensive stance that I'd become familiar with where Dennis was involved, but he was looking at me... funny. "What the fuck's your problem, Dovan?" he demanded, but I noticed that he was suddenly looking nervous.

I wanted to tell him exactly what my problem was. I wanted to tell him how much I hated him. I wanted to tell him how I thought it was a waste of my damn time to ever feel sorry for him, and maybe I even wanted to tell him that he deserved everything he got where his father was concerned- only, I couldn't take that last step, because I didn't mean it. I hated him because of what happened to Ben, but deep down, I still sympathized with his situation.

I hated myself for that.

"Nothing," I finally said, releasing the breath that I'd been holding. Maybe starting a fight with Dennis would make me feel better, but it would hardly help anything. It was strange, how I'd been worried about him, and how yesterday I would have been ready to take advantage of an opportunity to talk to him alone. But now, I just felt confused with conflicting feelings of wanting to help him, partially for my own benefit, and wanting to kill him. I decided that the best thing to do at the moment, rather than deal with my own conflicting emotions, was to walk away.

I stepped off the sidewalk, out into the rain and started to pass him, avoiding any conflict. Unfortunately, the moment Dennis touched my arm to stop me, I found myself in conflict.

"Hey, Dovan, wait," he said, right before I turned on him and gave his chest a firm shove, if anything to get him away from me. Dennis looked rather surprised at my sudden hostility but I didn't care.

"You're a fucking asshole!" I shouted at him, half hoping that he'd try to fight with me this time. Oddly enough, all I managed to do was surprise him again.

"What the hell's your problem?" Dennis demanded, moving towards me, but once again it didn't look like he was ready to fight. It didn't escape my attention that our roles were suddenly reversed. He wasn't trying to fight with me, but there I was, ready to go with him. I didn't much care for the roll reversal, but when Dennis got to close I found myself shoving him again, this time almost causing him to lose his balance in the mud.

"Just stay away from me," I practically growled at him, and then forced myself to keep moving before I ended up making the situation worse. As it was, I left a confused Dennis Gordon watching after me, and I doubted that it would be long before the shock wore off and he decided that he did want to fight.

Walking away from Dennis, I continued to feel disjointed, although common sense did kick in at some point and I realized that wanting to fight with him was a bad idea, no matter what. I was relieved when I reached the car and Tony was already there. I was able to leave Dennis behind without looking back. Of course, that didn't mean that my thoughts weren't suddenly consumed by him. A few days ago, I was telling him that he could call me, that I was there to help him if he wanted it. Now, I was shoving him and telling him to stay away from me. I wasn't exactly sure how to deal with this situation. It almost felt like, that my ever wanting to help Dennis in the first place was a betrayal to Ben. Ben meant more to me than Dennis, so it was probably right to leave Dennis and his situation alone.

Too bad it still didn't feel right.



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