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 14

Every dream about masculine bodies and calloused hands touching me had always been forcefully shoved to the back of my mind when I woke up, and I'd make a point to scold myself to the point of self loathing for it. Those dreams, had always been an annoyance for me. It was just a reason for me to feel guilty. Dreaming about boys.

Doing it for real, didn't exactly help all of that guilt any. Kissing Jude... well, it reminded me of masturbation. Maybe that seems like a strange comparison, but it's true, nonetheless. There's that certain point you reach, and for me personally, it's about four strokes away from climax before I lose all control and can't turn back. That kiss with Jude as we sat behind the train tracks was like being four strokes away. The moment my lips were on his, there was no turning back.

I'm not sure who it surprised more, me or him, when I took the initiative and pushed my tongue into his mouth, against his. But the way he automatically tilted his head back and released a low growl, deep in his throat turned me on to no end. I suddenly felt like I was in the middle of all of those dreams, but instead of forcing myself into consciousness, scolding myself for being different, I was given the chance to explore all of those suppressed feelings because the moment I started to feel self loathing and guilt and I placed a hand on his shoulder to push him away, he pulled me right back, pulling my jacket open and sliding his hands in as he turned towards me, and when he moved onto his knees and suddenly straddled mine I found my arms going around him, pulling him closer, rather than pushing him away. My actions only caused him to kiss me harder.

It was definitely the abrupt feeling of something hard and warm pressing against my abdomen that shocked me into pulling my lips from his and glancing downwards at the bulge that had formed in his clothes. This definitely wasn't a girl I was kissing. Maybe that's why I felt my cock twitch as it began to steadily harden in my boxers.

I felt myself nervously swallow as I forced my eyes upwards until they met blue ones. He was watching me silently, waiting to see what I would do. If anything, the way that he was watching made, a frightened wreck out of me as I wondered what I was supposed to do, but I couldn't seem to look away from him, even if I wanted to. Jude must have seen some panic there, because his expression suddenly took on a reassuring look as he lifted his hands and placed them at the sides of my face, and as he leaned forward and began to brush gentle kisses over my face again. I closed my eyes, wishing that I could get my heart to stop beating so damned hard in my chest.

"I'm sorry." I heard myself whisper, although I had no idea what I was apologizing for-or who I was apologizing to for that matter. Maybe it was for me. God knows I was sorry for so many things just then, lack of self control, my own self loathing, the fact that I wasn't kissing a girl... and the fact that I liked kissing a boy.

"Don't say that." I heard Jude say and I opened my eyes again, feeling troubled, but when he positioned his mouth against mine I found my own lips naturally welcoming him, craving more of that kiss, and when he gave it to me, I shakily pulled him closer, feeling that bulge again, tightly pressed against me.

I kissed him, and let him kiss me, and I tried to make sense of everything I was feeling, but that last thing seemed like an impossible task at the moment. I felt Jude's fingers moving through my hair, and all of a sudden, I didn't know what to do with my own hands. It was like everything I did seemed to feel awkward. I placed them on his shoulders, and then on his waist. It was when I placed my hands on his knees that they sudden had a destination as I slid them awkwardly upwards over his thighs until they came to rest at his waist again, my hands stretched and my thumbs on either side of the obvious erection tenting his work jumper. That's about where I completely froze.

I'm not sure what it was. Maybe it was the fact that I felt like I was about to cross an invisible line that there would be no turning back from, that made me stop. It was like, everything I'd ever done to avoid becoming what I was now, had been for nothing. Being there with Jude, doing what I was doing-that seemed like the last line I'd ever cross before there was no turning back. Was I gay? I think we'd already established that, but something about what was happening seemed to make it final, even more final than putting it in writing made it. I was one of those people.

It seemed to take a few moments for Jude to figure out that I'd stopped because while I was completely unmoving, including my lips, Jude was still kissing me. But when he finally did notice, and pulled back to look at me, I found myself even more frozen than I already was, wondering what he thought of me.

Jude Landon struck me as someone who could have anyone he wanted. I wasn't sure if I'd ever understand why he was bothering with someone like me. I by freezing up, I suddenly felt like I was letting him down, and for some reason that scared me. Maybe that was because I was no longer denying the fact that I liked him, at least to myself. I really liked him, and at the present moment my biggest fear in the world was that he'd laugh at me for being... this way. The disappointed look that crossed his face didn't help the situation either, as he studied me closely and let out a breath.

I opened my mouth to start apologizing... or maybe I was opening my mouth to defend myself, because after all, I'd met him to talk to him, not to indecently feel him up behind the train tracks. Either way, whatever I was about to say got caught in my throat when he gently leaned forward and simply hugged me, allowing his cheek to brush against mine before his chin came to rest on my shoulder.

I wasn't even sure where to start with this gentle gesture. He was still straddling my knees, my own erection had to have been obvious, pressing against his inner thigh... and I could smell him. His neck was right there and he smelled good, and clean, and comfortable, and I found myself leaning into him as my hands inadvertency tightened where they were still resting on his hips.

I'd never had anyone that close to me before. Even if I had, I knew that it had never felt that good before. With Jude... I'd danced with him. I'd held him as he fell asleep... but the way we were now seemed so utterly intimate that I wasn't sure what to do with it. Maybe I wasn't supposed to know. Maybe I was just supposed to feel it. And I definitely felt it, when I allowed my thumb to stretch a little further, where it boldly brushed against his erection.

If there was one thing that I hadn't counted on, it was the way that Jude jumped, all because of that single, light, touch. I actually felt him tremble, and I suddenly found myself doing it again, wondering if his reaction had been because of me. I got my answer when I purposely moved my thumb, brushing against him, and once again, his reaction was the same. It was probably the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen up until that moment. It seemed that Jude Landon was more sensitive in some areas than I'd ever believe him to be, and for once, it seemed like he was the one who wasn't in control. I can't even begin to describe how relieving that was to me. And, completely encouraging.

The third time, it was as if I'd suddenly developed a mass of courage that hadn't been there before as I actually moved my hand and gently placed it length-wise against his cock, feeling him through the layers of clothing. It was so deliberate on my part, exciting, terrifying, and liberating all at the same time. But once again it was his reaction to it that drew me away from my own fears and towards curiosity. I swear his whole body jolted. I moved my index finger over the head of his cock, wondering what it would feel like without his clothes in the way, and felt his hands tighten on my shoulders, a small moan escaping him that turned me on more than I ever would have allowed it to before, and when he started to pull back to look at me, I found myself cupping the back of his neck to keep him where he was. Maybe I'd worked up enough courage to be bolder than I ever had been before, but there was no way I could handle him looking at me, not now.

It wasn't exactly like I'd planned for any of this to happen. My plan had been to meet him, to talk to him. It should be no surprise that this new situation scared me shitless. Maybe my teenage hormones had suddenly taken over, and maybe I was working all on instinct, but even I knew that all it would take to send me into uncertainty and guilt would be one look into those blue eyes. If he looked at me now, I wasn't sure that I'd be able to face him. I hated feeling like that... but I loved how he felt, so close to me, and I loved the way that I felt his body quiver when I buried my face in his neck to avoid his eyes, and the way he tasted as I moved my mouth over his throat.

And there was that spark again. That obnoxious one, that I'd wanted nothing to do with, not so long ago. It was back, and in my face, and completely taking over as Jude wrapped his arms around me and held himself even closer, pressing his cock against the palm of my hand until I worked up the nerve to wrap my hand around it, and when I did, I gripped tightly, causing another jolt through his body as he groaned against my ear and tilted his head, granting me better access to his neck as my hesitant exploration became a more frantic one.

I pressed my hand more forcefully against his cock, and Jude suddenly pulled back. It was only then that I realized I'd been sucking on his neck, refusing to let him go. I was forced to face him then. I was afraid that facing him would bring me back to reality, bring back all that guilt. I was sure that it would under normal circumstances. But, these weren't normal circumstances. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't exactly be feeling up the hot guy in the bushes. I think I was surprised at myself, the way that I sank into that glazed over look in his eyes and opened for him as his mouth moved over mine, his tongue reaching mine before his lips. I moved an arm around him, pulling him closer against me as my hand tightened around his erection. I felt another tremble move through him as he shifted his hips upwards, against me, and then, with one more stroke of my thumb over the head of his cock, he arched forward, groaning against my mouth and the sudden damp feeling against my thumb lured me away from his mouth and I looked down, somewhat taken aback by the new stain on his coveralls.

I'm not sure how long I stared at it, the growing damp spot just over the outline of his still-hard cock, debating with myself whether or not I was in fact the cause of it, before Jude touched the side of my face, tilting my head upwards until my eyes met his. They were still glazed over, and his perfect hair even seemed somewhat out of place. His mouth seemed so available just then, lips slightly parted, his breathing somewhat heavy. It occurred to me how easy it would be to kiss him again. It occurred to me that I wanted to. But I couldn't. Once again, I was frozen and terrified of what I'd just done. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do now. I'd just had the most intimate encounter of my life behind the school with a boy I didn't know enough about, and now he was looking at me, almost as if he was waiting for something... but I didn't even know what to say.

"I'm sorry," was the best I could come up with, and to my horror, Jude actually laughed.

Laughter, was not what I needed right now. It was just enough to push me from being completely confused and annoyed with myself to being ashamed and feeling stupid. Unfortunately, I don't think Jude took the hint until I suddenly dislodged him from my lap and got up- then he was suddenly on his feet, grabbing my arm to keep me from running off on him.


"Damn it!" I cursed, shaking him off. "I can't do this, okay? I was just supposed to talk to you, I didn't mean to..."

I closed my eyes as Jude's arm suddenly moved around my waist, and all it took was the way he pulled me towards him before I was kissing him again, completely forgetting what I was going to say. This time when Jude broke the kiss and looked at me, his eyes seemed... understanding, and once again I was pausing, wondering what came next. But, when he didn't say anything, just looked at me until I began to feel self-conscious, I gently pried him away from me and took a step back.

"I really have to go to class." I said shakily. "If I miss anymore..."

"It's okay." Jude nodded. "You should. I mean... look, Quinn, maybe we should talk about this."

"Now you want to talk about it," I remarked, before I could stop myself, and only realizing that it sounded as if I were blaming him, a little too late.

"It's not like I planned this, Quinn." he defensively retorted, in a tone that took me off guard and had me frowning. The last thing I wanted was for him to be angry with me. "I mean, it's not like I haven't thought about it, but today I just wanted to see you, and contrary to what you might think I'm not usually such a slut."

"Yeah, but the problem is that when I'm around you I want to be one." I shot back. I definitely wasn't doing the whole think before you talk thing today.

I closed my eyes and held my head as Jude studied me carefully through a long moment of silence. A really long moment of silence.

"Did you just say that?" he smirked after a moment.

"No." I said quickly, and then shook my head. "I need to get out of here."

But, I didn't move. My head was telling me to walk away, but my feet seemed to be planted, and although I was still having trouble meeting Jude's eyes, I couldn't stop looking at him. My eyes moved from his lips, to his hand as I felt his fingers brush against mine, until he lightly lifted my hand into his. I guess, the contact was comforting, his way of letting me know that I wasn't coming off as a complete ass.

"I just never do this." I whispered. "I don't know what I'm doing, Jude. I don't know how to do this."

Jude gave me another measuring look, the kind that made me feel like I was being analyzed. But this time, I didn't exactly hate it. I think part of me was still convinced that there was something horribly wrong with me, and hoped that Jude could tell me what it was... if he could tell me how to fix it would be even better. But, I guess I should have known by now that Jude would be the last person in the world to point out what was wrong with me. He just smiled, and gave me a small shrug, and I remained stark still as he lifted his hand and quickly allowed his thumb to brush over my chin, as if he'd missed some marshmellow with his tongue.

"We're not doing anything, Quinn." he said quietly. "And you're doing just fine at it." I blinked as he suddenly cupped the back of my head again and placed a kiss at the corner of my mouth before pulling back with another lazy smile. "I'll call you tonight." he promised. "Until then... try not to think too much, okay?"

I started to frown at the teasing expression on his face but when he winked at me I actually laughed to myself, shook my head, and then turned back towards the school... trying really, really hard not to think to much.


"You promise?"

I glanced over at Brad for the fifth time since he pulled up in front of our house to drop Bree and I off and let out a breath. I already had one foot out the door, and Bree was already to the door. Lucky her. Brad just didn't seem to want to let me go until he was sure that he was hearing what he wanted.

"We'll talk tonight." I insisted. "I promise." although, I had no idea what I'd say to him just yet. I guess I could always start with my undying apologies for hitting him, but then he'd probably want an explanation, too. I had no idea how to explain anything to Brad. Hell, I was still trying to understand everything, myself.

"Okay." he nodded, after a full minute of studying me. "I'll see you in a little while."

I gave him a slight nod in return before getting out of the car, where I proceeded to watch him drive a short ways down the street and park in his own driveway. I had to admit, it was good to be back on speaking terms with Brad again, it just sucked wondering what we'd be talking about. It sucked wondering what I was going to tell him-or how I was going to tell him anything while I was still thinking about my afternoon visit with Jude.

Jude. I had no idea where to start when it came to Jude. All I knew, was that the first thing I did when I went inside after saying hello to my mother, was head for the bathroom because the door was still missing from my room, and before the door was even locked behind me I had my pants dropped to my ankles and I was fisting my cock. I never had received any relief during our visit the way that Jude had, and that image had been rolling through my mind all day as I adamantly attempted to block it out. It hadn't worked, of course, but maybe that was a good thing. After leaving him, all of that inevitable guilt didn't seem to come pouring down on me, because instead I was busy replaying the events in my head; the way he looked, the way he sounded, the way he felt. I really had no idea what I was going to do about him. I wasn't even sure that there would be a repeat of this afternoon. But I wanted there to be. And that, was so hard to admit to myself. I wanted Jude. I also wanted to hate that I could admit it to myself... but it was true, I wanted him, and the very thought felt... relieving.

By the time I finished taking care of myself, and then finished my homework and went downstairs, Bree was helping my mother in the kitchen, a site that had always seemed welcoming to me, and I watched them for a moment as they whispered and giggled with each other before I moved closer to make my presence known.

"Smells good." I said. "Anything I can do?"

They both smiled at me, but it was my mother who responded.

"Sure, you can make a salad, right?"

"Yeah," I rolled my eyes, secretly relieved that I'd been given a simple enough task and I collected the items I needed from the refrigerator before joining Bree at the counter where she was chopping up what looked like raw chicken.

"How was school?" mom asked.

"Fine." I replied.

"You're catching up with your classes?" she asked.

"Yup." I nodded.

"So, who is she?" my sister suddenly asked from the other direction and for a moment I had to pause and try to figure out what she was talking about.


"You can tell me Quinn," Bree insisted, lightly elbowing me. "Who is she?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked, looking to my mother for assistance, but her smile was almost as goofy as Bree's was.

"Oh come on, Quinn," Bree replied. "I know that look. I haven't seen it on you before but I still know it. You met a girl."

"Huh?" now I really didn't know what she was talking about, but I had a sudden urge to go look in a mirror so I could see what she was talking about.

"What Bree means is, you look like you're in a good mood." my mom offered.

"I do?" I asked, still not understanding.

"It's like you've been trying not to smile ever since we got home." Bree remarked.

I frowned at that, knowing exactly what would have made me smile. I'd been thinking about Jude pretty much non-stop. Damn it. Was I really obvious? If I'd been walking around looking like something... pleasant, had happened to me, I certainly hadn't been aware of it. In all honesty, I thought I was way to worried about what would happen when I talked to Brad, to be in a good mood.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I told my family, deciding it would be best if they were just imagining things. Unfortunately, the seed had been planted and I felt a blush creep into my cheeks as Jude invaded my thoughts and I recalled the way it felt the first time I wrapped my hand around his erection, remembering the way that I felt his body shake...

I let out a breath and shook the thought away before it caused me to barricade myself in the bathroom again, but not before Bree saw the look on my face. Damn it.

"You did meet someone!" my sister accused, and then gave my mom a knowing look. "And it's not Marissa because he looks happy." Bree added before turning her attention back to me. "So who is it, Trina?"

"What? You know it's not." I frowned at her. "It's... no one. I don't know what you're talking about."

"You should ask her over for dinner, Quinn." my mother chimed in.

"Mom, there is no girl." I stated, becoming annoyed. "I'm just... I am not in a good mood." yup, that was my best defense, and the way I said it sent my mother and my sister into giggles. "I'm going back to my room until Brad gets here."

My mother and my sister were still laughing at me when I rolled my eyes and abandoned the salad. I just wasn't in the mood for this. I would have been half way to my room a moment later, too, if it hadn't been for my sister's next words.

"The chicken's ready. Can you handle this for a few minutes, mom? I think I want to call Jude."

"Sure honey." my mother replied. "Tell him hello for me."

"Why are you calling Jude?" I was back in the kitchen and glaring at my sister before my mother even finished her sentence.

"To... talk to him." my sister replied slowly, defiance practically dripping from her voice. She definitely knew that I didn't like the idea.

"He's not your type, Bree." I stated. And he wasn't. He was my type. At least, I thought so. I didn't exactly know what my type of... guy, was. I hadn't exactly given myself much opportunity to think about it before. But, I was pretty sure that if I had to be gay, Jude was it.

"Quinn, drop it already." my sister responded irritably.

"How do you even have his number?" I demanded.

"He gave it to me," Bree frowned, "and it's none of your business if I talk to him. Jesus, Quinn. No wonder you don't have another girlfriend yet. You should stop worrying about what I'm doing and figure out what the hell your own damn problem is."

"Bree, language." my mother scolded.

"Sorry mom." Bree sighed, before looking at me again. Her scowl seemed to deepen then, probably because she was attempting to match my glare. "This big brother thing is getting old, Quinn."

I shook my head at Bree and made a point to follow her when she passed me and headed to the living room to pick up the phone. She hardly had it out of the cradle before I was snatching it out of her hand.

"Hey! Quinn!"

"Don't call him." In case there's any confusion, I was not making a request.

"Quinn!" my mother's voice interrupted what could have been a rather loud argument between my sister and I, and I inwardly cringed.

"Mom..." I started, foolish enough to think that I could actually defend my actions.

"Give her back the phone, Quinn." my mother ordered, but it seemed unnecessary, because while I was distracted, Bree took the initiative, grabbed the phone, and once again it was out of my hands.


"Bree's right." she cut me off. "You need to calm down. Besides, you seem to like Jude enough. There's nothing wrong with Bree liking him too."

Everything was wrong with that scenario. But, I couldn't say it, or explain it for that matter. For fuck sake. This was a mess. Never in my life would I have thought that Bree and I would be fighting over a boy.

"Come on, Quinn." mom said, crossing the room to place a hand on my shoulder. "Let's give Bree some privacy."

`Thank you," Bree, who was already dialing, rolled her eyes. I however, didn't budge. The last thing I wanted to do was give my sister privacy so she could talk to the same guy who I'd practically molested during my lunch break. It didn't matter how I looked at it, it just didn't seem like a good idea to me. Unfortunately, my mother disagreed, and by the time that Bree had Jude on the line, mom was dragging me out of the living room.

"Give your sister some space, Quinn." she insisted before leaving me to finish dinner. But, I was far from giving anyone space as I immediately took to eavesdropping on Bree.

"Hey Jude." my sister was saying in her flirty voice. I hated her flirty voice. "... just calling to say hi. What are you doing?"

I crept back around the corner and looked at Bree, talking happily on the phone. To Jude. There was definitely jealousy brewing. Why couldn't I be the one talking to Jude? I wanted to know what he was doing too. Whatever it was, made my sister giggle. Disgusting. Completely disgusting.

"We're just getting ready for dinner here." Bree told him. "No.... yeah, my mom's home again.... uh-huh... oh...um... yeah, he's here."

I suddenly went from eavesdropping on a conversation to being the target of my sister's glare. I inwardly cringed at that, but found myself inwardly smiling when I replayed my sister's last words in my mind and realized why she was suddenly looking so annoyed at me. Jude was asking about me. I'll admit, that normally that probably would have made me nervous, but after this afternoon, even the thought of him thinking about me felt right. The fact that he wanted to talk to me and not my sister was even better.

"I guess so," Bree said after another moment, and then reluctantly held out the phone for me. I tried to ignore the curious but frustrated look she was giving me as I refrained from running across the room to snatch the phone away from her. But, once I had it, I didn't hesitate to bring it to my ear and turn my back on her.


It was probably a good thing that I'd turned away from my sister, because when Jude's voice came, despite myself, I felt a ridiculously goofy grin coming over my face.

"Hey Quinn.... so, I know I said I'd call you, but this still counts, right?"

"I guess." I replied casually as I tried to walk away from Bree, who didn't cooperate and immediately began to follow me.

"You guess?" Jude repeated teasingly. "You don't sound satisfied, Quinn. Maybe I should hang up and call back."

"I don't think that's necessary." I replied shortly.

"Uh-oh." Jude's voice softened somewhat, "you don't sound good. Please tell me that you're not freaking out about earlier already. Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with you."

"What does he want?" Bree hissed at me as I started to walk away from her, and she positioned herself in front of me, walking backwards, as if she was unwilling to let my face out of her sight.

"I'm not." I answered Jude as I continued to walk away, despite the barricade that was my sister. "I mean...I'm trying not to." that was true. All things considered, I was doing pretty good, I thought.

"I guess that's a start." Jude replied. "You still want to talk, right?"

"Yeah." I admitted. "I do."

"Do what?" Bree demanded, and I waved her off with my hand like an annoying pest before changing direction again.

"But?" Jude wanted to know.

"But..." I started, before abruptly turning into the downstairs bathroom, throwing off my sister and closing the door behind me. She definitely wasn't happy about that, if her fist meeting the door was any indication. My response was to lock the door behind me. "Jude.... you're sort of getting me into trouble here."


"Yeah, Bree...."

"Oh yeah...your sister called me. She probably wants to talk, huh?"

"You know she does." I said, sounding frustrated. "Damn it. This whole thing is turning into a fucking mess."

"What is?"

"Bree... damn it! You know what I'm talking about.

"Yeah," he admitted, although that cockiness was back in his tone, "but I don't see the problem."

"Why are you doing this?" I demanded. I was feeling annoyed. Jude knew exactly what the problem was. He just saw fit to tease me, and that frustrated me to no end, especially at a time like this. "My sister can't like you!"

"Alright... then I'll tell her that." Jude suggested. "Then, I'll tell her why."

"You can't do that!" I was quick to argue.

"Fine, then I won't. But, if she get's hurt you're taking full responsibility."


"Well, what do you want me to do then, Quinn? The only reason why I haven't told her yet is because of you. I don't see what the big deal is, anyway. She has a crush. It's not like I'm gonna do anything about it."

"You're not the one I'm worried about. God. She can't like you, Jude."

"You're acting like it's my fault. It's not like I'm purposely leading her on, I mean... what exactly do you expect me to do?"

"Stop talking to her!" I answered immediately. "If you blow her off now she'll give up and move on... I just don't want to see her get hurt."

"You don't want her to get hurt but you want me to blow her off?" Jude replied incredulously. "Quinn, your sister's a cool girl... and a friend. I'm not blowing her off. You know, I should tell her. I should have told her to begin with. I would have... I shouldn't let you turn me into a closet case, okay? That's your deal." True or not, I was offended by that last remark. "And who cares if your sister has a little crush? The only way she's going to end up hurt is if you keep lying to her, so don't pretend that her liking me is the problem."

"It is a problem!"

"Only because you turn it into one." Jude shot back. "Why can't you just admit that the only reason why you don't want your sister interested in me is because you're interested in me?"

"Are you actually going to tell Bree the truth?" I demanded, and sadly, I was only thinking about what the consequences would be if that happened, and nothing else that Jude was saying. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I heard him release an exasperated sigh right before the line went dead, but I was.

"Hello?" I frowned. Did he actually hang up on me?

"Quinn!" Bree began pounding on the door and for a moment I was distracted from the fact that Jude had actually hung up on me.

"What?" I shouted through the door, unable to bite back all of the frustration I was suddenly feeling.

"Phone, Quinn!" Bree retorted, obviously as frustrated as I was. I looked down at the phone, the one I'd been holding when Jude hung up on me, and decided that it was useless to me now, so I opened the door, passed my sister the phone, and before the interrogation started, I retreated to my room.


I think Jude hanging up on me ruined my night more than anything. I wanted to call him back and ask why he did it...and what it meant. Obviously, he didn't like something that I had to say, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought about how I hadn't exactly liked what he had to say, either. He wanted to tell Bree the truth. Fuck that.

But, just because I didn't like what he had to say, didn't mean that I was okay with him hanging up on me. Seriously, what did it mean? He wasn't going to talk to me anymore? What about what happened between us earlier? Was I just supposed to forget about that?

I laid back in my bed and took in a deep breath. It was getting close to dinner time. I could smell it. The scent of food made me nauseous, with everything else on my mind and the nerves knotting my stomach, but I tried to shake it off. Brad would be over soon. With Brad coming over, I desperately needed to remain calm. I still didn't know what I was going to say to him-or what he was going to say to me. I just knew that it wasn't going to be an easy night, with Jude on my mind. I thought about calling him back. I really did want to talk. I needed to talk. To Jude.

I heard the phone ring downstairs, half wondering and half hoping that it was him, calling to give out pending conversation another try, but then common sense told me that it wasn't Jude. It was probably Brad, calling to say that he would be over soon. I found out that I was half right when my mother intruded into my room, without knocking, of course. It was sort of hard to knock when there was no door available. Yup, I was still stuck on that.

"Is Brad on his way?" I asked, before I noticed that my mom had her purse with her. The only time she ever had the duffle bag-like thing was when she was going to work, and since she was supposed to be taking time off, it confused me. What concerned me, was the worried expression on her face that only a mother could have. "What's wrong?" I asked, sitting up.

"Mrs. Clair went into labor early." my mother announced. "Bree and I are going down to the hospital with her.

"Is she alright?" I asked and stood up as my own problems suddenly seemed to matter less. Brad's mom was like a second mother to me, despite the fact that I'd been avoiding her just as much as anyone else, and if something was wrong, it was only natural for me to feel some upset.

"I'm sure she'll be fine, sweetheart, but I need you to pack up dinner and take it over to the Clairs.' Brad has the boys so I figure you can keep him company tonight."

"Sure. Can I go now?"

"Right now." my mother nodded. "Just make sure you take the food with you... Bree's waiting for me in the car."

I nodded and followed my mother until we reached the kitchen and separated. I didn't waste much time as I began to pack up the food, and she promised to call with news as soon as she could on her way out the door.

I began to wonder how Brad was doing as I made my way over there. It was definitely feeding time at the Clair house, and I doubted that Brad, who could burn water, wanted to be responsible for feeding his two brothers. It became apparent that I was right when I got there, because the food seemed to be gone before I even put it down.

I was surprised, though, that Brad and his brothers didn't seem as concerned as I thought they would be over the condition of their mother and their new sibling to-be. After all, Mrs. Clair was only five months pregnant. At least, I'd be more concerned. I think. Personally, I didn't have much experience in the area. I was too young to remember what happened when my mother went to the hospital to have Bree. I'd just always been glad when mom came back with her. And Bree had been there ever since... until recently. Recently.... well, recently things weren't the way that they were supposed to be between my sister and I. I missed her. I missed her bringing me cookies before she went to bed, and waking her up a little early in the morning just so we could talk before school. I really did miss my sister, and I was beginning to hate that it seemed to be Jude coming between us. Despite the way I felt when she'd called him only an hour before, I knew that I wouldn't be able to stand the distance from her much longer. I only wished that I knew what to do about it.


Two bowls of ice cream each, three hours, and a movie later, and Brad's brothers were in bed an hour past their bedtime. Of course, whether or not they were actually sleeping was a different story entirely.

"Shut up!" Brad shouted at the ceiling after the eruption of noise coming from upstairs where his brothers were supposed to be sleeping. I ignored it and snatched the remote control from him to change the channel. "God," he groaned, "they never stop. I wish my mom could have held it in until my dad was at least back in town...." he paused for a moment and I saw a look of guilt cross his face. That was Brad for you. When he was worried he got frustrated easily, and I knew he was worried about his mom. He was just dealing with it the only way he knew how. "Why hasn't anyone called yet?"

"I'm sure everything's fine." I insisted. "You know my mom would call if there was anything wrong. I can try calling if you want."

"No." he sighed. "You're probably right. I just hate sitting here. Sorry." he looked towards the television for a moment, but then his attention was suddenly on me again. "So what's eating you?"

I took in a breath. I knew that we'd be having a discussion tonight. Too bad I wasn't in the mood for it. In fact, I was surprised that he was, with everything happening with his mom.

"So I guess we're doing this now?" I asked.

Brad raised an eyebrow at me and then shook his head.

"I want to talk, Quinn. But, that's not what I'm talking about. You've been down since you got here. I'm just wondering what's up."

"Oh," I shrugged. "I'm just wondering how your mom's doing."

"You just said you think that she's going to be fine." he rolled his eyes. "Don't change the subject. What else is bothering you?"

I leaned back in my seat, resisting the urge to tell him that lately, everything was bothering me. I really didn't want to have this conversation now. In part I knew that he was only looking for a distraction from his own problems, and I had no interest in turning my own problems into his distraction. Unfortunately, I knew Brad Clair enough to know that the way he was looking at me suggested that he wasn't going to let it go until he at least got some sort of explanation.

"I'm not really getting along with Bree lately." I admitted.

"You guys are fighting again?"

"I don't know. Maybe. I wouldn't really call it fighting. It's more like... we're suddenly on each other's nerves all the time."

"So you're finally normal?" Brad laughed.


"She's your little sister, Quinn." he explained. "She's supposed to work your nerves."

"What? No. You know Bree and me aren't like that... I hate fighting with her."

Brad flashed me a sympathetic look, probably because I was pouting, and he sat up a little straighter as he turned his body towards me.

"Are you guys still fighting about that guy?" he asked pointedly, and I automatically panicked.

"What?" I demanded.

"Bree's been talking to me." Brad shrugged.

I frowned. I knew that Bree had been talking to Brad, especially with the new rift in our relationship, but now I was worried about exactly what she'd been telling him.

"What did she say?"

"She just mentioned that there's a new guy she's into... and you can't stand him. It's not like this is the first time it's happened, Quinn. Why are you guys fighting so much this time?

Brad didn't understand just how complicated that question was. This time, was different. The reason I didn't want Bree interested in Jude had nothing to do with not liking him. Of course, I had no way of explaining that. At least, there was no way that I wanted to explain it. Brad wouldn't understand anyway... and that bothered me. I guess the look on my face must have said that I had no idea what to say because Brad suddenly rolled his eyes at me.

"Look, Quinn, if you can't admit that you're being an ass, I'll do it for you." my eyes snapped up to his at that remark, but I managed to hold my tongue as he continued. What the hell did I do? "You know that I hate Bree growing up just about as much as you do. She's like a sister to me. But, you can't really stop it from happening, and I think you're over reacting. Just because you're going through... whatever shit you're going through...doesn't mean that you should take it out on Bree."

"You have no idea what I'm going through." I automatically retorted.

"Only because you won't tell me." he replied calmly, although the look on his face seemed sad. It was definitely meant to make me feel guilty. It was working. "I don't know, Quinn. I want to say things are cool with us... I mean, I'm glad you're here... but things aren't okay. You won't talk to me. You don't want to talk to me."

"If you want to talk, fine." I frowned. "Just tell me what you want to know so we can get this over with." I definitely sounded braver than I felt.

"It doesn't work like that, damn it. I don't want to... I shouldn't have to force you to talk to me. And you shouldn't have to force yourself to talk to me."

"Then what the fuck do you want?" I demanded, my voice becoming more heated than I thought it would be. I was having one of those moments, where I felt like everyone wanted a piece of me and I just didn't have anything left to give. Maybe it was ridiculous, but I felt like this conversation was becoming an interrogation, and I had no idea how we got from talking about the problem I had with my sister to the problem that Brad had with me.

"Will you keep your voice down?" Brad hissed at me, leaning forward in his chair. "I don't want anything... I want you to be my friend, Quinn. Yes, I want to know what's going on with you but I don't want to hear it if the only reason you're telling me is because you think you have to."

"Then what the hell is this?"

"It's me an you hanging out, smart ass. I'm not forcing you to be here, Quinn. You came over here. I know this shit with my mom kind of put things on hold but I thought you were ready to talk, and if you're not, it's not like I'm twisting your arm. I just want to know what's going on. Besides, what did you expect? I know how you and Bree are and if you're going to mention that you have issues with her then how did you expect me to react? Of course I want to know what's going on."

I paused. Brad was right. He wasn't forcing me to do anything. He hadn't even brought up the way I'd hit him yet. I could leave at any time, and I had agreed to see him tonight so we could talk. I was just feeling defensive now because Jude was being mentioned. And it sucked. I should have been grateful that Brad was even still speaking to me, but instead I found myself pushing him away again. I was blowing the whole damn thing.

"Brad... I didn't... I'm sorry." I sighed. "I just don't know what we're talking about right now. I'm tired and I..."

"It's fine." he shrugged. "I'm sorry you're having trouble with Bree."

I shook my head, the tension I felt with Brad suddenly fading as the thought of my sister and Jude re-entered my mind. I guess that was a good enough distraction from my current trouble with Brad. The fact that my sister was interested in the same guy who I couldn't stop thinking about... the guy I'd felt up the very same day... was eating me alive to the point that I could hardly stand it. "It's just that she's making me crazy." I blurted. "I asked her to do one little thing. Stay away from him. And she said she would, you know? I asked her to leave him alone and she said she would." I released a disgusted grunt and shook my head again. Bree really had agreed to stay away from him. If she'd just kept her word there wouldn't be a problem. At least, I could keep telling myself that.

"What is it about this guy that you hate so much?" Brad suddenly asked. "I mean, is he that bad? Should I be worried? He wouldn't hurt her, would he?"

"No." I said quickly, surprising myself. It seemed strange, how quick I was to rush to Jude's defense when not very long ago I was the one insisting that he'd end up hurting my sister. I guess that gave me a lot to think about. However, thinking didn't seem to be on my side when I looked into the confused, concerned eyes of the guy who was supposed to be-who was-my best friend. Only one thing seemed to register at that moment: I hated that I couldn't talk to him. I hated that I was carrying around this big secret that seemed to be turning my life upside down and I couldn't tell Brad about it. I hated that I couldn't tell my family too, but when it came to Brad... I suddenly recalled the conversation we had in the mall, the question I had brought up after the night I once considered, and sometimes still did, my downfall. The night I met Jude Landon. Would we always be friends, no matter what?

I guess with Brad, it was the no matter what part that concerned me. We were supposed to be able to tell each other anything. Friends were supposed to be able to trust each other enough to tell each other anything. But I couldn't. I was so afraid that I'd lose him if he knew what I really was. Only, recently it felt like I was already losing him, and I found myself asking what Brad would do, if he were in my position. Would he trust me enough to be honest with me? Deep down, I knew the answer to that question.

"Look Quinn, I don't know what the problem is, but if the guy isn't so bad can't you let this thing with your sister go? I mean, you know Bree. I give this guy a week before she gets tired of him."

"No. It's not that simple... I can't just let it go." I let out a breath and abruptly met my friend's eyes. How could I expect him to understand? "I lied to you, Brad."

The moment I said it, I knew that I couldn't take it back, if the way that Brad pinned me with his eyes was any indication.

"Okay." he said slowly, as I silently wondered if I'd lost my damned mind.

"When I told you that I wanted to break up with Marissa..." I started slowly, "you asked me if I'd met someone else."


"I did meet someone else." I admitted. "But I swear that's not why I broke up with Mar. At the time I was one hundred percent sure that nothing was going to happen, but..."

"So shut up and tell me who she is." Brad cut me off, and he was suddenly smiling. I wasn't.

"It's..." I let out a breath and forced myself to look him in the eyes. "It's the same guy who I don't want my sister dating."

This was it. I'd done it. I felt like I was going to throw up, but I'd done it. I'd told Brad. I'd been honest with him. Now, I just needed a reaction. I needed him to respond. I needed him to say something because I wanted to know if this was still my best friend I was talking to or if I was going to lose Brad Clair forever tonight, and unfortunately, I was holding my breath as the silence seemed to last forever.

His brow knotted. It wasn't a troubled expression, but a confused one, and it only lasted a few seconds before he suddenly started-laughing.

"What's funny?" I frowned. I didn't think any of this was funny. Was he laughing at me, for being something that came naturally? Was he laughing at the big fag? Why the hell was he laughing at me?

"Oh shit," he remarked, shaking his head. "Let me guess, this guy has a hot little sister and he won't let you date her?"


"Damn, Quinn... so, how does it feel to get a taste of your own medicine?"

"What are you talking about?" I demanded, before what Brad was saying actually dawned on me... "Wait. No...Brad, he doesn't have a sister.... I met him. He's the one I'm interested in.... I'm interested in another guy."

Well, I think that got my point across, because Brad's whole face went blank... maybe even a little pale. But, why? Why did I do it? It suddenly occurred to me that he'd given me the perfect way to get out of my admission. It would have been another lie, claiming to be interested in Jude's non-existent sister, but I could have gotten out of it. I think I'd known that, even before I'd said something. But for some reason, in that moment, it had been important that I get my point across. It was like, I needed him to understand what the truth was, and it was nearly as liberating as the first time I'd admitted those two very big words to myself. I'm gay. But now that it was over and done with-I was scared shitless.

"Another guy?" he repeated, his tone of voice as blank as the look on his face, and I found myself swallowing hard.

"Yes." I practically choked on the word.

"You're interested in another guy?"

"Yes, Brad." my voice felt like it was gone, my words only coming out in a weak whisper now.

"You want to date a guy?" his voice was raising now, and I felt my stomach lurch. "Am I actually hearing you right?"

"Brad, I'm sorry." I'm not sure why I suddenly wanted to apologize. I'm sure my frequent self loathing and fears had something to do with it, though. I'd made a horrible mistake. I shouldn't have told him. Why I ever thought it was the right thing to do eluded me just then, and now I couldn't take it back and he was... disgusted. Of course he was disgusted. Why wouldn't he be? He just found out his best friend was a faggot. I'd known it was sick, and I'd deluded myself into thinking otherwise, but now I saw the reality. I was a sick faggot and Brad Clair knew it.

"I'm sorry..." I said again. "I swear I didn't do this on purpose. I mean, I didn't just wake up and decide this, and I've tried to change it. If I could change it I would..."

"Quinn," he interrupted, loudly. "So you're saying... what? You like guys?"

I swallowed down the vile in my throat and slowly shook my head to myself. I wished that I could take it all back, tell him that it was just some stupid joke. I wished I was joking.


When Brad stood up I think I actually jumped. I wasn't sure what he was doing. All I knew was that I wished he'd just sit still. That would mean he was still talking to me, but obviously, he wasn't.

"I need a minute." he announced.

"Brad please wait..." I really felt like panicking now. He was walking away from me. I stood up, wanting so badly to stop him, but the moment I touched his arm he jerked away from me.

"I said I need a fucking minute." he snapped at me, right before he disappeared down the hall, leaving me utterly shaken with a sense of loss that I was nowhere near ready to feel. I just stood there. I'm not sure how long. I was feeling so numb just then that it didn't really matter. In fact, the only thing that I could feel at the moment was the sinking feeling in my gut, until it became so painful that I couldn't stand it anymore and I headed towards the door. Brad hadn't returned, so he wasn't there to stop me when I walked out, not that I thought he would have. Why would he, anyway?

The walk home seemed a lot longer than it really was. It was dark, and cold outside, and having left my jacket at the Clair house I felt a chill run up my spine, but I had a feeling that it wasn't the weather that left me feeling cold. It seemed for a few moments at least, that rational thought had moved beyond me and the only thing I comprehended was that my secret was out, my best friend new about it and he despised me for it. Knowing that Brad hated me, made me hate myself a little bit. Maybe more than a little bit. My self loathing was suddenly self hatred. I felt... void. I stopped thinking about what was going to happen next because it didn't matter. My life was over, anyway.

I felt like I was in a trance up until I reached my house. That's when I snapped myself back into reality. It only took me a moment to take in the sight of the Green El Camino, parked just outside of the driveway. It took me another moment to realize that my mom's car was there too, the same car she and Bree had taken to the hospital.

And then I heard the voices. There were two of them, coming from the front porch, the first one having the ability to make my toes curl on the right occasions. Too bad this wasn't one of them. This time that particular voice only deepened my previous panic.

"I'd rather wait out here for him," Jude said, a slight hint of concern in his voice. "I kinda need to talk to him, Bree."

"Well if you come inside I can call him and tell him to come home. He's just down the street." Bree insisted, just as I made out their two figures in the dark, just enough to see the way that my sister's hand had snaked up Jude's arm, and despite my depressed and confused state, that gesture was enough to piss me off and ground my feet right where they were. "Maybe we could talk."

"Bree, I think we already had the conversation you want to have." Jude replied gently, stepping away from her. "Look, you know I'd love to be your friend, but I can't...."

"I know." Bree sighed, and oddly enough, the sad note in her voice had the big brother in me wanting to slap Jude silly for it. "But... I wish I knew why, okay? Is it Quinn? I know he can be a little... unbearable when it comes to the guys I bring home, but...."

I frowned when Jude actually laughed.

"Your brother isn't that bad, Bree."

Not that bad? What was that supposed to mean?

"Then what is it?" Bree demanded, obviously irritated that she was taking this conversation much more seriously that he was. "I mean... I don't want to sound like some desperate freak but this is driving me nuts. Do you have a girlfriend you just don't want to mention?"


"I'm not pretty enough? Look Jude, you're not going to hurt my feelings, I just want to know..."

"Bree, that's not it." he insisted. "I think you're beautiful. Look, I just can't..."

"Why not? Is it that hard to give me an honest answer?"

"Bree..." Jude frowned, obviously becoming uncomfortable. That made sense. She'd mentioned honesty. My stomach tightened up at the word as I realized this probably wasn't going to go in my favor now. What else was new?

"Fine." my sister said shortly, and abruptly opened the front door. "Obviously you don't think I deserve an explanation. Quinn was right, all of you guys are shit heads... except apparently not all of you want to get into my pants, even the ones who are invited."

I blanched at my sister's bluntness and I swear I saw Jude blush in the dark. I couldn't believe she'd just said that to him. I didn't have time to dwell on it, though. I was too busy cringing at Jude's next words.

"It's because I'm gay, Bree." he called after her in a clear and unwavering voice that surprised me. He'd said it so confidently, so certainly that I couldn't imagining anyone questioning it. How did he do that?

I watched in horror as my sister slowly turned back, flicking on the porch light in the process, probably so she could see for herself if Jude's expression was as serious as his voice had been. There was a dumbfounded look on her face when she discovered that he was, but her eyes didn't linger on his face for long, they suddenly snapped to my own eyes, and as if she'd known I'd been there the whole time, and an accusing look crossed her face as she hostilely crossed her arms.

At this point, I had no fucking idea what to do, and from the looks of it, neither did Jude, who for once, looked entirely helpless to his situation.

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