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

The Ordinary Us

Chapter fifteen: Interruption

Bree's eyes were on me, or more like, her glare was on me. It didn't last long, though, before her attention returned to Jude, who'd probably just made the second worst mistake of my life. I'd made the first one no more than fifteen minutes ago when I'd decided to be honest with Brad Clair.

"Gay?" Bree practically spat the word at Jude, and he was still unflinching, while I felt myself cringe. After Brad's reaction tonight, the last thing I wanted now was another bad one, and I was positive that my sister was going to find out about me now. Jude was definitely out of his mind to be so calm. He even smiled a sheepish smile at her.

"One hundred percent." he shrugged. "That's why, Bree. Believe me, if you had the right... equipment, I'd be all over you."

I wasn't sure if I should be relieved or horrified when my sister actually blushed. I chose to be horrified when Bree directed her attention towards me again.

"You knew about this?" she demanded.

I opened my mouth a few times, seemingly unable to form words. God, I wish I would have known what to say to her because a moment later someone was giving her an answer for me, and while you'd think it was Jude, you'd be unfortunately mistaking, because it was Brad's footsteps that caused me to turn towards the street to see him jogging towards me.


"Quinn! Why the hell did you take off?" he wanted to know-loudly, and once again, I was rendered speechless. "I said I needed a minute, I didn't say to take off, dumbass. We're not done talking yet."

"Brad..." I tried, but I knew him. When he was angry he rarely saw what was around him, and in this instance, it happened to be my very confused sister.

"You can't just tell a guy you're gay and expect him to know how to respond!" he blurted.

"Brad!" I shouted, not really realizing that it was too late to stop him until a deafening silence followed my voice and I looked back at Jude and Bree. Jude looked surprised, to say the least, but rather than saying anything to me he simply raised a sharp eyebrow. Bree, on the other hand, was turning three shades of white as she stared at me, mouth agape.

"Bree," I started, but before I could say anything else, she was looking at Brad.

"Did you just say what I think you said?" she demanded, her eyes returning to me again.

"Oh shit." I heard Brad mumble behind me.

Oh shit, was right.

"Bree," I said, hoping to prevent further damage. "Can we go inside? Please? I need to talk to you."

Talking, wasn't really what I wanted to do. It was actually the last thing I wanted to do. What I wanted was to run away, immediately. But, my feet didn't seem to be cooperating as they moved me towards my sister.

Bree held up a hand, beckoning me to stop as she looked between Jude and myself. Jude looked at me almost apologetically, obviously having nothing to say, while I flashed Brad a look that actually made him flinch, just before Bree abruptly turned and went inside. She didn't run away. She didn't even slam the door. She just went in and left me with Jude and Brad, both of them looking at me expectantly while I stood there frozen, trying to digest the last few moments of my life. It was a lot to digest.

It was Jude's reluctant hand touching my arm that snapped me back to reality. And I hated reality at the moment. I was feeling so much anxiety that my brain wanted to shut down, but instead, it all seemed to come out as anger. Anger over my stupidity for telling Brad the truth, anger towards Jude for his revelation to Bree, anger towards Brad for outing me to my sister...I was just angry. And terrified.

I suddenly pulled away from Jude, flashing him a look that matched the one I'd given Brad. He looked almost surprised by it and actually stepped back. I couldn't help it. He was the closest person to me and unfortunately, that meant that for the time being, my anger was going to be directed at him.

"Why don't you just get the fuck out of here?" I snapped at him, right before I ran into the house, after my sister.

I didn't have to go very far to find Bree. I'd walked in, slammed the door, and turned to go up to her room, only to come face to face with her. She was still standing in the doorway and she didn't look happy. Her posture was standoffish; shoulders stiff, arms crossed, and red eyes. I didn't know if I wanted to hug her or run away.

"Brianna..." her frown deepened at the use of her full name., and somehow, I got the idea that no matter how I approached this, it wasn't going to go very well. "Bree," I tried again, and then failed with my next words... "you can't tell mom."

Bree's jaw dropped a little at the stupidity of my last request, and after a few incoherent grunts that I'm sure she meant as words, she actually stomped her foot and growled at me.

"Asshole!" she bit out. "That's all you care about? Asshole!" she spun around, probably to retreat to her room, but before I could even think to go after her she whirled around on me again. "And before I forget, I came home to tell you and Brad that his mom's fine. It was a false alarm but they're keeping her overnight. Mom's staying. They'll both be back in the morning."

I had so much running through my mind, that I couldn't even think about Mrs. Clair. Like, the fact that my sister was walking away from me again and my legs were shaking too much to go after her. Once again, I didn't have to because her finger came up and abruptly, she was turning to face me again.

"Did you do this?" she demanded.

"What?" I asked in my confusion, hating the way that my voice shook. I should not have been intimidated by my sixteen year old little sister.... but her reaction to me now seemed like the most horrific thing in the world to face.

"You did, didn't you?" she shouted, her eyes going wide. I had no idea what she was talking about. "You and Brad scared Jude away and came up with this gay bullshit to spare my feelings! I should kill you both!" I blinked at that outrageous theory. I guess the look on Bree's face a moment later said that even she knew how ridiculous she sounded, not that it stopped her. "Damn it Quinn!" she suddenly took a step forward, "tell me this is a joke!"

I'll admit, it did occur to me to lie to her. I'd already made such a mess of things that I didn't think I could take anymore. Actually, I really couldn't take anymore. I felt so overwhelmed just then that everything seemed to shut down all at once as I searched for some sort of clarity of what was happening. Everything was happening. My life would never be the same. But for now, all that was left were the tears. And here I thought I was past being a blubbering idiot.

The moment my eyes went red and the first tear fell my sister's expression changed drastically. All of her anger seemed to vanish into shock and something that looked close to anguish as she slowly shook her head. "Christ, Quinn," she said softly before her eyes began to water too, and she turned on her heel and ran up the stairs. Why was everyone walking away from me? Was I really that despicable? Probably, but I was damned sick and tired of being reminded of it, and suddenly, I needed to get away too.

I moved right back out the front door, completely forgetting what was waiting for me outside. I hardly even remembered telling Jude to get lost until I almost trampled him. I guess he hadn't listened to me. He further made his presence clear by grabbing my arm as I caught a glimpse of Brad's worried face, something I looked away from as I shook Jude off and moved down the driveway. Without my car, it seemed that my legs would be taking me... anywhere but here.

"Quinn!" my name was called by both Jude and Brad all at once, but I ignored it. It didn't stop one of them from getting my attention, though. It was Jude's arm which suddenly found it's way around my waist at the end of the drive, and when I tried to shake him off this time, I abruptly found myself pinned up against his car, his eyes locked onto mine and his arms trapping me.

"Leave me the hell alone!" I practically screamed at his blue eyes, just as Brad appeared beside us, looking red in the face.

"Where are you going?" Brad demanded.

"Like you fucking care!" I spat out defensively, mortified by my current state and wishing that they'd both just stop looking at me.

"Are you kidding me?" Brad retorted. "Since when don't I care, asshole?"

"You don't!" I shouted at Brad, but my eyes were searching out Jude's concerned ones. I think subconsciously I was looking to him for some sort of guidance, for help, anything to keep myself from facing Brad. I was terrified of Brad at the moment, and oddly enough, Jude seemed to be the perfect cover, even if I was physically still trying to push him away.

"How can you even say that?" Brad demanded.

"You made it clear enough!"

"Fuck you!" Brad shouted. "You can't just drop something like that on me and not expect me to freak out! What the fuck is your problem, Quinn?"

"Get off of me." I ordered, trying to shove Jude away again. Although, I don't think it was him that I really wanted to get away from. It was the entire situation. It didn't matter, though. Jude was unrelenting as my eyes caught his again and he regarded me calmly. How could he be so calm? And what did Brad mean, my problem?

"Do you want me to leave?" Jude suddenly asked, and the simple question seemed to snap my attention away from my crumbling thoughts and to him. I hardly had time to think about my answer before I was shaking my head. Whether I liked it or not, I was terrified of him leaving me now.

"Please get me out of here," I found myself vocally pleading.

"What?" Brad demanded, and I noticed that he was suddenly regarding Jude and I a little differently than he had been a moment ago. He even took a step back, as if something shocking had just dawned on him.

"I don't know." Jude responded quietly to my plea, and frankly, his answer surprised me. I'm sure it showed on my face, too, along with the sudden anger and hurt I was experiencing. I was simply too tired and shaken to hide my emotions. I guess you could say that in part, I blamed Jude for the current predicament I found myself in, and I expected him to do something to fix it.

"Quinn, wait a minute, you can't just leave..." Brad informed me, but I still couldn't look at him. I was stuck on his initial reaction to me. I just couldn't get past it. He'd obviously walked away from me for a reason, and at the moment, I wasn't willing to believe that it was innocent. I was definitely on the defensive.

"Get in the car." Jude's said abruptly. I blinked and looked at him, probably as if I had no idea what he was talking about, because it was just dawning on me that I'd asked him to get me out of there in the first place.

"Hey," Brad frowned, his frustration becoming apparent when he actually gave Jude a shove away from me. It wasn't a hard shove, not a violent one, but the action somehow bothered me. What I didn't understand, was why it didn't seem to bother Jude. In fact, he completely ignored it and opened the car door for me. I was surprised at just how fast my feet were willing to cooperate at that moment, as I got in and let him close the door.

All of my panic and frustration had turned into confusion. That's how I felt; confused. I wasn't sure what to make of my situation, or the way that Brad was suddenly in Jude's face as he walked around the car. I think normally, I would have been out of the vehicle in a heartbeat to place myself between the two, but this situation seemed far from normal, and I was at such a loss that all I could do was sit back and watch the scene unfold. There wasn't much of a scene, though. I watched Jude put his hands up in a helpless gesture, as he said something to Brad, and whatever it was, seemingly calmed him down. They exchanged a few more words after that, quietly, calmly, and somewhere in my mind it registered that Brad was staring into the car, at me, but I couldn't respond to it. It ended with Brad touching Jude's shoulder, and Jude walking around the car to get in... I don't know, something about the gesture got to me. Brad wasn't... angry. Had Jude done that? What was happening? For the life of me, nothing made sense. I just couldn't... think.

"I'm sorry." Jude only whispered it, but those words had my head snapping in his direction, and at the same time, I noticed that we'd started to drive.

"I don't know what to do." it was the only response I could come up with, and the most honest thing I ever could have said.

There was a long silence, and then Jude glanced my way before returning his attention to the road.

"Do you know where you want to go?" he asked me. I just shook my head. I had no idea, or no idea in mind. "We could go to my place," he said almost hesitantly. "If you want to... I don't want to push. We could talk there, though... just talk, if you want."

I flashed Jude a confused look, briefly wondering about the hesitation that I could hear in his voice. It only took me a moment to realize that knowing me, he was probably afraid I'd ultimately accuse him of wanting to take advantage of me. But actually, worrying about the way Jude could very well take advantage of my current state was the last thing on my mind. I wished that I had the energy to explain that to him. Instead, I returned to looking out my window and simply responded, "thank you."


"Do you want something to drink?" Jude asked me. He was relieving himself of his jacket near the sofa in his apartment. One of the ceiling lights had gone out, making the place seem dim, even with the one standing lamp in the corner.

"No." I responded, and he cocked his head at me.

"Aren't you going to come in?"

"I shook my head no, even as I stepped away from the doorway, where I'd been standing. Jude regarded me curiously, his arms lightly crossed, while I looked at anything but him. I think for a moment, I wished that he didn't keep his apartment so orderly. Like a nervous tick, my fingers were itching to clean something.

"Okay," Jude sighed, beginning to look troubled as he allowed his fingertips to momentarily brush the hair away from his eyes. "Maybe we should go somewhere else. If you're not comfortable..."

"I'm fine." I said quickly, forcing myself to walk past Jude and take a seat on the sofa, where I proceeded to stare at the blank television screen. I jumped when he sat next to me-close to me. His response was to place a hand on my back as a serious air seemed to enter the room, and I nervously ran my fingers through my hair.

"I'm sorry." it was the second time that Jude had said that to me tonight, and it seemed to bring my attention towards him. "Quinn, you have no idea...." I turned my head and looked at Jude to confirm what I heard in his voice. He was unsure of himself. Worried. Sad, even. I had no idea what to make of it. I wasn't used to seeing that look on his face, and while it was a refreshing change from all of his cocky smiles, I didn't like seeing it now. It only seemed to worsen my already jumbled nerves. "I only meant to tell her about me." Jude continued. "I swear to God, no matter what you might think I wouldn't out you like that. If I would have known... shit." He removed the hand from my back to rub at his eyes with it, and I immediately missed the contact. When he lifted his head to look at me again, he almost seemed to be studying me expectantly.

"You have every right to be angry, Quinn."

Damn right I did. Only, deep down I knew that it would be pointless to take all of my anger out on Jude, considering the fact that on some level I knew that if he was to blame at all for this night, I was to blame more. After all, it had been me, stupid enough to confide in a friend who obviously didn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

"Do you know what's going to happen now?" I replied absently, not really paying attention to the way that Jude obviously felt guilty about something, or the way that he was giving me something close to permission, to take my troubles out on him. "I'm going to lose everything... I already did. Everything's gone, Jude. My sister...you should have seen the look on her face before she... she walked away from me."

"Quinn," he said gently, but I didn't turn to look at him, although, the way that his hand returned to my back was definitely comforting.

"She's probably on the phone with my mom right now." I continued, shuddering at the thought. "My mom..." I took in a deep breath, the fear of what was about to happen really hitting me now. "She won't understand."


"And the people at school. God, I'm not going to be able to go back there. As soon as Brad slips it to someone else..."

"Quinn." Jude's voice became somewhat louder, although that soothing tone was still present. I finally turned my head to look at him and after letting out a breath he allowed his hand to slide to my lower back, where it rested comfortably. "None of that is going to happen."

"You don't know that!" I responded somewhat defensively. "Look, I know these people. I saw how they reacted. Bree and Brad... Christ, it's such a mess!"

"Right," he said almost sarcastically.

"They hate me."

"Hate you?" he responded, suddenly taking my hand and pulling it into his lap, as if he wanted to guarantee my undivided attention. "I hope you're not talking about your friend, who just came looking for you because he was worried. Do you have any idea how lucky that makes you?"

"Lucky?" I demanded. I highly doubted that I was lucky at all.

"You really don't see it, do you?" Jude frowned at me.

"See what? That I'm fucked?" I snapped. "Yes Jude, I noticed that, thank you."

"Your friend cares about you." Jude responded, sounding irritated. "He knows you're gay and guess what? He still cares."

"You didn't see him when I told him!" I argued. "You didn't see the way he..."

"Freaked out?" Jude cut me off. "I didn't have to see him, and I didn't have to be there, Quinn. And you know what? He had every right to react the way he did."

My eyes widened at that remark and I suddenly found myself glaring at Jude, wondering who's side he was on. I would have asked, too, if he hadn't held up one hand while gripping mine tighter with the other, before he continued.

"You surprised him, Quinn. How did you expect him to react?"

"Just like he did!" I frowned. "Do you know what he thinks of me now that he knows?" it was unsettling, being able to hear horror in my own voice. "Brad looked at me like he didn't even know me. And my sister...."

"That's because they don't know you." Jude stated.

"That's bullshit." I argued, whether or not I saw the truth in what he was saying. Actually, I saw the whole truth of it, considering I'd told myself the same thing a thousand times. But, just because I knew it was true didn't mean that I wanted to hear that the people who'd been closest to me didn't even know me.

"They don't know you." Jude said again, my outburst doing nothing to deter him from making his point. "Not this part of you."

"They never should have known this part of me." I mumbled.

"But you told Brad." Jude countered. "Come on, Quinn. . . he didn't just figure it out on his own, did he... you really told him." Although Jude seemed to be pointing out the obvious, I couldn't help noticing the way that there was a hint of surprise in his voice when he said that last part.

"It was a stupid thing to do."

"No. I don't buy that." Jude shook his head. "And you don't believe that."

"The hell I don't." I snapped, wondering why it seemed like he had to argue everything I had to say. If I wanted to say I was an idiot, who the hell was he to tell me otherwise?

"You told him because it was eating you alive, Quinn. You were ready to tell him."

"I'm not ready for this." I sighed, finally pulling my hand away from him so I could drop my head into my palms.

"Yes you are." Jude replied, matter of factly. Not only did he sound sure of himself- he sounded sure of me, too. I'm not sure why, but something about his words was just as reassuring as it was to hear him say that there was nothing wrong with me. I lifted my head an looked at him, unsure of how to respond.

"How can you say that?" I asked quietly after a full minute of staring at him. "You don't know... I can't..."

"Yes you can." he nodded, leaning somewhat towards me, and I watched his hand when it decided to land on my knee. "Look at everything else you've dealt with. You definitely weren't ready for all of that... you're gonna be okay."

"How do you do it?" I suddenly demanded. "How do you not care what people think? How are you okay with... everything?"

"Being gay?"

"Yes, damn it." I snapped.

"Because that's what I am, Quinn." he said simply, but for a moment, I swear that Jude Landon looked unsure of himself... again. He even looked away momentarily, leaning away from me as he let out a breath. "Look," he said, bringing his eyes back to mine. "You might not see it... but I've been through this, okay? I even know how you feel... I know it sucks. But, I can also see things that you can't right now. You really are lucky, you know, your friends...."

"My friends are gone." I frowned, unable to help myself from interrupting what Jude was trying to say to me.

"Quinn, stop." Jude's tone was one that obviously said that my interruption was uncalled for, and most definitely irritating, but I ignored it. "Your friends.... two people found out about you. It's not the end of the world. I don't believe for a second that you didn't really want to tell Brad. Something in you wanted it and whether you think so or not, you won't regret it."

"I already do regret it." I informed him, becoming somewhat annoyed with the way he was talking to me. But, it wasn't the first time I'd been perturbed with this side of him. I hated the way that he could make it sound like he knew everything- I really hated that it seemed like he was always right. He wasn't going to be right this time, though. I was sure of that.

"You haven't even talked to Brad yet." Jude pointed out. "I doubt you really talked to Bree... you should, though. I think you should call..."

"You are no help whatsoever." I suddenly blurted, moving away from him as I stood up and made my way back towards the door. Jude was on his feet in an instant, following behind me.

"Quinn! Don't walk away. If you want to go somewhere else, fine, I'll take you- but don't just walk out."

The moment I started pulling the door open his hand landed on it, holding it shut. The action didn't necessarily anger me. I think maybe I was even a little grateful for it. After all, it wasn't as if I had anywhere else to go. That's probably why I didn't bite his head off for it. I even let my hand drop from the door handle.

"I don't want to talk to them right now." I said simply. "None of them." I leaned back against the door, partially because I felt exhausted, and partly because Jude was suddenly standing very close to me.

"You're going to have to face them eventually."

"Eventually isn't right now."

Jude studied me for a long moment, and finally nodded, as if it were his silent agreement to leave things alone for now and allow me to rot in my own misery. I wasn't sure if I should be grateful for that or not.

"Okay." he nodded. "Then... you want leave?"

"Are you tired of me yet?" I frowned. Maybe I was trying to sound teasing, but secretly I dreaded the answer to my own question.

"No." Jude smiled. "I meant... if you didn't want to be here, we could go somewhere else."

"Is it okay that we're here?" I asked, suddenly feeling a little annoyed with myself. By getting Jude to take me away from my problems, I realized that I'd practically invited myself over to his place. It wasn't that this was the first time I'd neglected my manners with him, but it was the first time since I'd fully admitted to myself that I wanted him. And I still wanted him. Even after everything that had happened in the last hour or so, I still knew that. I wasn't sure I liked it, but it was true, and after he hung up on me earlier, I wasn't sure where we stood. Not knowing seemed to worsen my situation, because the last thing I wanted to be to him, was a burden.

"Yeah." he said quickly. "I just wasn't sure if you wanted to be...." he raised an eyebrow and flashed me a soft smile, and I was immediately forced to swallow down the butterflies that shot up from my stomach to my throat. After our meeting earlier, I wasn't sure what to expect now. "Do you want to sit down or something?"

I just shrugged, and then waited for him to step aside so I could make my way back to the sofa, where I forced myself to sit and placed a hand on my knee to keep it from shaking. Jude made his way to the kitchen before he joined me, bringing a couple of soda's with him. I thanked him when he handed me one, but the beverage was promptly placed on the coffee table. I didn't trust myself to do anything at the moment. I was afraid that if I attempted to drink I'd end up drooling everywhere just because of my nerves.

"What were you doing there tonight?" I asked after a long moment of silence. I didn't know what to say to him, so I thought that I might as well get a few curiosities out of the way.

"I went out with Taylor earlier." Jude replied, rolling his eyes as he leaned back on the couch, throwing his arm along the back of the sofa, just behind my head. He paused and flashed me a pointed look. "He told me you let him share your locker...you do realize what you've gotten yourself into, right?"

"All things considered, that's the least of my problems." I remarked.

"I guess so." Jude smirked. "So, I was bitching to him about you...."

"You told him?" I demanded, appalled. The last thing I needed now was to know that Taylor would soon be teasing me every chance he got.

Jude leaned forward, placing his face directly in front of mine so he could catch my eyes.

"I'm not a kiss and tell kind of guy, Quinn." he informed me. "But, he figured it out. When we hung up earlier I wasn't exactly happy with you so when I started complaining he read between the lines."

"When we hung up?" I demanded. "You hung up on me!"

"Yeah." he admitted sheepishly. "Sorry about that. Anyway, he got sick of me and left, so I thought I'd try to talk to you again."

"But you ended up talking to Bree instead." I responded bitterly.

"Hey, look, I won't apologize for telling her about me.... I am sorry about the bad timing, though. I really would have waited if...."

I let out a breath and momentarily looked away from him. I wanted to tell him that he was an idiot for even talking to Bree, but I knew where that would lead, and I was not in the mood to argue with Jude, or to go back to talking about my sister and Brad.

"Anyway," Jude said, getting back to the topic at hand, obviously understanding that I needed a break from my situation, "I tried to call you, but you didn't answer so I just came over. I wasn't happy where we left things, earlier..."

"What do you mean?" I automatically asked. I wondered if Jude had any regrets about our little tryst behind the bushes. God, that alone sounded so... dirty.

"When I hung up on you." he replied. "As I recall we were going to talk.... we still haven't, you know."

"It seems like everyone wants to have a talk lately," I sighed, running a hand over my face.

"Well," he smiled. "We don't have to if you're not up for it. But... I'd like to, soon."

I glanced over at him, suddenly curious about what he wanted to talk about. I guess despite the way I wanted to curl up and go to sleep in order to block out the rest of the world, there was one person who still interested me.

"I'm kind of tired." I said. Damn. Why did I do that? Maybe talking to him would have helped... it at least might have told me where we stand. I guess that as much as I wanted to know, I was still afraid to find out.

Jude glanced at the clock on the wall and then back at me.

"It is kinda late... I take it you're staying here tonight?"

I blinked, realizing that I'd practically just told him that I was ready for bed-in his apartment. This had not been my intention.

"Um.... actually, I should probably just go." I said quickly, standing up. I didn't get far before Jude was grabbing my hand and standing with me.

"Go where? Home?" he responded skeptically. "Look, Quinn, you're tired, and you're not ready for that. Stay here tonight. It's not like you haven't before."

"That was different." I stated, before I could stop myself. And it was different. I had yet to spend a night alone with someone who I'd become intimate with already. I had no idea what the procedure for something like this was.

"No, it's not different." Jude argued. "Come on, I'll even take the couch." he released my hand and made his way over to the closet. "What do you want to sleep in?"

I wasn't even going to begin to answer that question.

"You said yourself the couch is uncomfortable." I stated.

"Which is why I'm not going to ask you to sleep on it." he winked at me. "It gets cold in here. Sweats okay?"

"I'm not going to put you out of your bed."

"You're way of asking to share it?" Jude remarked with a lecherous grin that nearly made me jump. He laughed at the look on my face. "Relax. I get it, and I know you're dealing with enough right now. Let's just go to bed and in the morning.... it'll work out, Quinn."

I ignored the part about things working out. If I dwelled on it too much, I'd only drive myself crazy running scenarios in my head of how things wouldn't work out.

"Jude, maybe I should just go." I said as I reached around and tapped my back pocket, making sure that I had my wallet on me. "Isn't there a hotel down the street? I could...."

I stopped talking when I saw the expression on Jude's face at that suggestion. I don't think I'd ever seen anyone look that offended.

"What?" I asked cautiously, and Jude's lips turned down in a frown as he walked towards me and practically shoved a pair of black sweat pants into my hands.

"A hotel?" he repeated, as if the word itself were trying to bite him. "You're not going to a hotel. I'll agree that most of them are nicer than this place but the one down the street isn't one of them."

"That's not what I meant," I said quickly, hoping that Jude didn't think I was insulting his apartment. "It's just that..."

"You think I'm going to take advantage of you?" he suddenly asked, his expression softening.

I opened my mouth to respond to that, but found that I had nothing to say. Was I afraid of that? I had no idea at this point.

"I won't, you know." Jude said softly when I didn't respond.

"I didn't say you would," I managed to get out.

"I am going to kiss you, though." Jude said almost reassuringly, moving closer as if he hadn't even heard me, and before I could even digest what he had said, he leaned forward and his mouth came over mine.

It was a still, soft kiss, but an abrupt reminder of how I felt earlier that afternoon when I mentally lost myself in the sensations that I'd never permitted myself to experience before. And it wasn't enough. His kiss was... sweet, but he didn't deepen it, and I found myself disappointed as I closed my eyes and lifted my hand to grip the front of his shirt, leaning in closer to press my lips more firmly against his. I didn't enhance the kiss, but I think I was making it clear that it wasn't going to be any sort of inconvenience if Jude remained right where he was. But, he didn't.

I opened my eyes and released his shirt as his lips left mine to kiss a path across my cheek to my ear as he traced my ribs while he stepped around me, until the contact was gone completely. I turned and watched as he went to a smaller closet where he retrieved a blanket and an extra pillow, and then went to drop them on the sofa. I felt confused just then, wondering why he'd moved away from me. I was also feeling self-conscious. After all, not very long ago I'd felt disgust towards myself because as far as I was concerned, my best friend was disgusted with me. Now, hormones that I no longer had any control over seemed to be taking over and dealing with them left very little time to feel disgusted over it.

"You take the bed." Jude stated, eyeing me again. I wanted to respond, but didn't have the chance before he suddenly released the button of his jeans as he kicked off his shoes and let his pants fall to his ankles. I was suddenly looking between the black sweats he'd given me to wear and what he clearly planned to sleep in-the navy boxers covering his ass, which looked both round and firm, pointing in my direction as he made a bed on the sofa. Damn it, I hoped he wasn't trying to tease me again. When he straightened, his shirt was the next thing to leave his body as he pulled it over his head and it joined his pants on the floor.

He didn't look at me again until he turned and dropped back on the couch. I was still staring at him appreciatively then. I think it startled him, the way his eyes took me in, before understanding registered and he flashed me a sheepish grin.

"You're not ready for bed yet, are you?" it was more of a statement than anything.

I frowned, wondering if I was reading any innuendo in what he was saying.

"I changed my mind. I want to talk." I stated, moving a few steps closer to him.

Jude sat up, stretching his legs out on the coffee table and regarded me almost cautiously. "Are you sure?" he asked, in all seriousness. "I mean, you already know what I think. The phone's right over there. You're sister..."

"That's not what I want to talk about." I cut him off and moved to sit down, careful to sit as far from him on the sofa as I could. Something about the way he'd made the couch into his temporary bed caused me to see it as a more dangerous place than it really was. I stared straight ahead, entirely aware of the way that Jude was watching me. I could practically feel his eyes peering out from under long, blonde bangs and thick lashes. I took a moment to collect my nerves, trying to think through exactly what I was feeling, and knowing that there was something I needed to say, and then, mumbling under my breath, I continued. "I like you."

As far as I was concerned, the confession was ridiculous. If Jude had any sort of common sense whatsoever, then he already knew that. But I think, he wanted to hear it just as much as I needed to say it to him. I'll admit, that the timing was probably not the best. The night was already full enough of confessions and breakdowns, but somehow... this one seemed a necessary and good distraction from the rest. I felt like, in part, it was my way of saying that I was still... gay. My sister couldn't stand me and my best friend was disgusted, but I was still gay, and there was no taking it back. I was both horrified and oddly relieved.

"Oh. You want to talk about that." there was something in his voice that sounded teasingly mischievous, and I looked at him disapprovingly.

"Jude, don't make this worse than it already is."

His eyes widened slightly and I realized how bad my comment must have sounded. But fortunately, it didn't seem to phase him much because he actually smiled.

"That bad, is it?"

He was toying with me now, probably trying to relieve my nerves over the situation, and I found myself smiling at that as I leaned back against the sofa, beginning to relax more.

"It's terrible." I informed him, looking in his direction when I felt the tips of his fingers brush against mine. I watched the mischief fade away from his eyes and he regarded me more seriously as he slid the palm of his hand beneath mine.

"Do you mean that? You think it's terrible?"

"Sometimes." I shrugged, grateful that he didn't look offended, and despite the way he was studying me, it didn't seem scrutinizing.

"I don't know." I sighed. "And after today I didn't know if it was...if we were..."

"A one time thing?" he smiled.

"Yes...until just now." I nodded.

"And?" he lifted an expectant eyebrow.

"And... I don't want it to be a one time thing." I turned my head away from him, not wanting him to see me blush. This just wasn't the kind of conversation that I was used to having. After a lifetime of hiding my true feelings, confiding them to someone seemed entirely foreign.

"Okay." Jude responded, as if that solved everything. Maybe in his mind it did, because in the next moment he was brazen enough to place a persuasive hand on the back of my neck and I hardly had time to face him before his lips were seeking out mine and his tongue was very deliberately searching its way into my mouth.

If the arm of the sofa wasn't behind me, I likely would have toppled over when one of Jude's hand landed on my shoulder and the other moved to grip my hip.. His sudden rigor wasn't exactly an unwelcome surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. I hadn't been aware that we were through talking yet. Then again, I didn't know what was left to say, either. Still, I found myself placing my hands on his chest to push him away. Despite the way his actions seemed almost possessive and insistent, the moment he felt me pushing he stopped, the only question obvious in his expression.

"I don't know how much I'm ready for." I said it quickly, afraid that if I didn't get it out now he'd be kissing me again and I never would. Jude only had the decency to look put out for a moment before he smiled and kissed my chin.

"Relax, Quinn. I know you didn't give me an open invitation to fuck you silly, and we are still going to bed... in just a minute."

It wasn't a surprise when he kissed me this time, and I didn't hesitate to open for him as his moth dropped on mine. I lifted my hand, brushing his hair back from his face and took note of how soft it was. I was beginning to regret my admission to being tired. Just kissing Jude had me feeling as content as I was going to get tonight, and in all honesty, I didn't want that to end, nor did I want to miss another chance of turning Jude into putty in my hands, the way he'd been earlier that afternoon.

I think at some point over the last hellish weeks of my life, I'd placed Jude Landon on a pedestal of sorts. In some ways, he was everything inside of me that I'd suppressed for most of my life. He had courage that seemed to be so completely out of my league, and for that... I envied him. But earlier that day, I'd managed to humanize him somehow. I did that. It was the most extraordinary thing I'd ever done, and it was to someone else.

Jude leaned into my chest, deepening the kiss as he placed a hand on my left knee, pushing my leg aside to make room for himself. I allowed my hand to slide down his back, deciding that the bare skin under my fingertips was much more welcoming than the harsh materiel of his work jumper. I reached the elastic band surrounding his waist and hesitated only for a moment before sliding my hand over the thin material of cotton boxers until I was gripping his right butt cheek. As a result, Jude pressed his body closer against mine and I was immediately drawn to the warm bulge pressing against my thigh. I instinctively lifted my leg, pressing against his obvious arousal and the light touch was all it took to send a familiar shudder through him. I shifted beneath him, more deliberately this time and swallowed down his soft moan as his cock brushed against my growing erection, sending a small shock through my own body.

It was Jude who abruptly broke the kiss and lifted himself over me, and as I tried to figure out why he was stopping I took a moment to take in his flushed appearance and glazed over eyes. I did that. But, even that wasn't enough to reassure me when he suddenly reached for my belt.

"Get these off." there was no hint of a question in his voice when he gave my pants a tug, but I only hesitated for a moment after he unbuckled my belt before I lifted my hips and assisted him in pulling my pants down to my knees. Even as he began to unbutton my shirt he moved to straddle my lap, and somewhere between wondering why he was undressing me and wondering if he was going to finish removing my pants, a sense of reality came crashing down me and I stuck with my original question. Why was he undressing me?

"Jude..." I murmured against his lips. He broke the kiss again, but this time it was only to slide his mouth over my neck as he pulled my shirt open, his hands finding their place against my chest.

"We don't have to do anything, Quinn," he whispered. "I just want to feel you."

Somehow his response seemed to contradict itself, but I didn't really care when he pressed himself more firmly against me as his mouth latched onto my neck. I wrapped an arm around his waist and arched towards him, enjoying the contact of erections gradually grinding together and the way his bare skin felt against mine.

Somewhere in the back ground I swore that I heard a phone ringing, and Jude's voice insisting that whoever was on the line could go to hell, as I once again became lost to the sensations and momentarily placed the rest of the world out of my mind, my troubles included.


Never in my life had I ever been so physically close to someone who could make every part of my body feel so good that it literally hurt. Kissing seemed almost pointless to me, just another exchange of spit, and even that happened rarely. With Jude, making out like crazy seemed like the best idea in the world, and that's what we did.

There wasn't really much touching, not like the way I'd touched him before, at least. Although, he did get me out of my pants. We ended up facing each other on the sofa, my back against the seat and my arm holding him from falling off the edge as we allowed our bodies to tangle. Being dressed in only boxers, I'm sure that the room was cold, but I wouldn't have known it the way I was sweating. Come to think of it, Jude was sweating too, because that was how our bodies were sticking together. Saying that I had a hard on at the moment would have been an understatement. I was so turned on that I was about to excuse myself so I could go take care of it in the bathroom. No, sadly enough, it didn't occur to me to let Jude take care of it for me. But at least I didn't feel too put off about it, not when his equally hard cock was grinding up against my thigh. Jude had reached a point where every time I touched him he was shaking in my arms and groaning against my lips appreciatively, and I loved every second of it. Too bad it would soon be coming to an end.

A fist, pounding on the door caused us to break apart. At least, it caused our lips to break apart. That gave me opportunity enough to get a good look at the guy who'd seemed to melt into me over the last... well, I'm not sure how long it had been. His hair was disheveled and his eyes had taken on an even more glossy look than before. His lips were swollen from kissing and there were red patches on his neck from the few times that I'd become brave enough to dip my head and feast on his throat like it was candy. I could still taste him in my mouth and he was so close that I was practically breathing him. But, the knock on the door ruined the relaxed butterflies in my stomach, as I realized that we were no longer alone and I probably looked just as disheveled as Jude did.

Jude saw the panic returning to my features and flashed first a concerned look at me, and then a frustrated glare towards the door.

"They'll go away." he decided, sliding a hand down my chest and stopping at my boxers. "It's probably just Murphy."

He leaned in to kiss me again, slowly, as if he didn't want to scare me off. It only took me a moment to submit to it, as I closed my eyes and anticipated his lips on mine again. But, it never came, only another loud knock on the door, followed by my name.


Brad. That was the only rational thought I had as I practically jumped out of my skin, and off of the sofa, almost leaping over Jude, only to land on the floor, my hands desperately searching for my pants.

"Fuck." was all I seemed to be able to say at the moment. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

"Quinn, wait a second." Jude insisted in a calm voice as he stood up and looked towards the door. "Just..."

"What is he doing here?" I demanded. The fuck if I had any idea what he was doing there. Frankly, I didn't care why Brad was there, I just hated that he was. It was obvious to think that he'd take one look at me and know what I'd been up to, and there was no way I wanted Brad to know that.

I found my pants and groaned as I went to pull them on, feeling a sudden cramp where my erection had been only a few seconds before. I don't think I'd ever gone so soft, so fast. Jude, on the other hand, was thoroughly tenting his boxers when he stood up, and again calmly, lifted his pants from the floor and pulled them on.

"Calm down." he told me as I struggled to get dressed in my panic.

"You calm down!" I snapped at him, and he gave me a disapproving look as he moved towards the door.

"We have to answer it, Quinn."

"No!" I was on my feet and cutting him off from the door in an instant, my shirt still in my hands. "You can't... he... don't do it, Jude."

Jude gave me a concerned once over and then proceeded to take my shirt and help me put it on while he spoke.

"Quinn, we can ask him to leave if you want but we're going to open that door. Look, I told you before, he doesn't hate you. You need to talk to him and if you don't, believe me, you'll regret it."

"I can't! Damn it, how did he even get here? What is he..."

"Listen," Jude frowned, placing a hand on my shoulder, "I was going to tell you this earlier..."

"What did you do?" I automatically cut him off, unable to help the betrayed look on my face or the sudden venom in my voice.

"Quinn, I tried to tell you before, he still cares about you."

"What did you, do, Jude?"

"Nothing." he frowned at me. "I mean... look, the only way he'd let me take off with you without starting a fight was if I told him where we were going. I didn't even know at the time so I told him where I lived."


"We didn't have to come here." he pointed out.

"You could have told me!" I retorted.

"Quinn?" Brad's voice came again, along with another knock on the door. "Will you just open up? I can hear you, you know."

I frowned at Jude again, but he didn't even bother to flash me a sympathetic look.

"Talk to him, Quinn." he said simply, right before he opened the door, and all at once my temporary sanctuary came crashing down around me as Brad took in the site of Jude and I standing together. I didn't need a mirror to know what he saw, either. It really didn't help that Jude still had a slight tent in his pants, but he didn't seem to care.

I watched Brad go from looking annoyed and disappointed to almost embarrassed and horrified as he glanced back and forth between the two of us until his eyes came to rest on my disheveled appearance.

"Shit." he squeaked, and for the second time that night, I watched as my best friend walked away from me... or was he running this time?

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