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 five: Damn him

"I can't believe you actually live on your own." I heard Bree's voice, coming from the kitchen. When I first came in, I'd dropped my backpack on the floor and I had planned on barging in one her and Jude, but as I listened to them talk, I began to slow down. "And you have a full time job. Are you sure you're only seventeen?"

I heard Jude laugh. I really liked his laugh, but I shook that thought away and continued towards the kitchen.

"Pretty sure." I heard him reply, "you've gotta nice place here, is your dad really a cop?"

"Ahh, the pictures?" I heard Bree reply, "He was. I never new him, though. He passed away a long time ago; it's just Quinn, mom and me. Always has been, as long as I can remember...what about you, why do you live alone? Where are your parents?"

"You ask a lot of questions."

"That's what Quinn says." Bree laughed. It made me smile, but not only because it was true of Bree, but because Jude had said the same thing about me.

"I don't see much of my parents anymore." Jude said it without a hint of emotion in his voice. He might as well have been giving her the weather report.

"So, you're really all alone?"

That made me pause again, and for the first time since Sunday morning I really began to think about Jude's situation. From what I knew about him, he lived by himself, went to work instead of school, and he was Trina's cousin. If I would have guessed I would have suspected that Trina lived alone, not Jude, given the condition of her house.

I thought about how Jude lived in that small apartment. I remembered it. It was clean, but it was small. I couldn't imagine living in a place like that all by myself, without my family. I wondered if Jude was happy with his situation.

"Not completely alone." Jude answered. "My boss at work, Murphy, he's a real good friend. He's been looking after me for a while... So, are you expecting your mom to come home?" for a second there, Jude actually sounded nervous. I think. There was something in his voice, but he seemed like the last person who would ever get nervous about anything.

"No, she's always working." Bree explained, "It's just me and Quinn most of the time."

"Yeah? Do you guys get along?"

"Oh, yeah. He's usually not so rude. I don't know what his problem was back there."

"Well," I could hear the smile in Jude's voice, "I think I have a confession to make."

"Oh yeah?" Bree laughed.

Uh-oh. Maybe this was a good time to interrupt.

"I only met your brother the other night." Jude explained. "I don't think he likes me very much."

"Then why did you come over?" Bree laughed.

Good question.

"Because it's not in my nature to turn down a home cooked meal." He said flatly, causing my sister to laugh again. It was her flirting laugh. I really hoped that she wasn't falling for him.

"Well I'm glad you came, and I like you." Bree replied. What the hell was she doing? Trying to throw herself at him?

"You're a sweetheart, you know that?" he told her, expelling another shameless giggle from my sister.

It was definitely time to interrupt.

I walked into the kitchen, trying to act casual and failing miserably as I headed over to the refrigerator to grab a bottled water.

"Hey, Quinn." Bree smiled at me, "Marissa went home?"

"Yep." I replied shortly, inspecting the vegetables that Jude was watching her slice on the counter. "Isn't it a little early for dinner?"

"It won't be by the time that it's finished." Bree informed me. "And were fine in here Quinn, if you have something else to do."

She was trying to get rid of me. I glared at her, and then at Jude. He just shrugged at me, and I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling him to get the hell out of my house. I mean, what was he doing with my sister anyways? It was obvious that Bree liked him, and I hated the idea. I needed to get him away from my sister, and at the moment there was only one way I could think of to do it without pissing Bree off too much.

"Can I talk to you, Jude?" I asked.

He looked surprised, while Bree looked wary.

"Quinn," Bree started.

"Just for a second." I told her, "and then you'll have him right back to slave around your kitchen." I forced myself to smile, and after a moment of studying me she shrugged and looked at Jude.

"Sure." Jude smirked.

I turned and walked away, leaving him to follow. I figured that the living room was a safe enough distance away from Bree before I turned on him.

"What are you doing?" I demanded.

"What?" he shrugged.

I wanted to scream, god I wanted to scream.

"Why are you doing this?" I hissed. "Why can't you just stop?"

"Stop what, Quinn?"

"Leave my sister alone." I growled out, becoming frustrated.

"Why?" he asked, taking a step forward and causing me to take a nervous step back. "I like your sister, she seems like a sweet girl."

"And she likes you." I frowned.


I stared at him, dumbstruck. What the hell was going on?

"Are you gay?" I whispered.

"Are you?" he laughed.

Damn him. I was not in the mood for games.

"Look, if you have a problem with me, fine. But leave my sister out of it. She likes you and if you hurt her..."

"Hey," he interrupted, taking another step forward, making me feel off balance, "if your worried about me saying anything about you to your sister then you can just relax. I don't plan on it."

"Then why are you here?" I demanded.

For a long moment Jude just stared at me with a thoughtful expression while I waited, and then his confident... I was beginning to think over confident smirk, came back.

"I'm hungry." He replied, right before passing me, letting his shoulder brush mine, despite the open space around us. Damn him.


I guess I should have been happy that I wasn't one of those people who hyperventilated. But, at the moment I wished that I could just lose the ability to breathe altogether. I'd worked myself into such a panic that I wanted to die anyways.

Jude Landon was at my house. Downstairs. Talking to my sister.

I knew that I should have stayed down there. I really should have. But, being around him was making my crazy. It was bad enough that I'd been thinking about him non-stop since Saturday when he'd dropped me off to pick up my car. Now, he was there, and all I could think about was what had let up to this. Meeting him. Kissing him. Waking up with him. Why the hell couldn't he just stay out of my life?

I mean seriously, maybe he was there to try to get to me. Maybe he'd been thinking about that kiss. Maybe he thought that by coming here he could get to me. Maybe he was trying to seduce me. But I wasn't gay. And just because I couldn't get my mind off of him didn't mean that I might be gay, either. I'd just been through a traumatic experience. Yeah. That's what it was. Being kissed by another guy was traumatic. Completely not my fault. And I bet he seduced me too. That was the only reason why I couldn't get my mind off him.

But, if my stomach was in more knots over the possibility of Jude and my sister getting together than anything else, like it indeed was, then I was full of shit. I mean, why was he flirting with her anyways? Jude was gay, wasn't he? He had to be. Why else would he have kissed me?

But then, why was I complaining? If he liked Bree then I could stop thinking about him as the first guy whoever kissed me. But I didn't want him to like my sister. If he liked Bree then that meant, according to the big brother code of conduct, I'd have to properly threaten him and then give him the speech about treating her right. Somehow, that speech and Jude didn't seem to be like something that I could actually make work. I would keep thinking about the way he treated me, the way he held open doors, the way he took care of me...you know, it would be so much easier to find a suitable boyfriend for my sister if I could just date them first. That thought made me laugh out loud before I abruptly set my jaw and jumped up off the bed to continue pacing.

Maybe it was a mistake to break up with Marissa. At least when I had a girlfriend that thought was always at least in the back of my mind. Well, it sure as hell wasn't when I'd been caught kissing Jude, but still. Things seemed so much more complicated now than they did last week when no thoughts of breaking up with my girlfriend were on my mind at all.

I stopped momentarily and looked around my room, my eyes soon falling over my bottom desk drawer. My fingers were itching to write in my journal. I always needed to write when my thoughts were coming too fast, and too jumbled together, the way that they were now. The only problem was, the types of thoughts I was having, weren't allowed in my journal. Not anymore. These thoughts got to stay right where they were, buried somewhere where no one could ever hear them. One dark day was enough, thank you. Okay, two. But the second wasn't in writing; I had pictures for the second one. Not that that was any better, actually, it was worse.

Damn it, damn it, damn it. Why was Jude there? This just wasn't working for me. I wanted him gone, out of my house. It was just too bad if he had to go home to his small apartment to eat alone, or to eat with Murphy. I had a feeling the latter would be worse. But, whatever. This was about me, about what I wanted. Forgive me for being selfish, but damn it, it was my life that was a wreck right now, and it was me who was having a serious identity crisis. Me. Me. Me.

I looked at my bed. Lying on it had messed up my bedspread. I didn't like it messy. I didn't like anything messy, the way that all of my thoughts seemed messy now. I knelt down, needing to straighten the bedspread, needing for it to look perfect. I had to pull back the covers to fix the pillow, it was all crooked. And the pillowcase. The pillowcase got all bunched up. I grabbed the whole thing and gave it a shake, but before I could place it back on the bed, the gray t-shirt that had been neatly folded under my pillow caught my eye and I had to stop and stare at it. I dropped the pillow on the floor and grabbed the shirt, horrified with myself.

I'd put that shirt there. Jude's shirt, under my pillow like some sick pervert. And it wasn't an accident. There was no excuse for it. I hung all of my clothes except for my underwear in the closet. The only time I folded anything was when I put it in the laundry basket. That shirt was placed there. I did that. How could I do that? God damn it. Why couldn't I be normal? Why couldn't I have my girlfriend's panties under my pillow and not a t-shirt that belonged to another guy?

A guy with great blue eyes, and that hair that I wanted to brush off his forehead, and that lazy smile that put butterflies in my stomach, even when I was angry with him. I imagined that that smile could get him out of a lot of trouble. I had a feeling that that smile could get me into a lot of trouble. Damn it. Why couldn't I just stop? Stop thinking about him. Damn him.

I held my head. Unfortunately, Jude's shirt was still in my hand when I did it, and I ended up rubbing my face against it and absently wondering what kind of fabric softener he used. And I inhaled. I hadn't washed it yet, and I knew that it had been clean when I wore it, so the only scent that was on it was mine. I could smell a little of the soap that I used in his shower, and the deodorant I'd put on when I got home. I could even smell a little perspiration. It was all me, but I didn't think of it as me. I thought maybe Jude smelled like that, up close. It was his shirt, after all.

"Well, if you like it that much, you can keep it."

I spun around, mortified to see Jude standing at the top of the stairs, coming up into my attic. I hadn't even heard him come up, and while he looked amused, I'm sure that I was all kinds of red. But, despite my embarrassment I still made a pathetic attempt to hide the shirt behind my back before I turned on him.

"Don't you fucking knock?" I demanded.

"I did," he replied calmly, stepping into my room to look around. I think my room was larger than his entire apartment, "but I guess you were distracted." He added, smirking at me.

I lifted his shirt, still trying to recover, and he raised an eyebrow when I wiped my nose with it.

"It makes a good Kleenex." I remarked.

Jude obviously wasn't buying it.

"Right." he remarked, still looking around, "and I'm sure a compulsive neat freak like you keeps old t-shirts to use as tissues under his bed."

He stopped at my bookshelf and I watched in aggravation as he moved one of my books down a shelf. I didn't hesitate to rush over to fix it, and when it was fixed I glared at him, realizing the smile on his face only meant that I'd just helped him prove his point. The only thing I could retaliate with was immaturely throwing his shirt at him, which he caught with another smile before he got me again by lifting it to his face and deeply inhaling while his eyes teased me, shadowed by that straight blonde hair of his.

I realized that he wasn't only mocking me, but he was smelling me, too. That shirt was all my scent, and I'd handed it right to him. Something about seeing him smell it like that sent a shiver through my whole body that I desperately tried to shake off as I turned away, blushing.

"Hey, sorry," he insisted, seeing my discomfort, but he was laughing. "So tell me something, Quinn...do you have a strange fetish for stranger's t-shirts, or do you just like the way you smell?" and then he had the nerve to move the shirt under his nose again.

I grabbed the shirt from him, furious. The last thing I needed right now was to be teased.

"I told you, it's a rag." I growled out, "I was using it to..."

"Right." he rolled his eyes at me, "that's why it was under your pillow."

"What are you, spying on me?" I demanded.

"I said I knocked." He shrugged, moving past me and into my room, looking around intently and shaking his head. "It's worse than I thought."

"What are you talking about?" I demanded.

"You," he glanced back at me, looking into my clothes hamper. "You fold your dirty laundry?"

"So what?" I frowned, "a lot of people do." He was still staring into the hamper so I added, "Why the interest, you want to smell my dirty laundry too?"

I knew that that remark was a mistake as soon as he smiled up at me.

"Are you offering, Quinn?" he retorted, "because I have to warn you, I don't usually go around sniffing another guys underwear unless they're in them." The way he gave my crotch a pointed look had me protectively placing my hands in front of my groin, but that only made him laugh harder.

"Damn it! What is wrong with you?" I finally screamed, "look, I don't know what you're doing here, and I don't know what you want, but I'm not..."

"Don't bother finishing that sentence." He cut me off, the cocky smile finally fading from his face, "I get it. I hear you, okay? You're not gay, and I suppose you don't color code your sock drawer either." he remarked.

Actually, I did color code my sock drawer, but I guess I missed his point.

"So then what do you want?" I demanded, "Are you trying to hit on my sister? Why are you here?"

"Would it bother you if I hit on your sister?" he replied, leaning back and making himself comfortable on my bed, also messing up the covers. Seeing him there put me on edge more than having him in my room did.

"You know it would!" I hissed at him.

"Why?" he asked, "because you don't like me? Or because you do like me and you don't want to admit it?"

"I don't like you!" I said quickly, but something about saying that felt wrong. "I mean...it's not that I don't like you Jude, you seem like a decent guy, but I'm not...interested in you like that. I can't be, so you shouldn't..."

"And what makes you think I'm interested in you?" he cut me off. He sounded so serious, looked so serious, that it made me stop and think.

Jude wasn't interested in me? Hearing that should have been a relief. So why did I take offense to it? He said that he was attracted to me before. Did this mean that he had just been teasing me? I guess I made teasing easy. And why in the hell was I thinking about this so damn much?

"Well..." I cleared my throat, "since you're not, that's good. I mean, it clears things up, then."

"Oh shut up." He suddenly rolled his eyes, causing my head to snap up and I gave him a perplexed look. "Of course I'm interested in you." He seemed to be talking more to himself than to me, "why wouldn't I be? I said I was attracted...fuck. I don't know why I can't stay away. I definitely should. That's all I need, to be interested in another closet case." He shook his head, sounding disgusted with himself.

"I'm not a closet anything." I frowned.

"Right." he smirked, "I hate to break this to you, Quinn, but you're such a closet case that you can't even acknowledge the damn closet."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Mm-hm...okay, then why do you still have the pictures?"

"What?" I demanded, "you don't know..."

"Oh, yes I do." He frowned. "You probably have them around the same place that you keep all of your other dirty little secrets, or secrets that you think are dirty." He suddenly reached back behind my headboard and I almost screamed when he lifted out my one magazine. I only felt a little relieved when he took notice of the half naked woman on the cover.

But then he smiled at me.

"I'll bet the only page you look at in here is the one with testosterone." He remarked, right before closing his eyes and flipping open the magazine. Of course it opened directly to my page. "Uh-huh." He nodded, looking down at it, "nice ass on this one. The chick's not bad either, if you're into that sort of thing...which you're not." He added, giving me a pointed look.

"That's it." I glared, storming over to my bed to tear the magazine out of his hands before I shoved it back where it belonged. "I want you out of..."

He suddenly grabbed my wrist and pulled me down to sit next to him on the bed. I probably jumped right out of my skin when he turned, cradling me in, forcing me to lean back when he braced one hand on the opposite side of my lap from which he was sitting.

"Damn," he smiled at me, just a small smile, "If you weren't so scared..." he sighed, and I sat there frozen like a deer in the headlights, hardly able to breathe because he was so close. "I don't know what it is about you. I do like you, though. I can't really help that. Trust me, I tried. But, the good news is I'm pretty sure that it's entirely shallow on my part." His eyes gave me the once over, making it painfully obvious that he was checking me out and my face burned. I felt like we were having one of those moments that occur before a kiss. I had to bite back the urge to act on it, furious with myself rather than with him. "I mean you're just so...well, I'm attracted to you, but you're still the biggest jerk I know." he suddenly pushed off the bed, bringing his nose within inches of mine before he moved back again.

"Hey, I'm not the jerk!" I retorted, getting up and glaring at him, "you're the one..."

"I'm the one who took you home when you were in no shape to go anywhere else." He reminded me, "I'm also the one who fixed your car...and I got those pictures back."

"I tried to pay you for the car." I pointed out.

"It wasn't about the money." He frowned at me, "I did you a favor because I didn't like what happened to you the other night. But after the way you acted, I'm not so sure you didn't deserve it. You're completely ungrateful, you know that? Trina warned me about you. I don't know why I didn't listen to her."

"Neither do I." I shot back, "so what are you still doing here?"

"You're sister kicked me out of the kitchen." He shrugged, "she's tough."

"That's not what I mean, Jude." I frowned.

"I know." he smirked, "and...I'm going. I'm sorry I crashed you party like this...really. I'm not sure why I did it, you know? I really wasn't trying to make you crazy, Quinn. I just...like you. I guess I can't help that. And your sister, she's alright too." he smiled at me and I felt those butterflies again. "Don't worry about it, Quinn. I'll come up with something for Bree, she won't blame you when I walk out."

Actually, that wasn't entirely true. Bree would find a way to blame me. But, that wasn't what I was worried about. I was worried about that feeling in my gut that didn't want Jude to leave, even when I knew he should.

"Jude," I called, gritting my teeth because I knew that this could very well be the biggest mistake of my life, "do you want to stay for dinner?"

He glanced back at me and gave me a long, measuring look before a slow smile curled his lips and I swallowed. That was exactly the kind of smile that could get me into trouble.


I winced as Bree snorted. She did that sometimes when she laughed, but it seemed everyone noticed it except for Bree. I always thought it was cute. I guess Jude thought it was funny because every time Bree laughed, so did he, even when there was nothing funny.

They were at one end of the table, and I was at the other, keeping a watchful eye. I wasn't exactly worried about Jude trying to pick up my sister anymore, not with the sly looks he kept throwing my way, making me choke on every other bite of food.

Maybe inviting him to stay had been a mistake. I kept thinking about everything that had happened in my room. Everything he said. The way he'd been so close to me when he said it. Mostly what he said.

He didn't believe me.

He didn't believe that I wasn't gay. I guess I couldn't blame him, I mean, I'd kissed him back. But I kept telling myself that that was a natural reaction. And that's not what was so disturbing, anyways. It was the way that he seemed to know me so well. He knew about the pictures, he knew about the magazine. He'd walked into my perfectly organized sanctuary and he'd figured me out. For someone like me, who had secrets like mine; that was a scary thing.

I wasn't sure how to react to it. My instincts told me to run, but curiosity...it was like I couldn't help wondering about Jude. I'd never met anyone, who had me so figured out before. Not even the people closest to me knew the things that Jude knew. It was unsettling, but at the same times everything that terrified me about Jude drew me to him in a way that I hadn't begun, or was even prepared to understand.

"So what was your cousin's name?" Bree suddenly asked, "you have one that goes to our school, right?"

I suddenly started coughing, purposely and they both looked up across the table.

"Um, can you pass the dressing, Bree?" I asked, "chicken's dry."

"My chicken is not dry." She glared at me, "and you don't eat gravy." And then, ignoring me, she turned back to Jude, who didn't seem to be noticing the pleading looks I was giving him. "So your cousin?"

"Her name's Trina." Jude shrugged.

I wanted to climb over the table and strangle him.

"Huh," Bree shrugged. "I don't think I know a Trina Landon."

Jude just shrugged and I felt the relief flood over me as he gave me a smirk. Apparently he understood that I didn't want Bree to make the connection between him and Trina Ashpock.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" Bree asked him. Yeah. My sister was good and jumping topics. And I almost laughed out loud when Jude almost choked on his drink.

"Nope." He replied simply.

"Any prospects?" Bree asked, noticeably inching closer to him in her chair. This time I did laugh at the uncomfortable look on his face. Obviously, he'd underestimated my sister's persistence. I guess by now I should have known better to laugh at him, because while he talked to Bree he looked under his lashes at me.

"Well, there is someone." He replied, "but it's definitely not going to work out."

"That's too bad." Bree replied sounding uninterested, "I guess it's no one I know?"

"I don't know." Jude shrugged, "you might. It's a small world."

I glared at Jude, not liking where he was going with this. But, he just gave me a small smile and then wisely changed the subject.

"You're a really good cook." He told my sister.

That was one thing that I did notice tonight. Jude ate like a starving man. I guess I'd always underestimated the value of a home cooked meal, and again I was thinking of him alone in that small apartment and for once I started to feel sorry for him, and wondered more about how he came to be there.

I wouldn't ask him, though. Asking him would be the same as showing an interest, and I couldn't do that. After tonight, Jude had to disappear from my life. For good this time. It was the only way that any of this would work out. Yeah, I was drawn to him, but I couldn't be around him. It was way too dangerous. He was too dangerous.

"So how did you guys meet then?" Bree asked, suddenly looking between Jude and myself. I loved her, but damn she was being a nosey little bitch again.

"We told you." I frowned, "Jude helped me with my car."

"What was wrong with it?" she asked.

"Your brother ran over a nail." Jude replied.

Bree looked at me suspiciously and I suddenly became interested in my food.

"It was the other night, right? When you were supposed to be with Marissa...you never did say who's party you were at."

"Someone from school." I shrugged, "why does it matter?"

Bree ignored me and looked at Jude.

"Were you at the party too, Jude?"

"Yeah." He nodded.

I wondered where my sister was going with these questions. I didn't like it.

"So you were at a party together?" she asked.

"No." I stated.

But Jude said, "yes," at the same time and we glared at each other.

"Huh?" Bree frowned.

"We were both at the same party." Jude replied, smirking at me.

"But not together." I stated.

"Then who were you with, Quinn? If you weren't with Marissa or Brad...then who?"

"Who's Brad?" Jude suddenly asked.

For a second I panicked. I couldn't help it. I was naturally suspicious and for a minute I thought that he might be trying to get information about my friends, to further ruin my life. But, when I realized that he was actually changing the subject for me, I actually felt guilty for my accusing thoughts.

"Brad's our neighbor." Bree replied, taking the bait. "He's Quinn's best friend. I guess you wouldn't know him."

"Probably not." Jude shrugged.

"Well you should come around more often, Jude. Like I said, it's usually just Quinn and me here. He's kinda boring."

Bree gave me a playful smile while I glared at her and Jude smirked at me.

"I wouldn't say boring." Jude remarked, "definitely a little up tight, but not boring. I'm sure that there's plenty about your brother that not even you know, Bree."

I widened my eyes at Jude, but Bree just giggled.

"Yeah, right." she laughed, glancing sideways at me, "I seriously doubt that."

Maybe Bree thought it was a joke, and maybe Jude was only teasing me again. But I couldn't handle jokes like that, not ones that could interfere with the only life I'd ever known. I wasn't sure how many close calls I could take. I had feeling that asking Jude to stay was a mistake, and the sooner that I got him away from my sister, the better.


Like Bree said, we didn't have people over for dinner very often unless my mom was around. So, the few times that we did, Bree tended to become the perfect hostess. She liked to feed people, so after dinner, when Jude tried to excuse himself...and I tried to excuse Jude, Bree wouldn't have it, insisting that he stick around for dessert.

I had the sneaking suspicion that Bree was trying to get something out of Jude in return for dessert, but if she was going to get hung up on him then I figured that for once she would have to learn her lesson the hard way.

I just hoped that she'd finish dessert soon so Jude could leave. For good. But, in the meantime I was the one who got stuck entertaining him. I definitely didn't want to go back to my room with him, so I decided to take him outside. At first being in my backyard reminded me of being at Trina's house, with Jude there, but I tried to ignore the feeling, and the fact that I'd actually had fun the other night, before Taylor ruined it.

My yard was a little nicer than Trina's, though. It was your average landscaped space with the flower gardens and bird feeders. It was also orderly, because I was the one who took care of it.

Somehow it didn't surprise me when Jude went right to the tire swing. We'd had it for as long as I could remember. My mom always told us that before we were born our father put it up and they used sit outside in the summer, and when mom was pregnant and we were keeping her up with out kicking dad would rock her on it. I guess that always seemed to help. And then after dad was gone, and it was just Bree and me most of the time, I'd push her on it, spinning her around until she swore she'd piss her pants from laughing to hard. In those exact words. She used to have a real potty mouth.

But, in recent years, the swing had gone abandoned. Maybe Bree and I felt we were too old for it, or maybe we had better things to do. It was definitely interesting to see someone sit on it again, and Jude smiled at me as he did.

"I like your sister." He commented.

I gave him a menacing look that made him laugh.

"Like I said," I frowned, "don't hurt her. She likes you."

"So you're saying I should ask her out?" he remarked, "so she doesn't get her feelings hurt?"

"I didn't say that." I said quickly.

"Relax." Jude laughed, "I like her, but as you put it earlier, I'm not interested, like that."

"So then you are..."

"Gay?" he finished for me, with no problem at all. "Yup."

I just stared at him. Obviously, he wasn't straight, but I'd never heard anyone admit something like that so openly before. It impressed me and it scared the hell out of me at the same time.

"Why?" I blurted, before I could stop the word from coming out.

Jude stopped swinging and stared at me blankly for a few minutes. It made me uncomfortable, and I found myself fidgeting but unable to take my question back.

"Why am I gay?" he finally said. "There is no why. But you already know that, don't you, Quinn?"

"No." I frowned, "I mean...I don't know. I'm not gay, so...I just don't get it, that's all."

"What's there to get?" he asked.

"You know...why you'd want to be." I replied, " I mean, when there's a choice..."

"Choice?" he laughed. "Are you kidding me? You can't help who you're attracted to, Quinn. It doesn't work that way. And there is no choice...no one chooses it. It's just the way we are..." he stopped for a second and his eyebrow flew up on me. "You think you have it all figured out, don't you?

"What do you mean?" I asked warily.

"You know," he smirked, "you've got the girl, the reputation, the right friends." I thought about telling him that I didn't have the girl anymore, but decided against it. Maybe Marissa could still be useful for something. Like a shield against Jude. "I'll bet you have you're whole life planned out too, maybe you plan to go to school, find a girl...or use the one you have now, have a few kids and call it a life."

"What's wrong with that?" I asked defensively. Actually I did have a plan similar to that. Not that it was any of his business.

"Nothing, I guess." He shrugged. "Except that, all of those people in that future of yours, they don't know the real you. You don't think that seems lonely?"

"I told you before, Jude, I'm not gay. I'm not like you. I wouldn't choose..."

"You think I had a choice?" he suddenly demanded, standing up. I took a step back, not prepared for how close he was to me, or for the way he raised his voice. "God, you are dense, aren't you? You know, I don't get you, Quinn."

He didn't get me? Strange, how I felt the exact same way about him.

"Maybe you're not." He shrugged, but sounded unconvinced, and that bothered me, "but don't assume that I had a choice about anything. Maybe hiding who you are works for you, but it's not me! And one day you're going to wake up and figure out that you can't change who you are, either."

Why did he have to argue this? I didn't understand. Why couldn't he just accept that I couldn't, wouldn't be gay? And why did it seem so important to convince him that I wasn't? It was like he was saying that I didn't have a choice in the matter. Actually, that's exactly what he was saying and I hated it. There had to be a choice. I could choose to ignore those feelings that I had. I could choose to be normal.

"I don't need to change who I am." I snapped. "I already know, I'm a lot of things, and gay isn't one of them, so stop assuming you know me because you don't!"

"You don't even know who you are." He practically laughed at me, "god, I can see it, can't you, Quinn? You might be fooling yourself now, but what about later? You're going to keep pretending and keep hiding, and you're going to end up miserable! Fuck, you are so dense. If you're afraid to come out to the rest of the world, fine, but at least admit it to yourself so you can move on! You're so fucking transparent! How many nights to you lose sleep over wondering how you're going to hide it tomorrow?"

"I'm not hiding anything!" I spat, "and the only thing making me miserable right now is you! Everything was fine until I met you! Why the hell can't you just go away?"

I watched as Jude's jaw locked and he gave me that same cold look that he had that morning at his apartment.

"Fine." He frowned.

He pushed past me, brushing my shoulder before I could get out of the way. I wished that I could just feel satisfied that he was going, but his anger...no, disappointment towards me seemed just as unsettling as the way that he seemed to be able to see right through me. Maybe it was because he could see right through me, and that was the problem.

I didn't plan to look back. I didn't want to watch him walk away. At this point, I just wanted him to go. Disappear. I wanted things back to the way they were before Friday night. I wanted to be normal again. I wanted to keep my secret locked in my journal and I wanted to stop thinking about it all the time. I wanted to stop thinking about Jude all the time. I just wanted it all to stop.

And it did stop.

At least, for a second all of my thoughts stopped completely when I felt his hand on my shoulder and spun around, only to find his lips against mine for the second time in three days.

It wasn't quick. And it wasn't hard. And it wasn't demanding. Considering the way that we'd been shouting at each other a minute before, it was incredibly soft. I felt his lips on mine, and his hand cupping the back of my head. It was like all of that tension disappeared somewhere and I let out a breath, feeling his tongue brush against my lips, just enough to get me to open, but when I did he pulled back and I found myself startled and locked with his blue eyes. But then he smirked, and reality hit me all over again when he stepped away.

God damn it. It had happened again.

"Just something for you to think about." He said softly, "the next time you want to argue that you have a choice, just remember you had the choice to push me away...and you didn't." I stood there stupidly, watching him walk back towards the house to leave, and I heard him mumble something under his breath that almost suggested that he was just as frustrated and confused as I was at the moment, "what the fuck am I doing?"

And then he was gone. Again.

I backed up until I hit the tire swing and then I sat down, closing my eyes as I let out the breath that I'd been holding. I felt oddly calm. There was no panic, like the last time. Maybe that was because Taylor wasn't there standing by with a camera. I was alone with my thoughts, but suddenly my mind felt so blank that I wasn't sure what to do with it, and all I could think was, that it would be so much easier to forget about Jude if he'd just stop kissing me. Damn him.