This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Comments are appreciated. Asmodean_uk@yahoo.com


Chapter Ten

December 5th

Clothes paid for, Will shifted the bags in his hand as he stood with his uncle in the atrium in front of Sears. He was feeling awkward, how did he get out of this thing with Andrew while still convincing his Uncle that there was nothing wrong. It was like walking a tightrope with an impossible drop on either side. He really had no choice at all except to grin and bear it.

He smiled his thanks at his Uncle, "I really appreciate this." He said his voice filled with sincerity.

His Uncle had insisted he wear the new jacket and shoes out of the store with him. And he had to admit he looked quite smart in them. Rebel without a clue. He grinned at that and glanced up at the glass elevator that swept down into the parking lot, a kid had pressed his nose to the glass to stare at the people he passed by.

Arthur waved his hand, "No problem, you be good and get home safely." He turned to leave and stopped turning back, "And I will pick you up on Sunday for supper. Get a good meal into you."

Will grinned at that, a good meal by French standards was like four for anyone else. It was his Aunts soul purpose in life it seemed, to be able to cook anything at any time and have it come out a gourmet meal. He found his stomach rumbling, he had only had a couple of spoonfuls of Brody's Pea soup before the madness had swept him away from his meal.

Arthur must have heard it because he smiled and fished into his wallet again, pulling out some mixed bills he only briefly glanced at before he pushed into Will's hand, "To tide you over." He said with a smile.

Will couldn't help it; he just threw his arms around his uncle and held onto him for a bit. Finally stepping back and wiping the dampness from his eyes.

Arthur smiled at him, and then he was gone, leaving Will alone.

He sighed as he moved to sit down on one of the benches, content to wait for Andrew. His life had been turned upside down; a single kiss and a single dream had changed his entire life. He contemplated running then, going up to the bus station and catching one back home. It seemed like a good idea, get away from Andrew before anything else changed.

Andrew exited the store, and quickly quashed the idea of running. And Will sat there watching the guy that in turn was searching the crowd looking for him. Andrew was undeniably handsome in a clean crisp white dress shirt and Khaki Dockers. The dark green varsity jacket with its white leather sleeves. His blonde hair neatly combed and parted just off the centre. He was like a poster boy for the good Canadian boy. Those shocking blue eyes that drifted over the crowd and finally settled on him.

Will blushed, it was reflexive, and he couldn't help it. Those blue eyes just seemed to sparkle when they met his. And the shy smile on Andrew's face that said he was relieved to see Will had actually waited for him.

Will swallowed knowing that he was screwed. Too much of looking into those eyes and the firm part of him that had said no that afternoon would be swept away. He suddenly grew nervous, what if Andrew didn't feel the same way...or worse what if he did? Could Will handle either? It had taken everything he had to try to protect Andrew that afternoon, but here they were only a few hours later...

"I'm glad you waited," Andrew said sticking his hands into his pockets and bouncing slightly up onto the balls of his feet. It was a nervous gesture, something he obviously wasn't aware he was doing. Like a little boy that couldn't stay still too long. Will noticed it and grinned inwardly, at least he wasn't the only one scared to death.

"I didn't have much choice." Will said dryly as he got to his feet, picking up his bags.

Andrew reached down to take a few from him, "I'm sorry," he said and Will noticed for the first time how strong Andrew's voice was, there was an inner confidence in the way he said the words. "I had to talk to you and I didn't think you would any other way."

Will rolled his shoulders a bit, "Yeah I thought we...well this afternoon I figured..."

Andrew nodded towards the glass elevator, and the two got in, Will was a little puzzled by that, weren't they supposed to be going to the food court? Why then were they now stepping out of the elevator into the parking lot?

Andrew crossed to his car, the Mustang looked a little battered from the accident, but the windows had been replaced and most of the bodywork had been repaired. Will couldn't help but smile at the thought of the night huddled in the back of it, and the intense dream he had afterwards.

Andrew flipped open the trunk and set Will's bags inside, waiting for Will to do the same before closing it. He stood hesitantly a moment looking at Will before he asked, "So you want to catch a bite to eat or something?"

"Weren't we going to the food court?" Will asked feeling another bout of nervousness.

"We can," Andrew said, "But I feel like getting something a bit..." he shrugged, "you know a real restaurant rather than fast food."

Will swallowed as he nodded, and Andrew relaxed noticeably, and he opened the side door for Will to get in, hopping around the car to get in behind the drivers seat. Will felt a tightness in his chest as he sat down on the familiar seat and glanced back relieved to see the emergency kit back there as well as a new cell phone sitting on a cradle charging off of the cigarette lighter.

Andrew noticed what Will was staring at and grinned, "My mom, she offered to pay to fix the car so long as I agreed to let her get me a cell. I think it makes her feel easier."

"Where is your mom?" Will asked looking around for the diminutive, if formidable woman as Andrew started the car and backed out of his space.

Andrew turned the wheel and flipped the car into gear; "My mom's got her own car here, so she's fine with me taking off." He accelerated the car out onto the street and turned it towards Bank Street. He really was a careful driver, he expertly drove the car through Ottawa's congested streets, rush hour was coming to an end and he navigated through it in silence for a bit before he looked over at Will.

"You gonna talk to me, or am I just going to drive us around in silence?" He flashed his white teeth and Will felt like a trapped rabbit.

"I...I don't know...I thought..."

Andrew stopped the car at a light and gave Will his full attention, "I told you this afternoon that I just can't bury this." His words were earnest, insistent, if he could just convince Will of that then...

"And I told you I can't handle it." His voice was quiet, almost as if he didn't believe his own words, and in many ways he didn't. There was no denying the feelings, but did that make him gay? Could he take that step, and could he drag Andrew along with him? "I can't do that to you... make you gay along with me..."

Andrew burst into laughter, as he turned the car away from the dark houses of parliament and up to the brighter lights of Ottawa's main commercial street. He had a boisterous laugh, the kind that came from somewhere around the soul and bubbled up musically. He shook his head. "You didn't make me gay."

Will looked over at him, still sitting quietly. Waiting for Andrew to calm down from his fit of laughter. Feeling a little stupid for saying it, but how else could he explain how he felt? He sighed in frustration over his own lack of communications skills. "You know what I mean." He said irritably.

Andrew continued to smile as the car pulled into the small parking lot that serviced the Wall Street restaurant. He turned to Will and shook his head, "I may not know what... this..." he waved his hand again back and forth between them, "is all about, but I know you didn't make me anything I don't want to be." He finished almost awkwardly, as he got out of the car and rested on the roof of the car watching as Will got out, "I just know that I love you."

"That's the second time you've said that to me." Will said as he straightened up and looked about him at the gentle snow that fell. A few flakes had fallen into Andrew's hair and sat there like a light dusting of white in his Sandy hair, and he just seemed so self-assured, so immovable.

Andrew's smile curled up one corner of his mouth as he tilted his head to the side, "Yeah I guess it is. This is the part where you tell me `you know' and leave me hanging like a dork."

Will took a deep breath, "Yeah." He said after a moment, he thumbed towards the restaurant, "Shouldn't we...?"

Andrew stepped around the car, pushing his hair back out of his eyes and shaking off the snow, he looked nervous again. Suddenly as uncertain of himself as he had been that night by the rink. "Yeah we should probably go eat."

Will stopped and looked about him, and then sighed, "Andrew we're not ready for this...I'm not ready for this."

Andrew stepped carefully in the snow till he was standing in front of Will, looking down at the younger man. He stood uncertain for a moment and then just reached out and pulled Will closer to him. Will felt the arms encircle his waist and he stood there a moment with his hands hanging down at his sides shaking his head.

"I can't do this Andrew..." It was too much, everything all at once.

Andrew nodded, letting him go, "Come on, I promised you supper."

Will reluctantly looked at the car, wishing again that he had just gone home. His head was swimming in possibilities. He was already branded a Fag at school, his parents knew, and his other family suspected him. But there was a difference between one kiss and what Andrew was asking him for. It was a massive line to cross, and it terrified him.

At sixteen he simply wasn't equipped to make a choice like that, was he? It would be so easy just to put his arms around Andrew and loose himself in that warm safe feeling that Andrew offered to him. But the doubts were just too much for him right then.

Andrew turned to lead the way, and Will's hand snaked out of its own accord and grabbed Andrews. He held it for a second, staring at it in disbelief, it was almost a panicked gesture, all that had flashed through his mind was that he wanted to touch him...

Andrew looked down at the hand in his own, and up at Will's eyes and he nodded, "Yeah I know, scary shit huh?"

Will nodded, struggling to regain some semblance of his own inner strength as he held onto that hand, "I don't know why I did that..." he said shakily as he let go of Andrew's hand and climbed over the small snow bank to the sidewalk.

"Let's go get something to eat, and we can talk." Andrew offered as they both walked around to the entrance to the restaurant.

Chapter Eleven

December 5th

It was a sort of half and half establishment, a restaurant with a bar. Smoky bronze mirrors and comfortable seating. There was a pool table tucked off towards the back of the restaurant that really looked more like a bar than a restaurant. Luckily no one questioned them when they went in, and the waitress, a stout blonde woman with spiky blonde hair showed them to their table and went off to fetch them a couple of drinks.

Will had kept his gaze firmly on the mug when it arrived, adding a couple of creamers to it and a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. Andrew, he noticed, had ordered a cup of tea. He looked at Andrew questioningly.

Andrew strained his tea bag and looked over at Will, "Strange isn't it, you're the one that's supposed to be drinking tea, and I'm the one supposed to be a coffee fiend."

Will shrugged, "I've always like coffee better, tea just tastes funny over here. It's like they don't make it properly." He sat back into the chair near to the window and looked up at Andrew, "Why me?"

Andrew stirred a little milk into his tea as he thought, "I don't know. I started to notice you last year, this scruffy British kid that hung around with Jared."

"Jared and I don't really hang out..." Will said thinking about the Condor's goalie whose party had started this mess.

Andrew shrugged, "He thinks of you as a friend. I asked him about you once at the start of the year."

"You what?" Will asked incredulously, "but-"

Andrew winced, "No, it's not like that, or I didn't think it was like that..." He blushed as he looked away, "I mean it wasn't gay or anything I was just... Curious you know?"

The waitress saved him from further embarrassment, coming over to take their order before disappearing again. And Will tried to relax; they were both getting strung out over this. It had just been simpler in the car talking about life without the pressures of the big "L" word hanging over their heads.

"No, I understand," Will said after the waitress had vanished again, and he offered Andrew a smile.

"No," Andrew said as he shifted in his chair and fiddled with a teaspoon, "I mean right up until the other night," his voice dropped, "In the car, and I had my arms around you..." he again shifted, "and then I kissed you..."

"Yeah I remember that," Will said with a shy grin, as his eyes met Andrew's. It was hopeless, their situation. It was just another stolen moment and could lead nowhere, but the way Andrew was sitting, relaxed in his chair those eyes just piercing into him searching for some sign that his feelings were returned.

Will couldn't understand why it was him, there were better looking guys at school. "You still haven't said why."

Andrew accepted the burger the waitress handed to him and watched Will's caeser salad with chicken strips, and he gestured with his fork. "This is why, you're not a carbon copy of every other person in school. You're interesting you have depth above car's boobs and parties." He sighed, "Want to know why I was out on the rink rather than getting drunk with the guys?"

Will nodded, "Okay, why?"

"Because it's not me. I told you in the car that I don't want to be one of those guys. I'm better than that, I have to be." He shrugged, "And you make me realize that."

"I don't get it." Will said truthfully, "I'm just that scruffy British kid..."

"Who trusted me with his life." Andrew finished, "Who out side," he gestured in the direction of the parking lot, "Just had to touch me to feel safe. That's why its you Carter."

Will looked down at his plate of food, "oh." His voice was quiet as he searched for some kind of answers under a lettuce leaf, and unless the answer was a crouton he wouldn't find it in his salad. Was he gay? Everyone thought he was now, everyone said he was. But he had always shied away from gay thoughts. He'd had the usual curiosity, and like the other night, he had dreamed about it. But that didn't make you gay, what made you gay was wanting to be with a guy.

He looked up at the guy he wanted to be with.

"What about school?" Will asked, "You don't want that..."

Andrew's brow creased as he chewed on his fries thinking, "Look Will, neither of us really know what we want right now. But we can't just pretend that we don't feel anything. If you want I'll get up on a table at school and scream it for everyone to hear..." he sounded sincere, and that scared Will a little.

"You're that sure?" Will said glancing about him furtively, but the waitress was too far away to hear them.

"Carter...Will," Andrew leaned forward across the table and his hand touched Wills, "It's my fault you're in that mess at school. I shouldn't have kissed you... I was confused...am confused about all of this. But I know that I'm not confused in how I feel. If you told me to do that I would..."

"I'd rather you didn't," Will admitted reluctantly, he enjoyed the reassuring feeling of Andrew's hand on his own. He turned his palm outwards and Andrew immediately took it into his own larger ones. He stared at it for a long time.

"Refill on your coffee?" the waitress asked not even bothering for a reply as she refilled his mug. She looked down at the two hand's and threw Will a wink, "Shame." She said softly as she walked off again.

Will Blushed scarlet as Andrew tried to hide his laughter. "See I have good taste." He said with a grin, not letting go of Will's hand, "I love you Will Carter."

"I think I love you too." Will said, the knot in his stomach threatening to curl him into a little ball from the fear of actually acknowledging the feelings he had locked deep inside.

Andrew suddenly looked relieved, as he let out a long breath he had obviously been holding, "Wow." He said again, "I've never been that nervous before."

Will blushed again letting go of Andrew's hand and picking up his coffee cup. The admission calmed him, and he squared his shoulders looking across the table at Andrew who was battling heroically with his banquet burger.

"So what now?" Will asked.

Andrew grinned as he put the burger down, "I could kiss you again..." he shrugged, "But after all that garlic in the salad I'd rather not..."

Will laughed, "That's not what I meant, I mean with us?"

Andrew sighed considering it, "Well why don't we just see where it takes us. I mean technically we've only kissed once and this is our first date..."

Will shook his head, "Oh no, this isn't a date!"

Andrews face fell slightly in disappointment, "Oh?"

"No, if you are going to take me out on a date I expect it to be done right." Will said sitting back in his own chair, he felt ridiculous, boys weren't supposed to go on dates, hold hands, kiss. But there he was doing all of those things. If he were a cheerleader he would be doing back flips by now.

If he were a cheerleader he would be on his back by now.

He was shocked at the sudden thought, and blushed bright red. Andrew caught it, but didn't ask. He just sat chewing on his burger in an overtly masculine way, one arm on the back of the chair beside his own, the burger clutched in the other. And those eyes weighing him up.

"Mister Carter," he said in a formal sounding voice, "I would cordially ask to take you out for one night of dinner, dancing and romantic walks."

Will stopped himself from smiling and straightened up, "It would be both an honour and a priviledge to accompany you sir." He force a formal British accent that made him sound like an old school professor.

Andrew nodded, "It's a date then."

After they had finished eating and Andrew had driven him home, Andrew walked him up to the porch of Brody's house. He stood hesitant for a moment in the quite night, snow again drifting down around them. Will took a deep breath knowing what was to come, but nerves took over and he began to talk.

"Well I have fun tonight, and I'm sure that we can ..."

Andrew kissed him again cutting off his nonsensical banter, it was a playful kiss, soft and teasing, and he went to return it as Andrew pulled back. "Night Carter."

And he leapt down the steps, sliding on the snow in Brody's drive, till he hopped into his car. He threw Will one last wave and the car swept off. Will shook his head as he opened the door and walked back into Brody's place carrying all his bags.

Lisa and Brody sat on the couch, Brody refusing to look at him, and Lisa looked constipated. Like she couldn't wait to say something. He barely noticed as he got out of his shoes and went to go upstairs.

"Oh no you don't!" Lisa said with a happy tone in her voice, "you don't kiss on the door step and not tell me all about it."

Will looked back down at her, and at Brody who was laughing into the couch. He flushed red, they'd seen him. He shrugged, "I don't kiss and tell." And he jogged up the stairs to put his new clothes away.