Warning: This story does not contain any sex. None of the characters are based on real people nor are they meant to resemble any living or dead people.
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Book IV – Chapter 3
Ben is sitting at his house enjoying a quick snack before hitting some homework, when his mom brings him the phone. She looks nervous for some reason, and it made her son question who was on the telephone.
"It's Oliver, do you want me to..."
Ben doesn't say anything instead he reaches out for the phone, and accepts it from his mother's hand. Oliver and Ben had an interesting relationship. They were horrible together, but Ben and Blake are perfect. They were so bad in fact that Oliver has essentially been cut out of Ben's life until today. This call is the first contact Ben has had with him since breaking up with Oliver almost a year ago and two month ago.
"Hey Oliver, what's up? Long time no talk?"
"Yeah, it has been a long time. How are you? You dating anyone? You scoring with anyone?"
Oliver's brain is almost always on sex and this is one of the reasons why they aren't together any more other than distance. Oliver is extremely pushy and that led to many problems between them.
"I'm good and happy. I'm seeing someone. He's a really nice guy, that is new to the school. He has two dads. One of them is married and works at the school that we go too. No, we aren't having sex yet."
There is a slight chuckle from the other side of the phone, because Oliver thinks sex is important, and he knows he can still hang that over his exe's head.
"I'm sure this new guy is nice. Have you at least seen him naked?"
"No, now can you please change the subject?"
"Do we have too, I thought the conversation was getting interesting?"
"I just don't want to discuss my sex life with you."
Another little chuckle escapes Oliver's mouth.
"Yeah, I can change the subject. Oh, that reminds me Dad and I are in town and I want to have lunch at our place?"
"Is that a good idea?"
Ben doesn't want to rekindle anything with this guy, but it almost sounds like Oliver might want to have a second chance.
"Look, if you are so worried about me hitting on you, bring your boyfriend."
Oliver wants to see the dweeb that supposedly is making his ex-so happy.
"Then it's a date."
"No, it's note a date. It's just two friends. I need to go."
Before Oliver can anger Ben any more then he already is, the call is ended. Ben's mom enters the room again to make sure everything is okay. She doesn't ask anything of him instead, she gazes at his face to judge his mood.
`He looks pretty calm all things considered. I really thought he would be mad at me for not taking a message for him. He didn't seem annoyed with me at all perhaps I was wrong to check on him.'
Her entrance into his bedroom doesn't go unnoticed.
"Mom, do you need something?"
`He sounds like he's okay?'
"I really don't need anything. I just wanted to see what kind of mood you were in after speaking with Oliver."
"I would have whether not had any interaction with him, but since you handed me the phone, I had to give him a chance."
She smiles at him and then turns to walk away before she turns back
"I'll let you go."
Ben doesn't know how Blake will accept him meeting up with a guy, who is not only an ex-boyfriend but also an ex who has no problem being openly sexual.
`If Blake doesn't like the idea of Oliver and me meeting up, then I just won't meet up with him."
Blake had better not be the jealous type, because Ben hates guys like that, and they've never discussed it to be honest. There hasn't been a reason for Blake to show off his jealous side. Ben means what he said, he'll stay away from Oliver if it's requested, on the other hand, Blake needs to trust his boyfriend.
Knowing he has to the right thing, he grabs his cell-phone and calls Blake to let him know about lunch with Oliver.
"Hi Babe, what's going on tonight?"
Ben pauses before answering, giving Blake reason to wonder if things are okay between them. He pauses though to hear exactly what his boyfriend's opinion is on this lunch outing.
"I just wanted to let you know that Oliver is in town with his dad, and he wants to meet me for lunch."
"What did you tell him?"
Ben can hear Blake's displeasure coming through the phone at him.
"I told him that I was willing to meet him, but if you don't want me too, then I'll stay home."
`He can't really be serious about this right now.'
Blake thinks to himself as he contemplates his answer. Blake trusts Ben so why is he feeling jealously bubbling up inside of him, which isn't not like him at all. Ben expects more discussion out of his boyfriend.
"Blake are you going to say something?"
"Yeah, I am. Are you going to see him?"
`Why is he asking this again?'
Ben doesn't get it, he doesn't understand why Ben is acting all strange. He figured at best that Blake would be pissed off, but then let it go and give him the okay. Right now though, he can't even get him to answer a simple question.
"Look if you're not going to give me a simple answer then yeah I am going to meet him."
Oliver is already crawling underneath Blake's skin.
"Everything that I've heard about this guy makes him out to be a class "A" jerk and you are going to meet him?"
"I'm not going to date him Blake. It's just two friends getting together."
Blake's jealously is issue is Blake's problem not his. Right now, he sees nothing wrong with him reversing his decision.
"Come on Ben, you don't want to meet up with him?"
"He's just a friend. You need to get over it."
The more Blake gets upset over it, the more willing Ben is to meet Oliver. Ben would rather just have Blake be okay with the visit. Ben is trying hard not to say a mean thing to Blake, and Blake is trying to do the same as well.
"You need to drop this green-eyed monster thing. It's not very becoming."
It's true, Blake isn't feeling very kind right now towards his boyfriend. Ben gives up trying to get Blake to see things the right way. He decides at this point to just end the call.
When he realizes that the call has ended, Blake gets a little agitated. Blake heads out of his room to talk to Ian. Blake is avoiding Trace, because he knows that he'll take Ben's side. He doesn't want to hear that he's wrong. He wants to hear that Ben should stay away from Oliver. Ian is in the office grading papers. Entering the office, he stops and knocks on the door, so he doesn't make his dad jump.
"Dad can we talk?"
"Sure, son just give me a minute or two to finish grading this set of papers."
True to his word, Ian takes just two minutes to finish grading the work.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, what's going on Blake?"
"Ben is meeting up with an ex that is in town, and I'm not happy with it."
Ian takes a second to process what Blake just said.
"Are you okay with him meeting this guy?"
Blake gives him a smirk.
"No, I am not okay with it."
Ian wouldn't be okay with Trace meeting up with an ex unless, he was willing to take his husband along with him.
"To be honest, I wouldn't be happy if your father went to meet someone without telling me first. The real question is, did you get upset with him?"
Ian knows how jealously feels and it's not good. There have been a few times, that it's reared its head in their relationship.
"Yeah, I am upset with him. He shouldn't be meeting this guy. He's with me."
His dad understands why Blake is upset, but he also thinks Blake isn't being fair to Ben.
"You know, you could just ask Ben if you could go with him to wherever he is meeting this ex."
Blake shakes his head but doesn't say a thing.
"So, what are you going to do?"
"I'm hoping, he'll choose to not meet up with him, but I think that I've ticked him off."
"How did you tick him off?"
Ian asked wanting Blake's answer to snap him back to earth.
"I guess my attitude bugged him a bit."
As his father, Ian has seen Blake's attitude first-hand and knows why Ben is so upset.
"Maybe, you shouldn't have cheesed him off huh?"
Now, Blake is throwing attitude towards Ian.
"Cool the attitude okay?"
Blake wants to just walk away before he gets himself into trouble.
Blake is just being honest and since Ian isn't helping him feel any better about Ben and Oliver meeting up, he decides to take off.
"I think that I'm going to my room and write it out of me."
"Okay, if you need to talk more, you know where I'm at right?"
Blake nods his head and then walks away. Blake retreats to his room, where he lays down on the bed.
After staring up from the bed at the ceiling, he gets up and grabs his journal hoping he won't regret what he writes in it. He also grabs his pen off of his night stand. Opening to an available page, Blake stares down at the semi-empty page.
`I don't know if I want to even write about this mess.'
He reaches out with his hand holding the pen and prepares to drop it on the table, but then he pulls it back to the journal. He takes the cap off the pen and gets ready to write.
"So today, I got a phone call from Ben. He tells me that he is going to meet up with one of his exes. It's not just that he's meeting this guy, but this guy he's meeting with comes across as a jerk based on what Ben has told me in the past. I wish, he would call this guy back and cancel. What me off even more is that he told this guy he would meet with him without even talking to me. No, I hear about it after he agrees to meet this guy. I get it, Oliver and Ben have a history, but he should be having lunch with me. Maybe, I'm jealous, but Ben needs to rethink this...meet up thing. Ben if you read this, I am pissed. I just want you to know this."
Blake puts the cap on the pen and puts the journal down on the floor. He steps over his journal and heads downstairs. He's hoping to avoid his dads right now, because just wants some peace.
Trace comes in the door and immediately calls out for Ian, who answers him. Trace walks to the source of his husband's voice.
"Hey Honey, what's happening?"
Trace asks as he looks down at Ian. Ian smiles as he looks up at his handsome husband.
"Hi Trace, it's good to see you?"
Trace is looking down at the computer and the paperwork that is piled up on Ian's computer. It's a common scene on the weekends. Ian sits there and grades papers while he enters grades at the same time.
Trace asks even though he knows what is going on before him.
"Yeah, it's not too exciting."
"Should I leave you alone?"
"No, you're good Trace."
Ian wants a kiss, but he doesn't get one right away which is a little disappointing. Not even a few seconds later, Trace bends down and kisses Ian on the cheek.
Trace says with a smile as he gives Ian another kiss on the cheek. Ian looks up with a smile at his lover who is smiling right back at him.
"Where is Blake?"
Ian gives him a smirk.
"Does that mean, that he's having a bad day?"
"If it helps, I think he came downstairs but I'm not sure where he is exactly."
Ian gets back to his grading.
"I'm going to go look for him."
Trace leaves the office and goes off in search of his son, and finds him hiding out in the room set aside for Ian's nature collection and for some of the pets.
"Okay kiddo, I know that something is bugging you, so what is going on son?"
"Nothing, I just decided to come down and check out the animals."
Trace knows better, but he doesn't push it. He wants Blake to come to him when he's ready to be honest.
"How are the animals today?"
Trace asks Blake in an attempt to get him talking.
"They're great. I don't know that I would to handle the spiders right now."
"I'll take your word for it."
Trace loves the fact that this stuff excites his son and his husband, but he prefers to steer clear of the animals when he can.
`Why won't he talk? I know he didn't get anyone pregnant, so what the heck is going on? Come on kid talk to me.'
"I'm going to leave you to whatever it is you're doing and head upstairs to chance. I think my uniform is freaking out that snake."
He says pointing to the corn snake that is looking at him from its tank.
"Okay Dad see you at dinner."
Blake says hoping that this will be the last time that Trace tries to figure out what is going on with him. He knows that at some point, he'll have to talk to his dad about what is going on but not right now.
`Hopefully, I'll see you before dinner.'
Trace knows that there is a problem, because Ian wouldn't have said something to him, and now he's concerned. He could force the issue but how do you force the issue on something if you don't know what is going on to begin with. Frustrated with his son's silence, he leaves the room and goes upstairs to get into some comfortable clothes. As Trace leaves the room, Blake feels a vibration of a text coming through on his phone.
Taking the phone out of his pocket, he taps on the screen and to wake the phone up and then clicks on his messages. Looking down the list of messages, he sees that the text came from Ben. At first, he isn't sure that he wants to respond to it. After a couple of minutes, he decides to read the message.
"I'm taking you out for lunch tomorrow be ready around 11:30 am."
A fight ensues in Blake's mind to see if he is going to go along with Ben's invitation.
Blake sends his text in reply to Ben's text.
"Mom and Dad will pick you up. No need to dress fancy. Just be yourself okay?"
"Who else would I be?"
Blake doesn't like the question that Ben sent, so he fires back with his own question right back at Ben.
"Try to be in a good mood. I have to go no need to respond."
Blake isn't happy right ow, but maybe this date is a way for Ben to apologize. Putting his phone back into his pocket, he goes back to spending time with the animals. Right now, Blake wants to relax and he wants to forget what Ben has done. Blake feels horrible, and the world just seems crazy right now.
We leave Blake's house and go to the Hatcher household, where Ben is sitting in the living room reading on his kindle. His mom walks into the room and looks at him. She can see the pain in his eyes. Mrs. Hatcher helped Ben pick up the pieces after breaking up with Oliver, and she can't help but feel sorry for her son. He feels a little lost right now, and she can sense it. Normally, she would say what needed to be said before going back to what she was doing. Today though, he needs her to be by his side after all it seems he's facing another break up. A split that perhaps could have been avoided if Ben had a clear mind. Deciding that he needs his parents right now, she leaves him alone and heads for the basement. Here in the basement, she finds her husband whose working on a wood project meant for a widow at church.
"Honey, we need to be upstairs with Ben right now."
His face grows dark and worry builds in his heart.
"Oliver is in town and requested to have lunch with Benjamin. I'm afraid its caused some tension between Blake and our son. I think he's afraid that he'll lose Blake."
Ben's father frowns before speaking up.
"Let me guess, he's agreed to this craziness. I wouldn't blame Blake if he broke up with him. Come on would you have been okay with me meeting up one of my exes?"
She stares at him in disbelief.
"Are you suggesting that he's stupid for wanting to meet up with Oliver?"
"Yes, I am. He should have thought about Blake's feelings before opening his mouth and risking his relationship, but Benjamin is our son, and I won't rub it in his face too much."
"I guess, I'll have to deal with that if it happens."
Mrs. Hatcher will have to deal with this mess. She will support Benjamin should the need arise. Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher head upstairs to talk with Ben. Ben is sitting in the same spot since she first saw him before heading downstairs. They know he's upset and they can't stand to see the hurt on his face, but like Mr. Hatcher said, he is at fault for acting without thinking. Ben's mom sits on one side of him and Ben's dad on the other side of him.
"Benjamin when Oliver asked you to come to lunch, did you consider how Blake might feel about it?"
It feels as if, his dad is taking Blake's side, but he knows enough to listen to what his dad is saying.
"Yes, I did but I didn't realize that Blake had a jealous side and I can't stand it. It's aggravating."
His mom can understand his feelings of aggravation, but she also knows that her husband is right. Sadly, Ben takes after his mother instead of his father.
"Ben, I want you to put yourself in Blake's shoes. If he had called you and said that his ex was in town, would you want him to meet up with him?"
Ben quietly considers what his father just asked. A lump forms in his throat as he realizes what he did. Even with that lump in his throat, it doesn't stop him from holding onto his own feelings on the matter.
"I may not like him meeting up with his ex, but I'm not Blake, and I wouldn't let my jealously break us up."
His father stares deep into his son's eyes, but it's mom who responds first.
"Don't you think that, as his boyfriend that maybe you shouldn't' meet up with Oliver?"
Ben doesn't answer with words instead he shrugs his shoulder.
"So, you want me to cancel this lunch even though nothing is happening between me and Oliver? I haven't seen him in over a year, and I've only been with Blake for a year."
His parents frown at his words.
"No son, we want you to be true to the guy that you're dating."
Ben feels like his parents are making him choose between Oliver and Blake, when in truth they are trying to make him choose between an ex and a boyfriend.
"Ben, we will get you to the restaurant, if that is what you choose to do, but we don't want you to hurt Blake's hurt."
"I've already invited Blake to the lunch, but I sort of left out that Oliver will be there."
Mr. Hatcher just bows his head.
"Do you like Blake at all, because it sounds like you're trying to push him away."
"No, I love him."
Ben means what he says but Mr. Hatcher can see what he's doing, so in the end what's going to happen will happen. Ben has stuff to think about and his parents are going to let him think it through for a while.
In an effort to make peace, Ben calls Blake to patch up the relationship. He's actually willing to cancel the outing if Blake will be open to talking it out instead of arguing. He takes out his phone and calls his boyfriend. Two rings, three rings, and then four rings go by without an answer. With each ring, Ben becomes a little more upset.
`For someone who loves me, why can't he answer the phone?'
He doesn't bother leaving voice mail. He ends the call and then goes about his day. There is no way, he's going to waste time worrying over this guy. He goes downstairs to workout in the basement. After his workout, he returns to his room to find that he has a missed call from Blake. At this point, he has two decisions to either ignore the call or call him back. He decides right away to call him back. Even if his heart really isn't ready to speak with Blake, he goes ahead and pushes the call button. Right away, Blake answers the phone.
"It's never taken you that long to call me back. What's up with that?"
Blake wants to know what's going on with his boyfriend. He doesn't seem to be thinking right lately.
"I went downstairs to workout. Sorry that I didn't take the phone down with me, but I figured since you didn't answer my phone call, that I could at least make you wait a few minutes on me."
Blake doesn't say a thing. It's better to keep his mouth shut then to say anything else and upset his angry boyfriend even more.
"Did you want something?"
"I just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry for the way, I acted earlier."
Blake tries to apologize to Ben.
"Okay, but I need to get going."
Ben says as his finger reaches down for the end call icon on his phone. Blake doesn't hear anything in Ben's voice that sounds like he's accepted his apology.
"So, I guess, I'll let you go."
Before Blake can get the words out of his mouth, Ben's finger ends the call. It sucks when you try to make things right, and the guy turns you down, but that happens sometimes.
Blake doesn't know why, but he feels calmer considering that Ben left him hanging on the apology. He goes downstairs to have dinner. Ian cooked tonight and spent a good amount of time in the kitchen preparing it. Blake usually chows down when Ian cooks but tonight, he barely eats. His stomach is feeling a little sour. Adding food to his stomach could be a disaster waiting to happen. It also doesn't go unnoticed by his dads, who worry that their son might be in over his head. Trace has been filled in by Ian. He knows how badly his son is hurting and just wants him to relax just a little. It doesn't look like his son will be relaxing any time soon.
"Can I be excused?"
Blake asks as he stares down at the plate filled with food. Neither Trace nor Ian want him walking away from the table, but they understand what heartache can do to the body.
"Go ahead, we'll save your plate for later. It'll be in the fridge."
Blake hates the way, he is feeling. It's like he's losing his best friend and it hurts so much. It's more then his young heart can take at the moment, and as he gets to his room the tears begin to descend. He lays down on the bed and begins to cry himself to sleep. When Trace gets to the top of the stairs, he can hear his son crying and it breaks his heart. He wants Ben and Blake to figure things out that his pain will end. Pausing by the door, he listens to his son's sobs. Turning from the door, he heads downstairs to where Ian is washing the dishes.
"He's up in his room crying his eyes out over Ben."
Trace says as he picks up a towel to start drying.
"Maybe someone needs to go upstairs and talk to him."
Ian and Trace decide to head up stairs together to see him. By the time, they arrive at his room, things are quiet. Ian softly opens the door and peeks inside. What he sees inside breaks his heart.
"He must have cried himself to sleep."
Trace just shakes his head.
When the next day comes, Blake wakes up feeling a little anxious. He showers and then goes downstairs to eat.
`Why is Ben having a date for me?'
Blake is only feeling like this because he knows that Oliver is in town. Everything feels off. Blake knows what he's feeling may not be right, but he knows things with Ben is off. At 11:30 am, he's going to find out one way or another if Ben is being up front with him. He'll have a chance to apologize and to leave the anger behind them. Maybe, he'll be able to convince him to not see his ex. Before too long, Blake's alarm on his phone goes off telling him it's 11:27 am. Blake goes to the front door and watches for the Hatchers to arrive. At exactly 11:30 am, their car pulls up in front of the house. He takes a deep breath, and then opens the door and heads out to the car. When the door opens, Blake is greeted by smiling faces.
`Well this is promising, I don't see anyone that I don't know.'
Blake still doesn't know what is up with Ben.
"Hi Ben, what's going on?"
"Nothing much, I'm good."
Mrs. Hatcher knows that Blake isn't happy. She wouldn't be happy if she was in the same situation. Nothing is feeling right. The guys aren't talking and that isn't right. This quiet isn't exactly what he wants, he wants things to be normal. The closer, they get to the restaurant, the more talkative Ben becomes. Things were starting to feel good again. Would things continue to improve? Mrs. Hatcher parks the car. Slowly, they exit the car and head towards the restaurant. This place isn't what he was expecting. It's a bit too pricey for his tastes. As they enter the establishment, Ben takes Blake's hand as they wait for Ben's parents. Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher walk in right behind them, and approach the maître d's position.
"Benjamin Hatcher and party."
Ben says looking at the staff member's face.
"Yes, I see
your reservation and there are already a few people here from your party. I understand that the adults will be sitting
at one table and the teenagers will be at another table?"
She says looking directly at Benjamin.
`Who else is here?'
Blake isn't feeling very good at the moment. He suddenly has a bad case of nerves. Maybe, things will settle down a bit. The maître d' signaled for a hostess to sit the rest of the party down at their table. As they sit, Blake's eyes light up with a green tiny. Ben can see it and it pisses him off right away Blake takes his sit next to Ben. He wants to kiss Ben just to let Oliver know that he is off limits. Oliver can already sense that something is going on with this unknown teen.
"Are we going to be introduced Ben?"
Oliver says as he looks at Blake with a smirk. Unfortunately, Blake immediately picks up on the smirk.
`I already hate this guy.'
Ben looks at Oliver.
"This is my boyfriend, Blake. Blake, this is Oliver."
"Nice to meet you. I can see what Benny Boy sees in you."
`At least Oliver gave me a compliment, but I'm not okay with it.'
"It's nice to put a face to the name."
Blake says trying to be polite.
"How long have you been dating?"
Oliver asks as he looks into Blake's eyes, while he avoids making eye contact with Blake. He waits to hear from Ben.
"We've been dating for a few months."
`Another smirk from the jerk, why is he here?'
The waitress comes out to take the orders and they place their orders. Most of the conversations taking place at the moment are between Ben and Oliver.
As Oliver and Ben finish catching up, attention falls back on Blake and their relationship.
"Ben has been pretty quiet about how the two of you met, how exactly did you meet?"
Ben smiles at Blake and a for second the jealously disappears. Blake thinks back to that special day.
"Guess, it started with me crushing on Ben. I was at my grandparent's house, and my aunt who also goes to the same school as us, and she had a picture of Ben in her room. I convinced her to let me have it. A little later, my aunt called me saying that Ben wanted to meet me. We meet the next day at school over breakfast."
"Wow, you met over cereal."
Oliver is being rude on purpose and it seems to be working within Blake's stomach and to a lesser degree inside Ben's as well. Blake wants Oliver to go back from where he came from.
`I wonder if Ben would ever break up Blake?'
Oliver doesn't want things to go for this couple. No one is particularly happy here, but the guys are holding it together. Blake is feeling a bit jealous and he's seeing Oliver as the ass that he really is, and he wants Ben to just get up and walk away from Oliver. They are quiet as the food is placed down before them, the silence continues as they eat. Blake, I still feeling uneasy over this lunch. When the plates are empty, Blake looks at Ben and he frowns.
"Ben can we go home now?"
Ben sees the jealousy in his boyfriend's eyes and in his facial expressions.
"Yeah, I think going home is a good idea."
Ben says as he looks at Blake.
Oliver doesn't want to end the visit with Ben, likewise Ben doesn't want to stop the visit with his friend either.
"Blake, can I talk to you for a second?"
"No, I'm ready to go. Now, are you ready to leave?"
Ben shakes his head no, which leads to Blake getting up from his table and pulling out his phone. He walks out of the restaurant as he is calling Ian.
As he walks out of the building, Blake drops to the curb to be comfortable.
"Blake, what's going on buddy?"
"Dad, can you pick me up?"
Ian doesn't need to be told what's wrong. He can hear it in his son's voice. The lunch with Ben hasn't gone exactly as planned and Blake is done with it. Luckily, Ian is done with his work in the office. Before Blake can say anything else, Ian wants to know why he wants to be picked up. His desire to watch over his son wins him over and Ian quickly replies.
"I'll come and get you but I need to know where you are at?"
"I'm at the Wild Boar Grill. Are you coming?"
"I'll be there, but feel free to call me if you're plans change."
Suddenly it hits him, that until his dad arrives he'll be stuck here if the group leaves without him.
"I'm going to let you go Dad. I'll call you...if things change."
Blake quietly ends the call. As he sits there, there is something about this place that reminds of his days on the streets. As Ian is getting ready to walk out the door, Michael calls him and since he is already in the area of the restaurant, he agrees to pick up his nephew. Blake stands up, walks back inside the restaurant, and finds his seat again
Ben doesn't waste any time in giving his boyfriend a smirk that feels cold and distant.
"Where did you go?"
The tone of his voice isn't much better.
"I asked you to end this outing and when you wouldn't, I called home to have someone pick me up."
Oliver turned up his nose, and then winked at Ben as if he were sending some silent message.
"You know Blake, you were right. I really think, you need to go home. This lunch was a really bad idea. I should have just met up Oliver by myself and left you at home, because you're embarrassing me."
Ben isn't showing Blake any love to his boyfriend. All Blake wants to do is cry, so he gets up and walks to the restroom. From the other side of the restaurant, Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher are watching the faces of the young men at the table and they're worried. As for Oliver, he is looks shocked at Blake's behavior but inside he is laughing. While Blake is shedding a tear or two, his phone starts to vibrate signaling a call or a text. Opening the phone to the home screen, he sees that he has a new text. It's from his Uncle Michael, and he is outside waiting to pick him up. Blake doesn't bother returning to the table, he simply walks out. Ben doesn't say anything and watches his boyfriend walk out of the building. Things have been so good between them, and now there is darkness descending on them. When Ben is gone, Mrs. Hatcher walks up to pay for lunch. As he steps out the door, he takes a deep breath and then calls his uncle.
Luckily, it doesn't take long for Uncle Michael to answer the phone.
"Hey Blake, where are you?"
Michael says as he looks over the parking lot from his car.
"I'm at the doors of the restaurant. Where are you?"
Uncle Michael honks the car horn hoping that Blake can use the sound to find the car. It works because in a heartbeat, he's at the car. He opens the car door and gets strapped in before the dam breaks holding back his tears. Michael is unsure what to do so he calls Ian.
"Michael, what's going on man?"
"I've got Blake in my car, but he's crying and I'm not sure what to do."
Michael's heart is breaking along with Ian's because he can hear his son's sobs through the phone.
"Michael just bring him home tears and all."
"Sounds good, I'll have him home in fifteen minutes."
"Okay, I will be here."
It doesn't take him long to get going.
"Blake, we are headed for your house. Ian's there waiting for us."
As he expected, Blake doesn't say a thing. Just like in the restaurant, there is silence but the difference is Blake is with family. Eight minutes away from the house, the tears disappear and are replaced with snores. As Michael pulls up the house, Blake is still sound asleep. Michael nudges his nephew to wake him rater than carrying him inside. Blake's eyes open and he looks a bit confused.
Michael asks as he looks at Blake as he worries over his nephew.
"I'm good guess, but I'm tired."
Michael and Blake get out of the car and head inside. Ian is sitting in the living room when they enter the house, but Blake doesn't pause at all and upon seeing Ian, he heads right up to this room. Both Michael and Ian are worried, they see Blake's pain and realize that right now, he needs some space. Hopefully after his nap, he'll come down and talk when he's ready.
"Did he say anything to you?"
Ian is hoping that things will quiet down a bit in his son's life.
"I know as much as you do. He cried a few minutes and then he ended up falling asleep in my car."
Michael reply causes Ian to worry even more about his son.
"I was afraid this might happen."
The uncle looks over at his brother in law hoping for some clarification on his last sentence. When it doesn't come right away, Michael forces Ian to clarify his thought.
"What do you mean?"
Michael's thirst causes him to get up and grab a drink of water. Ian follows right behind him.
"I guess, a part of me wondered when things would collapse between Blake and Ben."
Realizing how cold that sounds, he clarifies it further.
"I know how that sounds, but it's Blake's first relationship and those rarely work out. I just hope that they can figure it out because this hurts."
Michael agrees with Ian and nods his head. They walk out of the kitchen and back into the living room.
"I think, I'm going to stick around."
Ian smiles and gives Michael a pat on the back. Ian appreciates the fact that he's willing to stick around a bit.
A knock on the door interrupts the visit. Ian gets up and answers the door. As he is answering the door, Blake comes down the stairs looking like he has been asleep for 8 hours or so. Ian opens the front door to discover Ben standing out on the step.
"Hi, is Blake here?"
Ian isn't sure that, he wants to invite Ben into the house, but he decides that it's okay to let him inside. Did he come to make up with Blake or to give Blake a chance to apologize? He'll have to wait and see what's going to happen.
"Yeah, he just came downstairs."
"Um...can I come inside?"
Ben asks as he looks past Ian to see if he can spot Blake.
"Yeah come inside."
Ian sits down on the couch, while Ben comes in looking for Blake. Ben sees him sitting at the dining room table. When Blake sees him, he wants to run away and hide. He doesn't though, there is still love in Ben's eyes and even though it's faint, it keeps Blake in his seat. Ben quietly sits down in one of the chairs and tries to smile, but his lips don't quite form a grin. Ben gulps some air and rubs his hands together before he says anything.
"Why did you leave?"
Blake would like to explain why he left but it might just upset Ben even more.
"I couldn't stand listening to Oliver and watching him look at you made it even worse."
`I can't believe him. He's jealous of my friendship with Oliver, but I suppose I should listen to what he has to say since I came over to talk.'
Blake can see something in his boyfriend's eyes and it's not good.
"Oliver was trying to get under your skin, and you let him crawl right under your skin."
"Yeah, I suppose that I did, but you did nothing to stop him either. I felt like I was being attacked by both of you. I thought that you could see what he was doing to me. I felt betrayed, and I just wanted to get away from it."
Ben does feel a bit of guilt about not defending his boyfriend from the verbal attack from Oliver, but he is still upset over Blake' s actions. Ben gets up and leaves the dining room as he heads for the front door.
Blake exclaims as he heads towards his boyfriend. Ben stops and turns towards Blake.
"What do you want?"
"Do you have to leave?"
Blake asks and pleads with Ben not to walk out the door. Ian and Michael are watching this scene unfold before them.
"Sorry Blake, but I don't think you're ready to apologize."
Ian doesn't know what to say or do, as he watches Ben turn his back towards the door and leave the house. Blake is brought to tears by Ben's actions. Ian gets up and hugs his son and holds him till they stop.
"I hope he comes around son."
He also knows that his son need to change too, but maybe first he needs to calm down a tad bit more. Trace has always had a way with him and maybe that is what Blake needs is a conversation with his other dad. Blake is suddenly tired and decides to take a nap.
Before he lays down for his nap, Blake pulls out his cell phone and calls Ben. The phone rings a total of six times and then it goes into voice mail.
`I can't believe he didn't pick up the phone.'
Ben saw who was calling and decided that playing a video game with Oliver was more important then answering his boyfriend's call. Ben argued with himself over calling his boyfriend back, but decided against it.
After his nap, he calls his uncle to take him over to Ben's house. Fifteen minute later Michael shows up at the house to grab Blake. Blake is silent and doesn't speak expect to give instructions to his uncle. When they arrive at the house, Michael can tell that his nephew is nervous and scared.
"Good luck! I'll wait till I know it's okay to leave."
Blake gets out of the car and slowly walks up to the Hatcher's front door. He notices right away that there is a strange car in the driveway, but he fails to put two and two together. The car belongs to Oliver's dad. If he had known that Oliver was at the house, he would have left right away. He knocks on the door with the fingers on his other hand crossed. It takes a couple of knocks before the door is answered. Mrs. Hatcher answers the door and invites Blake into the house. She has him wait while she goes upstairs to let Ben know that his boyfriend is here. She is feeling even more nervous than he was before he came inside the house. When Mrs. Hatcher came back downstairs, she came along and Blake could read her face.
"I...I take he doesn't want to talk to me."
"No, he doesn't but I'm glad you came over Blake. I think, he's just mad and needs time to shake it off. Don't give up on him, and I won't let him give up on you. I like you much more than I liked Oliver, they were not good together."
`I appreciate what she is saying, but if he doesn't want to talk to me, then there isn't; much use in being here.'
"Thanks Mrs. Hatcher but, I think I'm going to head home.
She seems puzzled.
"How are you getting home?"
She asks thinking, he mighty need a ride home.
"Oh, my uncle is outside in his car waiting on me."
She seems to accept that and shakes her head. Walking past Blake, she pats him on the back before opening up the door for him.
"Remember give him a chance to come around, you won't be sorry."
Blake walks out of the house and heads for the car. She watches him leave the house with his head bent down and wishes that she could turn back time and advise Ben not to invite Blake to lunch. Michael watches also and he can clearly see that Blake's hope was crushed, how exactly he doesn't know how but, he can see it in his face. When Blake opens the car door, he doesn't look at Michael at first but then he sighs.
"Just take me home Uncle Michael."
"Okay but first, we are getting ice cream."
Buying the ice cream delays them from getting home by about 15 minutes, but it was good and it gave them time to talk. In the car on the way home, Blake looks at his uncle and smirks.
"How did you get so wise Uncle Michael?"
Michael`s face lights up knowing that Blake isn't being serious.
"I'm older then you that's how."
He said while sticking out his tongue. Once they arrived at the house, Blake gets out of the car as Trace gets home. Blake gets out and heads into the house as Trace approaches Michael's car.
Michael looks at his older brother. Michael's looks sad and Trace doesn't need him to say anything.
"He called me asking to go to Ben's house, so he could talk to him, but I guess things didn't go as planned, and he came out looking horrible, so I took him to grab some ice cream. I think he needs straightened out but I'll leave that to you and Ian. I'm heading out man."
Trace enters the house, but instead of heading for Blake's room, he sets out to find Ian.
Trace stops in the kitchen and smiles as he looks at his husband's backside. He wraps his right arm around Ian's waist and kisses him on the back of his neck.
Ian says smiling.
"Have you spoken to our son?"
Trace ask hoping to get some more information out Ian before heading upstairs.
"Not a lot today, I spoke with him a little bit after Ben left to try and calm him down."
Trace wasn't aware that Ben had been at the house.
"Wait, Ben was here. What happened?"
Trace is a little worried.
"He wanted to know why Blake left the lunch date that he had been invited too, but what he didn't tell Blake was that his ex would be there."
Trace rolls his eyes in disbelief.
"Apparently, there was stuff said that Blake took offense too and Ben didn't step up to defend him. Blake's feeling hurt and jealous all rolled up into one upset tight, little ball.
As Ian finishes his statement, their son comes down the stairs and crashes on the couch.
"Well, did you know that he was just at Ben's house? Apparently, he tried to talk with Ben but Ben refused to talk to him."
Ian knows things aren't going good for Blake, but he hopes that things improve.
"No, I didn't but do you think that you could talk to him? I tried yesterday and all I got was attitude."
Ian asks hoping that maybe Trace could help Blake see things in a different light.
"Yeah, I'll talk to him. I think, he just came downstairs."
Trace leaves the room and heads into the living room.
Keeping his promise, he walks into the living room and sits down on the couch. He reaches out an arm to Blake, who is quick to accept a hug from his dad.
"Dad told me a little bit about what happened today, and then I ran into Uncle Michael as he was leaving the house, and he told me about what happened at the Hatcher's just a little bit ago. What I want to know is how are you feeling?"
A first nothing is said, but Blake gently leans his head into Trace's chest and begins to cry. He cries for a good five minutes before removing his head from his dad.
"I left the restaurant because I was tired of being treated like crap by Oliver and Ben. They acted like I was all at fault in this mess. I...I...know that there was a little jealously in me, but Ben didn't need to treat me bad. Ben got mad when I asked him to take me home. I was tired...of being treated like crap. Oliver kept giving me this little smirk like I wasn't worth Ben's time. They acted like I was invisible for a good five minutes. In the end, I really wanted to get out of the there so I got up and called Dad to come and get me. In the end, I came home with Uncle Michael. Then a little later, Ben came over to find out why I left, and so I told him. Ben told me that Oliver was just trying to get under my skin and he made it seem like I shouldn't have got upset. He's made at me for feeling jealous, but he shouldn't have put me in that situation. I think, I have every dam right to be upset."
Trace is surprised by his son's response to his question.
"It seems to me that Ben was wrong for putting you into an uncomfortable situation but I can also see this from his point of view. I know that Dad would go with me to meet any of my exes but I also know, he wouldn't like it. He knows that I love him. Jealously can damage relationship and it can be hard to let go. I think the two of you need calm down and then talk things out."
Blake is frustrated with Trace, because he tried talking with Ben, and Ben wanted nothing to do with him.
"You...you weren't there. You didn't see the way that he looked at me, you didn't hear Ben telling me that I should leave. It hurt Dad."
Trace hugs Blake again, who sheds a few tears. There have been numerous times when Trace wished that he could take the pain away from his son and this time is another one of those times.
"I know it hurts son. Listen to me, the next time you talk with Ben keep an open mind and let him go first, then calmly talk about how you're feeling, Okay?"
Trace wants to make sure that he gives Blake as much attention and wisdom as he can take in at the moment.
"I'm going to go take a nap Dad. Thanks for listening to me and for the advice."
"You're welcome Blake."
They separate with Trace heading back to Ian, and Blake heading upstairs for his nap.
It's been 24 hours since the meetup between Ben, Blake, and Oliver, and Oliver, Ben, and Blake have both had a day and a half to consider the role that their behavior and words have affected the other person. Ben and Blake have had their relationship practically torn apart by this one single event. Today, Ben has decided that it's time to talk with one of Blake's parents before speaking with Blake. He decides against having his parents drive him to Blake's house, and head out on his bike When he arrives, he knocks on the door hoping that Blake won't answer the door. He gets his wish and its Trace who answers the door.
"Ben, I'm surprised to see you."
"I need to talk to you."
Trace smiles invites him inside.
"Why don't we go sit on the couch and talk? Ian and Blake are out visiting Ian's brother, so we won't be interrupted."
Trace doesn't like the idea of being alone in the house with a teen, so he decides to move this conversation.
"Ben, we're going to move to the front yard."
Ben isn't sure he likes this idea, but he readily agrees to it. Once they get outside, Ben and Trace sit on some chairs on the edge of the yard. Not wanting to be interrupted again by Trace or anyone else, Ben gets ready to speak his mind.
"I suppose you have already heard from Blake about what went down during lunch?"
Ben wants to know if he should be prepared to defend his actions or if it really is okay to speak his mind.
"Yeah, he told me what happened from his point of view, but I want to hear it from your point of view as well."
Trace can see a weight come off the young man's shoulders.
"Well to be honest, I wasn't going to meet up with Oliver, my ex, but he kept pushing so when he suggested that I invite Blake out also, I decided to go ahead and meet up with him. So, I called Blake to tell him about the meet up, I could hear him getting an attitude and the more he spoke, the angrier I became."
Trace becomes very curious about why Ben became angry with Blake, and why if he truly was angry with him why not just cancel the meet up.
"Why did you get angry with him?"
There is a brief pause in the conversation while Ben thought about Trace's question.
"I thought, he was being really immature."
Trace thinks that both boys are being immature and maybe it's time that Ben heard it.
"Ben is it possible that you might also be a little immature in how your handling this mess?"
Silence again, this time because someone is holding back their words so he doesn't get in trouble for being disrespectful. Instead of answering Trace, he simply started back relating what happened as he saw the events.
"During our phone call, he wanted to know why I was meeting Oliver. Honestly, I was going to cancel it until Blake started in with his attitude and his whole jealously act. When I saw that continuing the conversation wasn't going to change anything, I simply ended the phone call. Maybe, I shouldn't have, but I was pissed..."
"Yeah, it was rude but go on."
`I thought Trace wanted to hear my point of view and yet, here he is judging me'
"After that came lunch with Oliver, I was hoping that Blake had time to relax a bit, but he wasn't even there a couple of minutes before his jealous side came out of hiding. I will be the first one to admit that Oliver is a total ass. I guess when he saw that Blake was upset with him, he started to act like an ass."
"Ben, I think this is where Blake had an issue with the lunch outing. You didn't say anything to Oliver about the way, he was treating Blake. You know sometimes, you can say a lot without ever saying anything at all."
Instantly, a flash of guilt rushes through the young man's heart, but he isn't going to admit it's there.
"No, I guess that I didn't."
Maybe, he didn't want to show his guilt to Trace, but that is exactly what he did.
"So, can I ask another question Ben?"
Could he stop the adult from asking a question?
Ben said afraid that saying no might mean digging himself into a larger and deeper hole.
"Why didn't you leave when Blake asked you to leave?"
"I was too upset and I really didn't want to be around him at that moment."
Trace understands needing space after an argument, but Ben couldn't have been totally happy with Oliver either at this point.
"You know Ben, I think you and Blake have a pretty good thing going on here, but by not talking with Blake, you might be pushing him away even further."
Suddenly, Ben feels a pain in his heart. He doesn't want to lose Blake, so maybe he should listen to Trace's advice.
"I...think, that I'll talk to him."
"Good idea Ben, just make sure to leave the anger at the door when you do speak with him."
Ben remains quiet as he ponders what Trace and him have been talking about so far. Trace's phone goes off, and he removes it from his pocket. He glances at the screen and opens up the text message from Ian.
"We grabbed dinner from the Chinese place that we like. We should be home in a couple minutes."
Trace puts his phone away without replying to the message.
"Do you want to talk to him when he gets here or do you want to hold back and wait?"
"I want to wait."
Trace was hoping that Ben would want to talk with Blake right away.
"Would you like a ride home?"
Trace offers knowing that it's a bit of ride to Ben's house.
"Um sure, I could use a ride."
Ben says as he gets up and walks over to his bike. Trace gets up, opens the door, grabs his keys, and then walks out of the house and locks it up. He walks over the car and unlocks it and immediately pops the trunk. At a couple attempts at trying to fit the bike into the trunk, he carefully places it into the backseat. He closes the door and then comes around to the driver's side door and gets into the vehicle. Once the young man is in and his seat belt is in place, the guys head out for their destination, Ben's house. Anticipating silence, Trace turns on the radio and soon finds himself not only listening to the radio but also to Ben's voice.
"Are you in Choir at school?"
"No but my mom wants me to sign up, she says that I have a good voice but I don't know."
Trace thinks that Ben has been told that he doesn't sing good by someone but the truth is, he has a great voice.
"Well, you should be in a choir."
Trace knows by the smile on his face, that the teen appreciated the fact that Trace noticed his voice.]
For the rest of the trip to the house, Trace listens to the sound of Ben's voice, while ignoring the radio. At Ben's house, Trace helps get the bike out of the back seat.
An hour after arriving at home, Blake is up in his room listening to music when a skype call comes in on his laptop. It's Ben calling and Blake immediately answers it. He promises himself that if Ben starts any crap, that he'll immediately end the call. Ben is hoping that he can control his anger should Blake's jealously get stirred up again.
"Hey, I stopped by earlier and your mom said that you didn't want to talk."
Blake said hoping to avoid any issues, but he also wanted to bring it up and maybe discuss it.
"Yeah about that, Oliver was still over, and after the way you acted at the restaurant, I didn't think you would want to be around him."
Ben could have added in that, he was still mad at him as well, but he didn't. Having that break from each other, has eased some of the anger out of them.
"Ben, I'm sorry but I don't understand why I needed to be at the restaurant."
Ben thought that would have been obvious.
"I didn't want you to think that I was doing something behind your back.
Blake laughs a little bit in response to his boyfriend's comment.
"No, I would have been okay with you going by yourself."
`Why did you agree to come with me to begin with then?'
Blake's last statement has Ben's anger rising. If he would have stayed home, none of this ugliness would have sprung up. The need to apologize wouldn't exist, and Ben wouldn't be feeling the urge to get defensive.
"I don't understand why you got all jealous."
Blake rolls his eyes despite wanting to keep this conversation free of attitude.
"Really mature there Blake."
Now Ben is firing attitude at Blake.
"Maybe you didn't see the way that Oliver was staring at you. I'm the one who should be giving you googly eyes."
Ben doesn't believe for one second that his ex wants to date him again especially since he knows how their first attempt at a relationship went.
"No, I didn't to be honest. I was too busy trying to keep the between the two of you."
Another little chuckle from Blake can be heard coming through the speaker.
"When exactly were you keeping the peace? I never heard you attempting to do anything."
Now, Ben is done. He doesn't want to get so deep into a fight that there is more patching that need to be done. As much as he would like to remain quiet he can't.
"What about your jealously act, not to mention you abandoning me? On second thought, I'm ending this. I can't keep doing this, I'm going to end this call now, before either one of us says something that can't be repaired."
True to his word, Ben ends the phone call. Blake is done with it as well, and collapses onto the bed as tears begin to fall again.
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