This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters in this story and real people (appearances, names, etc.) are purely coincidental. This story may contain homosexual material, including love and sex, so if material like this is illegal in your region or if it discomforts you, please leave.

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Strawberry Wine

Chapter II

11 July 2016

I was mowing my neighbour's front yard when my phone chirped with a text message. I ignored it to finish mowing the grass.

After finishing the yard, I rang the Leinstedt's doorbell, and collected the fifteen dollars for my work.

I was never exactly friends with Darwin Horner, the basketball jock and track star. We weren't enemies either, or even held dislike for each other. We just ran in different lanes in the freeway of high school. In our freshman year, we actually were partnered for a frog dissection lab. But his invite to a movie came as a surprise.

Just shy of an hour later, I was pushing my parents' lawnmower back home with a hundred twenty dollars in my pocket and my shirt hanging over my shoulder. Just as I had reached the curb, a shiny red truck pulled up.

Darwin hopped out of the truck, whistled at me, and said, "Who would've guessed that A.P. Boy had such lean muscles hiding under his clothes?"

"Is that my identifier?" I asked wearing an amused smile while pushing the mower into the garage.

Following behind, Darwin asked, "'Identifier'?"

"Your identifier is your caterpillar brows," I responded. "Nina Geller's identifier is her fuckin' tiny waist. Is mine the classes I took? 'I don't know who you're talking about'. 'The A.P. Boy'. 'Ohhh him'."

"I have caterpillar brows?" Darwin asked, trying to look up at said brows.

I laughed softly for a moment, and then told Darwin, "I have to shower. You can wait in my room."

Darwin and I went upstairs, and I stopped at the bathroom to point Darwin to my room. I showered, taking the time to use a lot of body wash to clean all the sweat off.

Darwin was on my bed leaning his back against my pillows when I went into my room. He looked up from his phone and threw me a small smile.

"How often do you train for track?" I asked and threw my dirty clothes in the hamper.

"Every morning at ten o'clock," Darwin answered.

"Dedicated," I stated while digging for underwear.

"It's what got me a silver at regionals," Darwin replied.

So I found a pair of boxer briefs and allowed the towel to fall off my waist. I knew that Darwin wouldn't have a problem with nudity because he showered with dozens of guys each week for basketball and track. I didn't know that he was bisexual back then.

"We can see 'The Secret Life of Pets' if you want," I said while rifling through my shirts. "It looks good."

Darwin responded, "Sure. I think we'll like it. I was thinking we could get dinner after."

"Good. Know Honoreo? I love their burgers."

"I was hoping to go to Distaren," Darwin shyly stated.

"A bit fancy," I replied while buttoning my jeans. "But they have awesome chicken and lobster."

Now dressed, Darwin and I went downstairs. Due to the heat of the Indiana summer, I filled two Nalgene water bottles from the Brita and handed one to Darwin.

"Who is this?" my mom asked kindly from the kitchen island.

"Mom, this is Darwin from school."

Smiling kindly, my mom asked, "Darwin Horner? Basketball star? How is your mother, son?"

Darwin giggled in embarrassment, and answered, "She's fine, ma'am."

"Good manners, Darwin," my mom complimented. "My youngest boy could learn a thing or two from you."

"We will get right on that," I replied sarcastically. "Going out. Don't know when I'll be home."

So we left. In his dad's truck, Darwin told me to play something from my phone using the aux cord. So I played 'Mercy' by Shawn Mendes. Surprisingly, Darwin liked the song as well.

"Your mom seems nice," Darwin commented.

I replied, "I guess. What are your parents like?"

"They're okay," Darwin answered. "My mom bans me from games and competitions if I get any grades below a B. She says it'll help me get a basketball or track scholarship. My dad works on the oil rig off the New York coast three months at a time, but he's awesome when he's home."

"What does your mom do?"

"For work? She's a nurse at Emerlane General. What do your parents do?"

"My dad owns his heating and electric business. My mom is an accounts manager at Beeman & Taylowin, and she does the accounting work for Henry Rossum on the side."

At Hanodere Cinemas, Darwin paid for both of our tickets, which was kind of him. And then he offered to pay for my soda and popcorn, which I found kind of... odd. But I let him, because who doesn't like free food?

We got into theatre three just as the last preview was ending, so we sat near the middle row. Just as the movie was starting, Darwin held his hand out to me, offering me some of his Skittles.

The movie started out cute, adorable, which made both me and Darwin giggle. Half way through the movie, both of us done our junk food and soda, I laid my hand on the armrest.

And then Darwin's hand laid over mine. And a second later, he weaved our fingers together.

I suddenly turned toward Darwin. In the dimly lit theatre, I could see Darwin's perfect teeth because of his bashful smile.

My heart was racing. My face was heating. My stomach had dozens of butterflies, the best kind of nervousness.

Before I knew it, Darwin was leaning toward me. His smile was shrinking minutely in favour of puckering his lips. I leant toward him slightly, and our lips met shyly. I remember the exact feeling of my blush creeping down my neck, into my shirt. We both smiled, and deepened the kiss. Our lips danced a sensual tango. I introduced my tongue first, swept it across Darwin's bottom lip.

We made out heatedly, passionately, for- I don't even know how long. But it was magical. Those moments were the most amazing I'd had.

Darwin ended the makeout session, but pressed his forehead against mine. He then kissed my cheek, and turned his giddy face back to the movie.

*Darwin and I continued to watch the movie. Our hands remained firmly locked together, which was a * huge distraction. But I didn't complain.

As the end credits began to roll, Darwin and I looked at each other. A small, shy smile formed on his beautiful face. It was cute, which made him look even more gorgeous. It made a smile form on my own face. And we shared a chaste yet sweet kiss.

Darwin led me out of the theatre with our hands clasped together. A few people gave us perplexed looks, and a young woman smiled at us.

A little boy asked his mom, "Mom, why are those boys holding hands?"

"Don't look at 'em, Jamie," the mother chastised, disgusted.

We continued to walk hand in hand, and I said, "So this is why you suggested a cute animated movie and a fancy dinner."

Visibly shocked, Darwin asked, "You didn't know this was a date?"

"No," I answered with a soft laugh. "I didn't even know that you are gay."

Darwin tugged on my hand, which made my side sink into his, and he replied, "Well I'm not gay. I'm bi. And how did you not know that this is clearly a date?"

Darwin had slid his arm around my back. Because I was a few inches taller, I laid my arm across his shoulders.

Darwin carried on, "One, I dressed as nicely as I could. Two, I picked you up. Three, you showed off your perfect bubble butt to me today. Four, I paid for everything here."

I laughed quietly, but a blush was heating my face and neck. I replied, "One, you do look hot."

Darwin really did look sexy. His dark brown leather shoes complimented his tan chinos, which hugged his muscular thighs and butt perfectly. His blue short-sleeved polo accentuated his broad chest and his nipples showed through. His short brown hair was gelled back, which made his chiseled face look bright.

"Two, I would've had to walk to meet you because everybody is at work and I don't have my own car. I thought you knew somehow that I couldn't drive. Three, I had no idea about your sexuality. I changed in front of you because you're around naked guys all the time. Four, I thought you paid for everything because you're so fucking nice."

Darwin laughed and responded, "I am so fucking nice. But I'm also trying so hard to impress you."

I laughed again, boisterously, and kissed his cheek.

So Darwin and I climbed into his dad's truck, and he drove us to Distarin. Darwin asked me to play more music, he said it was because he thought that I had great taste. At a red light, Darwin grasped my hand and kissed my knuckles. He was making my heart flutter and race and stop all at once.

At Distarin, Darwin and I were seated right away because he had made a reservation, which surprised me. And confused me.

"Are you really bi?" I asked skeptically.

Darwin smiled with amusement as he replied, "You think I'm lying? Why?"

"Well, you are on the basketball and track teams. You were going out with Michelle Lannor. And you swore at the Sadie Hawkins Dance that you and Michelle would dominate prom."

Darwin laughed softly, and replied, "Well Michelle is all in the past. I admit that I once saw a future with her. But she is fickle. She was with me for the wrong reasons."

"And you think that I want to be with you for the right reasons?" I asked.

"That's the thing," Darwin responded with a gentle laugh. "Do you want to be with me? This is just our first date."

"Exactly. Our first date. What made you ask me out? How did you think that I wasn't straight?"

Our waiter came up just then for our drink orders. Darwin ordered a ginger ale, while I opted for lime water.

After the waiter left, Darwin answered, "Do you remember our biology lab last year?"

Perplexed, I responded, "What, the frog?"

"That was the first time I really saw you," Darwin replied with a wistful smile. "We've known each other since preschool but were never actually friends. But on March 6, 2015, you were brought to me by God. Or by Mrs. Bomly. Your big brown eyes displayed no excitement which made me think that you were not happy to be paired with a jock, but they were bright and beautiful. The way your thick, perfect lips quirked when you focused too hard was adorable. Your long fingers performed the tasks expertly, which made me fantasize you driving them through my hair as we made out. I was with Michelle back then, and I loved her so cheating on her didn't even cross my mind.
"Now what made me curious about your sexuality was the frog dissection. When I wasn't getting the organs correct, you placed your hands on mine. No straight guy does that to another straight guy. And they certainly don't keep them there to guide them through a disgusting animal dissection.
"And then about a week later, I heard you and Katie talking about the show 'Teen Wolf' and how you missed the sexy Dan somebody who left the show."

"Daniel Sharman," I supplied, still disbelieving. "So you and Michelle have been broken up for, like, four months now. Why wait until now to ask me out if you've liked me since freshman year?"

"Mostly fear of rejection," Darwin answered with an embarrassed chuckle. "Asking Michelle out was easy for me for a few reasons. I already knew she liked me, I'm a jock and she's a cheerleader, and she's a girl. I was scared that you would reject me because you could be ninety-nine-percent straight, you could like somebody else, you could be uneasy to date a guy in Indiana, or all three."

"So how do I know this isn't all a joke?" I asked. "Like Carrie? Will somebody be pouring a bucket of pig blood all over me soon?"

"You watch too many movies," Darwin teased, laughing. "When I asked Katie for your number, she asked why. She made me prove to her that I was completely serious about asking you out."

"How?" I asked, way more than a little curious.

Blushing a fierce pink, Darwin answered, "She- umm... she made me wear her sparkly purple dress from prom and high heels. She has a video that she'll post if I hurt you."

I laughed boisterously, and stated, "Oh, my god, I have to see that."

With his blush shading his ears, Darwin begged, "Please don't. I will be so fucking embarrassed if you see it."

"Here are your drinks, gentlemen," the waiter said as he set the glasses down. "Are you ready to order?"

We were. Darwin ordered a grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli and carrots. I went with a teriyaki beef stir fry.

"So how did you..." Darwin began unsurely, "come to the realization that you're bi? Are you out?"

"I'm not out to my family," I replied easily. "But I'm not scared to. I just haven't come around to it. My mom's cousin is a lesbian, and most of the family accepts it.
"I think I've always known. I remember watching 'Hercules' with my brothers when I was four. I thought both Meg and Herc were very beautiful. I imagined myself kissing both of them the way my parents often kissed."

With an amused laugh, Darwin responded, "That young? For me, it happened on March 6, 2015."

"No way," I said with a chuckle. "You have to be lying, dude."

Amused, Darwin responded, "Don't call me 'dude'. But I'm serious. I always thought that I was straight. I was so straight that I made Chuck Norris look like Chris Colfer. But the signs were there. I watched 'Glee', I thought my attraction to some guys was jealousy about their looks, I iron out any wrinkles in my clothes, and I cried when the ghosts abandoned Thomas in 'Heart and Souls'. And then we were partnered in biology. My whole existence changed that day."

I had to fight the hot blush that was warming my face. It was no use, though, because it was the hottest blush that I had ever felt.

07 February 2017

The Horners left our house to go to their own to pack their belongings. My mom started packing a box and a cooler full of food and drinks.

And just as we were about to run upstairs to pack, we heard the newscast say, "North Korea and Russia have just launched nuclear missiles at the ship over Europe! I repeat, North Korea and Russia have just launched nuclear missiles! You are seeing it here live, ladies and gentlemen!"

We watched as the deadly missiles rockets through the air. There were two feeds displayed on the television; one from Russia and the other from China.

Minutes passed, but they may as well have been hours. Or even days. My breath was baited, and my heart felt like it wasn't beating at all.

And then my phone rang with Darwin's ringtone so I answered it right away.

Darwin's voice was obviously anxious when he demanded, "What is happening?"

My eyes were glued to the television, so I answered, "The nukes are still flying. Oh--"

The missile from Russia hit the U.F.O. and there was this huge explosion upon impact. But some sort of neon-blue smoke erupted from the U.F.O. where the nuke hit. The blue smoke pulled the explosion in, and it all suddenly disappeared.

The U.F.O. remained intact and unaffected.

Tears began to prickle at my eyes, and I said to Darwin, "The- the Russian missile hit, b-but the U.F.O. did something. It's as if nothing happened."

"We just got home," Darwin stated with a tinge of fear in his voice. "I'll call you back."

Darwin hung up. And then the Korean missile hit the U.F.O. but, again, the blue smoke dissipated any potential damage.

Get-" my dad began quietly, fearfully. "Get upstairs. Pack quickly."

My siblings and I bolted up the staircase and into out respective bedrooms. I grabbed a duffle bag out of my closet and threw clothes inside haphazardly. I could hear both of my brothers' closets and dressers opening and closing.

Outside, my brothers and I began loading the vehicles full of bags and boxes that our family piled.

"Call Darwin," my dad said as he set a box down and began walking away. "Tell him we'll be there up in fifteen minutes."

I made the call with one hand while still loading boxes into my mom's S.U.V. and Darwin answered right away.

"Did you see the news?" I asked.

Darwin responded, "Yeah. Holy fuck, Babe. Holy fuck!"

"What are you doing right now?" I asked with urgency.

"Me and my mom are packing bags for the girls," Darwin answered. "My bag's already packed."

"Okay, good. We'll be by in, like, fifteen minutes."

"Alright. We'll be--"

Darwin was cut off by the sound of an ominous beep in my phone's earpiece. I looked down at my phone, and there were no bars. There was, however, 'No Signal' displayed at the top left corner.

"T.V.'s down!" my mom called as she came out of the house with a big box.

"So are cells!" I said.

"Pack faster," my dad commanded while still packing the bed of his truck.

All three vehicles were full, so my dad told us which vehicles we would be in. My dad and Vance would lead in his truck. My mom and sisters would follow behind in Jason's truck. Jason and I would take our mom's S.U.V. that wasn't the fullest with our belongings because Darwin and his sisters would ride with us.

My dad next unlocked his firearms locker so we could load some into each of the vehicles. Being a hunter, my dad had a wide range of firearms; rifles, shotguns, pistols, and even a compound bow.

We had just loaded the firearms in the vehicles when there was an ominous and loud thrum that rang through the air. It reminded me of the electrical wave shot by Blackout in the 'Transformers' movie.

My dad looked toward the gigantic U.F.O. first, and immediately shouted, "DRIVE! GOGOGOGOGO!"

We bolted. We all climbed into our assigned vehicles, but in the panic and fray, Kayla had jumped into our S.U.V. and there was no time to correct her. I don't know about anyone else, but my stomach tightened and knotted and churned. Before I could even grasp my seatbelt, Jason hit the gas much like my mom and dad did ahead of us.

I looked behind us at the U.F.O. and it was even bigger than before. And it was still growing. Literally all surfaces of it were expanding.

Or so I thought. Thousands and thousands of smaller ships were actually flying off and away from the mother ship. From where we were, those smaller ships looked like specks of dust, or clouds.

And then tens of thousands- or hundreds of thousands- of green orbs of light erupted from the mother ship and rocketed all over the land.

"Faster!" I screamed.

But it was difficult for Jason to drive any faster with all of the vehicles scrambling about the roads. Kayla's wails of terror didn't help any either.

The green orbs of light began colliding with things all around town, as they had with every other town and city around, and they exploded. These orbs were the size of basketballs, and one was powerful enough to completely destroy the high school. But then I noticed that the orbs were not targeting people, just buildings.

"FUCK!" Jason screamed as wood, glass, and concrete flew about.

I looked ahead to make sure that my whole family was doing okay. They were. Both my parents drove the vehicles with precision, they wove through traffic expertly. The roads were filled with other vehicles making mad runs from the alien attack.

I looked back. What I saw was terrifying. Some vehicles were being hit by orbs of red light that I didn't notice until then. But these red orbs were as small as ping pong balls. And their function was freezing objects and beings in place, unable to move. I witnessed a single red orb touch a woman that was making a mad dash a hundred feet behind us, and she froze in place. She screamed loud enough for me to hear, even as the S.U.V. continued to drive and the buildings were destroyed.

I unstrapped the Russian S.K.S. from the roof of the vehicle, and Jason demanded, "What the fuck are you doing!?"

Fearful beyond measure, I answered, "Hopefully saving our asses."

I opened my window and stuck my body out. I sat on butt on the window frame with the rifle in my hands and my right foot was pressed against the dash to keep me steady. I kept my eyes trained like a hawk behind the vehicle, ready to shoot. I didn't even know if the rifle would stop any threat, but I couldn't just sit and do nothing.

I peered through the scope, and aimed at a red orb that was approaching. It was sixty feet behind and rapidly gaining on us. I fired, and the kickback caused me to lose sight of the orb for a moment. But I found it quickly, and fired again. I was pleased to see the red orb, twenty feet or so from us, dissipate into nothing.

"It works!" I called excitedly with a laugh. "IT FUCKING WORKS!"

"Well keep shooting!" Jason's deep voice boomed from inside the cab.

I aimed with the scope, and fired five more rounds. I was able to hit two more red orbs, and then needed to reload because whomever had loaded the magazine hadn't finished.

And suddenly, just as I had finished loading the magazine, the S.U.V. came to abrupt halt. I jerked forward and slammed into the dash. Jason slammed into the steering wheel, and Kayla was strapped by the seatbelt.

While loading the magazine in, I said with conviction yet fear, "You drive. I'll stop as many of these lights as I can."

"Wait!" Jason commanded frantically.

I didn't wait. I opened the car door and went out. I went to the back of the S.U.V. and fired a shot at the red orb that was stuck to the back hatch.

I ran to the driver's side and told Jason, "Go! Get Kayla to safety. I love you both. If- if you get to Darwin in time, tell him that- that I love him with all my heart. Okay?"

I had to blink away tears while peering through the scope. I fired a round and hit an orb that had stopped a blue truck. The truck immediate drove off.

"DRIVE!" I shouted at my brother.

I fired another round at an orb that was quickly flying toward us.

Jason screamed, "GET IN!"

Becoming even more emotional, I calmly replied, "I can't, Jase. Somebody has to help these people. You're a better driver. Get yourself and Kay to safety. Give my love to mom and dad. And Vance and Dee. Promise me that."

Beginning to cry as well, Jason said softly, "Kid..."

"Go. I love you."

A tear slid down Jason's face, and he responded, "I love you, too."

I watched for a moment, scared and anxious beyond all fuck, as my brother and sister drove off. I fired, and hit two more orbs. The S.U.V. quickly took off. I shot at any orbs that were aiming for them, as well as at some that were coming for me.

I took the RP9 pistol out of my pants while my left hand loaded more bullets into the rifle magazine. I had to load the magazine without looking because I was firing the pistol at the orbs, which were coming more and more.

I heard another firearm being shot, which surprised me. I looked to my left, and saw a middle-aged woman aiming a rifle. On the other side of the sidewalk was a man with a shotgun. Both of them, while shooting at the red orbs, slowly walked my way. I kept aiming and shooting as well, and they joined my side at the intersection within a minute. We formed a triangle to help protect each other.

"You okay, Kid?" the woman asked.

"Yeah!" I answered hastily.

The three of us kept our assault going on the orbs. My ears were definitely ringing and aching from the guns, but I didn't care. We helped as many people as we could. But there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of the red orbs coming in swarms.

And then a red orb landed on my left knee. I couldn't move a single muscle, not even to blink. Pain shot throughout my whole body. It felt like thousands of nails being fired into my body from a nail gun. I screamed with my mouth unable to open. The man stepped to my side and fired a revolver at the damned orb, and I was suddenly set free.

With tears of pain, I instantly began firing again and said, "Thanks!"

The three of us fired round after round after round. We covered each other's backs when we needed to reload. The smaller ships that detached from the mother flew over us, and each of them were the size of a school gymnasium.

The woman screamed in intense agony. Before either myself or the man could shoot the red orb on her shoulder, red orbs landed on each of us. We all shrieked in pain and fear.

And then it all went black.

To Be Continued...

Hope 'Strawberry Wine' is to your liking so far. If you want to check out my other fictions, they will be listed below.


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The Other Half of Me Unknown

A Quick Fall

Some You Give Away

Somewhere A Clock is Ticking

Tearing Me Apart

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

You Call it Madness

You Don't Mean to Hurt Me