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 III

11 July 2016

While I tried to reign my fluttering heart down and my blushing face to cool, I asked Darwin, "S-so had I rejected you, what would you have done?"

"I dunno," Darwin answered with a minute shrug. "I honestly didn't think about that. I guess I was just too busy being a nervous fuckin' mess to consider that you could've said no.
"Okay, if you said no, I'd've asked you out again in... let's say two weeks. But I'd do it in person this time. I'd ask Katie for your address, and ring your doorbell with a bouquet of pink lilies and blue irises because roses are cliche. I would tell you how stunning your smile is, because it makes my heart skip a beat. And don't you disagree because that day in biology, each time you smiled I was transfixed. I would tell you your bright eyes draw me, even when light glares off your glasses. I would tell how your deep voice scintillates on my skin, coaxes me in, and the way your shy giggle makes me want to do everything I can to hear it again.
"And if you still rejected me," Darwin went on as the waiter set our plates down in front of us, "I'd probably bury myself under a rock at the old Hevelok quarry. I can't imagine the feeling of your biggest crush rejecting you, especially after such a heartfelt declaration of affection. Or whatever, you know?"

"I- umm..." I had stuttered. "I... wow. I- I can't imagine being able to turn that down. I'm kinda disappointed that you didn't get me flowers today, actually."

Darwin rolled his gorgeous green eyes but was laughing, and he retorted, "Well wait here for ten minutes while I drive across town for a bouquet. Keep my plate warm."

I laughed softly as I chewed. This stunning jock just kept amazing me. He was hot- crazy hot, and had a great sense of humour, and was not shy at all to tell me why he liked me.

And then I realized that his mouth was moving as he sliced a piece of his chicken. And he looked up at me.

"Sorry, what was that?" I asked, hoping I didn't come off as a douchebag. "I- umm- I just got lost?"

Darwin's gorgeous pink lips spread in a growing smile as he asked, "Lost in me?"

"Shut up," I shyly said. "What was it that you said?"

Darwin chuckled, totally amused, and replied, "I was just telling you about me and my family going on vacation in three weeks. And I was hoping that you'd let me take you on, like, two more dates before then?"

I smiled bashfully and teased, "A little eager I see."

Darwin snorted before he responded, "That's me restraining myself. I wanna go on, like, ten dates with you before we leave."

My face heated even more as I replied, "Well, let's- let's see how this date goes first."

"You mean you're not having the time of your life?" Darwin asked with dramatically wide eyes. "Dear god, put me out of my misery now!"

I laughed boisterously, and then begged, "Oh, my god, shut up. You're embarrassing me."

Darwin laid his arm across the table and buried his face inside his elbow. He raised his other arm high in the air, looked towards the heavens, and begged, "My Father, who art in heaven, I beg for forgiveness. Forgiveness for displeasing your sweet child whom dines with me on this very evening."

"Darwin!" I whispered-shouted around my laughter. "Stop!"

But Darwin carried on, "Your sweet child whom sits on my left, devouring his teriyaki beef stir fry. Lord, please shine mercy down on my shoulders."

"Shut up," I said a little louder but still laughing. "I'll go out with you again. Even though this date is still happening. Idiot."

"Great!" Darwin happily said as he sat upright. "I'll pick you up tomorrow at--"

"--Nope," I interjected. "Ollie, Brad, and Mikey are coming over for video games at four o'clock. We usually play until, like, two A.M. or something."

"Fine. Wednesday? We can go bowling."

"Tell you what. I'll only go out with you Wednesday if you let me plan it."

Darwin smiled brightly as he replied, "Okay. Can't wait."

"So where is your family going for vacation?" I asked. "How long will you guys be gone?"

"We leave for Mexico on August third," Darwin answered while slicing a broccoli floret in half. "We fly back in on the thirteenth."

I nodded slowly before I stated, "Nice long vacation. Where in Mexico?"

"Playa del Carmen, I think it's called," Darwin responded. "My parents make a good amount of money but it mostly goes toward bills and mine and my sisters' college funds. We only started going on vacations about four years ago because my half-sister is a flight attendant for American Airlines, she gets us free tickets."

Shocked, I asked, "You have a half-sister?"

"Her name is Mollie. My dad didn't even know about her until six years ago. She grew up not knowing our dad, until her mom told her his name on her death bed. It took her a few months to gather the courage to finally call our dad. So my dad had a girlfriend in high school, but her family moved in their senior year. She didn't tell him that she was pregnant. She visits twice a year and gives us tickets to go on vacation."

"Wow," I said, because I didn't know what else to say. "I... wow. That's nice of her."

"Mm-hmm," Darwin agreed with a nod. "I mean, they're only stand-by tickets because they're family perks, but it's so awesome to finally be able to travel, ya know?"

"Does Mollie have any other family?"

"No full brothers or sisters but she's close with her grandparents. She just got engaged back in March. Her fiancee Albert is an awesome guy, he's visited twice with Mollie.
"You have siblings of your own, if I remember."

I nodded quickly and replied, "Yeah. Jason takes culinary classes at the community college but plans to apply to the New England Culinary Institute and the American Institute for Culinary Arts. Vance is a senior at Emerlane High. Kayla is in the seventh grade, and Deanna is in the third grade."

Darwin nodded and commented, "Big family. How do you think they'll react if and when you come out? I mean I know you said you have a relative who's a lesbian, but you can never be certain, right?"

"I guess so," I responded with a shrug. "Well I'm not anxious to come out. I'm, like, extremely certain that my parents at least, if not my brothers and sisters, will accept it no problem. Even if they didn't, my cousin Emily, the lesbian, lives in town. But I have zero doubts that my family will more than accept it. Like, I have negative ten doubts even. Better yet, negative one hundred doubts, ya know?"

Darwin laughed as he stated, "You ramble sometimes."

"No I don't," I quickly retorted. "Well, sometimes I do. But only when I don't really know what else to talk about. But I so know what to talk about. Well, not really, at this point, but I had, like, a hundred topics to discuss with you. Well, they're swimming around in my head so..."

Darwin laughed unabashedly and touched his hand to his stomach, and then said, "God, you are so cute. So, can you name one of those topics swimming in your head?"

"Shut up," I said very weakly as I speared a carrot slice, to which Darwin giggled. "How do you make your own money?"

"I'm a janitor at Roslynch Fitness. I work twenty hours a week at sixteen dollars an hour. Good pay and work is not hard. And I get a seventy-five-percent discount on membership."

"So that's how you get your body to fit," I told the brunette with a wink. "Do you work there all year or is it seasonal?"

"I thought you were checking me out," Darwin replied with a giant smile. "I work all year. Mr. Roslynch works around my class and sports schedules during school, so that's awesome. I started working for him back in February.
"Want dessert?"

I set my fork down on the emptied plate and answered, "No, thank you. I'm stuffed."

As he waved the waiter with the cheque gesture, Darwin asked, "Wanna go for a walk? I- umm... I'm not ready for the night to end."

I smiled giddily as a blush heated my face, and answered, "Sure. I- I'm in no rush to go home."

I watched as Darwin slipped four bills into the cheque book, but didn't catch how much he paid. But we left the restaurant, and Darwin fed some coins into the parking meter.

"What's your favourite colour?" Darwin asked and grasped my hand.

"That's kinda random," I commented with a gentle laugh. "But it's peach."

"Peach?" Darwin asked, clarifying.

I nodded and elaborated, "It's pretty without being too feminine, if that makes sense. It reminds me of the early stages of sunsets. I look awesome in peach clothes. And Peach in Mario Kart kicks so much ass."

Darwin laughed boisterously before he corrected, "It's actually Princess Peach. Say it right, heathen, or use her character no more."

"Ah, right. Silly me. Sorry to have offended you. What's your favourite colour?"

"Midnight blue, easily," Darwin answered and let go of my hand in favour of sliding his arm around my lower back. "The colour of the sky at night. I love lying up on my roof and staring up at the white stars against the dark blue canvas. Makes me wonder how life became possible. Makes me feel so fucking small, but also important to my friends and family, ya know?"

I stopped walking and stared at the brunette, amazed. He spoke so open, so freely, and had such insight. He turned to look at me, and smiled softly.

"You can't be real," I stated quietly, almost a whisper, and leant forward to kiss him.

After the sweet kiss, Darwin smiled at me, and then a woman's voice said, "Darwin?"

Darwin and I both looked ahead. Before us stood a grey-haired woman with her arm around the arm of man.

Darwin smiled warmly at the woman and greeted, "Mr. and Mrs. Heisch. Good evening. How are you guys doing?"

The man replied, "Oh, just wonderful, son."

"It appears you are quite... close with this young man," the woman stated. "Jack and Rose's boy, yes?"

"Yep," I answered awkwardly. "Yes. That's me. Their youngest boy. With two younger sisters. Which makes me the middle child. Because I have two older brothers."

Darwin laughed as he gave my back a gentle squeeze, and said to the couple, "He rambles."

The woman laughed with immense amusement and responded, "I can see that. Is this your boyfriend, Darwin?"

"Nope," Darwin answered with ease, which sank my stomach. "This is just our first date. But he has potential."

The man, who looked uneasy, said, "Well give our best to your mothers. And tell your father to swing by when he comes home next, we have his birthday gift."

"Sure thing, Mr. Heisch," Darwin replied. "And could you guys not tell our parents about this yet? We haven't come out of the closet yet. Not that we're scared or anything."

The woman assured, "You have our promise, Darwin. Not a word."

"Enjoy your evening, Mr. and Mrs. Heisch," Darwin bid.

As we walked away, I heard the man say to his wife, "I thought Darwin had a girlfriend? A man lying with a man..."

"Oh, hush, Tom," the woman admonished quietly, but I still heard it.

Anxious, I asked Darwin, "Who are they?"

"Thomas and Ellen Heisch. Old neighbours of ours. A couple years ago we moved because our old house had fucked up wiring. My parents agreed to take the opportunity to move to a better house rather than pay an electrician to rewire. Mr. and Mrs. Heisch are nice. I always liked them. Get that scared look off your beautiful face, Snugglebug."

Amused and blushing, I pushed Darwin away and said, "Don't call me that, you cuddly octopus."

Darwin laughed as he grabbed my hand again and laced our fingers together. He said, "Seriously, though, don't worry about them. Mr. Heisch is... old fashioned, but Mrs. Heisch will keep him from outing us."

"You sure?" I asked.

"No doubt. Well, a little doubt. But he won't out us. We will do it on our own. Coffee?"

Darwin pointed to the lone Starbucks shop in our town of twenty thousand people. So I agreed. He kept our hands joined as we walked inside. Darwin ordered a decaf vanilla latte while I went with a no-water earl grey tea latte. Darwin smiled at me, no doubt amused by my pallet.

"Hey," Darwin said with disapproval when I scanned my phone on the Starbucks barcode scanner. "I was gonna pay."

"You paid for the movie tickets, concession, and dinner. And this gets me Starbucks Stars."

"What if I wanted Starbucks Stars?"

"Do you even have a Starbucks card?"


Taryn Gubor, the cashier with whom we went to school, giggled at us. Darwin thanked her and we went over to the handoff station to wait for our drinks.

I leant my back against the counter and asked, "If you won sixty million dollars, what would you spend it on?"

"That's a good one," Darwin said while stepping between my feet and looking up at me. "Hmm... well I'd first pay off my parents' house. And then I'd add a million dollars to each of my sisters' college funds. And then I'd get us all brand new laptops. And then I'd buy either a Lincoln Navigator or a Cadillac Escalade. Safety and utility, and they're sick-looking cars. I'm not into Porsches or Ferarris.
"What about you? How would you spend sixty million dollars?"

"I have a venti no-water earl grey tea latte!" Jason Holmes, the barista called. "And a venti vanilla latte!

As we walked out of the shop, I answered, "Well I'd pay off my parents' and Jason's car leases and pay off my parents' house. I'd pay for Jason's college tuition and travel costs, no matter where he decides to go. I'd add a million dollars to each of mine and my siblings' college funds. I'd buy myself a Lexus L.S. because those are the sexiest cars to have ever come into creation."

"--No they're not," Darwin interrupted me.

"I'd take my whole family on a vacation to London because my mom really wants to go. And I'd pay off my uncle Leeroy's medical bills because he's had surgeries and transplants and is swimming in oceans of debt."

"Oh," Darwin said sympathetically. "Damn. Sorry to hear that. Is he okay?"

"Yeah, he's fine now. But it was pretty bad for a while. He had a congenital heart defect and got a transplant. And then a month after the heart transplant, his eardrum popped and needed a surgery to fix that. Seven months later, he was in a car accident and needed a new liver. He'll be paying off his medical bills for the next thirty or forty years."

"Wow. I'm really sorry to hear that."

Darwin and I continued walking and I followed him into Center Square Park, the only park in town. We got to know each other a lot more. He asked questions that inspired deep thought. Some of his answers to my own questions made me laugh. Other answers of his were also deep and profound, and made me look at him differently. He wasn't just a jock.

And all the while, our hands remained locked together warmly.

Darwin sat at the top of a hill and asked, "Stargaze?"

So I happily down beside Darwin, our sides flush against each other. We both leant back and looked up at the peach-coloured sky.

Darwin pressed his lips to my shoulder and shyly asked, "Did I do okay?"

"This was my first date ever," I replied quietly. "And I couldn't imagine it being any better. I mean that."

Darwin nodded minutely and smacked his lips on the cotton of my sleeve.

Fifteen minutes later, while we looked up at the stars shining through the light blue and purple sky, Darwin asked, "Doesn't it make you feel like a speck of dust?"

"But at the same time like you're a giant piece of the puzzle?" I responded. "Yeah. Definitely."

Darwin and I walked back to his truck with our hands joined firmly. He drove me home, having already memorized my address.

At the front door, Darwin quietly said, "I'll see you on Wednesday."

"Yeah," I agreed with a stupid amount of giddiness. "Thanks for tonight, Jock."

Darwin smiled with amusement and replied, "Tonight was awesome. Four Eyes."

I couldn't hold back the loud peel of laughter that erupted from my throat, even if I tried. I swept a lock of brown hair from Darwin's forehead, and his green eyes searched mine for something. It made hundreds and hundreds of giant butterflies flutter about my stomach.

And then Darwin leant forward slowly. As he did so, he grabbed the front belt loop of my jeans. I bent my neck forward slightly, and our lips touched.

It was the most perfect kiss in the existence of the entire world. Our lips smacked quietly, and Darwin introduced his tongue, which swept across my lips. It made me moan quietly. I darted my tongue out in response. Darwin moaned as well.

"Damn," Darwin whispered more to himself when our lips separated.

"I'll see you Wednesday," I said, mirroring Darwin's own words.

Darwin grinned, having caught my slip, and dopily responded, "Yeah."

I watched as the jock walked down the path toward his truck. He had a little pep in his step, and waved at me as he opened the truck door.

When I got inside, my dad said from the couch, "What was that about?"

"Huh?" I asked, surprised.

"I just heard some laughter," my dad replied.

"Oh. Yeah. Darwin's just an idiot. Night, Dad."

I'm pretty sure my dad bade me a good night as well, but I didn't hear it because I ran to the staircase and up to my bedroom. I got my phone out of my pocket and opened Instagram. I searched Darwin's name and found him no problem. I immediately hit the 'Follow' button and Liked so many of his photos. My favourite photo of his was a shot of him and his friends at Lake Monroe. They were shirtless, and Darwin's happy trail on his sculpted stomach going down into his swimming trunks was so sexy.

I then opened Facebook and sent Darwin a friend request. His Facebook account had many check-ins, tags with friends, posts from friends, posts from his family which made me think him cuter. But what surprised me the most were the posts of his own quoting Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and various sports personalities.

Darwin's Twitter account bore much of the same, but a lot of goofy posts littered his page as well. I was touched by his background image, which was a photo of his twin sisters in an arabesque pose at a studio.

Date Unknown

My eyes shot open. Fear took over because I was suspended from the ceiling by my wrists in a room of grey-purple stone. The same stone shackledmy wrists and it was painful, my wrists were raw.

I couldn't move my legs either. I looked down and had so much difficulty seeing my ankles because my eyeglasses were gone. But I could faintly see the same grey-purple stone shackles that restrained my ankles down to the floor.

I tried to scream for help, but no sound escaped my throat. I could feel my vocal chords thrumming the slightest bit, they were working, but sound was not created.

My heart beat was wild, erratic. My lungs screamed for air as a panic attack was set in motion. A tear ran hotly down my face. I pulled my knees up and my elbows down, trying to break the shackles. It was futile. But I tried, and I tried. I ignored the painful burning in my wrists from my raw and bleeding flesh. I needed to get free.

I didn't get enough air. I passed out from the panic attack.

Date Unknown

A sharp blow to the right left side of my face woke me up. My eyes shot open once again.

I screamed- or tried to- for before me stood an alien. It had neon yellow skin with splatters of forest green all over. It had three eyes on its face that we're all white. It stood at maybe six- maybe six-and-a-half feet tall. Not a single hair was visible on the skin not covered by some sort of holographic fabric that clung to its body.

It spoke. I had no idea what it said, but it's voice was oddly human. The sound of it reminded me of James Lafferty's voice.

While I tried to fight my sobbing, I mouthed, "W-wh-what?"

It shook its head with its three eyes squinted. It raised a hand gloved in the same holographic material, but it had four long, slender fingers in a perfectly circular palm.

I tried to scream again because a tiny rainbow light laminated the tip of its finger. The alien slowly brought that finger toward my body. And then it gripped the red cotton covering my chest. The alien touched the light to my shirt collar and it split apart easily.

As the alien cut my shirt in half, I mouthed, "Wh-what are you d-doing?"

The alien remained cutting my shirt open. It even cut my sleeves open and balled up my shirt in its hand. There was a flash of rainbow light in its hand and my shirt was instantly turned to ash.

Tears immediately began streaming down my face. My heart beat so hard that it was almost painful in my chest. Tried to pull myself free of the shackles, but didn't move a millimetre yet again.

The alien gripped the waistband of my jeans and used the glove to cut them down my leg as well. Less than a minute later, I was completely naked before the alien.

The alien surveyed my body as I cried silently, with its white eyes squinted. It raised its other hand to my chest and squeezed my nipple.

The alien looked up at me and said something. It sounded like a question, but I wasn't sure. So the alien crouched down on... FOUR LEGS! Four legs! It had four legs!

I gently closed my eyes and cried yet even more when the alien squeezed my penis. It then squeezed my right testicle, which hurt, and made me jerk. Thankfully the alien let go and stood upright.

It said something else. It touched the tiny rainbow light to my forearm and on it was a drop of my blood. It didn't even hurt, I didn't feel a prick. I had no time to ponder why, the alien removed a golden coin out of its pants pocket and deposited the drop of blood on top.

A three-dimensional image instantly materialized on top of the coin. It was an image of red, pink, and white disks.

Platelets. That was a microscopic image of my blood. The alien was scrutinizing the cellular structure of my blood. Two of its fingers scratched absently at its side.

After a minute, the alien slid the coin back in its pocket. It took its hand back out but in it was a blue shiny object the size of a tiny screwdriver. The alien pricked my chest with the very tiny tip. And my wrists no longer ached. Neither did my ankles. I looked up and my wrists were no longer red. Blood was no longer trickling off the shackles.

Whatever that thing was, it healed me. But it didn't lessen my fear. In fact, it made me more scared, which I hadn't known was possible.

The alien produced another coin from its pocket, but this one was pink. It held the coin up and let its hand back down. But the pink coin was floating in the air.

Before I knew it, another three-dimensional image was projected from the face of the pink coin. This image was the Earth, our planet.

An eerily soft female voice said, "Iklo."

The alien reached up to my neck and touched something that I didn't know was there. It removed a black coin from under my right ear. The alien stared at me expectantly. When I stared back with confusion, the alien gestured its hand toward the pink coin.

The coin repeated, "Iklo."

I looked back at the alien. It gestured toward the coin again.


Confused, I mimicked, "Iklo."

My voice worked. Sound came out of my mouth. I'd never been so happy to hear my own voice.

"FUCK YOU!" I screamed at the alien as loud as I could.

Needless to say, the alien didn't like my tone. It touched the tiny rainbow light ball to my temple and billions of prickles licked at every square inch of my skin for a fraction of a second. The alien took its hand away and gestured toward the coin again as I cried.

"Heki," the pink coin said.

The image was the sun, so I mimicked, "Heki."

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.


Car Radio

Do Not Go Gentle

Near Wild Heaven

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