by Hylas



The soft swishing of the surf breaking over the rocks gradually seeped through my mind. I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with the salty, moisture-laden air. I could hear the haunting cry of gulls as they circled in the impossible blue of the ocean sky. Searching, as I myself am searching.


I leaned back against the hollowed out rock wall I was resting on and let my gaze wander over the sea. I had been stopping here every Saturday after my morning run since I got my new job in Leighton. The small, secluded strip of the sea gave me the peace I desperately needed in my life. The endless procession of the bobbing waves stripping away all my thoughts and letting me just BE for a moment. Simply existing, mindless as the dance of the tides coming in.

Not always, but those moments gave me just enough breathing space to keep my sanity.

I let out an exasperated sigh. It's not working now. Slowly, tendrils of reality crept back and wrapped around the fragile tranquility I had achieved.

I'm gay! With that thought, the last vestiges of the illusion I had created shattered and the numbed pain in my chest returned.

Why? What did I ever do for me to deserve this curse? But then, I've been asking that question all my life, there's never an answer. All my life, I've been hearing people snicker whenever the subject of homosexuality came up. Growing up in a small town, I'd always been afraid of what other people think of me. All those hateful labels - fag... fairy... cocksucker... sinner... freak. I was all of that - and probably more.


It seems like I'd always known I was gay. I didn't actually want to be a woman. I was masculine enough in all aspects of my life except for the fact that I've always been attracted exclusively to males. Not a flaming queen but still gay. Not that I have anything against effeminates - mind you. I've had more than my share of pain to know better than to scorn them. Everyone just needed acceptance. I needed acceptance.

Wishful thinking, I know. Life just sucks.

I've never told anyone I was gay, if it elicited such emotions of disgust and despair in me, how much more for another person? I can't risk being rejected. I just can't. I'm not in denial. I know this is me. I am gay. I'm just scared, like everybody else, of being unwanted.

I've gained a measure of relief, however since I've left my quiet university town for the larger, busier Leighton after graduation from college. I've said my goodbyes to my parents and my friends two months ago (and yes, no matter what you think, I have a lot of good friends) and set out to find my own way. With a new job in a new city, I thought I could finally just be myself. My hopes crumbled however when I begin to find out that people here were probably just as bigoted as back home. Not hostile... just contemptuous of our sexual orientation. I've met a few open gays but aside from befriending them I've never let on myself. Gay friends, the loud, giggling, extroverted guys; were fun to be with, but just not my type. Though, I ached to let them know, I was afraid that it would generate an intimacy that would in turn become damaging rumors on myself.

I may be petty, but I've been lying through my teeth about my sexuality for 10 years now. I started denying because I was just plain scared my parents would kick me out of the house. By the time I started feeling trapped in my own sexuality, it was already too late. I can't just turn around now and say "Hey y'all! Remember when we were jerking off on that porn mag? Guess what? I wasn't really looking at the woman, it was the man I had the hots for! I'm gay!" I chuckled despite myself. I wonder how my buddies would react to that? They'd either beat me up senseless or smile awkwardly then start getting as much distance between them and myself. They're good friends, though. Hence why I never did confess. If I lost them... I couldn't bear to think of the utter loneliness I'd be in, with me still in school and all that. I hated lying, but in this case, it was the only defense I had.

I'm already plenty lonely without having to lose my friends and family. I've never dated, never been kissed, never had sex, never shared my soul. Damn. Sometimes, the feeling of being totally alone just overwhelmed me. Back home, I usually just picked up a backpack and took a hike through the woods when I felt this cranky. Here, I had the ocean. In nature, I've always found beauty and tolerance. Contemplating the timeless grace of the forest trees or the unending perseverance of the surf made all my problems seem trivial in comparison.

A loud burst of laughter interrupted my dark musings. I glanced up the beach and saw a guy and his girl horsing around in the beach. The guy was around my age (I'm 23) and was what you brought up to mind when you thought of a hunk. Wide shoulders, a sun-bronzed muscular chest, dark hair, tall... He was playfully trying to dislodge a mock choke grip on him by a pretty young brunette. I smiled when he sloshed through the incoming waves and unceremoniously dumped the woman into the warm ocean. His booming laughter and the indignated shrieking of the woman brought a smile to my face. He had turned his back to me and my eyes were riveted to a beautifully drawn dragon tattoo on his back. My eyes inadvertently began following the path of its sinuous tail as it twisted through the small of his back before disappearing down the waistband of his baggy shorts.

Hot. I wrenched my eyes away from the anonymous hunk. That was stupid. Prime rule: Straight guys are off-limits!

I've already had my heart broken once and I won't have it happening again. My first crush was on one of my friends, Greg. He wasn't exactly drop-dead gorgeous, but he had that pleasant open face that you can't help but fall for. He was also the kindest, most thoughtful man I've ever known. The fact that, like me, he'd never dated and was uncharacteristically tactile (always hugging and touching) made me hope that maybe he was gay too. Then scarcely a year ago, he met and fell in love with a girl. I can't blame her; Sarah was perfect for him in every way I was not. Aside from googly eyeing him when he was not looking, I've never told him about my feelings. He didn't know it, but he killed the last of my real dreams when he introduced Sarah to us. God, it still hurts thinking about it.

I've learned my lesson. Straight guys can't change suddenly and fall in love with you! That only happened in fairy tales (pun intended, hehe). Face it, in this world, the majority of guys are straight. It's better to just avoid falling in love rather than risk having to bear that much pain again.

Lost. Alone.

The young couple had spread a blanket and food on the sand and were hunkering down to lunch. I glanced at my watch; it was already half past twelve. I didn't bring any lunch. I stood up and did a few stretching exercises in preparation for the run home. My movement evidently caught their attention and the woman waved and yelled something inaudible at me. She motioned for me to come over. I hesitated, always suspicious of friendly gestures, then shrugged and started trotting down the path from my wind-shapen boulder.

The sand felt warm from the sun under my sneakers. Pleasant and comforting as I fought down the anxiety I always felt when meeting strangers. They stood up politely as I got closer. She was beautiful; green eyes and a pert nose over a sensuous mouth curved in a welcoming smile. I studiously avoided looking at the man, whose presence loomed painfully close at her side.

"Hi." She flashed a mischievous grin and stretched out a slender arm. "Erin Kearny."

"Hi, Kyle Elson", I took her hand in mine for a brief handshake.

"Kyrie Eleison?” a deep voice asked from beside her.

I smiled at that. "My parents honestly didn't know what they saddled me with." I mustered all my courage and turned my gaze to the man. I nearly choked as I saw his warm blue eyes and the blinding smile he was directing at me. Those eyes revealed a deep intelligence that should have been out of place in his athlete's build, but was oh-so-right somehow. His hair was raven black, cut short and spiky from being dunked in the ocean and dried in the sun. He was the most beautiful example of the male animal I’ve ever seen.

I was so mesmerized by the way his lips moved that I didn't realize he was introducing himself. Forcing my heart to stop its wild thumping I took his hand and apologized, "Sorry, I didn't quite catch that."

They both laughed and he repeated his name, "Shawn Bradford."

Forcing up the shields around my heart full power, I shifted into the "acting-cool" mode. I laughed and muttered something about the sun frying my brain.

"Erin can also do that.", Shawn laughed, his eyes twinkling merrily. Dodging a blow to his arm from the petite brunette he bent down and retrieved a straw hat lying on the blanket. He plunked it on top of my head. I had a breathtaking view of his rippling pecs and sexy underarms as he reached over and fitted it snugly down my head. "There, a sunstroke is a serious matter though.", he said as he stepped back to look at me.

"Not bad, pardner." Erin joined in and appraised me admiringly with her best western accent.

I smiled weakly in response.

Shawn had already plopped back down in the sand as Erin held my elbow and led me towards their small feast. "Anyway, have you had lunch yet? We'd like you to join us Kyle. We've got enough food here to feed us and probably most of the gulls in Leighton at that." Shawn said, patting a corner of the blanket beside them.

"Uh thanks." I said and hurriedly took a seat in the proffered spot. I suddenly wasn't very confident of my runner's legs keeping me up. Shawn got a paper plate from the basket and offered it to me. "Sorry, Erin here forgot to bring ANY utensils", he said pointedly. He yelped as Erin hit him in the temple with a grape.

I laughed and accepted the plate.

"I cooked the food. He was supposed to take care of the hardware." Erin glared, her face scrunching up, impossibly getting prettier in the process.

Shawn patted her head affectionately, "There, there... just kidding, Air"

"Yeah, well, you're lucky YOU forgot the forks, or it would've been sticking out of your forehead right now."

"Whoa... easy ninja woman." Shawn turned to me and winked, "She's a wannabe martial arts instructor."

"Sheesh." Erin turned to heaping our plates with food.

"Eat up." She told me with a warm smile as she finished.

"With fingers, Air?" Shawn asked, eyeing the gooey sauce-laden fare.

"Well, unless you can fashion spoons out of clams... yeah with fingers, genius."

I marveled at their easy compatibility as I dug into the meal. It was delicious. I deliberately kept my eyes off Shawn eating. From the sounds he was making, was sucking the spicy goo from his fingers at intervals.

"So, Kyle, you from Leighton?" Shawn asked.

"Just moved here recently." I replied, still keeping my eyes on my plate.

"Got a job?"

I swallowed and replied "Yeah, I make computer graphics for a small advertising company in town."

"Computers!" Erin exclaimed. "You'd get along with Shawn then, he's a programmer."

"Heh, yeah, as if graphics and programming database applications have a lot in common." Shawn countered. "Air here like most females, is blissfully ignorant of anything with keyboards... Ow!" Another grape thunked against his head.

"So speaketh the savage male." Erin grinned.

"Well, he does have a point. Graphics is as far from programming as, say, farming is to selling groceries." I sided Shawn.

"Yeah." Shawn agreed as he picked up the fallen grape, rubbed it on his shorts and popped it into his mouth. "Say, do you play PC games?" he asked as he chewed.


"Wow. Cool. Let's get together sometime. I'm still new here in Leighton and I still haven't met enough people to play with."

Erin shook her head, "You would if you got out of the house enough."

Shawn rolled his eyes and looked at me as if to say "Women".

I grinned and swallowed another mouthful. "Sure. You what do you wanna play?"

"Awesome, man. You free tomorrow? I have the new Unreal Tournament."

"Heh, me too. Ok deal." I agreed.

Erin squinted her cute eyes at both of us and muttered, "Boys..."

We continued the meal talking about ourselves. Seems like, Shawn just arrived in Leighton and Erin was giving him a tour of the place in their free time. They were staying over in Erin's house in the west end of Leighton. I began to feel at ease with the two of them. They were a nice couple to look at, though my heart twitched painfully when I look at Shawn. Great people - warm and honest. By the end of the meal, I was laughing along with them like I've known them all my life.

Erin stood up and started placing the non-biodegradables back into the basket. Shawn and I immediately stood up and began helping her clean up. Shawn gathered pieces of bones and leftovers into his plate and walked over to a flat piece of rock and emptied it there. "For the gulls", he shouted back at us.

He was probably around 6'2", and I got the treat of seeing that superbly rippling back muscles and the dragon tattoo once again. For me, I was 5'8" and not as powerful-looking, but I had the slender well-defined muscles of a runner.

I turned back to helping Erin fold back the blanket and picked it up along with the laden basket.

"Where to, Air?" I asked. She had asked me to call her "Air" as she hated the awkwardness of her full name and she warned me she would kill if anyone ever called her "Rin". As in "Tin Tin", was the unspoken ending of the sobriquet.

"Thanks. My car's just behind that grove" She turned around and called at Shawn who was still busy watching the gulls fight over the scraps. "Shawn! Enough of that. Let's get going, I still have to do some shopping."

"Coming." Shawn flashed that handsome grin again and turned back to the gulls.

"Pfft. He'll never grow up." Erin complained at me and we started walking up the beach.

Their "car" was an old ford pick-up truck, and Erin held her hands out as I handed her the basket and the blankets. She unceremoniously dumped them in the front passenger seat and turned back to me. "You got a ride?"

"Uh, no. I jogged up here." My house was just a few miles up the beach. Though it was a bit farther if you used the road.

"Well, hop in. You don't need more jogging with that build." I blushed at Erin's compliment and got in the backseat. She went over and got behind the steering wheel. Just then, Shawn came around the corner of the strand of trees that hid the road from the beach. He smiled at me and motioned me over as he opened the door and hopped in beside me.

Erin gunned up the engine and backed into the road. I was sticky with sweat, but so was Shawn. I squirmed nervously as my shoulder came in contact with his bare golden arms. The salty tang of healthy male sweat wafted up my nostrils.

"You know, I really enjoyed today, thanks." I told them.

"No problem." Both of them replied at the same time. Erin glanced back and shared a warm smile with Shawn.

"Well, I'm just glad I've got a new friend here in Leighton." Shawn said looking at me. He gave a friendly slap on my thigh. Oh god, I could feel my dick starting to wake up as his warm hands rubbed my thigh slowly.

"So am I." Erin echoed and looked back to smile warmly at me. "Shawn needs some new friends around here." They'd already told me that Shawn had just graduated from college and was just two weeks into his new job at an insurance firm in town.

Shawn didn't take off his hand from my thigh and it was beginning to get uncomfortably warm. Luckily, I wasn't wearing boxers, who jogs in boxers anyway? My dick had gotten hard and painfully constricted inside my underwear. Erin happily continued babbling and I replied to her occasional questions in a strangely strained voice. Shawn didn't say anything more during the journey. Halfway to town, he suddenly jerked his hand back from where he was rubbing my thigh as if it got burned. He kept his hands to himself from then on, to my relief.

I supplied Erin with directions to my house. When we got there, my dick had already subsided a bit. I had to repeat the mantra "He's straight" over and over to get it to stand down, but at least I could stand without it being obvious. I opened my side of the door and repeated my thanks to both of them.

"Hey Kyle," Shawn called. I turned back to them. "How about 8 tomorrow?"

I had completely forgotten what he was talking about. It must have shown on my face because Shawn laughed and explained, "Our one-on-one. UT, dude."

"Uh sure." I replied, slapping my head. "I'd forgotten. Heh. 8 will be great."

"I'll pick you up. Air has work tomorrow."

I wondered why he mentioned that, but I nodded my head in agreement.

"Cool, man. See you then." They both waved and Erin drove off.

I stood there for staring at Shawn's outline in the car as it dwindled in the distance. Was it my imagination or was Shawn also looking back at me?

I smiled sadly and started walking up the gravel path to my small house.

I could hardly sleep that night. Strangely, I couldn't get myself to just jerk off and forget about Shawn. My thoughts were all about sex with Shawn, and yet the anxiety and expectation of pain and disappointment kept me from being sexually excited. Dangerous thoughts. He's straight... he has a hot girlfriend, for chrissakes!

What would it be like to be heterosexual? I asked myself, remembering Shawn and Erin's easy camaraderie. To love and be loved without being judged? To literally have the license to love each other forever... To have a house and kids... Damn. I was tormenting myself with the very things that I can't ever have. Things I can't help but wish I had...

Still, he was absolutely the most attractive man - no the most beautiful person - I've ever met. I pictured that childish grin on his face and those dark blue eyes that held me entranced... The sheer strength and grace he exuded. The hint of rebelliousness in the dragon tattoo... before I knew it I had drifted off to sleep, dreaming of Shawn.

Morning. I groggily threw back the bedcovers and stumbled into the kitchen. Eyes half-shut, I poured the coffee with a generous helping of milk and sugar, the way I liked it. Grabbing a pack of cigarettes and lighting one with a kitchen match, I went outside to savor the sunrise. My house faced the end of the road and the sun made a little golden pathway in the damp asphalt as it rose over the overhanging trees in my neighborhood. I lived in a pretty little suburb of Leighton. Houses like mine with wide front yards and half hidden by willows lined both sides of the street. My neighbors were friendly but all had families and little kids. I watched them getting ready for church, returning the waves and good mornings. My work wasn't office based and I seldom had to go to our town branch. They usually just sent me descriptions of what they wanted done and I just did it here. Today was Sunday, anyway. No work. I hadn't gone to church for years now. Though nominally catholic, I had lost my faith in organized religion a long time ago, and I stopped going to church when it started to feel hypocritical. Fortunately my parents hadn't objected and just accepted my choice. When asked I would always say I was agnostic. That's not entirely true. I think there is a God, but I don't think he really gives a shit about us, especially GAY people like me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not satanic or anything. I respect everyone's beliefs. Hell! I respect everyone's humanity. I have my own imperfections to live with, and I know the feeling of just desperately wanting unconditional acceptance from a fellow human being.

I was finishing my second cigarette and the coffee cup was empty when Shawn drove up. I glanced back through the screen door at the wall clock. It was only 7:30. I debated whether I should go in and put on some pants but Shawn was already walking up the gravel path. I stood up self-consciously in the boxers and old shirt I sleep in.

"Good morning." Shawn greeted me. "Sorry if I was a bit early, I had to drive Air over to the hospital. Her shift starts at 7." Erin was a nurse. "Instead of going back home, I thought I'd just stop by."

He hesitated at the landing, looking at my rumpled state. "I hope it's okay."

His grin was infectious. I shook my head and offered him a seat in the bench beside me. "Coffee?" I asked.

"That would be nice."

"I'll go put on some pants." I said as I opened the screen door.

"Nah, man. If you're more comfortable with that, I'm cool with it." Shawn said, looking straight at my boxers. "'Sides, It's not like you don't have a great body or anything."

I almost dropped the cigarette perched on my lips. "Uh, ok." I hurriedly went inside and poured us both a cup of coffee.

"Shawn?" I called out. "By the way, how'd you like your coffee?"

"Lotsa cream and sugar, thanks." Shawn yelled back. "Man, sunrise here sure is neat."

I prepared the coffee like I always did, for both of us and carried it back out the porch.

"Here you go." I said handing over the cup.

Shawn took a sip and gave me an appreciative smile. "Thanks, perfect."

We sat in silence looking out over the sunrise. It was now a good ways above the horizon and we observed several kids playing hopscotch on the sidewalk instead.

"Nice neighborhood." he commented. My second cigarette had burned out. I took out another one and offered the pack to him. He took out one and again flashed me with that killer smile as he said his thanks. I normally smoke only two sticks in the morning, but his presence was making me nervous as hell.

He stretched out a bit and let his left arm fall over my shoulder. It took all my willpower to stop myself from jumping up. His fingers were warm against my shoulders and he absently kneaded my collarbone and drew on his cigarette. "I could stay here forever." Shawn exclaimed, to nobody in particular.

I didn't reply. Couldn't reply. I had to force myself to breathe normally. Shawn pulled me closer until we were leaning on each other. Was he flirting? I started panicking. Oh god, is he flirting? I hurriedly conjured up reasons why he wasn't... couldn't be flirting. He has a fucking girlfriend for fuck's sake! Besides why would a guy who looks as good as that be gay? And why be interested in me?

Sensing my stiffness, Shawn patted my shoulder and awkwardly released me. He stood up and stretched. Imaginative as I was, I thought he looked a bit embarrassed and was using the stretching to cover up for it. Great, now he realizes I'm gay and he's finding some excuse to leave. But god, he looked almost edible in the worn jeans and the tight-fitting brown t-shirt he wore today.

I hurriedly picked up his empty cup and took them inside. "I'll just take a shower, Shawn." I told him.

I dumped the empty saucers on the sink and went to take a shower. I dried off quickly and slipped on jeans and a T-shirt. Lacing up my shoes, I grabbed my laptop and hurried out the porch.

Shawn was sitting down, with a strange expression of worry on his face. My heart fell. He's debating on how to get rid of me politely, I thought.

Shawn, however, immediately erased the doleful expression and stood up with a playful bounce. "Let's roll!" He said and started walking toward the pick-up.

Good. He's determined to endure just this one day with me. He's too kind to just brush me off. I gritted my teeth and smiled back. I was determined to enjoy this one day with this perfect man. Let heartbreaks be heartbreaks. For now, I knew I was already hopelessly in love with this man. Fighting the sudden rush of yearning in my chest I followed him.

This'll be happiness. I swore to myself. I already knew that for years afterwards, this day will be in my dreams. It will be perfect. Fate, have what you will. This day is mine. I smiled sadly as I reached the passenger door.

I looked up to see him looking over at me with concern, "What's wrong, Kyle?"

I laughed self-consciously, "Uh, nothing."

"You know," he said leaning on his door. "If you've got somewhere else to go today, I'll understand." He said gently.

What?! You can't get rid of me that easily, buster. My life will be pure hell from now on, but at least give me a longer taste of this heaven with you. I shook my head, "No, really, just wondering if I had locked the front door."

"Don't worry you did." Shawn laughed and climbed in. He reached over and unlocked the passenger door for me.

I climbed up settling my laptop over my thighs.

"So you had any breakfast yet?" Shawn asked.

"Nope. I seldom have breakfast though." I answered.

"Well, I know a good place. We have to eat, you know. We have a day of serious keyboard mashing ahead of us." We laughed at that together as he drove off down our street.

After the usual chitchat about the town and the weather, we stopped at a small cafe near Main Street. "What will you have? My treat." He asked. The smells coming from the cafe's kitchen was heavenly. I asked for a Danish and some soda. He ordered the same. We sat outside, near the street. We munched through our food slowly, observing the passers-by.

We talked about computer stuff and about ourselves. We found out we had just about the same tastes in music, as well as books. The idea of this hunk sitting down and reading books for fun is something I just can't picture out in my mind. Another nice surprise from this guy of my dreams.

Uncomfortably our talk shifted over to a book that was both one of our favorites - Ursula K.LeGuin's 'The Left Hand Of Darkness'.

"I loved that book. What do you think of the whole bisexual society of the Gethenians?" He asked.

"Well..." Damn, this was getting to close for comfort. "I think LeGuin wanted to tell us how we all are really just the products of our sexuality. The Gethenians considered bisexuality as normal and instead considered exclusive sexuality as deviant. The way the hero was considered a freak in that story was..." I groped around for the word.

"Karma?" Shawn laughed. "Yeah. There are a lot of homophobes in this world, and yet if they were all transported over to that world, it'd serve them right to experience what it's really like to be treated like freaks."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Shawn was alright with homosexuality? Is this his way of saying that it's alright for me to come out and say I'm gay? No way! A lot of guys I know would say that gay people cool with them but when confronted with one would immediately shrink away from even touching them. Better get out of this fast! I warned myself.

"Technically incorrect. The Gethenians were not actually homosexuals. They assumed the male form when their partner is in female form and vice versa." I argued. "They would consider both the heterosexuals and the homosexuals of our planet as freaks."

"Yeah, you're right." Shawn agreed. "But still, she depicted a society which is built around a different kind of sexuality. It kinda gets a message across in an indirect way for tolerance."

"I guess it does, in a way." I agreed, and proceeded to stuff my mouth to avoid talking more about the subject.

Shawn was strangely silent for the rest of the meal. He was probably wondering why I didn't just go ahead and tell him. It must have been very obvious I'm gay. Now, it's only going to be more awkward.

Shawn paid up at the counter with a pleasant thank you and a smile that I'm sure had the counter attendant melting at the knees.

We went back to his truck. On the way over I noticed two women eyeing the both of us. Actually one was eyeing ME. I laughed silently. As if I'm that attractive. Shawn, however, was a different matter. I had difficulty keeping my eyes off the way his back and his butt muscles worked seductively as he walked. Shawn ignored their predatory stares, though, and proceeded to where he parked the truck. I got in and we drove off, pulling into the driveway of a much larger house than mine a few blocks away.

"Sweet digs." I exclaimed.

Shawn shrugged, "It's Air's." Taking me by the shoulders he propelled me gently up the driveway. "Come on, I'm gonna whip your ass."

I'd love that... literally! My mind was making the oddest connections in its sexually aroused state. I clutched my laptop tighter as the warmth of his hold on my shoulders threatened to turn my grip into jelly.

He led me into the spacious living room. "Want some beer?" He looked at me raising one masculine eyebrow in question. His penetrating blue eyes boring into mine... as if his arm on my shoulders wasn't enough.

"Uh, sure." I squeaked. Squeaked! I was blushing. What an idiot, I told myself.

"Grab a seat, i'll go get some." He released me and turned toward what was obviously the kitchen. Thankfully his back was to me or he'd have seen me almost melt into the carpet. Goddamn, I really had it with this guy.

I quickly found my way to a sofa and sat down. I could feel my legs faintly trembling. There were even fucking butterflies in my stomach! I've never felt this intense before, and all he did was hook an arm around my shoulder and look at me. Fuck, dude, I berated myself, this will hurt later. I know it will hurt later. Still, later seems a long way off...

He returned a while later carrying two six-packs. He had chucked his shirt and slung it over his shoulder. I bit my lip and forced myself to look only on the beer. I quickly rifled through my mind to find something to say...

"Buds, ok?" He asked holding out the beers, revealing a beautifully muscled underarm laced with a tidy rumple of hair... goddamn it.

I stood up and nodded weakly.

"Come on, my rooms upstairs." He turned around and climbed up the stairs slowly, obviously waiting for me to catch up. He paused when he realized I was still standing rooted dumbly beside the sofa. I muttered a small oh and started after him.

"You left your lappy." He pointed to where I'd left it on the sofa.

Uttering another, more forceful oh, I hurried back and retrieved it then bounded up the stairs until I was beside him. I was pretty sure I had the words "LOSER" printed on my forehead right now and I could feel my face burning up. Thankfully, I have a darker complexion, the legacy of my Half-Indian mother. He probably wouldn't notice. Probably...

"Dude, you're wound up." He grinned at me. "Feeling the impending doom?"

I smiled weakly, "You wish." I shot back with less than the average menace behind it.

"Come on then." Side by side we turned to a wide hallway into his room. It was smaller than the other rooms I've passed in the house. The bed was still rumpled and two PC's stood with their backs to the wide windows. A small TV and a DVD player rested in front of the bed. And on the floor were several articles of clothing. Clothing... underwear. I almost dove right in to hold them to my nose and just smell them. I was never into raunchy stuff but this was... this was Shawn's.

"Sorry for the mess." Shawn murmured apologetically at me. "You should've seen my old college room." He wrinkled his nose at his memory then set about to picking up the clothes, setting down the six-pack on the bed. "Go ahead pick a PC, you won't need your lappy today."

I sat down on one of the swivel chairs and set my laptop down gently on the small table beside it. A small flower arrangement with irises was on the middle of it. Irises... interesting. But then, maybe it was Erin's.

I heard the faucet running in the small adjoining bathroom and Shawn moving around. He came out wiping his hands on his jeans. His massive chest slightly damp, droplets of water clinging to the sprinkling of chest hairs around his nipples.

"Get ready for ownage!" He did a light jiggling dance routine and I couldn't help but chuckle.

"Yeah, let's see who owns you, noob." I turned back to the PC and surveyed the games installed.

"Whatcha wanna play?" He said slipping down beside me. Uncomfortably close beside me, I might add. My forearms would brush his if I moved the mouse a little bit to the right.

"You pick." He told me popping open a couple of beers and handing me one.

"Actually, I'm not in the mood for FPS today." I replied, accepting the proffered beer.

"Yeah me too, how about some good old C&C?"

"Generals? Sure." Laughing happily like kids, we got about to playing. Turns out both of us were equally good (or bad, haha). We beat each other twice after six hours of whooping, screaming, cursing, and stamping our feet in front of the monitors. As we got into the game, I forgot my initial discomfort and just had fun. Sure, his forearm continuously touched mine but I relegated it to a pleasant background diversion while I concentrated on wiping his base off the face of the planet in command & conquer. In two hours I was cracking jokes of my own and punching back at his shoulders playfully.

On the fifth, tie-breaking last round together, I had just unleashed a surprise tactic on his bases with several good old scud storms when he suddenly stood up and grabbed me from behind. "You fucker!" He laughed, digging his fingers into my side. He had his arms wrapped around my body and I could feel his soft dick though both our pants digging into my ass. I struggled to get free, erotic as the position might seem, I couldn't stand being tickled.

Tears started forming on my eyes and I was struggling for breath. Shawn realized what he was doing and released me suddenly apologizing profusely.

"I'm sorry, man. Are you Okay?" He looked abjectly ashamed of himself. "I didn't know..."

He started rubbing my shoulders as I struggled to catch my breath, heaving deep gasps. "I honestly didn't..."

I felt like a fool. Suddenly I was crying. Fuck, I'm such a fucking loser. Can't even get fucking tickled! I had been asthmatic growing up and I always had the terror of being unable to breath. Now, the perfect guy in the world would think I'm a ninny. I was sobbing harder at the thought, still clutching my heaving chest.

"God, Kyle. I'm so sorry." In a totally unexpected move, Shawn enveloped me in his beautiful arms. He stroked my back gently as he whispered comfortingly to me. "It's alright, Kyle, shhh... I'm sorry."

I buried my nose in his chest and just let my whole soul pour out. Finally I quieted down and I pulled back from his chest a little. "You okay, buddy?" He asked me gently.

"I'b sorry." I said, my nose still stuffed from the crying. "Dat was stubid."

"Hey. I didn't know you could actually be tickled to death! Besides," He smiled at me gently. "Everyone needs a good cry now and then."

"Yeah right, growd bed should cry id oder bed's arbs. De arby does it all de time!" Now I was sounding like a toddler, but he understood everything and threw back his head in a laugh. I laughed along, still sniffling pathetically. His arms never loosened, however. He suddenly quieted down and planted a quick peck on my forehead. "You can cry on me anytime, Kyle... anytime." He whispered, his lips buried on my hair.

Wait a minute, what the hell is going on here?!! I looked up and met his sparkling eyes. "Shawd...?" I croaked.

His head dropped down a fraction lower... OHMYGOD! He's gonna kiss me! Eagerly, I strained my neck up, our noses touching tip to tip. I could feel (if not smell, my nose was still stuffed :P) his warm breath stirring up the hairs above my lip. His eyes were still locked into mine but had now clouded with the unmistakable hood of lust. Somewhere, a small voice was clamoring to be heard in the back of my brain. A hairsbreadth from touching those exquisite lips, the small voice started screaming:


"Oh god. This isn't right." I muttered under my breath and hurriedly ducked out from Shawn's embrace. Shawn was too startled to react. I hurried out to the bathroom and locked the door.

Pausing in front of the sink, I strained to hear him from the next room. I heard a dull thud then his footsteps leading out of his room. I forced my heart to calm down. Breathe. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale... In a few moments the galloping inside my chest had slowed to a canter. I bent down and blew my nose and splashed some water on my puffy eyes.

What the hell happened?

Shawn has Erin. Why the fuck did that happen? Unless... Shawn just got off playing with people's hearts like that. He's too perfect, I protested. The most beautiful people are like that, I admitted to myself. They enjoy playing with the hearts of lesser mortals. Like me. Still... I raised my head and examined myself in the mirror. A naturally light brown complexion, dark eyes, a strong aquiline nose above lips curved into the proverbial Cupid’s bow. I had just the shadow of a beard on my face. I looked... okay, I guess. Definitely not in the same caliber as Shawn, however. My eyes had that haunted look of someone afraid of life. That alone, compared to Shawn's blue eyes that glinted with life at every expression... I just couldn't imagine Shawn wanting to kiss someone like me!

Some part of me screamed 'Trap!'. Sadly, I've had too many disappointments in my life to ignore that voice. It was just too good to be true. If Shawn is kissing men while Erin works her ass off to pay for a house like this, then he's just another turdball wrapped up in goldfoil. I sighed. There you go. Life just served me another helping of shit. I sat down on the covered toilet seat and forced a semblance of normality back on myself. I noticed his dirty briefs piled along with his other clothing on the bathtub. Despite myself, I found my hand reaching for it. I hurriedly stuffed it in the back of my pants and stood up. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror I burst into a fit of silent laughter which rapidly dwindled away as I dwelled on what really had just happened. Stealing the underwear of a guy who cheats on his girlfriend with other guys! That's what. It was hilarious... and sad. I didn't put it back, though. I know I'd forever regret it if I returned it. I kept it in my pockets as I opened the door of the bathroom.

Shawn was nowhere to be seen. I tiptoed out the room and down the stairs. I heard the faint sounds of a basketball hitting concrete in the backyard. I don't want to see that bastard, I told myself. In spite of that, my feet led me the back door. I peeked out to see him shooting a perfect three-pointer. He still looks so goddamn beautiful. He turned around and caught me staring at him. Was it just me or were there moisture trails down his cheeks? "Kyle... " He began. I bolted and ran out the front door. I dashed down the driveway. I could hear him running after me.

A cab was just passing with its flag down. I waved and it pulled over. I recited my address to the driver. Shawn had reached the sidewalk and stood there looking at me. "Kyle..." he began again then stopped. His cheeks were definitely wet. Still, I convinced myself its just sweat. I forced my head away from him as the cab drove away.

I was quiet on the ride home. The cab driver kept giving me pitying glances on the rearview mirror. It only drove me deeper into my depression. God, I must look pathetic.

It was only 3 in the afternoon but after I paid the cab, I bounded up my house and went straight into my bedroom. I plopped down into the bed and started crying like I haven't cried in years. Not even with Greg. My pillows were drenched when I finally lifted my head up and picked up the phone to order some pizza. That night I rifled through my movie collection and inserted a good romantic comedy on the DVD player to cheer me up as I ate. It didn't, however, and the happy ending only made the hollow yearning in my chest even worse.

It was then that I remembered his underwear still in the pocket of my jeans. I started laughing like mad. I'm finally going insane. Still, I couldn't stop myself from pulling it out and inhaling deeply from the crotch. Like expected, the smell was divine. Sniffing at it like an addict I crawled into the bed. Moments later, my chest shook again with mad laughter at the absurdity of what I was doing. I eventually drifted off to sleep, still clutching his underwear to my nose.

Monday. Workday. I lovingly folded Shawn's briefs in my bedside drawer then drew up and chuckled at that obvious sign of my own frailty. Quirks, we all have them. Shawn may be a bastard, but I realize I love him. I'll just have to live with that the rest of my lonely life. At least I have something intimate to remind me of him. Even if it's some stinky underwear.

Feeling utterly drained, I got up and did my morning rituals. I didn't get out to watch the sunrise, however. That would just trigger memories. After the coffee, I dressed up in my jogging outfit and went out for my morning run. I pushed my muscles to the limit this morning as I had missed yesterday. Reaching the beach, I turned back and started home again, I only stop over on weekends.

As expected, my day's workload was sitting on the fax machine's tray by the time I got back. With a start, I realized that my laptop was still in Shawn's room. Fuck. I grimaced at my own stupidity. Nothing I can do about it, I can't go back to Shawn's now. Maybe after all this has blown over I'll return for it, hopefully with only Erin around. I decided to work in the office today, since I had my own workstation over there. I dressed up grabbed a baseball cap and went out the front door with my assignment papers. I was going down the stairs when something caught my eye.


I reached out to pick up the bouquet of irises lying on the porch railing. Shawn. There was a small piece of paper tied with it, obviously an old grocery receipt. On the blank side was a hurriedly scrawled message:

"Kyle, Seems you're not home. It's Shawn. Peace offering of sorts. Sorry for what happened. I don't know what came over me. I like you a lot Kyle. I'm sorry it had to be like that. Anyway, I brought your laptop, I couldn't just leave it out here, though. One of your neighbor's kids is eyeing it hungrily. I have to go to work, I'm already late, can't risk being fired, still new. I'll come back later. Sorry.


PS hope you like the iris, they're my favorite."

Guys sending guys flowers. Guys with favorite flowers. It was all sounding a bit ridiculous to me. Is Shawn gay? Nah, he probably just thought flowers were the best thing to give to a faggot like me. In spite of myself, I was touched deep down. I don't know if I can call him, however.

I slipped the note in my back pocket and hurried down the street. I don't own a car, though I can certainly afford it, I don't go out enough to need one. I also liked walking more, and the grocer's is just a few blocks away. Times like this, I just take a cab. I hailed one and slid inside.

Greeting good mornings to my coworkers. I was my usual cheerful self all day, they don't see me enough to know better, though. I was churning inside, alternating from deep depression to the giddy ecstasy of realizing I was in love. I handed my finished work over to my boss at the end of the day and decided to get dinner in town. Feeling like I deserve a cheer up, I settled on dining on a great Southeast Asian restaurant round the block.

I ate with gusto, savoring the rich food that always reminds me of my mother's Indian recipes. Replete, I settled back on my seat near the window and picked on my dessert as I stared at passing traffic. I heard a slight commotion and turned my head to the source. Erin! She was leaning over her table saying something urgent to somebody. I hurriedly put on my baseball cap and tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible. Erin finally let out a big sigh and left her seat to sit next to... Shawn! Shawn sobbing like a child. They were not drawing as much stares as expected as the restaurant was almost empty. My heart jumped straight up to my throat where it lodged somewhere near my Adam's apple as I watched her comfort Shawn and gently kiss him on the cheek. Argh!

It was too much. Luckily, they were seated further inside the restaurant and I just left enough money to cover up for my meal and the tip on my table and hurriedly left. I went directly to the dark corner beside the restaurant and leaned on my arms. Tears streamed down my eyes to drip from the tip of my nose. Kiss and make up. Fuck. I should be happy for them, I told myself. It was probably my fault. *I* seduced Shawn. Wiping the traces of tears from my eyes as best as I could, I hailed a passing cab.

Turned out it was the same driver as yesterday. That completed it. The most fucking miserable day of my life. I hunched down in the backseat and pulled down my cap but I could still feel the cabdriver's eyes on me, filled with pity. Pathetic moi, goddamn. I paid the cabdriver; studiously avoiding meeting his eyes and hurried inside the house. I just sat down on the sofa and held my head on my hands as I stared blankly at the bouquet of irises on the coffee table.

Why can't you ever learn, Kyle?

I don't know how long i was sitting there when there was a soft knocking on the door. "Kyle?" That voice.

Fuck. I stood up and stood behind the door. I didn't unlock it, however. "It's alright, I forgive you, Shawn." I said through the door, fighting to keep my voice steady. "No need for an apology, I totally understand."

"Please, Kyle. I just need to talk." Shawn pleaded.

"Shawn..." I desperately wanted to open the door. But no, he's just going to apologize and leave. Leave forever. I can't face that now.

"Kyle..." His voice. I've known him just two days but it sent telltale shivers of yearning down my chest.

"Kyle please, at least just take this laptop." I imagined I could hear a sense of desperation in the voice. Yeah. He probably just wanted to take the fact off his chest that he'd almost kissed a fucking faggot. If he sees me again, he'll realize just how disgusting it all was really. The pain in my chest was beginning to feel like a fucking heart attack. I started sobbing silently. I could just hear Shawn breathing heavily, just on the other side of the door. "Kyle..."

Suddenly everything was quiet. Tears were now coursing freely down my cheeks, my whole body shook as I sobbed. Audible now.

"Kyle..." Shawn's voice had softened. "Kyle, are you crying?"

I didn't reply. Couldn't reply. I just slid down the door and sat on the floor, my head between my knees. "Kyle..." Goddamn it, why does he have to sound so good? "Kyle, okay. I'll just leave it here. I'm sorry, Kyle." His voice had dropped down to a whisper. He said a few more things but I couldn't hear it through the thick insulated wood of the door.

Footsteps receding. I sat motionless for a couple more minutes. He's gone now, I told myself. Shawn is gone. He'll never come back, and I didn't even get to see him one last time! That realization struck me like a hammer and I scrambled up and unlocked the door. My laptop was sitting forlornly on my doormat, I leaped over it and run toward front yard. No Shawn. I hurriedly scanned for his pick-up. No Shawn. Fuck it.

I was tired. Tired of it all. I'm going to be lost for the rest of my life. I crumpled down into the gravel and just let all the pain in my life explode in my chest. I'm so fucking tired. God, kill me... please. I curled up into a fetal position in the dirt and sobbed harder as I tried to ease the pain wracking through me; the pain of just about everything about my life. I'm tired...

The world took pity on me, definitely a first at that, and everything plunged into darkness.

"Kyle." Someone was shaking me. "Kyle, are you okay?"

"Go away." I muttered. "I'm dead."

"No you're not." Chuckling. "Come on, Kyle."

"Fuck off." I muttered dreamily. Suddenly someone's lips covered mine in a deep breathtaking kiss. Still pleasantly in dreamland, our tongues coiled around each other in the mindless dance of lust. I groaned when I touched the stubbled cheek. Heaven? I asked myself, my lips curling up in a wry smile even while passionately inviting his tongue inside my mouth. At least God knows I prefer male angels, haha. His tongue delved deeper and I in turn sucked it inside me reveling at the sheer pleasure of it. My first kiss! I realized with a start. With an angel! Laughter bubbled unbidden as I continued kissing my angel. I couldn't hold it and I broke contact laughing like crazy.

"Well, Snow White certainly didn't break off her Prince Charming's kiss cackling like the wicked witch." Someone's voice observed, amused. My eyes snapped open. Shawn. He came back!

"Shawn?" a rush of unbearable longing came on me when I saw his grinning face inches above me. Suddenly, I didn't care anymore. I wanted to know what happiness is, even if only for a night. Sorry Erin.

"Kyle, I..."

I shut him up as quickly as I could with another lip-busting kiss. When we came up for breath, Shawn started again, "Kyle..."

I placed a hand on his lips. "No Shawn, please. I want you. I just want you. Just love me tonight."

"But - "

I cut him off, "Please, Shawn."

He looked at me long and hard. His expressive eyes drooping down, a sad smile on his lips. "You're crazy, Kyle."

Before I could take that as a no, he covered my lips again in a passionate kiss. It's a yes then. I felt like grinning from ear to ear. I don't give a damn about the rest of my life, just give me this one night, God. Shawn grunted as he lifted me up. I chuckled with our lips still locked together as I realized that I had still been lying on my own front yard.

He lifted me with a little difficulty, but passion lent him the strength and he carried me inside my house. He gently nudged the laptop inside and kicked the door close, sliding the bolts with home with one hand, all the time hungrily raping my mouth. He carried me to my bed and gently settled me into it as he started nibbling my chin. Down my neck he went, his hot breath and wet kisses leaving a fevered trail.

Shawn. I formed his name in my mind. Shawn I love you.

"Kyle... are you sure?" Shawn asked drawing back from me, as if he could read my mind.

I managed to produce my trademark comic smile. "Yep. More than anything in my life."

He still wore a troubled expression, but I started rubbing my dick against his prominent bulge, and his expression shifted to pure passion. He groaned and fell back on me with renewed fervor. He kept his eyes open and I did mine as he kissed me softly. Then he dropped a series of wet sloppy kisses on my lips. Teasing, smiling each time I tried to lift my head up for more. Exasperated I gripped his head and held him down, feeling him laugh as he slid his tongue inside my mouth. "Oh Kyle..." he whispered through kisses. He pulled my shirt off and I pulled his off. I trembled as I lifted my head up to taste the trickles of sweat on his chest. I shifted and nibbled lightly on his nipples as he held my head up. He uttered a low animal sound and rolled over until I was over him, I gently played my tongue and teeth around his now erect nipples, loving the rough feel of his chest hair against my face. I skirted the edge of his prominent pectorals and reached the warm hollow beneath his arm. The hair on his armpits tickled my nostrils as I hungrily nuzzled against it. I inhaled the musky aroma, which was detectable even through his deodorant. Hungrily I opened my mouth and laved the entire hollow with my tongue, tasting the faint spicy bitterness of his deodorant but not caring. I continued upwards, my tongue running over the sensitive skin of his underarms.

"Good thing, I'm not ticklish." Shawn joked as he shivered under the onslaught of sensations. I chuckled and gently bit his the skin beneath his biceps in retaliation. Shawn could hardly keep still at the sheer pleasure he was receiving. He gently let my left arm caress his chest then caught it in his right and brought it to his lips. He kissed my palms tenderly while I continued running my teeth over the hard ridges of his left arm. I felt him kiss my finger tips then slide them down his mouth in a slow sucking motion. I almost came in my pants as he started swirling his tongue over my fingers. I groaned against his forearms and looked up at his face. Shawn had closed his eyes and was sucking my fingers with an expression of pleasure that was probably the most erotic thing I had ever seen in my life. I take that back, Shawn IS the single most erotic thing I've ever seen in my entire life. He opened his eyes when he felt me stopping and smiled at me. I could almost believe it was love sparkling in those eyes.

No. Lust. Inexperienced as I was, I couldn't really be sure.

He brought my face up to his and kissed me again tenderly. Then he slid down me, kissing every part of the skin he traveled on. Giving my nipples the same salute I gave him, he continued down my navel and stuck a tongue into my bellybutton. Savoring the small droplets of sweat that had collected there. I felt his warm breath stir the matted rough hairs peeking over my waistband. My cock jerked inside my pants as he traced the path of the inverted triangle until he reached my denim-encased dick. He lovingly sucked it through the thick cloth until I was trembling with desire.

I kneeled up and undid my pants, sliding them over my legs and freeing my rather average, dark skinned specimen. Shawn did the same, revealing a beautiful uncircumcised cock about 7 inches in length, tanned golden like his complexion. Not too thick and not too thin, just perfect, like the rest of Shawn. He reached again for me and drew my hips toward him as he sat on the bed. His mouth covered the throbbing head of my cock, his tongue doing unimaginable wonders to the sensitive underside of the cap. I gripped his tattooed shoulders tightly and groaned. I was coming!

"Shawn... Shawn stop, I can't hold it back." I could see Shawn's eyebrows rise in surprise. He had barely even touched my dick. Still he did not move away and instead engulfed the head in his warm mouth. That feels so fucking good! I let out a prolonged moan as I felt my cum spurting from the tip of my cock into Shawn's mouth. Jets of my cum filled the spaces between his teeth and tongue, leaving my dickhead feeling like it was swimming in warm sticky goo inside Shawn's mouth.

I bent over and pulled my dick out of Shawn's mouth with an audible pop as the pangs of postorgasmic hypersensitivity kicked in. "Shawn..." I whispered weakly, resting on his shoulders and kissing his sweat-dampened hair. Shawn pulled me down to him and kissed me, swirling my semen around our connected mouths. I drank my fill. It was me... and it was him. Pulling back I touched my forehead against him weakly as I caught my breath, the taste of our love still evident on my tongue.


"That was beautiful, Kyle." He whispered against my cheek.

"But you haven't..."

"Shhh... later." He said gently, stroking my back. After a moment, my panting had subsided, I felt his tongue tickle my earlobe. "Kyle?" He whispered.

"Yeah?" I murmured, exhausted, against his salty, scratchy cheeks.

"You've never done this before, have you?"

I felt my previous fears rush back to me. "No." I replied in a small voice. "I'm sorry, Shawn, if-"

Realizing what I was going to say, Shawn drew back and looked me straight in the eye. "No, Kyle, no." He said with vehemence. "You were wonderful."

"Well, then.. how did you..." I started saying.

"No." He cut me off. "You just know sometimes, somehow, that it's someone's first time. That doesn't mean you performed badly. You were wonderful." He kissed me softy to emphasize that. "Thank you."

"For what?" I replied, puzzled. He hadn't even come... yet. I added.

"For sharing your first time with me." He kissed me again and drew me to the hollow of his throat. "Get some sleep now, I'll teach you more about love later."

Love? What did he know about love? But I quelled the rebellious thoughts and just snuggled up to him. Inhaling the wonderful smell of his sweat. He was right, I was exhausted from all the emotions I had to go through this day. I curled up deeper against the warm length of the man I love.

This is it. I realized. The ache in my chest was gone. Instead, inside was a warm feeling of contentment. Happiness. I feel the safest I've ever felt, wrapped in his arms. I feel... complete. My eyes were starting to droop. My lips moved against the strong column of his neck... I love you, Shawn. I fell asleep.

Safe. I dug deeper into the warmth. It's safe now. I'm home...

Fingers lightly stroked my head, drawing appreciative murmurs from my throat. I caressed the warm mountain beneath my cheek, going lower with each stroke... and… Encountered a hard cock.

My eyes snapped open. "Shawn!" I tried to leap out of the bed as fast as I could.

Shawn tightened his grip around me, though. "Shhh shhh, Kyle, it's okay." His worried eyes meeting my frightened ones.

I relaxed under that patient hand stroking my back. "Shawn..." I began.

"Kyle, don't you dare say you're sorry." Shawn said, bringing his arms from around me to cup my face. "Last night was special. Special for you... and for me too."

I couldn't help it. I'm usually not this much of a crybaby, but why was he being so kind? My vision blurred as tears began spilling over my eyes again. A few moments from now, he'll walk out the door to Erin and never come back again. FUCK.

"Kyle...?" Shawn sat up in the bed and took me in a bone-crushing hug. "Kyle... please... what's wrong. It's not me? Is it?"

I didn't know whether to shake my head or nod it. It was him, but it was also me... and Erin. It was all wrong.

"Kyle, I'll never hurt you. Kyle stop crying, for godsakes, and just tell me. I'll do whatever it takes to just fix it up and make you happy." Shawn was holding me at arm's length now and shaking me gently.

"This." I said under my breath.

"This?" Shawn repeated, still puzzled.

You big oaf! I yelled at him inside my mind, doesn't this seem just a teeny bit WRONG to you?

"THIS!" I gripped his arms and slid it off my shoulders. I stood up and walked over towards the windows. I was still naked, but the windowsill started at midbelly, affording me privacy. I stared through the curtains at the "Normal" people and their families getting ready for another Tuesday. Oh, what I wouldn't give for an ordinary life like that!

"Kyle..." To my surprise, Shawn's voice from behind me broke slightly.

I turned back to see Shawn crying. The sight of such a perfect creature in pain was too much to bear, and this time it was I who rushed back to his side and hugged him as tightly as I could. "Shawn... hush... we can't... both... cry together!" I said between sobs.

"Who says we can't? Kyle, What happened last night was incredible for me. And.. and... I..." Shawn was blubbering. God, he still was so cute. "I know you're not gay, and I am." My mind whirled around at what he was saying. Me?!! Not gay?!! "I'm a freak, Kyle. But I can't help it. I'm gay and I love you, Kyle." He grabbed me and pulled me to him, kissing desperately. He pulled back crying harder. "Kyle, I'm sorry. So sorry, I love you. I've loved you since I saw you walk down that beach." He stepped out of the bed and started pulling his pants back on. "I'm sorry if I disgust you. You'll never hear from me again. I'm sorry. Just remember that I will always love you."

I was positively reeling at the impact of his words... He loved me? But... Erin! How could he? I was hopping mad now. This bastard will just turn his back on a wonderful woman like Erin for me? No. No, I couldn't have that on my conscience. I can't love a fucking coward who uses women to cover up their own imperfections. I grabbed Shawn's arm roughly. "Shawn!"

He stopped struggling with his pants and turned to look at me, a look of abject despair was on his face. It made me ache to just wrap my arms around him and comfort him but I steeled myself. This has to be done. "What about Erin?! You're just going to fucking dump her just like that? Erin deserves much more than that, and I fucking deserve much more than - "

I stopped short as I realized his expression had shifted from the earlier total defeat. Not into one pleading for forgiveness, as I expected, but into wide-eyed incredulity and the beginnings of mirth. "Erin? You can't possibly think...?"

"Oh." was all I could say as I absorbed the implications of his reaction. His grin slowly widened as he too realized the reason I had been afraid all along.

"Erin?!" He started chuckling. Not at me, but at both of us. "Erin is my half-sister!"

"Oh." was all I could muster from my suddenly vastly depleted vocabulary.

"But..." his expression darkened again. "This doesn't change anything right? You're still straight and I took adva-"

This time, it was I who was smiling. "I'm gay, Shawn."

"-ntage..." his words dwindled as my words sank in. "You're...? but then do you...? I mean...?"

His expression was so comically bewildered that I just pulled him down over the bed and kissed him upside down. His pants were still halfway up his knees and his dick jumped up at the kiss. I reached over and stroked it slowly as our mouths made love. I pulled away and went over to his side of the bed, laying my naked half over his and forming our whole at last. I gazed deeply into those eyes that I loved so much. "Yes, Shawn. I'm gay and I love you."

He let out a stream of the filthiest curses I've ever heard in my entire life. "Seems like we'd both been running scared all this time, huh?" His eyes crinkled as he smiled then pulled me down hard on his mouth for the longest kiss ever. Gasping for breath and laughing like kids, he told me again with a honesty that broke my heart all over again... "I love you, Kyle."

"And I love you Shawn," I replied, "Even though you suck at Command & Conquer."

"Aww... that's the sweetest thing I've ever heard." Shawn laughed. "Don't forget your cock." He said laughing harder. "I also suck your cock, Kyle."

"Naw, it's my turn now." I smiled slyly as I slid down his powerful torso and followed the treasure trail of springy hair down to where his cock was standing to attention. I felt its heat brush up against my chin and I bent down to take it into my mouth. This is Shawn. I told myself. My Shawn. And I'm Shawn's Kyle. I tasted the salty, velvety texture of his skin. Inhaling the unmistakable scent of manhood, I worked my tongue inside his foreskin and slowly licked the smooth crown of his cock. His cock head swelled even larger and burst past the constricting foreskin. I moaned, as I tasted the first few droplets of pre-cum oozing from his piss-slit. "Take it down your throat, Kyle." Shawn encouraged me.

I slid it farther inside my mouth. I gagged as it hit my uvula. Shawn groaned. "Oh yes, Kyle. Just let it slide down slowly. Don't hurry. You'll gag. Down your throat, Kyle." He groaned louder as I followed his instructions. His dick had now grown to a full 8 inches. The heat of him... The indescribable flavor and the velvety skin pressing around the cavern of my mouth was heaven. I slowly slid him out again only to take him down farther into my throat. "Stop, Kyle. I want you to take me."

He pulled me from his dick. I lingered a little and kissed the shining red head of his saliva-coated cock. He went over to my bedside desk and was rummaging for something when he stopped. He looked back at me slyly and held up his underwear.

"Hey!" I made a move to grab it from his hand.

He deftly kept it out of reach. "When did you get this?" His eyes twinkling mischievously

"Well..." I looked down at my feet blushing furiously.

"Hey." His voice turned gentle again. He scooted over and lifted my chin up to look at him. "I'm not judging you Kyle. In fact, it makes me feel much better. It proves you loved me enough to steal my dirty underwear." He laughed at that.

I shifted uneasily on my knees. "And it's kinda cute... and kinky as hell." He added, chuckling at the thought. I hit him with a pillow and renewed my efforts to retrieve his briefs.

"Stop, stop. Uncle!" Shawn cried out as I mercilessly got him into a vise grip. I noticed with relief however that he didn't even threaten to tickle me to make me stop. He knows I hate that. My heart melted all over again and I relaxed my grip. I started kissing him instead. "Wait." he told me and then draped his own underwear over his mouth! He inhaled. "Mmm..." then started giggling again. I leaned over and kissed him through the thin cloth faintly stinking of piss and his manhood. "I love you, Kyle." He said as he pulled me away and stood up. Gently folding the briefs back into the drawer, he patted it lovingly... "A memento, Kyle. I'll treasure this forever." He chuckled, but his actions showed that he was probably just half-joking.

"Oh wait, I forgot." His massive dick sticking up on his belly waggled crazily as he turned around on his heel. "Where do you keep your lube?"

"Lube?" I echoed blankly.

Shawn slapped his forehead. "Oh yeah, virgin. I forgot." Brightening up again, he turned to me. "Do you have any butter?"

I stood up and ran to the kitchen. I carried over the half tub of butter I found to him. "Am I going to be fucking your ass?" I asked him.

"Yes, love, but only if you want to."

"No shawn, it's YOUR ass." I chuckled. "Would you want me to?"

"More than anything in the world." He said as he drew me down into the bed. He took a fair amount of butter in his fingers and slathered it all over my throbbing cock. "Here..." He indicated the tub of butter. I dipped my fingers and scooped out a helping. "Here, love." He said, drawing my hand over to his butt. He guided my fingers to the puckered lips hidden between his smooth cheeks. As i came in contact with his hot anus, he trembled with suppressed desire. He continued guiding my hands as I coated the outside with a slick film of butter. All the while, he held my gaze, reassuring me, showing me the intense pleasure he was experiencing from my ministrations. He separated two butter-covered fingers from my hand and slowly pushed it inside him. The moist heat inside his asshole felt awesome. I tried to cover the insides evenly with butter while he squirmed and groaned with pleasure.

Finally he withdrew my fingers and proceeded to kneel on the bed. The dragon tattoo on his back stretched out and seems to spread its wings as he held his lovely ass up in the air for me. I now took note that the dragon's tail indeed coiled through the light dusting of hair on his ass furrow and formed a small loop at the end around his anal opening. I felt a brief flare of jealously at the thought of the anonymous tattoo artist. I suppressed it instantly. what's important is that Shawn is mine now. And as if to prove that, I couldn't help but bend down and stick a tongue down that pink hole.

Shawn bellowed and pushed back on my mouth. "Not now, Kyle!" He moaned. "I'll teach you rimming later. Your cock, I need you cock, love."

I shrugged and wiped away the butter sticking on the sides of my mouth. The smell was as expected... but somehow more pleasant. This was Shawn's asshole and that fact alone would make it smell like the sweetest flowers and taste like the sweetest honey on earth to me. I slowly braced myself on his ass cheek as I guided my cock into Shawn's waiting portal. My cock slid in easily, eliciting a groan of pleasure from Shawn. His sphincter muscles suddenly rippled in spasms, massaging my dick, and it was my turn to gasp. Leaning over and kissing Shawn's sweaty back, I started pumping slowly into Shawn's hot hole. I reached down and grasped his magnificent dick as I moved majestically in and out of Shawn. I began to move faster and faster. Keeping my hand on Shawn's dick in rhythm with my pumping. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and gently bit Shawn's shoulder just as I spurted my load inside him. Shawn gasped and spent his own seed at almost the same time, his beautiful cock pulsing against my now drenched hands.

We collapsed on top of each other. Breathing heavily, I turned him over and offered him his own cum dripping from my fingers. He smiled at me with a love that made my heart jump around and dance jigs. He reached out with his mouth and licked my proffered hand. He then pulled me down and kissed me. Letting me taste his own essence for the first time.

We both called in sick that day. We made love two more times in the next 2 hours. He finally consented and took my cherry on our fifth round of steamy sex... and love. He asked me later if I liked being top best. He explained it laughingly, as his question just drew a blank expression from me. I just shook my head and hugged him closer. "We'll take turns." He seemed content with that and just hugged me tighter. His face telling me that I have finally found what I had been looking for all these years...


"Stop that, you two!" Erin hit us with a small volley of grapes. "You're making me jealous."

We pulled away from each other and I rubbed my nose where a grape had taken a direct hit. Shawn looked over at me and grinned sympathetically. "Hey look, Air! A mermaid." Shawn pointed out behind her to the sea.

Erin immediately turned to look back by instinct. Shawn dropped a sweet peck on my hurt nose as she was looking away. We both burst out laughing. Erin glared, embarrassed at having been fooled by her half brother (who, by the way, is 3 years younger than her, at 24), let loose another volley of grapes.

"Quit it, Air. Pretty soon, we won't have any left to eat." I protested.

Erin scowled. "Serves you both right." She abruptly switched to a comically sweet expression, "You two do look cute together, though." She admitted.

I still wonder at how alike these two are. They had the same mannerisms, the same mobile expressions, and as it turned out, the same mother. I shook my head in wonder at how I hadn't seen that from the beginning.

Shawn and I had been going steady for three months now. He moved in with me that very same Tuesday we swore our love for each other. Am I happy? You betcher ass I'm happy. Giddy. Euphoric. Ecstatic, more like it.

Erin was taking out the surprise dessert from the basket. Three gaily decorated chocolate muffins that Shawn baked yesterday. He had festooned each with a caricature our faces and a squiggly text of our names in icing. Shawn accepted his with a beam of pride, while both Erin and I grimaced at each other and laughed as she handed over mine. His depiction of my face looked particularly horrible (especially since I was an artist and knew exactly how horrible it really was) so I immediately bit out that cartoon head off the muffin.

"Ow!" I grasped my jaws, dropping the muffin into the picnic blanket. I bit something hard, something really hard. I pulled out the hard object still covered with chocolate. "Have you been baking these on rocks, Shawn?" I demanded.

Shawn just grinned and motioned at the object. "What?" I demanded again, puzzled. He just wrinkled a cute nose at what I was holding. I looked over at Erin, expecting some help, but she instead avoided my eyes and was stifling a giggle.

I just sat there holding the lump of rock-hard chocolate in my hand, blankly staring back and forth at the two of them.

Finally, Shawn exploded with a laughing, "Oh hell! Here, lemme..." He plucked it from my hand and popped it into his mouth. Sucking it clean he spit it out again on my outstretched palm.

I stared dumbly at the simple golden band lying there.


I looked up to meet Shawn's amazing blue eyes. He stood up and dropped back down again on one knee, "Kyle, I love you, will you marry me?"

"Oh Shawn, I love you so much." I threw my arms around him, tears of happiness threatening to spill from my eyes. "Yes, of course. YES!"

We drew each other together for a long, sweet kiss, only one of the gazillions that would spice up the rest of our lives together from now on.

"Aaaawwwwww... Hell!" Erin muttered in disgust.

We scarcely even felt it as the whole bunch of grapes rained down on us.

"I'll come back later. I've GOT to find me a boyfriend!" Erin yelled back at us as she trudged back to the pick-up.

We didn't hear her, of course.

Happiness... Finally...


Lemme know whatcha think, ok? :)

Email me



By Hylas



This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is ONE HECK OF A COINCIDENCE! LOL. Really.

This work contains homosexual themes. If you're not gay, but would like to read about our lives anyway, go ahead! LOL. You may not like what you read though... on the other hand, you might like it... which leads to a whole new set of complications lol. Just remember, acceptance or even just tolerance is all we ask. Thank you.

You may give copies of this work to your friends as long as everything inside the file remains AS IS. You may not alter any part of this document aside from minor corrections (grammar, spelling... heck! Font and color, lol). You may print this out for private usage or to give away as long as NO PROFIT IS DERIVED FROM IT and the text remain unchanged. Please ask permission from the author first before inclusion in printed material, inclusion in anthologies, or posting this in another site though. Please include my email in all copies of this story.


It was going to be today. Shit! I have a really bad feeling about it but I've promised myself and I won't back out. Can't back out. Fuck...

I swore I'd do this today, because if I don't, I probably never will. It's my last chance. I know I don't want to, but I NEED to do this while I still have some courage in me. I need to do this today, because I know it won't be long before my silence will finally defeat me. Won't be long before I'll be rendered mute for life.

I know I wouldn't be able to stand another day of darkness. Another day of hiding... To know I had another chance and the strength and I wasted it would haunt me all my life. I had no choice. I WILL do it today.

Oh God, I can hardly think of anything else.

A sitcom was on the TV downstairs. A good one. Hilarious, judging from the laughter coming from the living room. Funny, it seemed so far away. Another night and I would have been down there with them, laughing my guts out. Not tonight. I couldn't face happiness tonight. Couldn't face laughter when in a few more minutes I would probably be denied even the simplest joys.

Sighing softly, I closed my eyes and hugged my pillow tighter. I've been like this all day. Almost catatonic. Staring at the walls, sleeping, trying my best to bolster up my courage. I tried surfing the net for articles, stories, blogs... anything. I tried researching more about myself, tried imaginary dialogues, tried figuring out their reactions beforehand... None of it seemed to work. At the end of the day, I felt just as apprehensive as I did this morning. I really think I'm not ready for this...



It was going to be today. I WILL not hide anymore. I'm eighteen and I'm sick of the years of utter loneliness. Forgodsakes, I AM a teenager with all the longings and angst of one. All the desires that have never been completely fulfilled. All the frustrations that have never seen the light of day. Bottled up until I feel like I'm going to explode.

I've already missed the best years of my life. Not one single romance, just an unconfessed love and the wavering belief that my life couldn't be this cruel. Something beautiful must have been reserved for me somewhere. I was grasping at straws, desperate, but it was hope. I can live with it as long as the smallest flame of hope still burns within me.

Yet I know that hope untended will die eventually. This is my only shot at true happiness. In everyone's life there is a time to risk everything, and my time is today. I'm risking the single warmth in my life for the chance of daylight... or eternal darkness.

Oh God.

I was trembling faintly as I turned around and picked up my single most prized possession lying on my bed. A photograph of Cliff and me from last year, goofing off at our class field trip.

Cliff Stuart, my bestfriend for ten years and the object of my deepest longings for five. Cliff... the person who made me realize what I was, who I was, and where my life is going. The person who opened my heart and locked away my soul. But no, I've never regretted loving him. I can only regret the fact that I may not be what he wanted. He held the keys to my prison, whether he frees me or not is entirely up to him. I had nothing over him.

I tenderly traced his outline with my fingers. Gaining strength from the brilliant smile on that handsome face. His gray eyes that could turn stormy with anger or sparkle silver with amusement. Those dimples that made him look impish, even with his 6'2" linebacker's build. The sound of his laughter - a deep throaty chuckle that escalated to an almost thunderous guffaw. His hands messing up my hair in the picture...

I love you, Cliff.

Incredibly, a small smile began to spread on my own face. It felt strange. Out of place. Almost like it was the first time I've smiled again in eons. But there it was, a real honest-to-goodness smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.

Puzzling over the simplest expression of joy, I was struck with a realization. Cliff! I can take whatever comes my way as long as he'll be there! I know he'll be there. God wouldn't take that from me. Surely, he wouldn't be that cruel.

I nearly broke into hysterical giggles. YES! I've found my anchor. I've had him all these years! NOW I'm ready.

I still couldn't help but flinch as a soft knock came through my locked door.

"Rick?" My younger sister Katie's voice.

"Yeah?" My voice was scratchy. I think it was the first word I've spoken all day.

"Dinner." Without waiting for my reply, I heard her head back downstairs to join the rest of the family.

Wiping the smile off my face, I brought the picture up to my lips quickly. Kissing it for strength.

"I love you, Cliff." I whispered quickly before I stood up and opened the small hidden compartment in the desk beside my bed. My hand brushed aside the jumble of porn movies and magazines that were a part of every teenager's treasure trove. Only thing is, my porn were not exactly normal. They only featured guys for one thing.

My porn reflected my own weakness. My shame.

I was gay.

I ignored the rush of self-loathing that rose unbidden from within, and carefully replaced Cliff's photograph among the deepest secrets of my soul. My fingers lingering over the smooth side of the picture, imagining his smile again...

"Rick!" My mom called from downstairs. "You're food's getting cold."

I let go and closed the hidden compartment, feeling a bit of the confidence leave me as I did so. I breathed in deeply a few times before starting for the door.

Today we'll see how much God loves me.

I could hear my sister bickering with my younger brother Carl as I reached the bottom of the stairs. Mom was hushing them up as I rounded the corner and entered the dining room. Beef and mushrooms, cheese macaroni, and potatoes. Normally, with that fare, I'd be fighting with my younger siblings over who gets the biggest share... but not now. I wasn't really even hungry, even though I had skipped lunch and only had three pieces of french toast for breakfast.

I slid into my seat and helped myself to the meal. Carefully taking only very small portions.

"Is that all you're going to get?" My sister asked curiously as I took my first bite.

I nodded.

"Can I have the rest of the mushrooms, Mom?"

"Shut up, Katie. You're a girl. You shouldn't eat that much." My brother butted in, already helping himself to the last slab of beef and mushrooms on the dinner tray.

"Mom!" For a moment, Katie looked like she would actually grab my brother's plate away from him. Thankfully, she just let out an exasperated sigh when my father sent a warning look over their way. That didn't stop her from glaring daggers at my brother, though. At least she did it quietly; I really didn't need their constant squabbling to foul up my parents' moods tonight.

Mom took advantage of the momentary peace to talk to Dad about getting Katie and Carl a new PC each. The fact that there were only two computers in the house and that I had sole access to one of them had been a sore point between my younger siblings. They were always fighting over who gets to use the other computer and my Mom had had enough of it.

I tried to keep track of the conversation but found out I just couldn't. My thoughts keep wandering over how I was going to say it. Where would I start? How would they take it?

Homosexuality had never been discussed deeply in my family. Sure we had discussions on politics, the environment, drug abuse, the war, even the fucking women's lib! But homosexuality? Nah. The topic was always skirted around when it came up. That one time I'd deliberately brought up the topic, my brother had dismissed it with some rude remarks about 'fags', my sister just laughed at the 'disgusting homos', and both my parents just issued us warnings about 'those people', hinting along the lines of STD's, plague carriers, and abominations before changing the subject.

Not exactly encouraging is it?

It fucking nearly killed me the first time, that's what! My family were an intelligent, liberal people, and I had more than hoped that homosexuality was something they'd be open minded about... god was I wrong! It was a few years back, on what would have been my original 'coming out' date. Hearing them talk like that about 'fags' was like hearing them make fun of me. ME! Every single word degrading what little confidence I had built up that day. Every single fucking word had driven another fucking nail down my coffin. Every single fucking word had pushed me deeper into the darkness I now find myself in.

I had lost my courage then, but I will not lose my courage again tonight!

Still... what makes me think they'll be more receptive tonight? Nothing has really changed, has it?

The feeling of impending doom grew stronger until I found myself actually holding my breath as I dealt with the rush of pain.

Oh God. I dropped the knife back to my plate as I lost all traces of my appetite.

"Rick, are you alright?" My mom asked.

I could feel all of their gazes on me as I stared down at my hardly touched plate. Longing suddenly for a release from this uncertainty, I decided to get it over with, there and then. I took a deep breath as I raised my head to meet their eyes.

Here goes nothing...

"I'm gay."

A fork hit the edge of a plate with a clatter. Then silence. A heavy, charged silence that made me think of the calm before the storm. Silence pregnant with promise of chaos.

And I knew.

I've lost them. Like a distant angry swarm of bees gradually approaching, I could feel what was coming. I knew what was coming.


All hell broke loose.

I was seeing it all through a curiously dreamlike haze. My mom crying, my dad shouting angrily at me, my sister looking bewildered, my brother trying to comfort mom while avoiding my gaze... I just sat there, detached. It all seemed so... unreal. Muted... Like I wasn't really part of the scene happening in front of me anymore. Not my world.

"...the fuck did we ever go wrong with you? How could you have done this to us, you ungrateful bastard! I don't have a faggot son! I'll never have..."

I've never seen my father this mad before, I realized as I watched his face contort in his screaming. The face that had lent me its features. The genes that had given me a naturally muscular build, even though I dislike sports with passion. My father...

Not my world... anymore.

I felt the first cold fingers of despair wrap themselves around my heart. The dreamy detachment held, but I suddenly felt an overwhelming sadness as I let go of another of my dreams.

My family.


Dad finally stopped screaming at me and helped mom stand up. I was half expecting him to hit me or something. Christ, I WANTED him to hit me! To give me a reason to hate him. To hate them. To channel this hatred away from myself. He just shot me a look of awful disdain before he led her quietly to their room, rubbing her shoulders in comfort as she continued sobbing uncontrollably. Seems like junior failed to live up to his namesake, eh? I watched it all in silence. My sister got up and followed them. My brother shot me a disgusted look that somehow failed to wound me more than I already was. Ominously silent, he followed them a short while later.

I was left alone in the dinner table. The plates of food staring forlornly back at me. Alone...

But then, I had already been alone even before the moment the words passed my mouth. Come to think of it, I had always been alone.

"...could you have let your own son turn gay?!"

"Me?! I've always made the point of talking to him, forgodsakes! It's not like I was an absent father!"

"Well, you could've been a bit more heavy-handed, he's turned into a fucking pansy!"

"That was his fucking mistake, Martha. Look at Carl! Carl is still normal, isn't he? That kid just fucking decided he'd..."

An hour passed unnoticed. Two. I tuned out the sounds of arguing in my parents' room while I stared at nothing.

Is this it?

"Rick." I looked up to see my brother. It hurt to see him obviously keeping his distance from me, like I was the carrier of some highly contagious disease or something. Homosexuality was probably worse in his book. Doctors can cure a disease, but nobody can cure a fag.

It wasn't only that, his whole attitude had changed imperceptibly as well. He was only three years younger than my 18 but it was as if my revelation had left him a great deal older.

The reason, I assumed, was that he was technically the eldest son in the family now. Being gay meant I couldn’t even be considered male. He was already assuming the mantle of responsibility from my own obviously unfit shoulders.

"Rick." He said again, with more force. Anger. "Dad thinks you should stay with Aunt Maggie tonight."

I nodded meekly. Too emotionally drained to disagree.

"Here's money for the bus fare." He didn't even hand it to me. He just set the bills down on the table before leaving without another word.

Goodbye Carl.

Goodbye Katie, goodbye Mom, goodbye Dad.

Goodbye Home.

I stood up dazedly. I grabbed the money from the dinner table before hurrying out to the front door. My mind had blanked out from all the pain. I felt like the time when I had broken my arm and had had to be anesthetized before they could set my bones. Not oblivious, but not fully awake either. Not pleasant, not painful, but numb. All over.

The front door clicked shut quietly behind me. The cool air outside cleared my head somewhat and the full brunt of what just happened hit me.


I hadn't even thought to stop and pack some things. I had to get out of here. I desperately didn't want to, but it wasn't in my hands. Never was. They didn't want me here, what right do I have to question that?

I would never, EVER, force myself on anyone who wouldn't want me. For even I would turn myself away, if given the chance. Even I am disgusted at my own obvious perversion. My abnormality. I could never demand acceptance. I can only take what was tossed my way, like a scrap of meat to a mangy stray mongrel. I didn't have any fucking right to demand for anything in this world. Everything that I am, is wrong. Ethically, spiritually, politically, biologically... I was a mistake. God just had the cruelest sense of humor, sometimes.

They're better off without me anyway.

Tears were streaming down my cheeks, blurring the streetlamps into starbursts of light; pale yellow flowers that illuminated the darkness of the suburban night. I started down towards the sidewalk and made my way to the bus stop. Keeping my head down, not really to hide my tears but more because I was ashamed of everything that I was.

It was still a good two blocks away when the overcast starless night sky suddenly opened up and started pouring. I was drenched before I even realized it was raining.

I didn't need this. Why can't something go right for a change?!

I started running. Not knowing where to. Not knowing why. Just running. The hollow sound of my shoes hitting the pavement, echoing in the streets. The bus stop forgotten as I vented my frustrations on exerting my body as hard as it would go. I dimly noticed other people steering clear from my path. Pedestrian lanes be damned, I crossed whenever I wanted. I ran.

As I sprinted yet another block in what seemed like Olympic time, it dawned on me. I was running away from myself. From this world. From this life.

A loud continuous blaring filtered through my trance. I looked up to see onrushing headlights and I barely leapt back in time before the car rushed past me, mere inches from the tips of my toes.

Trembling and soaking wet, I came to my senses. I had almost died.

People, especially people my age, seldom dwell on the real implications of death. I mean, I have thought of death. I had considered myself ready for it, but actually coming face to face with death. I found myself strangely thankful to still be alive.

I slowly made my way back to the sidewalk, still panting heavily. The overload of adrenaline leaving me weak.

Did I really want to die?

Suicide was an old topic to me. I have thought of it a lot ever since I found out I was gay, but then I realized, what's the point? True, it would have been nice to have everyone feel guilty for once. But that just wasn't enough reason. Sure, my life was hell. Even more so now that I knew my family's reaction. But... suicide?

I had never been religious. God certainly wouldn't have anything to do with people the likes me. Gays. Faggots. Sodomites. Sinners from the day we were born. Destined for damnation for just trying to be happy. What will suicide accomplish? An express ticket to eternal torment, that's what.

But then again...

Life is hell. When I die, suicide aside, I would probably still be going to hell. I mean, a God that burns cities of people just because of sexual orientation wouldn't actually permit someone like me to taint his paradise now, would he?

Living, killing myself, dying.


What's the point? I can't run away. There really was no escape.

Still, being alive is better, I convinced myself. At least I had choices.

Suddenly feeling ancient, I gathered my wits and looked around. I dimly marveled at my brief moment of madness, I had ran through half the town it seemed. I found myself in the park. A good distance from any of the bus stops that would take me along the route to Aunt Maggie's.

I didn't care. I really didn't want to beg asylum in a relative's house like a discarded piece of luggage anyway. Besides, knowing Aunt Maggie, she'll probably throw me out too.

I zeroed in on a deserted park bench and took a seat. The pounding rain had trickled to an almost unnoticeable drizzle, but it had grown colder. I only had the clothes off my back and their wetness only aggravated the chill. I sat shivering until the rain finally stopped. Realizing that the money I had with me wouldn't be enough to get a room somewhere, I began to seriously rethink my plans. Not that I had any in the first place. But unless I wanted to die of hypothermia, I needed a plan.

I cursed myself for not thinking ahead enough and saving some money for a situation like this. I guess, I was afraid that preparing for the worst would actually summon the worst like some godforsaken demon in an arcane ritual. But where did that leave me now?

I cursed myself more for having left the house without anything. True, I honestly didn't want my books, my hobbies, my clothes, the little bits and pieces holding memories that accumulate in one's life... but I desperately needed Cliff's picture right now. I needed to see his face.



Their house was only about four blocks away from here! Without hesitation, I stood up and started in the direction of the Stuarts' residence. The rain had stopped and the clouds had retreated to reveal a swathe of stars in the night sky.

The air was warmer, the shadows friendlier, and it seemed as if the stars were all twinkling just for me. I quickened my pace as I got nearer. Cliff! All the problems earlier seemed suddenly insignificant as my heart started singing. Cliff... Cliff will be there for me.

I was smiling again as I pushed through the little gate in their front yard. I was greeted by King, the family dog as I mounted the porch steps quietly.

"Hey buddy." I knelt and gave King an affectionate scratch on the head. I felt curiously lightheaded at the innocent act. Something I'd done millions of times before without ever feeling the way I did now.


Here was someone who didn't care what I was. Someone who loved me for all the frisbees, the dog biscuits, the belly scratches... and didn't give a damn if I was gay, straight, or castrated. Here was someone who really accepts me. I gave in to the sudden welling of tenderness from within me and hugged King tightly for a good minute. King, in his usual bumbling dog temperament didn't even blink at the display of affection. He didn't even mind my drenched state, and damn, it felt good to be hugging someone warm again.

"I love you, King." I declared as I drew back. The perpetually sad eyes just stared back at me. Tongue lolling happily in his version of a smile, making me grin back. "Be good, bud." I gave him one last pat before standing up to ring the doorbell.

A few moments later, a bleary eyed Cliff was opening the door. He didn't even get the door halfway open before I leapt into his arms in a desperate hug.

"Oof." Cliff's eyes widened with shock as I grabbed his midsection and held on for life. He started struggling as he looked down frantically at me. Recognizing me after the moment of panic, he let his guard drop and just hugged me back.

It felt so wonderful to be in his arms. I fervently wished I could just merge with him and be with him forever, to become a part of his life. I could feel his heartbeat beside my face, still racing from the shock of the unexpected hug. The pleasant smell of his sweat drifting from his pajamas. The indescribable comfort of his hands slowly running up and down my back.

We just stood there hugging for what seemed like eternity before King came sniffing between us. He started lapping Cliff's bare toes causing him to jump away giggling.

"Stop it, King." Cliff reprimanded the grinning german shepherd. "You got your own house, out!" Chuckling, he shooed the reluctant King back outside and closed the door softly.

"We need to talk." I blurted out as he turned back to me.

"Yeah, I can see that. Jesus, you scared the hell out of me!" Cliff's concern showed through the easygoing smile on his face. I wanted to hug him again, but I restrained myself when I noticed the wet patches in his pajamas from my own drenched clothes. He followed the direction of my gaze and laughed. "My parents are asleep, but you know you're always welcome to stay here. Come on, we'll find something drier."

I took off my muddy shoes and socks and set them beside the doorjamb. Meekly, I let him shepherd me towards his room, trying my best not to drip too much on the living room carpet. As he closed the door quietly behind us, he went straight to his closet and rummaged around for a set of clothes.

"Here." He said, tossing me a towel. "Take a hot shower, then we can talk."

I caught the towel and headed toward the adjoining bathroom. Before I entered the room, I paused and murmured awkwardly "Cliff?"

"Hm?" He said not looking up from sorting through his hopelessly messy closet.

"Thanks." I said, blushing. "I mean it."

He looked up at me and smiled warmly. "No problem, Rick. Now go get your dirty ass cleaned off."

The stinging needles of water hitting my body felt awesome. Steam rose quickly from the bathroom tiles, misting the mirrors set around the stall and enveloping me in a cloud of warmth. A few minutes under the spray and I started feeling human again. I turned off the shower and lathered soap on myself. Rubbing fiercely, almost as if I wanted to clean away all traces of sadness that lingered within me. Washing away everything that went wrong with my earlier tonight. I took my time enjoying the shower and pretty soon I found myself actually whistling a tune as I rinsed myself. Drying myself, I wrapped the towel around my waist and stepped out of the bathroom, feeling reborn.

"The clothes are on the bed, Rick." Cliff told me. He had already changed into drier clothes and was looking breathtakingly handsome as usual, perched on the swivel chair in front of his computer.

I quickly set about to dressing myself in his clothes. Cliff had seen me naked plenty of times before, and both of us never gave it much thought. And no, I wasn't sporting anything embarrassing. I've pretty much learned to control myself from the years of hiding. Nothing short of two men making out in front of me would make me betray myself.

Clean and warm once again, I sat down carefully on Cliff's tousled bed. Cliff was looking at me expectantly. I met his inquiring gaze but looked away almost immediately.

Here I am again, wondering where to start. Fuck. Cliff, I love you. I can't just say that now, can I? Cliff doesn't even know I'm gay... What if he...

I felt a dark cloud pass and I almost started crying again, but I stopped myself grimly and took a deep breath.

No. He's got to have feelings for me. All that kindness, the years we've been bestfriends, his unabashed touching, and the smiles he sends my way... I mean that's got to mean something, right? He's always been there for me. He wouldn't fail me now. He COULDN'T fail me now.

Because I wouldn't survive it if he did...

He was the sun in my sky. Every dark moment in my life dwindles to unimportance when I think of him, like shadows under sunlight. I love him so much. All this darkness has to have a dawn, right?

Please, God... all I'm asking is for him to love me back. I promise, I'll be good to him. I'll love him with all my heart. He'll never know a moment of pain again in his life. I'll treasure him... just... please, please let him be mine. Let me know what happiness is for once.

My mind was whirling as I grasped at whatever small reason, whatever small hope I had of this turning out alright. In a few moments, I will know what my future holds. In a few moments, I will have to bare my soul to the one person who can actually kill it.

"So?" I almost jumped out of my skin as he suddenly slid up beside me. "Jeez, you're jumpy. What happened to you?"

I met his earnest gray eyes for the second time and again looked away quickly.

"What is it? Been caught wanking off?" He gave a small chuckle.

I just sat up on the bed, breaking contact with his body.

Realizing it was really serious, Cliff scooted up to me and draped a comforting arm over my shoulder. "Hey..."

"Cliff... I just got kicked out of my house." There. Now he's going to ask why.

"Why the hell for?"

I kept silent as I fidgeted with the sheets. He gave a small sigh and dropped his arm from my shoulders. He stood up and headed for the door. "Let's talk on the porch, okay? I'm gonna get us some beer." He called back to me, already disappearing down the hallway.

Still barefoot, I got up stiffly and made my way back out to the porch. King was nowhere to be seen, he's probably already asleep in the doghouse. Taking a seat on the porch steps, I felt a little bit calmer as I drew in a lungful of the cold night air. The night sky was now totally devoid of all traces of the storm. The stars twinkling in familiar constellations as the full moon rose from behind the silhouette of houses and trees on the horizon. The sparkling freshness that always comes after a downpour was evident even on the moonlit surroundings. Everything felt... clean.

The front door opened behind me, Cliff sat down and handed me a can of beer. I opened it and quickly slurped down the froth that hissed out of the ice cold can. Nobody said anything as we sipped. We just sat there, shoulder to shoulder, watching the moon slowly free herself and rise majestically up the sky. I was acutely aware of everything around me, the chorus of crickets singing happily on the bushes in the lawn, some dogs barking at bogies in the distance, the wailing of a baby in one of the neighboring houses, and Cliff. We were barely even touching, but I could feel the heat of his body seeping towards my own, giving my tired soul a measure of relief. I loved him so much.

"Cliff." My voice was hardly a whisper. "Cliff, do you like me?"

"Huh?" His eyebrows shot up in bewilderment as he turned to look at me. "Do I like my bestbuddy? That doesn't even deserve an answer, Rick. You know I do."

Shit. Gotta backtrack a bit. "No... I mean... am I a likeable... er... good person?"

"Rick. You're evil incarnated. It's why I like you so much." He grinned, punching me playfully in the shoulders. But his expression grew more serious when I didn't respond to his teasing. "Okay, okay... You're a good guy, Rick. Sometimes even a bit TOO good. Remember when you set all the mice free from our science lab back in our sophomore year? You told me you felt bad about them being caged up and experimented on like that."

"Yeah. They ended up feasting on our class project. Ungrateful bastards." I laughed despite myself. "You didn't snitch on me though. Thanks."

"Heh. I'd never snitch on you, bud. Anyway, yeah, you're a good person. I'm saying that honestly. I wouldn't be surprised if you get canonized when you die." He chuckled.

A comfortable silence descended on us and I took the opportunity to lean against him. Cliff automatically draped an arm around my shoulder, pulling me tighter against him. Hugs and closeness were never a big thing for Cliff. I mean, most boys would rather punch each other blue and black than show real signs of affection, but Cliff... Cliff was special. He understood the value of hugs and he never hesitates to give one, gender be damned. It was why I was convinced that he was gay. Only gay guys are that sensitive, right?

He's got to be gay! Otherwise... I don't know... A sad sigh escaped my lips as I leaned my head against him.

Cliff broke the silence by resuming the earlier topic. "Which brings us back to the question - Rick, you're a saint. I really can't imagine why you'd get thrown out of your house." He took a long pull off his beer before asking. "So what did you do, Rick?"

I pulled away and met his calm gray eyes.

"Promise me..." I started then broke off. No, whatever his reaction it had to be totally his own. I can't make him promise to something he didn't even yet understand.

"Promise me what?"

"Never mind."

"You come in here drenched, literally accost a sleepy-eyed moi, tell me you just got booted out of your house... come on, dude. It's me!" He tousled my hair playfully.

"Umm.. yeah. I know, Cliff." I mumbled. "That's why it's difficult."

"That bad, huh?" He raised one eyebrow then sighed. "Okay. I promise I'll listen to every word first. That fair enough?"

"No. No promises." I shook my head. "Okay, I'll tell you. But no promises, alright? I need to know your honest reaction, anyway."

Cliff gazed at me in bewilderment then shrugged. "Okay."

Once again silence descended on us as we finished off our beers. It wasn't anymore a comfortable one, though. The apprehension that Cliff might not take my confession well was starting to get through to me, while Cliff was obviously worried as hell about me. His hand was lightly running up and down my back, eliciting shivers of comfort from me.

"Cliff..." I began. "Argh...Fuck this!" I crumpled the empty can of beer and tossed it into the trash bin beside the stairs. "I don't even know where to start!"

I can't do this with Cliff holding me! Despite all my senses screaming in protest, I stood up and climbed back up the porch. The wooden planks beneath my bare feet felt cold. Everything was cold, actually. Everything was cold away from Cliff. I faced the darkened window into the Stuarts' living room and leaned back against the porch railing. "Cliff, you've always been there. In my life, I mean."

"Doh. Of course." Came the muffled reply from the stairs.

"I don't know when it started, Cliff... but almost two years ago, I realized that..." My voice trailed off. I wasn't ready for this! Fuck! Why did I have to pick today to out myself?!!

"Realize what?"

"Cliff, you've got to understand this isn't a choice, okay? It's just what I am. So please don't blame me, okay?"

"Er... okay?" I heard Cliff give an exasperated sigh as he stood up. He climbed up unto the porch and stood leaning against a post. I could feel his eyes on me as he said, "Rick, you're not making any sense. Why not just say what you did wrong?"

"Everything." I answered without hesitation. I turned my back to him to avoid his scrutiny.

"That bad, huh? Just what does 'everything' mean exactly?"

I realized I was gripping the railing so tightly that my knuckles were turning white. I let them fall back down my side before replying, "Exactly that, Cliff. Everything."

He didn't reply so I pushed on, "My whole life, Cliff. It's a joke."

"It's not, okay? Just tell me whatever made you think that. Get it ov-"

"I love you." I whispered, barely loud enough for him to hear it.

"-er with... WHAT?!" I didn't turn around at his exclamation. I could already feel panic rising from within me like some nameless old god. "What the fuck, Rick?!"

"I love you, Cliff. If I could, I'd ask you to marry me."

"Are you insane?!' He sputtered. "You've got to be kidding, right? Come on. Stop fucking around. We need to sleep, ya know, we can't do this the whole night! This is supposed to be serious, dude. Just say it already."

"I really love you, Cliff." My eyes hurt, but I resisted the urge to rub them. Actually, my chest hurt more... this really wasn't going well. Not well, at all.

"Does that mean you're... you're a FAGGOT?" It wasn't really a question. I knew that he knew that too. I could hear the angry accusation in his voice. "RICK! Are you a FAG?!"

"Yes, I'm gay." I answered quietly.

A ringing silence descended at my words. A vast emptiness that seemed to stretch forever. A rift slowly opening. An abyss between me and the world I knew. Taking me away from all the things I've ever loved. Taking me away. "Cliff... please..." I couldn't stand it anymore and I found myself turning around to face him, tears already making their way down my cheeks.

Cold. The small flame of hope I had nurtured through all these years flickered momentarily at the sight of his eyes then died.

His eyes had gone a cold steel gray with anger. But that wasn't what hurt the most. It was the way he had taken a step away from me, his whole body poised for flight. It was the way his lips curled into a grimace, midway between a sneer and disgust. It was the words that came out of his mouth next: "Get the hell out of our house, faggot."

Cliff hates me.

Why? It wasn't supposed to be like this! No! Oh God... please, no! Not him.

It was too late, I knew. Too late...

Despair wrapped her frozen fingers around my heart and ripped it out of my chest. A bottomless pit yawned open from where my heart had beaten once. Emptiness so profound, a pain so sharp that I had to clench my teeth to stop from crying out. I think my knees gave way, because I found myself curled up tightly against the cold, hard planks.

"Did you hear me, fag?"

Emptiness resolutely advanced within me. I could feel parts of myself vanishing quietly in its wake.

"Ohmigod! FUCK! I can't believe I even let you touch me! You fucking, lying pervert!"

The threads linking me to this world broke off one by one as the vacuum spread and enveloped my senses.

Why me?

What have I done against you all?

Why me?

God, why had I been born?

I was a child again. Innocent, bewildered. Not understanding why I was different. Why I was unwanted. I didn't do anything wrong.

Why did it have to be me?

"..therfucking Piece of Shit! I'm calling the police if you don't get out of my..."

I felt myself withdrawing deeper. Following the hollow echo of despair's footsteps as she went deeper into my soul. I watched her gloat over my innermost self. Felt her reach her ugly hands and grab.

Inside my head, I started screaming.

"..don't ever want to see your freakface again or..."

There was no escape. Not in life. Not in death. No escape.

I struggled to free myself from her. Struggled to regain a foothold back into life.

I was screaming.

"...forget we were ever..."

She smiled.

I was screaming.

"...kill you, you underst..."

Strange, her smile was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The smile of despair. She rocked me gently in her arms as I continued struggling.

I was screaming.

"...get the fuck away from me, Rick, and don't, DON'T ever come back here again."

Goodbye, Cliff.

Hush now...

My screams faded into pitiful whimpers.

Hush now... I know a way out, child.

Despair leaned over and kissed my soul, taking away the last vestiges of myself with her.

At last, I was empty.

A warm breeze was stirring the blades of grass around us, creating ripples of silver in the vast green ocean of the prairie. A lone cloud sped past the impossible blue of the sky, looking remarkably like a sheep.

"Look, Rick." Cliff raised an arm to point at it. "I bet the shepherd’ll be coming along soon."

I laughed and snuggled closer against his warm chest, "My thoughts exactly."

A brief burst of his characteristic laughter sent down pleasant tremors against my cheek, then his hand resumed its earlier pastime of stroking my hair. "Rick?"

"Hm?" I replied dreamily, still on the lookout for the shepherd.

"I love you." He declared simply.

I smiled and turned my face towards his. "I know." I murmured but didn't add anything more.

The moment of silence stretched on as he obviously waited for me to say more. I stifled a giggle at his expression. Like a child expectantly waiting for ice cream. Only this time, the ice cream vendor is just a wee bit crueler than your usual ice cream vendor.

"Rick..." Cliff moaned. "Come on..."

I laughed then sat up and leaned over him. I held his gaze in mine before plunging down and kissing him softly on the lips. "Of course, I love you, Cliff. Don't ever doubt that."

"Mmhmm." He mumbled against my neck. He gave me a deeper kiss before pushing me away in mock anger. "You still take your time letting me know, though. I dunno... Sometimes I think you're an asshole."

"Oh my heart!" I gasped in mock pain. "You've wounded me. I think I'll have psychological scars forever! You... you... DICK!"

We collapsed together in laughter, our arms somehow finding their way around each other again. When our laughter subsided, we were back to our favorite position; my head resting on his chest, our arms around each other as we stare up at passing clouds.

"Interesting choice of words." Cliff remarked.

"Purely coincidental, I swear." I replied soberly. I successfully swallowed back another fit of giggles and I was once again dreamily enjoying the perfect day... with a decidedly idiotic grin plastered on my face.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a woman walking past us, probably mid-twenties, judging from her shapely curves. She was clad all in black with a veiled hat covering her features. I trained my gaze on her until she disappeared behind one of the countless grassy hills in the undulating landscape.


"Yeah, love?"

"Did you see her?"

"Yes, of course." He replied, unconcerned.

"Who is she?"

"Despair." He replied.

Despair... despair... why do I have the feeling that I should be feeling something at that word? It was there. Something dark that stepped back lithely just out of my reach. Something I wanted to remember and forget at the same time.


That way lies pain.

"Where's she going?"

"Oh, I dunno... reality, I guess." I didn't find anything strange at all with his answer, but something about MY reaction felt as if I really OUGHT to find something unusual about it. It made perfect sense, however... strange. Cliff plucked a single blade of grass and started tickling my ear with it.

"Stop!" I squirmed against him chuckling. "Stop it, or... or I'm never gonna kiss you today again!"

"Aww..." Cliff dropped the leaf quickly then gathered me tighter against him. Playfully, he rained a smattering of kisses against my nape before whispering gently against my ear, "I'm sorry."

I tried, but I still couldn't let go of the earlier topic, "She scares me."

Cliff turned me around against him, kissed me deeply, then held me against his neck. "Don't be. I'm here. I'm always here."

"I know that but..."

"She lets us stay here, Rick. So she can't be that bad."

"Huh? Really? Well then... we should thank her someday." I mumbled against the fragrant hollow of Cliff's neck.

"Nah. She's always busy. I think she already knows we're grateful, anyway."

"She must be a pretty nice lady." I whispered as I started licking the beads of sweat along Cliff's adam’s apple.

"Yeah, she is." Cliff replied, biting back a moan as I started to trail my kisses down his chest. "So... when do I get my next kiss?"


Nurse Sarah Hsien didn't quicken her pace despite the almost hysterical tone behind the voice.

"Nuuuuuurse!!! Quick!!"

She noticed a smudge of soot around one of the teacups. Frowning, she stopped the trolley as she daintily wiped it clean. Still taking her sweet time, she pushed open the door through Ward G. Without looking around, she immediately held up a warning finger.

"NUUR-" The wail that was about to issue from the throat of an elderly woman stopped abruptly at the sight of the warning finger.

"Good morning, Jessica!" Sarah greeted cheerfully before she turned her attention to filling one of the teacups from the thermos. "There, that's for you." She set it on the low table beside the woman's bed.

"Nurse..." The old woman's voice dropped down to a conspiratorial tone. "I think that boy is crazy. He was laughing at me again." She reached for the teacup with a rapid but surprisingly dexterous gesture. Not a single drop spilled as she brought it to her lips in one single swoop and took a measuring sip.

"Careful, it's still hot, Jessica." Sarah warned.

"He wants to be my boyfriend." Jessica whispered, ignoring Sarah's warning. "He wants to be my boyfriend but I already have a husband, Nurse! I have a husband! His name is Jonathan!"

"I know, Jessica. I know." Sarah replied soothingly.

With that, Jessica shot up from the bed, teacup and all, and rushed out of the room. Sarah already knew there were none, but her eyes still involuntarily searched the bed sheets and the hospital floor for any spilled drops of tea. Jessica never, EVER, spills her tea. One of the wonders of the asylum.

She turned her gaze unto the other occupant of the room.

And here was another, she told herself. Smiling dreamily on the bed was a handsome young man in his early twenties. Achingly handsome that it broke her heart every time she looked at him. What a waste.

Sometimes, she liked to imagine stories of how and why the guy got here. More often than not, it involved convoluted stories of cheating girlfriends, manipulative relatives, and hired gunmen. And always, always... it ends in tragedy that lands the poor man in an insane asylum.

She sighed sadly as she got up and brushed away a lock of brown hair that had fallen over the man's forehead. His eyes drifted open gently, like a child coming awake. They never did, though. Never awoke. As far as Sarah could tell, they never saw anything before them.

His eyes were a light brown that would have been ordinary in any other person's face. But on him, they were like flames burning in the distance on a cold, starless night. Beautiful. He was beautiful.

She sat down on Jessica's bed, facing him. She liked looking at him. True, she felt sorry for him most of the times; but when she was in the room with him, looking at him, she felt strangely... envious. The expression on the guy's face could only be described as happiness.

Happiness, in all its forms - contentment, bliss, love, freedom... it was all there. Staring at that expression on his face made Sarah feel like she should be the one pitying herself. The guy was obviously happy... wherever he is.

Sarah shook her head to clear her thoughts. Plenty of time to daydream when she takes him out for his thrice weekly walk later. For now, it's time to take care of business. She went over and started checking him for bedsores.

Written on the tag on his wrist was the only thing Sarah knew about this guy's past. His first name...



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