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*HJ*

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Everything posted by *HJ*

  1. *HJ*

    Chapter 1

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a review! You are correct in your assumption to assume that the grandmother was of no relation to Jake. The nightmares are actual memories. Jake was present when his parents were attacked. As for how he escaped, that will be revealed in later chapters. Once you are introduced to the world of night stalker and guardian in later chapters certain things will fall into place sooner rather than later. I will tell you that Jake has a very hard road ahead of him. He has an enormous amount of power at his disposal, but until he learns how to control that power it is more of a hindrance rather than a help. -Holly
  2. I'm back! Woo!

    1. MarcW

      MarcW

      welcome & hugs

    2. *HJ*

      *HJ*

      Thank you! *hugs back*

  3. *HJ*

    Damp Sunshine

    The summer before his senior year of high school, Jake is thrust into a dangerous world he had no idea even existed. Before his inheritance the only things Jake was overly concerned with was his strange dreams, and figuring out how to deal with being in love with his best friend. Now, saddled with a heritage that makes him the sole heir to both the Guardian and Night Stalker kingdoms, Jake learns that not everything is black and white, and the people he can trust are few and far in between.
  4. *HJ*

    Chapter 1

    The wet sand was cool against the soles of my feet as I stood next to the water's edge. There was not a cloud on the horizon. The warm rays of the sun beat down on my bare back, causing the skin of my shoulders to tingle pleasantly, and the coastal winds whipped my dark hair into my eyes. Farther up the beach, children played by the shoreline with their parents near them. The faint sounds of their laughter drifted pass my ears as I watched them stomp a sandcastle into oblivion. The two boys reminded me of Donovan and myself at that age. We had met on day similar to this on a beach that was much closer to home. I had been alone. My grandmother did not care enough to accompany me to the beach. When I first saw him, he was running hard and fast after a football his father had thrown. I had been sitting in the sand, content to watch their game play out, but Donovan had noticed my presence. He invited me to play, insisting I agree. I could not say no. "Jake," Donovan called from up the beach, and I snapped out of my reverie. We had been throwing a Frisbee earlier when Brea had rushed up demanding his attention, as usual. She was a beautiful girl with long tan legs and rich brown hair. She was all smiles where Donovan was concerned and seemed to be popping up much more frequently lately. Donovan had smiled politely when she plucked the Frisbee out of his hands, but I could tell by the tense set of his shoulders that he wasn't enjoying the interaction. She prattled on, and I waited for Donovan to call me over to all but shoo her away. I was always there to save him from unwanted suitors after all. The salty ocean air swirled in my nostrils. I jogged over to them. Brea eyed me closely as I approached. She raised one perfectly manicured brow and flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Hello, Jake," she greeted snidely. "Brea! What brings you the beach today?" I asked as I wrapped an arm around Donovan's shoulders. "Are you with friends?" A fake smile crept across her face as she looked back over to Donovan. She ignored my question. I rolled my eyes. "I've never played Frisbee before. Would you teach me?" She asked Donovan, batting her eyelashes at him. Donovan shifted uncomfortably at the request. "Maybe another time, Brea. We have to be getting back home. You know, long drive and all.” "Come on Casanova," I said. I pulled him toward the parking lot. Donovan laughed as we started making our way up the beach. Letting go of his shoulders, I broke into a run and challenging him to a race to the car. Sweaty and breathless we reached the jeep at the same time. We leaned against the hot metal of the vehicle, dragging in deep breaths. "Dude, I almost had you," Donovan said. The corners of my mouth ticked up as I shielded my eyes from the sun. A sharp spike of pain shot through my sides. I tensed momentarily, but Donovan didn't seem to notice. I shrugged it off and rolled my shoulders a couple of times. The pain dimmed and soon faded to nothing. I looked back over to Donovan. His smile was bright as I watched him grab his shirt from the backseat of the jeep. He tossed me my own before climbing into the driver's side. "You do realize that Brea is reaching super levels of stalkerdom, right?" I asked as I switched off the radio. "I'm trying my best to ignore that," Donovan grimaced. "Besides, she's harmless. Summer vacation just started. Eventually she will get bored and move on to the next guy with a six pack." "Or she could be building a shrine in her bedroom and stealing your personal belongings in the dead of night." Donovan looked over at me with a raised brow, and I grinned, going on further. "Didn't you say you were missing a pair of boxers?" "Jake, you have been watching way too many Lifetime movies, my friend." "You say that now, but just wait until she tries to enact a plan to hold you captive in her basement." We both laughed as he pulled out onto the freeway. The force of the wind whipping through the vehicle stunted the conversation. I slouched back in my seat and watched the coastline race by. Eleven years had passed since we first met, and we had just finished our junior year of high school. We would be seniors come the fall, and I was terrified. Come graduation day, I would be on my own. My grandmother had made it abundantly clear that I wasn't welcome after I was done with school. I was barely welcomed as it was. To this day it was a surprise she had allowed me to stay after I turned eighteen. I knew Donovan and his parents would take me in if I asked, but I didn't want to be a burden to them. A full ride to college was waiting on Donovan once he graduated whether it was by baseball or his grades. My grades were decent, but they were nowhere near scholarship material. I was looking at state at best, providing I could get enough financial aid to cover it, and even then it was a stretch. On a day like today, forgetting about all of that was almost easy. Everything still lingered in the back of my mind, of course; the nightmares, the lies, and the fact that I was completely in love with my best friend. Yes. I was completely gone for Donovan. Ever since I first saw him on the beach I had been drawn to him. Deep down in the core of my being I knew he was supposed to be a part of my life—that he was integral to my survival. "You shouldn't frown so hard," Donovan called over the roar of the wind. "You'll get wrinkles." I grinned. Turning my gaze from the coastline, I looked over to him. His blond curls were whipping around in a myriad of directions as his blue eyes glanced between me and the road. "I'm too young for wrinkles," I replied in mock outrage. "The frown on your face says otherwise." "I was just thinking about some things. Not serious enough for you to be concerned about me getting wrinkles." He reached over and gave me a playful push on the shoulder. I leaned back and closed my eyes. Sleep claimed me easily after the long morning in the sun. My dreams were filled with blood spatters, sounds of crunching bones, and my parents’ screams. The dream wasn't new. I had experienced it repetitively for as long as I could remember. Lately though, the nightmare had become more vivid and frequent. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the same carnage in a new horrifying light. Donovan insisted that I talk to someone with at least half of a degree in psychology for years. Worrying him wasn't something I liked doing, but the thing was, I couldn't talk to anyone about the nightmares. More importantly, sometimes I didn't think it was just a dream. Not all of it. What I was dreaming about wasn't normal. The bones that broke in the darkness were the bones of two enormous sets of wings: one black, one white. Those wings always ended up bloody and broken. They belonged to the agonized faces of my parents. I never saw their attacker. I always woke up when their screams reached their peak. On some level, I knew it wasn't just a dream but part of a memory. I jumped awake when I felt Donovan's hand on my shoulder. "Nightmare again?" he asked. Nodding, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and sat up. We were parked beside the curb in front of my house. Despite all the years I had lived there, the place had never been my home. I looked at it in disgust. The once-white paint was peeling from the aged siding, distracting from the rotted boards of the porch. It was a place to sleep. That was all. My home had long since been wherever Donovan was. "I'll pick you up tomorrow?" Donovan asked as I grabbed my bag from the back seat and climbed out. "Yeah, I don't have to be at work until around four. Plenty of time for junk food and video games at your place." "Awesome! I'll see you then, dude!" He sped off in a flourish of squealing tires as per usual. Shaking my head, I made my way up the gravel drive and stepped around the rotted boards. The door opened with a protesting creak. The house was unnervingly quiet. I dropped my duffel next to the hall closet. "I'm back," I called. Eerie silence met my greeting. I half-expected a grunt of disapproval, but none came. My grandmother didn't appear to be there for once, which was a change. Typically, she was always milling around and grumbling about how she was too old to be tasked with a child. I walked into the kitchen. My cat Minx jumped off the refrigerator onto my shoulders. He purred loudly, as if proud that he startled me. "You act too human sometimes," I said as he jumped down into my arms with a dignified meow. Black fur covered the front of my shirt. I wrinkled my nose in distaste. I sat him down next to his food bowl, ignoring the pain that dully returned to my sides. He looked at me with his large green eyes. For the first time, the way he looked at me was unsettling. I frowned as the pain in my sides radiated up into my shoulders. I rolled them once more and reached for the box of cat food on the counter. My fingers had no more than gripped the box when the pain doubled. The container fell to the floor, bits of kibble scattering across the linoleum and under the appliances. I cried out as I fell to my knees. My skin was burning. The ache in my shoulders turned sharp and jagged. I screamed out again in agony. Tears filled my eyes as the pain intensified. I fell to my side and curled myself into the fetal position. The pain moved to the core of my body. It seemed to be blooming outward as it consumed me. Before my vision went dark and I fell into unconsciousness, I saw a man standing above me. Concerned green eyes stared down at me. Everything went dark. oOo The room was bright and breezy the first time I regained consciousness. The light streaming in through the open windows caused my head to ache. Looking around, I realized that I was no longer in my house but somewhere foreign. My entire body ached. Had someone told me I had been run over by a truck, I wouldn't have hesitated to believe them. When I tried to sit up, my vision swam. I groaned loudly and fell face down the soft covers. Time seemed to pass quickly after that. I fell into a cycle of waking briefly before falling back into an exhausted sleep. Sometimes, the room would be dark and cool when I cracked open my eyes. Other times, it would be dusk or painfully bright. The sun was shining when I woke with a clear head. My body felt relaxed and rested. I stretched, jumping in fright when I caught sight of the same green eyed man from my kitchen. He was sitting patiently next to the bed. His black hair was stark against his pale skin. He smiled at me. "You look as if you are feeling much better," he said, his voice low and silky. "What happened—how long have I been here?" "You have been recovering for a little over a week. What happened is an entirely different story that will take quite a bit of explaining." "Oh, God. Donovan probably thinks I've been murdered," I groaned. "Do not worry about Donovan. I have made sure he knows you are safe. Although, I am not entirely sure he believed me at the time. I could not actually tell him the truth about what was happening." "Who are you?" I managed. The man was all smiles as he stood from his rather soft looking brown chair. I narrowed my gaze as he stretched languidly. "I am Amos," he said simply. "You, however have been calling me 'Minx' for many years. I am pleased to go by either name." "No offense, Amos, but you don't look very much like my cat. Forgive me if I don't believe you." The tall man rolled his eyes and then stepped closer to the bed. He held my gaze, his grin continuing to grow. He coyly asked, "Are you sure I don't look anything like Minx?" He started to transform before my eyes. I began to shake my head disbelievingly. His skin rippled, and his bones cracked until the cat I had always remembered having sat in front of me licking a paw. "Alright, I'm sold. Explain." He shifted back faster than I could have imagined and purred at me in a way that much too feline for a human. He sat down on the bed next to me. "I am a guardian with a unique ability to shape shift. Not many can learn it, and few can master as many forms as I have managed. I was tasked by your parents to keep you safely hidden until you came into you inheritance." "My parents were not human I take it?" "Nor are you. Or have you failed to notice the rather magnificent pair of white wings that have been bestowed upon you by your ancestors and the Goddess?" My hands flew to my back, and I careened my head to get a look at the wings. I had not noticed them. When I stretched them out, they felt like an appendage I had had my entire life. My wing span was huge. Amos laughed at the—I am sure—awed expression on my face as I ran my fingers through the soft feathers. "While you are at it, take a moment to consider that werewolves, witches, vampires and other mythological creatures are real to some extent." My heart stuttered at his words. "I'll bite. Keep going." "Unfortunately, the irony of that statement is lost on you. Over the years human culture has managed to catch brief glimpses into our world, but they have never found the truth. There are four main powers: magick wielders, guardians, night stalkers, and children of the moon. Together, they governed all other magical creatures. "Your father was the ruler of the Guardian race. Your mother was the queen of the night stalkers. The Royal families of each power can be traced back to the beginning of time. Never in all of our history have the races mixed." I frowned. "Are you saying that it wasn't allowed, or that it just wasn't natural?" "All races, by design of the goddess, have destined mates. Two souls designed to intertwine so perfectly that the bond is unbreakable once formed. Mates had always been found within your own race or within a human. Your parents were the one and only exception. Their bond was feared. When the others heard that Guardian and Night Stalker kingdoms had united in the way of a child, you were hunted, and your parents murdered in fear that the merged kingdoms would gain too much power. "What no one realized is that with the murder of your parents the kingdoms would seek revenge for their lost rulers. Wars were waged, thousands were killed in the name of retribution. The magick wielders and the children of the moon have since learned the error of their ways, but there are a few who have been tainted with a taste of power." My mind was spinning with the new information. Amos looked at me sympathetically as he patted my leg. "You carry a large burden, Jake. You are the first of your kind; a hybrid of guardian and night stalker. For eighteen years, I have kept you hidden amongst humans upon your parent's request. For eighteen years, both night stalkers and guardians have awaited your return to the throne. You are the only one who can lead both kingdoms out of what has been deemed the Blood Years and restore order to the natural balance of things." With a shake of my head, I threw myself out of the bed and began to pace across the old hardwood floor. Amos sighed, remaining seated. "How am I supposed to lead two kingdoms and restore order to the universe of magical creatures when I have absolutely no idea what a guardian or a night stalker even is?" I demanded. "I will teach you the ways of the guardian, Jake. Your mother's friend, Elise, will step in for the night stalker role. You can do this Jake. Not only do you have the royal blood of a guardian but also that of a night stalker. Both are fierce protectors in their own rights. The sheer amount of power you have is tremendous. Your inheritance is the most powerful I have ever seen. I can feel it in the air around you. It has come alive on your skin—" I raised my hand to stop him from going any further. I looked around the small room. Next to the door sat a mirror encased in a wooden frame. Slowly, I approached it. Fear crawled up my spine at what I might find in my reflection. I peered into the looking glass to find my torso covered in swirling lines and symbols of languages I didn't know. I traced along the edge of a line curling down my left side and over my stomach. Amos came to stand next to my right wing. "Only the royal families of the four powers have markings such as these. Only you have the markings of both Qythein Guardians and Kaialain Night Stalkers. Each marking is a gift of protection and grace, from the blessings that circle your wings to the promises of strength that wind down your sides. The more marks, the stronger the leader." "I take it I have more than most." "Jake you have more than anyone has ever fathomed," Amos said quietly. "But this one," He said pointing over the particularly dark and delicate knot of symbols, "is the mark of the Goddess. No one not even Merlin of the Magick Wielders held it in his possession." The mark tingles as I traced a finger over it. I realized something. "When I try to take back the thrones, I will be challenged. I'll have to fight." "You will take the thrones with no problem. Keeping them will be the problem. A child of the moon and a wielder will be your biggest threats. They killed your parents for the power it would bring to their kingdoms, and they will kill you if they find you before Elise and I have taught you how to survive." Something thrummed through my veins, a low buzz that put me on edge and made the marking over my heart tingle. I traced the mark in question. "They are looking for me now. I can feel it." "Yes, but here you are safe. This estate, however long abandoned, is hidden deep within the guardian kingdom. Only Elise and I can find it. For centuries it has been a safe retreat for the Qythein family. It is here we will teach you." I looked to the window my heart aching in a way I hadn't noticed before. "Donovan is my mate." The statement hung thick in the air, and I knew this without a single doubt in my mind—without even realizing I knew it. "He is in the most danger until I learn how to protect him and myself." "Yes. If they find you before you can learn how to shield him, they will seek him out in effort to use him against you." I turned from the mirror to look Amos in the eye. He straightened his spine and bowed, one closed fist over his heart. "My Lord," he said. "We start now."
  5. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    As far as everyone knows Jordan is straight. At least that is what Jordan wishes everyone to think. If I ever finish Always there is a rough plan for a sequel that centers on Jordan and possibly David, but nothing is set in stone. I really need to rewrite Always. David obviously has a thing for Drew's little brother, but Jordan really isn't David's biggest fan. If I do write the sequel then it would be a slow burn type thing if I even got them together at all.
  6. *HJ*

    Always

    Questions? Comments? Concerns? I'm here for ya. Smiles, *HJ*
  7. Why is finding an apartment so difficult?

    1. Lisa

      Lisa

      Ha! Why is finding a house to rent with pets and kids so difficult? lol

    2. *HJ*

      *HJ*

      Pets are a must have!

       

  8. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Glad to hear you like it Sarapf. I'll finish the next chapter eventually.
  9. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Glad to hear you like it Sarapf. I'll finish the next chapter eventually.
  10. I have my Damp Sunshine muse back! I am doing a story overhaul though. I have grown so much as a writer since I wrote that first chapter years ago. Expect updated chapters before new ones.

    1. tiger721boi

      tiger721boi

      Cool can't wait

  11. *HJ*

    Donovan & Jake Ch. 18

    I really do miss my boys. I do wish they would come back to me. I think they will eventually.
  12. *HJ*

    Donovan & Jake Ch. 18

    I really do miss my boys. I do wish they would come back to me. I think they will eventually.
  13. Who loves their job? This girl!

  14. *HJ*

    Caring

    'Punch the gay out of him?' LOL I may use that line in the future . I know Feran is a bit extreme, but honestly wouldn't you kick Jackson in the balls if you didn't know what was going on with him behind the scenes? Maybe that is just me.I will have her tone it down though because I see your point. I really am glad you like the story. I am glad I can make you cry...haha that sounds so bad! Seriously though, I am glad you like it. I hope you continue to leave your awesome reviews! Smiles & Hugs, Holly
  15. *HJ*

    Caring

    Good!
  16. Chapter 4 of Hibiscus is up!

  17. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    David has certainly had his share of horrible stuff, but he hasn't made the best decisions either and he knows that. David is actually one of my favorite characters despite all of his faults. I think everyone is nervous about when Tyler's killer is going to strike. The killer is smart and knows how to bide their time. They are waiting for a moment when the group is vulnerable, and you are right; absolutely no one is safe. I will try to get the next chapter up sooner, but I refuse to jinx myself. Honestly, there are not going to be many more chapters and to me that is scary, but I promise to post more than twice this year. Thanks for your review as always, Lisa! You always make my day.
  18. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Yeah, David was an ass, but he did get the short end of the stick. Hopefully everyone will get what is coming to them.
  19. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Yeah, David was an ass, but he did get the short end of the stick. Hopefully everyone will get what is coming to them.
  20. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Yeah, David was an ass, but he did get the short end of the stick. Hopefully everyone will get what is coming to them.
  21. Chapter 27 of Always has been posted!

  22. *HJ*

    Always

    With his brother gone and everything he loves at risk, Drew tries to keep what is left of his life safe. Can he take back what belongs to him, and save the boy he has fallen so in love with?
  23. *HJ*

    Aggressive Much?

    Ms. Jacobs called her class to order, and Jeff, Drew, and Luke took their seats. Luke took out his sketch book, and began working on his latest sketch of Drew while Ms. Jacobs began lecturing the class on Classical Greece. Luke was working on the shading of Drew’s jaw when Ms. Jacobs called his name. “Mr. McGowan, since you absolutely love to listen to my lectures, when were the Olympic Games founded?” Ms. Jacobs asked with her hands on her hips. Luke looked up from his sketch trying not to look too guilty for being caught not paying attention. He was suddenly glad Drew had lost the remote to the television the night the History Channel had a special on the Olympic Games. “The Olympic Games were originally a festival to honor Zeus, the Greek god of the sky. They are traditionally dated to being founded in 776 B.C.,” Luke replied. Drew watched Mr. Jacob’s become upset for some reason as Luke answered her question and offered extra information. Drew and Jeff were looking at her in surprise. Ms. Jacobs had been one of the few teachers that had been nice to Luke. However, as Drew thought about it, Ms. Jacobs had been cold to both him and Luke lately. When Drew had smiled at her in the hall a few days ago, she had frowned at him. Then, earlier this morning when he had waved hello on his way to his second class, she had snubbed him with a flip of her hair. When Drew thought about it, Ms. Jacobs had been acting rather odd. “Seems that your head is not completely empty,” Ms. Jacobs sneered. “Since you seem to know so much without listening, tell me if women were allowed to compete in these games.” Drew was getting angry at her tone with his boyfriend, and the class seemed to be surprised at their teacher’s attitude. “No, they were not,” Luke said as he put down his sketch book and continued to speak. “Women were not even allowed to be spectators.” “How did the competitors dress during the games?” she asked with a smile. “Trick question: all competitors competed in the nude,” Luke said. “Is there a reason I am being singled out or did you just decide to be a complete bitch for no reason?” Ms. Jacob’s face was turning a very bright shade of red. Drew glared at her. “I should have known that someone like you would have no problem disrespecting an authority figure,” she snapped. “No wonder he doesn’t want anything to do with you.” Drew had had enough. He stood from his seat. “Just what exactly is that supposed to mean?” “It means that this piece of filth belongs in a prison not a class room.” “Ms. Jacobs, I suggest you remember your tact as a teacher and stop verbally attacking your student,” Drew said calmly. “I suggest you sit down, mind your own business, and allow me to teach my class!” “Your definition of teaching seems to be lacking the right meaning,” Drew said as he placed his hand on Luke’s shoulder. “You will sit down Mr. Knight,” she growled. “I will sit down when you apologize to Luke,” Drew said. “I will not apologize to that delinquent. To the principal’s office with the both of you!” she yelled. Drew and Luke began to gather their things when Jeff began doing the same. “Just where do you think you are going, Mr. Rower?” Ms. Jacobs fumed. “I’m going to give the principal my witnessed account of your bullshit,” Jeff said, leading the way out of the class room. In the hall Drew was beyond confused at Ms. Jacob’s actions, but Luke knew exactly why she had acted that way. “What the hell was her problem?” Jeff asked. “Really. She didn’t jump down Elision’s throat for obviously texting through the first half of the lecture. Not to mention the way she talked to you,” Drew said to Luke. “Yeah, well to be honest I was expecting it,” Luke said. “I did call her a bitch.” “Do you know something that we don’t?” Jeff asked, confused. “Well, during lunch Matt was telling me that Ms. Jacobs is Uncle Ben’s new girlfriend. I was expecting her to go a bit crazy on me. I mean, it’s not like Uncle Ben would have been telling her what a wonderful person I am.” Drew was a bit surprised at the news. Dr. McGowan and Ms. Jacobs just didn’t make sense to him. Ms. Jacobs was always so sweet and bubbly. Dr. McGowan was full of hate. The principle was surprisingly understanding, especially since two other students, Naomi Vrett and Samantha Cole, came gave their account of the incident. As they were coming out of the office Jeff hugged both the girls. Drew and Luke followed their lead. “Thanks for sticking up for us girls,” Jeff smiled. “We couldn’t have our captains suspended before the big match this Friday,” Naomi replied with a grin. “Plus, Ms. Jacobs was way out of line talking to you like that,” Samantha said to Luke, who smiled at her in return. “Thanks, Sam,” Luke replied. Samantha and Naomi were the girlfriends of a couple of Drew and Jeff’s teammates: Joey Saveya and Ryan Castel. They also happened to be the best friends of Rose. Naomi was a curly red head while Samantha sported long black locks. Both girls were very talkative. When they were mixed in with a crowd that included Rose, there was never a dull moment. “Drew,” Naomi began as they walked toward the lobby, “Rose asked me before class if I could come and help her with Jordan’s hair tonight. She said she didn’t trust Jeff enough to be her second arm.” Jeff shrugged and nodded. “I told her I would be fine with that, so she said for me to ask you if it was alright since I had class with you.” “Uh, yeah sure,” Drew smiled. “I don’t think Jordan would object to another pretty girl in the house. Invite Joey to come along if he wants. Sam, you and Ryan can come, too. I’m going to give Jordan a call and make sure that he is cool with everyone stopping by. I think it has turned into kind of a party. I don’t think it would bother him. Socializing may be what he needs.” “Yeah, it might bring him a sense of normalcy,” Jeff said. “Besides, Jordan seems like real people person anyway." “You have a valid point, but I still want to call and make sure.” Drew and Luke finished up the rest of the school day without any more problems. Drew had also called Jordan who said he was fine with everyone coming over; he even sounded excited about it. Drew didn’t tell Jordan that David would also be attending, but he figured he would deal with that when he had to. Drew and Luke met up with Rose and Jeff in the parking lot after the final bell. As they were walking to their cars they saw David about to get in his truck. “David!” Rose yelled as she motioned him over to where they had stopped. David gave a small smile as he neared. “Jeff and I are going to run to Clearwater and pick up some hair dye for Jordan. After that, we are heading on over to Drew and Luke’s,” she smiled. “Oh, I invited your friends Samantha and Naomi along with Joey and Ryan,” Drew threw in, speaking to Rose. “Yay! I was hoping Sam wouldn’t forget to ask you!” exclaimed Rose. “You going to follow me and Luke?” Drew asked David. “Uh, yeah, I guess. Are you sure everyone will be alright with me being there?” David asked, unsure. “Dude, you’re our friend, and you’re welcome,” Jeff said, slapping David’s shoulder. “Alright, I guess I will follow you then,” David said to Drew and Luke. Everyone got into their respective vehicles and went on their way. Luke had opted to drive instead of Drew, who was enjoying lounging in the passenger seat. The ride home was silent and peaceful. Both boys were lost in their own thoughts about their day. The fact that Ms. Jacobs had been so cruel had thrown Luke for a loop. Sure, his uncle wasn’t his biggest fan, but his uncle wouldn’t feel the need to turn his teachers against him. If anything Ms. Jacobs probably began to believe the rumors that still floated around school since she realized that even Luke’s uncle preferred to keep his distance. That, or she just hated homosexuals. Either would be a good possibility. As Luke tried to come up with reasons for his previously favorite teacher's new hatred for him, Drew was wondering when Tyler’s killer would make the next move. The note had said that their days were limited. The question was: how limited? Drew kept going over the evidence against David’s father, but he knew none of it was even close to proving he was the murderer. Originally, Drew had planned to ask Brett and Mike to find more information, but he refused to place them in danger. This wasn’t their fight. Besides, now that David was on their side, he could search for clues in his own house. With any luck their former enemy would be able to find solid evidence. Drew was about to find out the answer to his question as Luke pulled into their driveway beside Jane’s Explorer. David parked beside the curb behind them. Jordan was sitting in one of the porch chairs reading a book when he looked over to the three teenagers headed his way. “Hey, lil’ bro,” Drew smiled. “You ready to get rid of that awful blond hair?” “You bet. What’s he doing here?” Jordan said looking over at David. “David is a friend, Jordan,” Drew said slapping David’s shoulder with a smile. Jordan just gave David a glare and went inside. Drew followed him in. Luke moved to go in as well but stopped when David seemed hesitant. Luke smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, David. He doesn’t like me either,” Luke said with a laugh. That seemed to ease David’s mind. He smiled before following Luke into the house. Drew had taken residence on the couch, while Jordan sat in the recliner. Luke flopped down beside Drew, who immediately put an arm around Luke’s shoulders and pulled him into his side. Luke sighed contently. David awkwardly sat down on the couch. Drew turned the TV on and began flipping through the channels before stopping on ESPN. Jordan sighed. Drew laughed. “Drew, can’t we watch something remotely interesting?” Jordan whined. “Dude, your sixteen and built for sports. I don’t understand why you hate it so much,” Drew said. “Just not my thing,” Jordan shrugged. “You know you can kick ass at soccer. Why don’t you join the team at school next year?” Drew asked. “I’m not a team player you know that. That is why I used to board; no one to blame but yourself if you lose.” Drew smiled and dropped the subject. “I’m going to go change into an old shirt for them to dye my hair. I’ll be back later,” Jordan said before walking out of the living room. “When he said boarding did he mean skateboarding?” David asked. “Yeah, kid is a skater at heart. Why?” Drew questioned. “I was just curious. There is a skate shop over in Clearwater if he ever needs anything,” David said. “David used to be pretty good on a board,” Luke explained. “Well, I haven’t seen Jordan on a board since we got him back, but I guess he just needs time,” Drew said. Drew was actually concerned that Jordan hadn’t been using his skateboards. To Drew that was even more worrisome than Jordan's breakdowns. Even when they were in L.A. and using different names, Jordan never went a day without boarding. The first day that the three of them moved into the dumpy apartment Jordan was outside in the hall with his board. As Drew thought more and more about Jordan and his skateboard, a thought crossed his mind. “David?” Drew asked, and David turned his attention to him. “Since we are all friends now I was wondering if I could ask you a favor.” “Sure,” David said. “If you can get Jordan to warm up to you, do you think you could try to get him to start boarding again?” Drew asked. “Drew, I am not about to say no, but to be honest your little brother scares the hell out of me. I think even more than you did.” “He is only sixteen, David. He isn’t the boogieman,” Luke laughed. “Yeah, you have a good two years on him,” said Drew. “No, you and Luke have a good two years on him. I’m only seventeen, and my birthday isn’t until the end of August,” David said. “Oh, I didn’t know you were so young,” Drew said with a smile. “Hey, most people graduate when they are seventeen,” David replied defensively. Just then the door to the kitchen swung open, and Jordan walked in with an old Led Zeppelin t-shirt on. He plopped back down on the recliner. He looked at his brother and Luke sitting next to David. To Jordan, it was times like this he really didn’t understand his big brother. Jordan thought back to Drew’s friends in Washington. Never in his life had he met more shallow people, but Drew didn’t seem to notice at the time. That was one of the reasons Jordan kept his eye on Luke. In Jordan’s eyes, Drew didn’t have the best track record with people or relationships. Now, Drew had gone and made nice with the guy who tried to kill the apparent love of his life. Was he the only one who saw something wrong with this? “So, who all did you say was coming over?” Jane asked as she came out of the kitchen in a rush. “Jeff, four other teammates, two of Rose’s girl friends, and Rose herself,” Drew said. “I thought you were going to be home tonight. At least that was what you told me when I called you after our last class.” “Well, I was but Fran called in with the flu so I promised I would cover for her tonight. You kids will be alright here, but if I come back to find this house trashed I will hang you all out to dry,” Jane said, grabbing her purse. “Love you too, Mom,” Jordan and Drew said in unison. “Don’t forget to feed Coral,” Jane called as she went out the door. “You have a dog?” David asked. “No, Mom found a coral snake in the garage and kept it as a pet,” Drew said. “She keeps it in her room.” “I prefer snakes to spiders,” David said. “Figures,” Jordan muttered. “Snakes do prefer their own kind.” David just stared at Jordan, who kept his gaze trained on the front door. Silence enveloped the room before Rose and Jeff entered several minutes later. Jeff was laughing as he carried a drugstore bag and bright pink case. “You just wait until Naomi and Sam get here. They will back me up,” Rose smiled. Luke raised an eyebrow from the couch. “What will they back you up on?” Luke asked Rose. “That Jeff is a horrible driver!” Rose exclaimed before sitting down on the couch between Luke and David. “Seriously, he just hit a bird! Feathers flew everywhere!” Everyone began laughing at the mental image that Rose had provided. Drew looked over to Jordan, who was smiling. Drew sighed in happiness. His brother was smiling; that meant progress. All Drew wanted was for Jordan to know he was safe and wanted. “So, you ready to become a ginger again?” Rose asked Jordan. Jordan smiled and nodded. “You have no idea how sick I am of this bleach blond mess,” he said. “You could do with a good hair cut as well, but that is Naomi’s area of expertise. Don’t worry; we will got you taken care of,” Rose said and gave him a smile. The conversation continued on between the friends. Soon it was accompanied by laughter and the throwing of couch pillows. The playful hits and comments escalated to play fighting when Brett and Mike arrived. They didn’t settle down until Sam and Naomi knocked on the front door accompanied by Joey and Ryan. It was Drew who opened the door and invited them in. Jordan was laughing hysterically as Brett came out of the kitchen holding Coral. Quietly he snuck up behind Drew and tapped his shoulder. Naomi squealed, ducking behind Joey. Samantha laughed as Drew turned around and immediately backed up into Samantha and Ryan. “Dude, put that thing back in its cage!” Drew exclaimed. Brett fell to his knees in outrageous laughter until tears leaked out of his eyes. Taking deep calming breaths, he lifted himself off the floor and turned to Luke who was still in a fit of laughter. “You were not kidding when you said he was afraid of snakes,” said Brett as he wiped his tears with his free hand. “Yeah, yeah, make fun of me all you want. Let’s get on with fixing Jordan’s hair now that everyone is here." Brett put Coral back where she belonged and Drew relaxed. After moving into the kitchen, the girls set about their task of cutting, washing, dyeing, and styling. They all talked about boxing strategies, cars, and the end of the year. Surprisingly, the evening turned out to be a nice distraction from their current troubles. “You know, Rosabella,” said Naomi as she was putting the final touches on Jordan’s new hair cut, “you really shouldn’t make fun of the girl holding scissors." Rose had just made a remark about the first time Naomi had cut her own hair, which ended with her mother taking her to the salon to straighten out the mess. “Your first name is Rosabella?” Drew asked with raised eyebrows. “Yes. You got something to say about that?” Rose glared. “Naw, I think it is pretty, “Drew laughed. “What is your middle name?” “Rose doesn’t like her middle name much,” Naomi giggled. Drew raised an eyebrow and looked over at Luke. “Essence is her middle name,” Luke said with a small smile. “That’s not too terrible. It has sort of an elegant hippy vibe,” Drew said trying to keep a straight face. “Watch it,” Rose growled. “Seriously, your name is very pretty and very unique. Just like you,” Drew said. He knew he was saved when Rose gave him a brilliant smile. “You don’t have much room to talk, Laurie,” Jordan said. Jeff choked on his Pepsi. “Laurie,” Jeff said when he finished coughing. Drew felt his cheeks burning. Luke was trying not to laugh which in turn made everyone else burst into outrageous laughter. “Hey! It isn’t my fault my mom is insane when it comes to naming her children,” Drew exclaimed. “Hey, she was only crazy when it came to you. My middle name is Austin,” Jordan said. “Alright, so Laurie definitely beats Essence,” Rose said. “Nope, I think Essence is still a bit stranger,” Sam said. “What’s yours?” Drew asked. “Beth, Jeff’s is Aiden, David’s is Levi, Luke’s is Austin, Joey’s is Miguel, Ryan’s is Aaron, Brett’s is Barrett, and Mike’s Taylor,” Sam said as she finished mixing the hair dye. “How did you know all that?” Brett asked. “I work in the front office doing all the filing. I think I know just about every seniors’ middle names plus nearly half of the junior class’s,” Sam said. The evening continued on with easy banter and the occasional teasing session. By the end of the night everyone was all laughed out and extremely tired. Jordan’s hair had turned out wonderful. Rose never had to lift a finger thanks to Samantha and Naomi. Sam had gotten Jordan's original dark red hair down to a T, while Naomi had given it a short cut that she styled to give him that “tousled/I just got laid look.” Needless to say, he would have all the girls, and probably most of the guys, drooling. David was certainly taken aback by Jordan’s good looks. David wasn’t quite sure what captured his attention most: the way the color of Jordan’s red hair made his green eyes more vibrant than emeralds in the midday sun or the way he smiled when he looked at himself in the handheld mirror. There was something about Jordan that made David stop and look at him in the most forbidden ways. There was a feeling of guilt that followed those looks, though. How could David think of Jordan in that way when he was still grieving over his first love? “You better quit staring,” Jeff said quietly from behind his drink. “Drew will go ape shit on you if he even thinks you’re attracted to his brother.” “I wasn’t staring,” David mumbled as everyone began leaving the kitchen. David made to follow them, but Jeff grabbed his arm. “I’m not going to make a play for him, Jeff. That would be stupid, and I’m still very much in love with Tyler, dead or alive,” David bit out. “Wow, easy man, I know you won’t make a play for Jordan. I was just going to ask if you are doing okay. You’ve been quite tonight.” “Well, I’m not exactly the most loved person here. Jordan hates my guts, Naomi and Sam give new mean to the phrase ‘if looks could kill…’, and the guys are just trying to contain themselves because Drew asked them to.” “Dude, they don’t all hate you. You just have to earn their trust back, but that isn’t what is bothering you, is it?” David was silent as he looked at the white tile beneath his feet. “Come on, man, what’s up?” Jeff prodded. “Dad, he… he hasn’t talked to me since I came out. Before he would smile and clap me on the back even thought he knew about all the awful things I was doing to Luke and everyone else. This morning before I left for school he looked at me with such disgust in his eyes when I walked past his office.” “You really think he is behind this?” “Jeff, we both know my father has been involved in some shady things. He may not be at the status that Drew’s father was at…” “Step-father,” Jeff corrected. David nodded, and then continued “Yes, but my Father is far from being just or moral. That makes him dangerous in the position he holds.” David paused as if he was deciding to say something. “I was going to wait until the end of the night. I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, but I need to tell someone.” “Go ahead, man.” David pulled up his shirt. Jeff gasped at the sight before him. Large bruises covered David’s entire torso. None of them looked old. “What happened?” “After I saw the look in his eyes, I started to leave. When I reached the front door, he yanked me back by my shirt. Then he just started hitting me…I was shocked. I just took it. When he was done, I just laid there on the floor. I kept hoping that maybe I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but after this morning I just can’t. To me, ending this is just about acquiring proof that he killed Tyler and threatened us.” “David, I wish I knew what to say.” “I knew he was fucked up morally, but I never thought he was capable of this. I’m his son, Jeff, but I think he would rather I be dead than gay.” Jeff was silent for a minute before he placed his hand on David’s shoulder. “Maybe you shouldn’t stay there anymore,” Jeff said. “I don’t have anywhere else to go, and he won’t kill me when I’m at the house. He will want it to look like an accident—as in an open and shut case. Besides, when he leaves for work in the morning, I will have a chance to search his office for any type of proof.” “We should tell Drew,” Jeff said as he started into the living room. “Naw, let them have a good night. I’ll look for proof tomorrow, and then we can fill him in.” Jeff nodded in response. The two of them went to join the rest of the group. Convened in the living room, everyone paired off into couples. Rose had suggested they watch a movie. . Drew and Luke had snuggled into the recliner. Rose and Jeff curled up on the floor with some pillows and blankets. Samantha and Joey parked themselves next to Rose and Jeff, while Ryan and Naomi sat next to them. Brett and Mike took one end of the couch, sitting far enough apart to appear straight. That left Jordan and David to take to other end of the couch. Jordan paid no mind to David, but David couldn’t keep his mind off the beautiful boy beside him. David was glad when the movie was over, and they were all able to say their goodbyes. When everyone had left, the boys had cleaned up the kitchen and living room. Jordan bid Drew and Luke good night before going into his room. Drew and Luke made their way to their own room and began to get ready for bed. Drew watched as Luke pulled off his t-shirt and slid off his jeans before sliding into bed in only his boxers. Luke was smiling as he waited for Drew to join him in bed. Not wasting time, Drew followed suit. He crawled into bed next to Luke. Drew smiled as Luke’s hands began to roam over his chest and sides. “Feisty tonight?” Drew asked as Luke began to place soft kisses to his neck. Luke just let out a groan in response before he let his kisses become more heated. Drew let out a soft moan as he felt Luke lightly bite down on the tender spot between his neck and shoulder. Immediately, Drew pulled Luke into his lap. Luke just smiled as he rocked his hips and enticed another low moan out of Drew. Luke continued to kiss and bite Drew’s neck. “God, you have never been this aggressive before, but I am definitely not complaining,” Drew rasped. “We were practically on top of each other in that chair. All I wanted to do was drag you to the bedroom and have my way with you. I was lucky I got my excitement to go down before we had to get up and see everyone off,” Luke said in a husky voice. “I thought you seemed a bit excited,” Drew smiled. “Yeah, just a bit,” Luke whispered before attacking Drew’s mouth with his own. After that, their boxers were discarded. Drew and Luke worked out their excitement as quietly as they could manage. Afterwards, they both lay there sweaty and panting. “Damn,” Drew said with a smile as he wrapped his arms around Luke, who was lying in an exhausted heap on top of him. “That was utterly amazing. I think I will be walking a bit funny tomorrow.” Luke was still in the process of catching his breath but managed to get out the words, “Yeah…amazing…possibility.” “I love you, Luke,” Drew said with a smile. Luke rolled off Drew and then curled into Drew’s side. He laid his head on his chest. “I love you too,” Luke said. He smiled into Drew’s chest before his breathing evened out. He promptly fell asleep. Drew just smiled as he let Luke’s soft breath lull him into a dreamless sleep.
  24. Who wants a new chapter of Always?

  25. *HJ*

    Always

    The next chapter will be up really soon. My editors and I have been working on it, but it has been a slow process since we are all super busy. Don't worry though it will get posted and after that there will only be a few more chapters.
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