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Everything posted by Hylas

  1. Hylas

    Undercover Porn Hunting

    LOL. I know I know... well, I want to share some things which will guarantee that you're not outed before you're ready. if you use your computer to surf gay-themed sites (and porn! come on, admit it! ), BE CAREFUL. you are leaving behind a trail of evidence that wouldnt be hard to follow. for firefox users only: *go to tools>options make sure you uncheck everything pertaining to history. ESCPECIALLY the 'remember last visited pages' option. *after surfing, ALWAYS go to tools>clear private data for google search toolbar users: ALWAYS use the clear search history option. For windows only: *download and install CCleaner homepage: http://www.ccleaner.com/ direct download link: http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/ as with all software, read the manual/readme first before using. after installing you can right click on the recycle bin and click "Run CCleaner". This will quickly and automatically delete ALL traces of your activity in most applications (includes Internet Explorer, Firefox, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, Kazaa, Office, Recent Files History and lots lots more). from their own site: NOTE: I am not in any way affiliated to CCleaner, LOL. I'm a fan of Open Source Software and Free software in general tho. Hope this helps teenagers out there. If anybody else knows about this topic, please share it. Especially for Mac users. For Linux, UNIX, and other exotic operating system users, I'm sure it'll be no problem. Since they always are already computer experts themselves, LOL.
  2. Ok, I just watched Summer Storm on YouTube, and I LOVED IT. Thank you very much DLP! I hope I can find it in DVD someday. I'm just wondering how many of you guys/gals have fallen for someone straight before. I noticed that it's been a recurring theme in stories, movies etc. about homosexuality. I imagine, with the meager percentage of 'available' partners in the population, this would be quite widespread among gays. In my part, yes I have. I fell in love with someone I've been to school with since elementary. He didn't have a girlfriend in high school, so I had hopes that he could be gay too. He was one of my best buddies. Then in college, he found a girl. I experienced much of the same things Tobi in the movie did. The unreasoning jealousy whenever he was with a girl. The yearning to be just with him. Heh. That movie made me cry a lot of times. *me is a crybaby* I never did tell him (As I have yet to come out). And I got over him after about 2 years of depression. But that experience shaped a lot of what I am now. I am a bit more pessimistic when it comes to dreams coming true, but yeah, that doesn;t stop me from dreaming. Hehe. I've channeled some of those experiences in my stories though. So I'm asking how many of you have once fallen, or is in love with somebody who is straight. And how much this has affected your outlook in life. This applies to both guys and girls, gay or bisexual. This only applies to same-sex attraction. Obviously this doesn't apply to our straight members.
  3. At the suggestion of *someone* I'm starting a discussion thread for A Long List of Nevers. I didn't do so earlier because I'm shy and delicate and all that Haha! Anyway, I welcome comments, suggestions, criticisms, corrections, and cookies, but please be gentle, I tend to stab people when I'm agitated And bear in mind that I already know the ending. Mwahahaha Also apologies for the lack of updates the past week, yet again. Grrrr. Real life stuff creeping up on me. I'll try my best to write something in the next two days (tonight even). Cheers.
  4. Thanks for the greets guys :) Sorry still can't write though. *sigh* Life seems to really like throwing wrenches into my gears. LOL

    And *hugs ckprime back* ^^

  5. Hylas


    A random poem written in my darkest moments. Hehe
  6. Hylas


    Whispers by Hylas If I die today, bring me not to heaven, Nor drag me down to hell, But bring me to my beloved, So I may whisper the words, I've never had the heart, To tell him in life I love you forever... AN: Short, I know. Hehe. I remember how wretched I was when I wrote this though. It seems such a long time ago now. This was the time I found out my crush had somehow acquired a girlfriend, LOL (Tiff, you know who I'm talking about). I'm over it, but this passage is still something dear to my heart. This is one of the four or five poems I'm posting. Rad Steven commented on how some passages in my stories were poetic and asked me if I ever wrote poems. Well, I did! LOL. I spent a day rummaging around boxes and boxes of my old stuff. Man, I really was into a lot of shit back then. Among other stuff, I had to wade through notebooks full of foreign, ancient, and made-up languages (including Quenya or 'Elvish' of LoTR fame); sketches and art scraps I couldn't bear to throw away; school notes filled with surprisingly good doodles; taxonomical lists of classes mammalia, aves, and reptilia; some college entrance exam tests with scores at a minimum of 95% and a max of something graded paradoxically as 100%+ (which I'm still proud of, LOL, though I was never serious in my applications to most of them); tables of hiragana, katakana, greek, cyrillic, old german, runic, sanskrit devanagari, arabic, hieroglyphics (o.O), and yes, elvish script too, LOL; old computer programming codes; errata on my probably lifelong and intense passion for paleontology (including a collection of mostly early cenozoic marine fossils and printouts of dinosaurs); old dried and pressed leaves and flowers from nature hikes; forgotten pictures; my now tarnished captain's badge, sword, and beret in high school Citizen Army Training (kinda like a preliminary ROTC); unsent love letters and old fairy tale gags; and much much more. ROFL. Dust bunnies too, LOL. It was unexpectedly really really fun. Kinda like an archeology of your memories. LOL I recommend it to everyone. ^^
  7. Hylas

    The Dance of Naiades

    A man witnesses the dance of river nymphs.
  8. Hylas


    The wings of night enfold the land, In velvet drapes of darkness, Morpheus alights with a gentle hand, And sleep invades the forest Silver gleams the trees of spring, Reaching for the radiant moon, Songbirds dream as crickets sing, Deep into nocturnal noon Come hither to the water's edge, Where the reeds choke the shallows, And thither are the clumps of sedge, Where dart the argent minnows Halcyons guard their earthen nests, Arrows wrought of darkest blue, Willows sigh where the otter rests, Over lurking trouts of golden hue The sky glimmers with stellar tears, Longing for the vanished sun, The soft wind whispers in thy ears, The dance of naiades has begun Surging from the dark nadir, Naiades burst into the moonlight, Singing songs for gods to hear, Denizens of the enchanted night Swirling hair of sable ribbons, Entangle human mind and heart, Graceful air of siren scions, Far surpass all works of art A sight to lift the immortal soul, The naiades rise to dance, An unlikely gift in river shoals, To hold my heart entranced Fairies frolic in moonlight bright, Weaving spells of mindless rapture, Playful antics in this elfin night, Stir my heart in unworldly pleasure Pale white fires of lily flowers, Burn above the placid lake, Sylvan choirs in leafy bowers, Sing beneath the nighthawk's wake Cruel dawn is drawing near, The dance halts at the wild fowl's crow, And lightning fast, they disappear, Beneath the crystal depths below For years that follow I await, The naiades' return to yonder stream, For no mortal joy can now sate, A nympholept's now futile dream AN: Still a bit rough, I admit, now that I've seen it again. I might polish this some more in the future. This is one of the earliest poems I've written. Written, I think, in my senior year in High School. This is about a man catching a glimpse of the dance of naiades (river nymphs, female spirits of the natural world - includes the dryades, pleiades, oceanides, nereides, etc. famous nymphs include Echo, Lorelei, Daphne, and others) and never being the same again. In greek mythology, a mortal who has seen nymphs' dances goes insane and spends his remaining lifetime trying to witness a dance again. There is even a term for it: Nympholepsy. If you're curious, the male counterparts of the nymphs are the satyrs. Most commonly portrayed as having goat horns and feet. Followers of the forest god Pan (also called Faunus/Sylvanus in Roman mythology), they embody bestiality and masculine playfulness and brashness as contrasted to the nymphs grace and otherworldly beauty. The unexplainable fear that sometimes comes upon a lone traveller who passes in the woods at night is the origin of the term 'Panic', as it is said to be caused by the music from panpipes played by satyrs. :P LOL. Greek mythology is sooo fascinating. ^^ This was inspired (but is not about) by my first encounter with a painting by John William Waterhouse entitled 'Hylas and the Nymphs' (1896). I instantly fell in love with it, even though, back then, I didn't even had an idea who Hylas was. Hylas, as it turned out, was Hercules' most famous male lover in greek mythology. He disappeared during a stopover in the Argonauts' voyage (of which he and Hercules had been a part of). He had went out to fetch water from a sacred spring but never came back. It was assumed that he was either kidnapped or drowned by the Naiades. Hercules nearly went mad looking for him. To appease his grief and anger, nearby villagers vowed to search for Hylas themselves while Hercules continued on with the rest of the heroes in their ship, the Argos. To this day (I forgot the name of the place), the town holds a holiday in which they spend the day shouting Hylas' name all over the woods. It may seem surprising, but yes, Hercules was bisexual. Hylas was only one of his many homosexual relationships. He is actually considered by some to be the patron deity of male homosexuality, LOL.
  9. Hylas


    A boy running away from a life of comfort in a search for acceptance. A young man struggling with loneliness in a small town. Fate had woven their threads into a tapestry of laughter and tears. And love will blossom on what started as a chance encounter... on a park bench. I AM SORRY BUT THIS STORY WILL BE PUT ON HOLD FOR A WHILE. :
  10. Hylas

    Chapter 3

    A job at a cafe. Sounds easy enough, Bryan thought. At least it's better than working at a supermarket like he originally planned. He stared out at the passing scenery, only half listening to Matt who was filling him on Emerett's history as he drove. It was a pretty town. A population of slightly less than a thousand, it's economy was mainly rooted in livestock and farming. Houses with uniform light blue roofs, clean streets, and a stunning backdrop of the Rockies. Trees dotted the side of the streets in twos, threes, and occassionally full-blown mini-forests. Most of them were willows, but here and there, he'd glimpse oaks or elms already blazing with their autumnal halo. The land itself was criss crossed with streams. The town was bisected by a creek that went on to join the Salmon River a few miles west. Matt had offered to let him stay in the house for this day, but Bryan had wanted to start working as soon as possible. Matt had to lend Bryan some of his clothes as all Bryan had was another set of warmweather clothes. It wasn't that much of a problem since both were basically of the same height and build. Coming into the town center, Matt steered the truck into the same parking place in front of the park as last night. The cafe was just right across the street, and looked busy with the Sunday crowd. Shutting off the engine, Matt glanced over at Bryan as he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "I should warn you about Gi..." He said quietly, almost to himself. "Who?" Bryan asked. "Nah." Waving a hand dismissively, Matt got out of the pickup. "On second thought, you'll be alright." Bryan followed and went over to Matt's side a bit uncertainly. "So, you ready, Bry?" Matt asked him. "Yeah, I guess." Bryan answered, shrugging. "Ok, bud. Come on." With that, he set off across the street to the cafe, Bryan trailing closely behind him. The cafe was a small unpreposessing place. It didn't even seem to have a name except for the flowing script that spelt out Cafe on a little piece of wood swinging from the eaves. That didn't seem to matter to the customers. The place was packed full. Mostly young people and couples. Matt answered the greetings with friendly waves while Bryan did his best to ignore the curious stares he was attracting. As he followed Matt inside, he noticed a flustered asian-looking woman who was staring at both of them from across the bar with what could only be a horrified expression on her face. As Matt led Bryan into the back room, she quickly handed the plate of sandwiches she was holding to an elderly customer and hurried off after them through another door behind the bar. The woman was waiting for both of them with her hands on her hips. As soon as Matt closed the door behind them, she immediately grabbed him by the arm and led him off into one of the restrooms. A hushed argument ensued in which Bryan, try as he might, couldn't catch a word of. Bryan shrugged and looked around the room. It was surprisingly large, though most of the space was taken up by a couple of large freezing equipment and shelves of supplies. Bryan had been in the back rooms of several of the restaurants their family owned plenty of times, and he was a bit taken aback by the contrast. The restaurants had been a seething hive of activity, with dozens of people getting into each others' way. The cafe's was quiet, insulated from the outside noise, and had a homey atmosphere to it. So this cafe was run by only two people. Now three, including him. He hoped it wasn't as difficult as it looked. After all, he'd never exactly had to work before. He pulled out a chair in the tiled counter on one side of the room and found himself staring at pictures pinned to a corkboard. It was mostly of Matt and the japanese girl posing before the newly opened cafe. Matt looked as hot as ever in them. Though he didn't have the goatee back then. There were some more of people he didn't recognize, and a couple of what was obviously candid shots of christmas parties held in the cafe. Those were funny, but what held his attention was a photo of a much younger Matt. Probably four or five, it was taken beside what was probably a hot spring resort. Buck naked, he had his back turned to the camera, and as several swimmers in the background looked on in horror and amusement, he was merrily peeing into the pool. He had looked over his shoulder at the unknown photgrapher and gap-toothed, was smiling adorably at the camera. Scrawled on the margin were the words: I had to go. Complete with a smiley face. Bryan burst out giggling just as the restroom doors burst open. He stifled his giggles but Matt had already seen what he had been looking at. For the third time this day, he blushed crimson. "Hey..." Matt rushed over and unpinned the photo carefully. "What's so funny?" The Japanese girl stifled a smile and went over to Matt's side. She gently pried the photo out of Matt's fingers and replaced it on the corkboard. Keeping a straight face, she extended a hand out to Bryan. "Hi Bryan, I'm Giselle Seo." Bryan stood up politely and shook her hand. Matt, still red-faced, muttered something about seeing to the customers and went back outside to the bar. "So... I hear you'll be working for us?" "Umm... Yes ma'am." Bryan replied uncomfortably. Now that they were alone, Giselle was frankly appraising him from head to toe. "Don't 'ma'am' me! I'm only 21. Call me Gi." "Uh... sure, Gi. Matt said I could - " "How old are you, anyway?" Gi interrupted him. "Eighteen." Bryan lied, keeping his eyes to the floor. If Giselle had any suspicions otherwise, she kept quiet about it, much to Bryan's relief. "So, first of all, we got the Sunday lunch crowd today. No time to chat. Just do whatever you're told and help out any way you can, okay?" "Yes ma'am.. er... Gi." Bryan nodded. Giselle smiled approvingly. Signalling Bryan to follow, she went back outside to join Matt. "This is usually the busiest time of the week, Bry. Most of the times, we only have four or five tables filled at a time." Gi told Bryan as they reached the bar. She was already reaching for the pad of paper with the customers' orders in the counter underneath. Her face clouded as she examined it for a moment. "Hey, boss!" She called out to Matt. Excusing himself from a conversation with the elderly man earlier, he turned to Gi with raised eyebrows, "Yep?" "Can't read your chickenscratch again." Sighing, she handed him the pad and pointed out an entry. He read it out to her and promptly earned a punch on his shoulder. "Bah!" Gi muttered in disgust."You're hopeless! Leave the waiting to me. You go fix up the food with Bryan." She commanded, then stomped off to the wait on the tables outside. "Ow..." Matt groaned, rubbing his injured shoulder. "Someday, she'll dislocate it." He confided to the elderly man, who chuckled in sympathy. "Who's the new kid?" The man asked curiously, nodding at Bryan in greeting. "Oh, sorry." Matt apologized. "This is Bryan. Bryan meet Dr. Kurt, our vet around these parts." Bryan shook the the doctor's hand politely. "Now if you'll excuse us, Doc. We got some orders to fill." Matt turned to Bryan and led him back inside. Matt kept a steady stream of instructions as he went about getting supplies for the orders. Most of the food only had to be heated up, as they had been prepared beforehand. The cafe only served snacks and light meals. Sandwiches made up the bulk of it, but they also served shortbread and icecream. Bryan was relieved to discover that culinary skills were not much of a requirement after all. He easily kept up with Matt, and after a half hour or so, was already preparing some of the orders on his own. Beverages however, were the cafe's mainstay. A tank (no other way to describe it) was kept perking up in one corner, along with milk, chocolate, and various other condiments that would be added to taste. Matt told Bryan he'll set up a guide for the different types of coffee for Bryan tomorrow, in the meantime, he'll prepare them himself. For the next four hours, Matt and Gi alternated in keeping Bryan company as he cooked, served, and waited on the tables. People were friendly and seemed to know each other by first name. He found himself being introduced at every table until he could hardly keep track of the names and faces. It was hard work. It was the first time Bryan had worked for money his life. When he was younger, he always found excuses when his parents asked him to help out in the restaurants. He figured work to be dreary, but strangely enough he was enjoying this. There was a sense of purpose in each movement. A sense of fulfilment at each satisfied customer's smile. A sense of pride at the weariness he was starting to feel. And then there was Matt. Bryan found himself strangely attracted to the guy. It wasn't just the looks. Bryan had plenty of good looking friends back in LA, and he didn't feel this way around them. Matt was a genuinely cheerful person, laughing unselfconsciously and joking around with the customers. As he worked, he found himself stealing glances at him. God, he just looked so cute when he laughed. But after almost getting caught staring, he resolved to be a bit more restrained. He didn't know anything about this guy. He's only known him for a few hours, forgodsakes, he scolded himself. Besides, he didn't even know if he was gay. Bryan ignored the twinge of pain at the thought. This wasn't some sort of fairy tale. Ever since he'd figured out he was gay, Bryan had accepted the fact that majority of the guys would always be beyond his reach. Still, he couldn't stop himself from hoping this was one of the exceptions. Watch it! He reminded himself more forcefully. You're not here for romance, Bryan. Maybe someday when things are less complicated... but definitely not right now. There was also Gi. Bryan honestly found the five foot four woman intimidating. Several times, he caught her surreptitiously observing him as he worked. He knew he couldn't blame her. He was a total stranger, and even he himself was surprised at Matt easily trusting him. She would naturally be suspicious about someone they had just found trying to sleep in the park just last night. It would take some time for him to win her over, in the meantime, he better work his ass off. He had gathered that though she called Matt 'Boss', she was in reality an equal owner of the cafe. He had to impress her as much as he had to impress Matt. Thankfully, around two in the afternoon, the cafe started to empty out. Not too soon either as Bryan was just about ready to drop from weariness. Finally, when only an old woman reading a novel was left in one of the tables outside, Gi beckoned Bryan to join her in the bar. "Good job, Bry." She told him, clapping a hand on his shoulder. "Thanks." Bryan said, smiling back in appreciation. They both looked up as Matt came out of the back room carrying plates heaped with sandwiches. "Lunch, slaves!" Matt yelled out at them. He placed the sandwiches on the bar and helped himself to one of them. Bryan and Gi followed suit. All of them were obviously ravenous and nobody spoke as they chomped down on the fare. When only a solitary slice was left on the plate, Matt sighed contentedly and turned to Bryan. "So, how was it, Bry?" Bryan started to open his mouth to answer, but before he could stop it, he found himself releasing a sated burp instead. "It's okay, I guess." Bryan continued, blushing furiously. "He didn't mean the sandwiches, Bry." Gi observed wryly before all of them burst out laughing. "Yes, I know." Bryan replied after they had quieted down. "Seriously, it was kind of fun." "Out of curiousity, have you ever done this sort of work before?" Gi asked, leaning back on her chair. "Umm...Not really." Bryan answered. "What kind of work did you do, then?" Gi pressed further. "Umm..." Bryan couldn't think of anything to say. How about... never?! Thankfully, sensing his uneasiness, Matt came to his rescue. "Well... anyhow. I think you'll do nicely here, Bry. Welcome to the team." Smiling warmly, he patted Bryan on the shoulders before he stood up and took away the plates to the kitchen. "You do look beat though." Gi observed. "Not a lot of customers later anyway. Why don't you let Matt show you around town for the rest of the day?" "No... I... uh." Bryan started to protest. "Nah. It's alright. Sunday's always a busy day, and it's a bit unfair to you to jump right into it on your first day. I still think you need a bit more rest after last night, Bry. Boss and I take turns taking afternoons off anyway." Gi told him. "Today's his. Get to know Emerett first, Bry. You go on ahead with the Boss." "If it's really alright..." Bryan conceded."I do feel tired." Gi nodded and smiled. "I'll go and bully Boss into being a tour guide then. Welcome to Emerett, Bry." She laughed and got up to go look for Matt. "Okay, enough with buildings." Matt blurted out with a grin. "Think you got your bearings already, Bry?" Matt had been showing Bryan the town in the truck. "Yeah, I guess." Bryan answered. "If you get lost, just ask the people the street." Matt added. "Hell, plenty of the hometown girls would probably trip on their skirts to show you the way." As soon as the words left his mouth, Matt found himself imagining one of the curvy town belles flirting with Bryan. He was surprised to feel a sudden jolt of jealousy. He would expect Bryan to start begging him to be intoduced to the gals soon, anyway. He had to stop this mooning over him. Matt had drove on for a while before he realized that Bryan hadn't answered him. He turned curiously to him and found him staring out at the window in silence. Uh-oh. Matt thought. Looks heartbroken to me. Matt couldn't help but wonder at what kind of girl would leave someone like him. Meh, he shrugged mentally, I've never understood women anyway. Never will. He smiled at the thought and kept on driving. Matt wondered how Bryan would take the fact that he was gay. He decided it would be best to keep his mouth shut for a while. Emerett was thankfully free from homophobia, and Matt never had to deal with discrimination here. He hoped Bryan wasn't homophobic. Their current arrangements were a bit... intimate. Shaking his head off those matters, he faced Bryan and cleared his throat. "Bry?" Obviously deep in thought, it took a few seconds for Bryan to react. "Oh. Sorry, Matt. Miles away." He smiled apologetically. "That's okay." Matt assured him. "New town, new job, new people. I'd be a bit lost in your shoes, Bry." "Yeah." Bryan agreed. "This is a good place though..." He added, trailing off as he once again went back to staring at the windows. Matt glanced at him curiously but said nothing. "I'm glad I ended up here, Matt." Bryan said, turning back to Matt. The statement evoked a plethora of questions in Matt's head, but minding his promise, he didn't voice them out. Instead, he just smiled back at Bryan. They were nearing the turnoff. Matt spotted the dirt track and swung the pickup off the main road to follow it. "So, where to next, Matt?" Bryan asked curiously as Matt drove past the beginnings of a forest of evergreens. "You'll see." Matt replied enigmatically. A few minutes more driving and they reached a decidedly japanese style tori straddling the road. On the horizontal planks was written 'Welcome to the Emerett Hot Springs'. "A hot spring?" Bryan asked as he read the sign. "The hot spring." Matt corrected, winking at Bryan. "Oh..." A few seconds passed before he got Matt's meaning. He started laughing. Matt joined in good-naturedly. "The one in the picture?!" "One and the same." Matt nodded, still chuckling as he pulled over a graveled parking area. He shut off the engine and clapped bryan on the back before getting out. Bryan followed him towards what could only be described as a two-storeyed log cabin. Matt mounted the porch steps and pressed a doorbell briefly. Hearing no one answer, Matt started to pound on the wooden door, much to Bryan's consternation. A few moments later, the door did swing open, and a frail-looking Japanese woman carrying a bag of gardening tools stepped outside. She paused as she saw them and peered out at both of them nearsightedly. "Aunt Himiko?!" Matt shouted at her. Though Bryan realized that the woman was hard of hearing, he still found the sight of a grown man shouting at an old lady a bit disconcerting. "It's Matt!" The woman dropped her bag of tools on the floor and took Matt's face between gnarled hands and pulled it down to examine it closer. In a surprisingly strong voice, she laughed out and exclaimed. "Oh it's Matty!" She enveloped him into an affectionate hug before pulling him inside the house. "Why didn't you knock, Matthew?" She scolded. Matt rolled his eyes back at Bryan, who was stifling his own chuckles. "Where's Vince, Auntie?!" Matt asked her in a loud voice as she ushered him inside the house. "Vincent? Oh he had to buy some stuff from town." She replied, waving a hand dismissively. She noticed Bryan standing awkwardly near the door. Coming over with energetic strides, she held his face closer as she did with Matt earlier. Bryan was too surprised to react as sparkling black eyes stared inches from his own. Obviously not recognizing him, she released him from her surprisingly strong grip with an apologetic pat on the cheeks . "So who are you, handsome stranger?" She asked, laughing. "Uh, Bryan, ma'am!" Bryan replied, copying Matt and yelling the words at her. He fought the urge to rub his jaw. Damn, her fingers are strong! He marvelled to himself. "Bryan! A strong name for a gorgeous lad." Bryan smiled bashfully at her compliment. "Handsome one you got here, Matt." She said, turning back to Matt. Bryan caught her wink at Matt, and was puzzled to note him blush. Matt cleared his suddenly dry throat and introduced her to Bryan. "Bry, this is Aunt Himiko. Giselle's grandmother." Bryan extended his arm for a handshake, but Aunt Himiko used it to pull him closer to a hug instead. Releasing him abruptly, she picked up her tools again and started down the porch stairs. "Anyway, boys." She said turning around. "I have to go tend my garden. There's some tea in the kitchen if you'd like some. Have fun." With a friendly wave at the two of them she disappeared round one corner of the house. Bryan turned to look at Matt, who shrugged his shoulders and laughed. "Lovely lady, isn't she?" "Yeah. Weird, though." Bryan replied, a wry smile on his lips. "That she is." Matt agreed. "Second generation American-Japanese. She even went to one of those awful 'seggregation' camps this country placed Americans of japanese descent in, back in world war 2. Didn't seem to affect her cheerfulness, though." Matt told him with a trace of pride in his voice. He stood there, staring at the closed door for a moment, before turning on his heel and going into the house. "Come on, Bry." Matt led him through the backdoor and out a stone path. The sun was now almost at the horizon, and brilliant golden sunlight streamed through the towering conifers around them and dappled the ground. The air was fragrant with pine needles and Bryan found himself taking in lungfuls of the clean, fresh air just for the sheer pleasure of it. They walked in silence for several minutes. Bryan too at loss for words at the beauty of the woods, and Matt lost in his own thoughts. In time, they rounded a boulder and came across a dammed pool. Bryan gasped in delight at the sight. The water was crystal clear and steaming lightly. Bryan could even see the algae encrusted rocks at the deepest end, a mere six feet. A small waterfall was cascading merrily on on corner, framed by thatches of fern fronds. "Beautiful isn't it?" Matt asked Bryan after a while. "Yes." Bryan answered simply. "It's the town's best kept secret." Matt told him. He picked his way to one of the larger boulders and sat down. "There are a few more scattered around this area of the mountain. We don't encourage tourism, though. The town decided too many people could do harm to the springs." Bryan nodded and following suit, he found himself a boulder to sit on. "I would agree with that. Part of its beauty is in its tranquility, I guess. Bring in the McDonald's chomping crowd and this will all go away." "Yeah. Got that right." Matt agreed absently and stared at the waterfall. Bryan just sat on his own boulder and drank it in for a few minutes, then getting up he started to explore the perimeter of the pool. There was no aquatic life, as far as he could tell. The water must have come directly from an underground source. Only a few water striders skimmed the surface, and a solitary damselfly was resting on the stem of one of the leaves floating serenely on the pool. He looked around for a bit before recognizing one of the areas of the pool. "Hey, Matt." He called back to Matt. "This is where... the place in the picture isn't it?" Matt laughed and stood up to join Bryan. "Yep. I was only four then." "Who took the picture?" Bryan asked. Matt's face darkened for a moment before he answered quietly. "Mom." Bryan sensed the change in his tone and turned back at him in concern. "Oh, I'm sorry... I didn't mean to... Is she...?" Matt looked away towards the setting sun as he answered softly, "Yeah. Mom and Dad died in an accident when I was 12." Bryan was silent for a moment. Then without thinking he reached out and took Matt in a hug. "I'm sorry, man." He murmured against his shoulder. Matt found his arms involuntarily snaking their way around Bryan in return. The hug felt good. Matt found himself tingling in pleasure as Bryan's strong fingers softly stroked his back. Bryan himself was shocked at what he had unthinkingly done, but once he had his arms around Matt, he lost himself to the comfort of just being this close to another warm body. He closed his eyes as Matt's arms encircled his own body. It all felt so right. So right to just stand here holding each other forever... The sound of something metallic hitting a stone surface followed by a stream of curses brought them back to their senses abruptly. They leapt away from each other quickly just as Aunt Himiko came stomping around the corner. She was carrying some tin cups and what had been a full pot of tea. "There you are, boys." She exclaimed at the red faced duo. "I figured I should bring you some tea. But some goddamn tree thought she'd like some and tripped me with a root. Nearly scalded me too!" She shrugged a bony shoulder as she held out the empty pot. "Nothing left, I'm afraid. You boys would just have to..." She trailed off as she noted their discomfort. "Oh." She exclaimed in a small voice, her slanted eyes turning as round as they could get. "Did I interrupt something?" "NO!" Bryan and Matt denied vehemently at the same time. They looked at each other in surprise before blushing a deeper crimson. Aunt Himiko chuckled good naturedly. "If you say so, boys." She handed the empty pot at Bryan and the tin cups at Matt to hold. "Anyway, it's getting dark. Let's get back to the house, lads. Guide an old lady, please." She told them, turning smartly on her heels. Matt and Bryan hurried to each side of Aunt Himiko, both of them still avoiding each other's eyes. "And watch out for those bitchy roots." She warned as she let them lead her up the path back to the house.
  11. Hylas

    Chapter 2

    Bryan burrowed deeper under the pillows, soft and warm from the brilliant yellow sunlight streaming through the windows. His bare feet were poking out of the sheets, and he drew them back in and sighed in comfort. Dreamily he noticed that the vague smell of the bed was slightly different. Not that he was complaining, it was pleasant in an intangible way. His back was slightly damp from sweat. It was getting just a mite hotter than was comfortable as more sunlight streamed into the room. His eyes snapped open when he realized that he still had most of his clothes on. He always slept naked. Throwing back the covers he was shocked to find himself in a strange bed... in a strange room. Memories of yesterday's events came rushing back to him and he sat up with a start. And in a strange town. "Where am I?" Bryan whispered to himself. Looking around warily, he surveyed the less than tidy room. Books, lots of books were strewn around the bedroom floor. A picture of a smiling family of three was on one of the walls. A computer stood to one corner. On the bedside stand was a half-filled ashtray, some more books, a pitcher of water, a clock that read 8 AM, and another picture of a smiling brown haired young man about his age and a girl of probably 10 holding up a salmon proudly. He rubbed at his eyes sleepily then quietly started to look for his backpack. It wasn't anywhere in sight, but his shoes were tucked neatly at the foot of the bed. Lunging on his belly, he snatched them up and sat on the edge of the bed. He was still pulling his socks back on when he heard a noise from somewhere on the other side of the door. He froze and strained his ears to hear better. A phone was ringing. Someone picked it up and a man's voice filtered through the closed door of the bedroom. "Hello? Yeah, I checked on him earlier. He's still asleep, Gi." Chuckling. "No, Gi. Yeah. I'll call Bridget if I have to. I'm cooking breakfast for us. Mind the cafe for me for a few hours, okay? I swear I'll be there as soon as I can. Yeah. Bye and take care too. Love ya." Some more shuffling around then silence. Bryan finished lacing up his shoes then got up quietly. He tiptoed to the door and cracked it open. Peering throught the gap furtively, he caught a glimpse of someone moving in one of the rooms outside. The smell of breakfast wafted through his nose, illiciting a rumble of hunger. Panicky at the thought of meeting someone who could turn him in, he quickly shut the door again and hurried over to the windows. He started to open the latches then held back. He could sneak out from here, but he realized he couldn't leave his backpack. He had to find it first. Not to mention that the odor of food had reawakened the dull pain in his stomach. Swallowing his fear, Bryan regretfully closed the window again. How did he come here, anyway? Someone probably found him on the park last night. God knows he was too tired to notice anything. But... he was a stranger, how could anyone have trusted him enough to let him sleep in their own house? Still, he owed that someone. The least he could do was thank him. But he swore not to impinge further on his kindness. He can make it through alone, he won't beg. Keeping his head down self-consciously, Bryan pushed the bedroom door open again, making as much noise as possible. He didn't want to be accused of sneaking around, especially with him being a total stranger and all. Someone was whistling in what had to be the kitchen.The smell of food cooking was stronger and his mouth watering uncomfortably. Making his footsteps audible ot the point of almost stamping them, Bryan made his way slowly toward the noise. Coming around a corner, he found himself staring at the young man in the picture in the bedroom. A very attractive young man. He did look a bit older than he did in the photo, but probably only a couple of years older than him. He was well built and about Bryan's height - 5'10. He was bare from the waist up and Bryan found his eyes drawn to the corded muscles on his back. He was dancing rather comically and whistling to a tune from the ipod strapped on his jeans. Earphones were tinnily blaring out a popular rock tune. Bryan realized that for all the noise he'd made, the guy wouldn't have been able to hear him at all. He started to turn and leave quietly, but he somehow couldn't take his eyes from the guy. His lips began to curl up in amusement, when the guy did a little impromptu headbanging. He was irresistibly cute in the rugged kind of way. Soft brown hair cut short, sideburns complementing a goatee, and softly tanned skin of someone who loved the outdoors. As the man reached over for some mugs from an overhead cupboard, he caught a glimpse of Bryan through the corner of his eye. He started and pivoted swiftly to face Bryan. The mug he had taken hold of slipped and fell crashing into the floor, shattering with a hollow boom that made both of them cringe. For a long moment, they stood staring at each other in silence. His clear green eyes rapidly shifting from the broken pieces to Bryan and back again. Bryan half-expected them to start wiggling their fingers around his waistband like dueling cowboys in one of those old westerns. The thought made Bryan crack a smile that seemed to break the tension in the air. The guy smiled back and pulled out his earphones, blushing furiously. "Hi. Umm... I'm sorry, I didn't hear you wake up..." He stammered. "How long have you been there?" He asked, blushing pinker. "Not long." Bryan lied uncomfortably. "I'm sorry for startling you. Here let me help..." Before the guy could dissuade him, Bryan had already stridden over to the broken pieces and had started picking them up. The guy ducked down hurriedly to help, obviously still flustered at being caught unawares. The pieces were soon safely piled unto some old newspapers and disposed off. The guy swept off the remaining shards then turned back to Bryan. "Umm... Good morning." He grinned sheepishly. "I'm sorry for that. I guess I was just used to living alone." Bryan kept his eyes bashfully on the floor and shrugged slightly. The guy stretched a hand out. "I'm Matthew Engels, by the way. Call me Matt." Bryan took the guy's warm grip and shook it briefly. "I'm Bryan." He paused when he realized he was about to blurt out his real family name. Then realizing that manufacturing a phony family name after the pause would probably look juvenile, he bit his tongue and added nothing more. Bryan felt like an idiot but thankfully Matt just shrugged. A sputtering sound interrupted the momentary awkwardness and both of them turned towards the stove where some bacon where turning browner than they normally should be. Muttering a curse, Matt hurried towards it and began taking them off the pan. "Bryan, umm Bry?" Bryan nodded at the nickname. "Go on ahead and sit down at the table. This'll be ready in a minute." Bryan obediently made his way to the table on the adjoining room and sat down. He regarded the floral pattern on the placeholder in front of him as thoughts ran through his head. He like the guy - Matt, he corrected himself. The fact that he was dashingly handsome didn't help matters a lot. He couldn't afford to trust someone in his state. He had to find a way to thank him for his help and leave. He still needed to find a job, and find one quick. He can't impose himself on others. Bryan pondered on a way to leave graciously. He remembered the few dollars he had remaining in his backpack and decided to pay him for his trouble instead. Yes, that would probably be for the best. He can't let the guy know that he was hard out, he'd probably alert the authorities... then where would that leave him? Ported back home to LA to face his parents. Parents who couldn't accept what he was. The sound of footstpes behind him made him turn around. Matt was carrying a pitcherfull of orange juice in one hand and two empty glasses in the other rather awkwardly. Bryan stood up and took the pitcher from him as Matt placed the glasses on the table. "Help yourself, Bry. I'll serve up in a moment." "Thanks... um... Matt" Bryan answered gratefully, pouring himself a glass of orange juice. He gulped it down thirstily, assuaging his gnawing hunger somewhat. Matt had paused and was regarding him silently. The guy was even more gorgeous awake. Bryan's black hair was buzz cut. Accentuating his almost feminine lashes and full lips. A pleasant contrast on the undeniably masculine face and body. And those eyes... a soft brown that glittered with liquid warmth... and a slightly bowed shape that hinted at their owner's love of laughter. Realizing that Bryan was fidgeting uncomfortably under his gaze, Matt laughed a bit self-consciously and murmured his welcome. He hurried back to the kitchen, another blush creeping up on his cheeks. Be careful, Matt told himself as he reached the counter, Gi is right. You don't know anything about this guy. For all his good looks, he could still be a hunted criminal. Matt couldn't quite find himself believing that, though. The guy looked like he wouldn't hurt a fly. And something in the way he moved told him that he'd been hurt emotionally recently, not the other way around. Matt found himself wanting to protect him. To take away what pain those eyes hid. To make those eyes laugh again. To see those lips curl up in a genuine smile of happiness... Stop it. He berated himself. He's not your boyfriend. He's probably straight, anyway. Matt busied himself to heaping food unto two plates, but his mind kept wandering over to the possibilities of this guy. Matt was gay, a fact known throughout town. He was pretty well liked, but that didn't stop the loneliness that had always been with him. Emerett was a small town, and as far as he could tell, no one else here was gay. His high school best buddy had been bi but had since moved on to Salt Lake City. He had a girlfriend anyway. He had briefly entertained the possibility of moving elsewhere and finding someone to love when he graduated from high school, but he loved Emerett too much. Then the cafe business came up, and he couldn't just leave it. Maybe someday he'll meet someone online or something. But for the meantime, he had resigned himself to a life alone. And now... this total stranger comes out of nowhere and he just couldn't help but start hoping that maybe... maybe... "Ow!" Matt yelled out and quickly brought his finger to his lips. He had taken hold of the still hot pan with his bare hands absentmindedly. "You alright there, man?" Bryan called out in concern from the next room. "Yeah, Bry. Don't worry, just make yourself comfortable out there." Matt cursed under his breath and ran the injured finger under the faucet. It was turning red, but no visible blistering, thank God. He donned on a mitten like he should have earlier then lifted the steaming pan and placed it along with the other dirty utensils in the sink. Taking the mitten off again and briefly rubbing the injured finger absently, he grabbed hold of the filled plates and carried them back to the dining room. Matt set a plate in front of Bryan and seating himself in the opposite chair. Leaning back respectfully, he expectantly glanced at Bryan. Neither one budged. The uncomfortable silence was broken when Bryan's stomach decided to give a pretty audible protest at the delay. Bryan blushed crimson to the the roots of his hair and Matt burst out laughing. After a moment's hesitation, Bryan joined in. Pretty soon, both were laughing so hard that neither one could gasp out a word for a full minute. Finally, they quieted down enough to recover their breaths. "Oh...man... I'm sorry." Bryan panted out breathlessy, still grinning goofily. "No... It was my fault." Matt was still wiping tears from the corner of his eyes. "I was waiting for you to say graces or something." "No, man." Bryan chuckled. "I'm atheist." "I figured you were." Matt replied, still chuckling at the recent absurdity. "So am I. Sorry. I just had this thing with stereotypes. You're latin american aren't you?" "Yeah. My grandparents from both sides of the family were from Mexico." "I thought you'd all be Catholic." Matt smiled wryly. "I'm really sorry, Bry. I didn't know you were that hungry." "Well..." Bryan avoided looking at Matt's eyes. "You are, aren't you?" Matt's smile faded at the realization. His voice had taking on an edge of concern in it. "Wait... don't tell me... you haven't eaten anything yesterday, either?" "Well... I... uh..." Bryan trailed off. "You didn't. Damn." Matt slammed a fist on the table and cursed himself softly. "I'm sorry, Bry. I'm such a jerk sometimes. Go on, man. Dig in." Bryan tentatively took a bite from his plate, his mind in turmoil. He'd gone and done it. Betrayed his true state of affairs to this stranger. He'll probably escort me to the police station after this meal. But he really couldn't help it, he really was hungry as hell. The first taste of solid food sent shockwaves of pleasure throughout Bryan's body. He never dreamed food could taste this good. He tried to eat slowly but the hunger finally won over and he found himself wolfing down the plate in seconds. "Here, I can't finish it." Matt's soft voice urged him. He looked up to see Matt pushing a plate of bacon at him. Embarassed but still hungry, he accepted the plate, murmuring his thanks. Eating more slowly, he studiously avoided meeting Matt's gaze. "So... Bry. What brings you to Emerett?" Matt asked. "Looking for a job." Bryan replied evasively. Matt just nodded and didn't say anything else as he waited for Bryan to finish the meal. When Bryan was done and had pushed the empty plate away, Matt once again tried to get through the younger man. "Judging from last night, you obviously have nowhere to stay yet, Bry." Bryan kept silent so Matt pushed on. "I'm asking you to stay here in the meantime, Bry." "I just can't." Bryan blurted out in a pained voice. Standing up hastily, he frantically scanned the room "Where's my pack? I've got some money there, and I can pay you, but I really can't..." "Bryan... " Matt's hand covered Bryan's on the table. "Calm down, man." Bryan stood still. Matt's hand over his own was gentle. Comforting and light enough not to be restraining. But it seemed to hold him back somehow. Seemed to tell him that everything would be alright soon. Exhaling loudly, Bryan gave in and sat back down. "I'm sorry... I was babbling." Matt gave Bryan's hand one more comforting pat before he withdrew to pour himself some orange juice. He gulped down half the glass before continuing, "Bry, I don't know what you've been through. And trust me, I don't want to know until you're ready. But listen to me first,. I know how hard out you are. I'm sorry but I had to look through your pack yesterday." Matt paused and waited for Bryan's reaction. Bryan said nothing. Knowing full well that he'd do the same if he was in Matt's position. "I had to make sure you weren't an axe murderer or something..." "Well, I'm not." Bryan replied defensively. "I know." Matt chuckled. "I also know, you only had... umm... five bucks and 35 cents on you." Bryan started to get up angrily but sat back down at another restraining hand on his arm. "Hey. Calm down." Matt told him firmly. "I'm not making fun of you, Bry. I know this may seem incredulous to you, but I'm really here to help, man. This town's not like wherever you were from. We help each other out here." Bryan still glared at him silently from across the table. "Look." Matt sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "I'll make you a deal. I just can't stand the thought of you sleeping out on park benches again, Bry. And Bridget's accomodations certainly aren't for you. You can stay here in the meantime. Food and lodging are on the house until you can get back on your feet. And I can find you a job. If you want, It'll not even be charity. You'll can pay me for rent as soon as you have enough money on your own, okay? Though honestly, I would prefer it if you didn't." Bryan was torn between not wanting to owe anyone any favors and the sheer common sense of what Matt was offering. He briefly weighed in the chances of his finding a job and accomodations on his own before running out of money and had to reluctantly concede that it was next to nil. He had no choice. Matt didn't seem to be the sort to use people, anyway. If the job Matt had in mind for him pays well, he can pay Matt back in a few weeks and find a place of his own by then. On the other hand... getting to close to the locals might draw undue attention to his past. He wouldn't want to be sent back home and face the harebrained homosexuality-curing counseling sessions that his father had arranged for him. But then again, Matt had explicitly told him he wouldn't pry. Besides, in another week, he'd be eighteen and legally an adult. He seriously doubted that would stop his parents from dragging him back home, but at least the law would be on his side then. Matt was waiting anxiously for Bryan's reply. He hoped that the kid had enough sense in him to see the wisdom of staying here for a while. If he said no, nothing he could do or say would stop him from leaving. Leaving into god knows what bleak future awaited him. Left alone, he'd probably end up neck deep in crime or the sex trade like thousands of runaways like him have before. Matt knew he could help him avoid that. But first, the kid had to let him. "So...?" Matt urged. Bryan turned his eyes back to meet Matt's. "So... tell me about this job..."
  12. Hylas

    Chapter 1

    Bryan clutched his backpack closer at a gust of bitterly cold autum wind. He picked his way through the leaf-strewn paths carefully. As far as he could tell, the park was deserted, pitch black under the starless sky except for a few pools of illumination from the feeble lamps here and there. He'd wandered through the town of Emerett earlier and he'd judged it to be reasonably safe enough. A nice, backwater town where everyone probably knew each other. No weirdos, no hobos...nothing he'd have to watch out for for what he was planning to do tonight. Finally, Bryan found a park bench screened away from wind and prying eyes by a grove of willows. A lamp post was situated not far from it, giving him enough light for the night. He wearily trudged over to it and sat down. He realized he was still lightly shivering beneath the designer coat he was wearing. It was just so goddamn cold up here in the North, wind or no wind. Taking his backpack off, he positioned it carefully on one end of the bench for a makeshift pillow. He raised the hood of his coat over his head and drew his hands inside the sleeves before he stretched out on the unforgiving wood. The backpack was a poor excuse for a pillow and Bryan almost burst into tears at the memory of his own soft, warm bed back home. That's all over now. He can't go back. He won't go back. His parents had made it perfectly clear - they couldn't have a gay son. Just couldn't. They were planning to send him through a slew of self-serving quacks to 'cure' him of his homosexuality. Nothing he could do or say would dissuade them. This was the only way. Bryan's stomach clenched painfully, reminding him he hadn't eaten anything since the measly breakfast of omelettes at some bus station earlier. He wrapped his arms around his belly to ease the hunger somewhat. He'd counted his money when he'd gotten off the bus an hour ago, and it was barely enough for a single meal. He'd planned to go job hunting tomorrow, and for that, he'd need the energy a breakfast would give him. He'd have to save the money and go to sleep hungry tonight... for the first time in his life. Unwelcome thoughts of the dishes their chef was probably serving for dinner back home intruded in his mind, bringing on another series of painful cramps from his protesting belly. Opening his backpack, he took out a bottle of water and drank quickly. It eased the hunger pains somewhat, but only barely. Sighing, he dropped the bottle on the wet grass below and settled back in the bench. He resolved to avoid thinking about food. Moths were swarming over the dim yellow light of the lamp, half-hidden by the willow branches. Bryan found himself staring bleakly at their mesmerizing dance. Bryan Montanez... 17, son of the wealthy founder of a popular chain of restaurants in Los Angeles, now sleeping hungry on a park bench in Idaho on a cold November night. He felt tears start to well up and hastily blinked them away. Fuck, why did I have to be gay? he asked himself for what seemed like the thousandth time. He knew he could probably have gone to those shrinks, pretend to be cured, marry some nice proper girl, and still lead a quiet gay lifestyle... but it was not him. He wouldn't be able stomach lying like that. No one can cure homosexuality, if only his parents could accept that. If only... if only he wasn't gay. Bryan replayed the nightmarish scene of his father finding his stash of gay magazines in his room. The confrontation that turned into a shouting match. The unyielding decision of his father to 'cure' him, no matter what. His hasty escape through the bedroom window. The series of bus rides to as far away from LA as possible. And now... sleeping on a park bench in some backwoods town in Idaho. Idiot, Bryan berrated himself. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. He can survive this. He knows he can. First, he'd need a job. He had one more year of high school, and the thought of never seeing his friends again made him almost regret his running away. So he was technically a high school drop-out. He had no specific skills, whatsoever. Born and raised with every intention of being one of the two heirs of the Montanez fortune, he was probably one of the most ignorant teenagers when it comes to surviving in the real world. Still, he was young... and strong. He had maintained a good build from discipline and soccer in school. He could probably find a job at the the supermarket or something... lifting heavy stuff maybe. So, tomorrow... breakfast, then off to the supermarket. He decided, yawning sleepily. Turning around to face the back of the bench, he murmured good night to the world then promptly fell into an exhausted sleep. Matthew Engels yelled good night at Mrs. Wesley as she left the cafe, toting her giggling twins. He smiled at her flustered reply as he watched her struggle to get the mufflers in place on the rowdy boys. Waving one last time at Matt through the windows, she rolled her eyes exasperatedly as she hurried off after the twins who'd taken it on themselves to race their mother back home. Matt chuckled and went back to drying the last of the mugs and arranging them back on the counter. He walked over to their table and picked up the bills left on the table before clearing up the plates and dumping them into the sink. He'll let it soak until tomorrow morning, he wanted to close up quickly tonight. Opening the register, he counted their earnings for the day. Not bad for a Saturday, he congratulated himself. He'd been a bit leery of opening a cafe in Emerett two years ago. His sister had to cajole, argue, and finally threaten him before he agreed. Now, at 21, he was the proud co-owner of the reasonably popular and the only cafe in Emerett. Matt's parents had both died in an accident when he was quite young. His sister, Margaret, was all he had in the world. He smiled fondly at the picture of her beside the register, with her husband, John, and daughter, Nicole. He loved them all fiercely and he figured he'd stop over to say hello tonight.They lived only a few blocks from his own house. Nicole had been asking him to come over and show him some game she'd been raving about for ages, anyway. "So... can we finally buy another kitchen slave, boss?" Giselle Seo, his co-owner cum waitress cum cook cum janitor cum cashier cum karate master cum smartmouth murmured from behind his left shoulder. Matt chuckled, folded the bills away into an envelope, then turned around to face the perpetually gum-chewing pretty japanese girl. "Why? What's wrong with the one I have now?" He countered playfully. Gi wrinkled her nose at Matt then punched him playfully in the shoulder. "This one's about to rebel." "Well, then. I guess it's time to bring out the whip." Matt laughed as he tried to duck another blow from Gi. "Ow, Gi." Matt muttered rubbing his shoulders. "You DO know those karate jabs of yours hurt, right?" "They should." She replied stonily before breaking into a smile. "Anywho..." She added, sighing dramatically, "I can see you're itching to be somewhere tonight. You go on ahead, boss. I'll close up shop." She turned around and started attacking the plates he had planned on doing tomorrow. "Thanks, Gi." Matt smiled gratefully, already on the way to the door. He grabbed his coat from beside Giselle's and opened the door. "Hey! This constitutes as overtime, okay?!" Matt heard her yell as he stepped outside into the cold night. Chuckling he shook his head ruefully before turning up his collar and heading out into the cold night. Matt hurried across the street to where he'd parked his pickup truck. As he searched his coat pockets for his car keys, his ears perked up at an unfamiliar sound. Stilling himself, he turned his head toward the silent town park. The wind rustled the boughs of willows lining the dimly lit path into the central fountain. Shrugging, he was about to turn back to opening the car doors when he heard it again. A low, almost sobbing moan. Matt felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Ghosts? As soon as the ridiculous thought popped up in his head, he dismissed it. He was too old for that kind of stuff. Besides, he'd grown up playing in the park all his life. He briefly considered the possibilities as another louder moan filtered through the dark screen of leaves. Someone must be hurt, Matt thought, alarmed. He abandoned his car and proceeded cautiously on the flagstone path. A few meters into the park, he found the source of the sound. Someone was lying curled up in the park bench with nothing but a coat to keep him warm, and one of those expenisive thin ones at that. He approached the bench curiously and discovered that it was a young man. At most twenty, judging from his looks and build. The guy was shivering badly and moaning in his sleep. What is he doing here? On a night like this? Matt wondered silently. He knew everybody in town, and he didn't recognize this guy. Must be some out-of-luck vagrant passing through. Somehow, Matt didn't believe that. For one, the guy was too clean and well-dressed. Besides, even a nutcase would have enough common sense to find warmer sleeping accomodations in the town hall or something. The town sherrif, Bridget, lets the few vagrants who stumble into town penniless stay the night there on the prison beds. That doesn't sound that bad either, the town's prisons had never held more than four prisoners in all its history and the beds were comfortable, the cells clean and private. More like an inn, really. Well, he couldn't leave him alone in here, could he? Matt flipped open his cell and dialed Bridget's number. A recorded voice told him that the number could not be reached. Cursing softly, he remembered that Bridget was probably in her weekly visits to Siltriver, the farming town a few miles north of Emerett. That town was too small to have its own sherrif's station, and the mountains around it played hell with cell phone signals. Matt glanced again at the shivering form huddled in the hard bench then hurried back to the cafe. He burst into the door, startling Giselle as she was wiping off the stains on the tables. "Gi, come with me, quick." Matt told her, silencing the questions on the tip of her tongue. He hurried back out the door, Giselle trailing behind him. As she caught up with him Matt told her about the guy he found. They hurried towards the park together until they came to the sleeping form. "So what are you going to do?" Gi asked anxiously. "God, he looks half frozen." "Bridget's probably off to Siltriver." Matt answered. "We can't just leave him here..." "Uh oh... Don't tell me..." Gi started. "I'm taking him home." Matt finished the sentence firmly. "But... he could be some escaped psycho forgodsakes!" Gi protested. "I can take the chance. I'm about the same size as him." Matt said evenly. "Besides, look at him, Gi. He doesn't look like a murderer to me. Not even close. More like a tourist." "He looks latino." Gi observed. "Maybe an illegal?" "This far north?" Matt snorted."His clothes are expensive, Gi." "Yeah..." Gi admitted. "He looks kinda cute too." Matt rolled his eyes."Okay, help me carry him back to the car." "What?!" Gi gaped at Matt. "What if he wakes up?!" "Shhh. Dammit. He would if you continue shrieking like that." Matt scolded. "Just help me and be careful, okay? We'll call Bridget as soon as she's back tomorrow." "Oh... I don't know, boss." Gi bit her lip anxiously as Matt gently eased his arms around the sleeping guy's chest. She fidgeted the can of pepperspray she always kept with her then shrugged and hurried over to take the guy's legs. Incredibly the guy snuggled closer against Matt's chest and started snoring. They both stifled their giggles and continued lugging the guy back to Matt's pickup. "Gawd, he's heavy." Gi said between breaths as they reached the doors of the truck. Gi gently laid down the guy's feet on the pavement. Matt held him up as he motioned Gi to take the car keys from his coat pocket. Gi opened the door to the rear seats and helped Matt settle him comfortably inside. Both were sweating profusely, but the guy was still snoring soundly, cuddling up to the warmth inside the car. "Watch him." Matt told Gi as he rushed to the park to get the guy's backpack. Hurrying back, he found Gi watching him warily through the truck windows from a distance. He chuckled at her expression. "He's not gonna bite, Gi." "How would you know?" Gi countered uneasily. Matt shrugged. "He looks like a good guy. Just a bit out of luck, probably. Besides, you could probably kung fu him to submission anyway." "Whatever you say, boss." Gi sighed. "Okay, I can take him from here. Close up shop for me, okay?" He said, giving Gi a quick peck on the cheek. "Boss..." Gi murmured hesitantly as Matt got in behind the steering wheel. "Be careful, okay?" Matt smiled and nodded. "Call me tomorrow! As soon as he wakes up!" Gi added. "Call Bridget too!" "Sure thing." Matt replied as he gunned the engine. "Thanks, Gi. Good night." "Good night, boss." Matt backed up the parking lot, and with a last wave to reassure Giselle, he drove off for home. The streets were quiet in Emerett and only the sound of the guy's soft snoring broke the silence inside the pickup. Reaching his house, he got off and opened the front door before coming back to get the guy. He cradled his sleeping form gently and carried him into the house. He settled him carefully into his own bed, grunting in relief as he released his burden. Removing his coat and shoes (taking note that they were expensive, custom-made hiking boots), he tucked him in then settled back to observe him. Gi was right. The guy was good-looking. A chiselled youthful face, blunted slightly by what was most probably latin american heritage, maybe even middle eastern or mediterranean. He had a good build. Muscular in a softened kind of way. A light shadow of beard growth in his cheeks, his fitting white shirt contrasting attractively against his golden brown complexion. Looking at him closer, he noted that he wasn't as old as his first estimate. Probably only 18. A very good looking 18. Too cute to be a vagrant, anyway. Besides, everything about him seemed to exude money. Matt could only come to one conclusion: a runaway. Yawning, he patted the bed lightly and whispered good night before turning off the lights on the bedroom. He would ask questions when the guy's ready to talk about it. not sooner, or he'd clamp up for sure. He got the guy's backpack from the truck before locking up the house and unfolding the living room couch for his own bed. He spent a few minutes looking through the contents of the backpack. Sighing at the things he found, he wearily closed it back up and folded it away on a drawer. Curling up under the blankets, he closed his eyes and fell asleep wondering about the guy snoring softly in the other room. Martina Montanez y Diaz wringed her hands fretfully as her husband and the detective sat sipping coffee on the sofa. The maid came in carrying some cold meat sandwiches and paused briefly by Martina's side. Martina shook her head and murmured her thanks. The maid went on towards the two men and placed the tray on the coffee table before silently leaving the room. Detective Allen Rosario selected a slice from the tray and munched on it as he listened to Antonio Montanez tell him of the details of his son's running away. "He was always a good kid." Antonio was saying. "I mean, he was into sports and had a lot of friends, so I never would have thought he was getting perverted, you know. We didn't expect it." The detective nodded absently. "We offered to cure him, but he runs away!" Antonio continued, running his fingers worriedly over his face. "We're only trying to help him, why can't he understand that? Being gay is not something anyone would want to be, so I can't understand what influenced him over to... that side. His brother, Brant, is happily married with a kid on the way. I only want him to be like him someday. Secure, y'know. Not subject to taunting or discrimination. He's my son, madre de dios. I love him more than anything else in the world. Even more than his older brother. But he can't be gay!" He thundered. Martina hurried over to her husband's side and settled his forehead against her own. "It's okay, Tonio. He'll be okay. The detective will find him, honey. Calm down." "Martina..." To Martina's horror, her husband started sobbing against her. She cradled his head gently against her shoulder as she soothed him. "I love him so much, Martina. Why did he have to be gay?" Martina smiled apologetically at the detective who was fidgeting uncomfortably at the display of masculine weakness. She turned back to her husband and kissed him tenderly on one cheek. "We all love him, darling. He just doesn't understand fully that it's wrong to be gay. It's going to be alright, Tonio, I promise." Antonio smiled wearily through his tears before kissing Martina lovingly on the lips. "I love you, mi corazon." He pulled away from Martina's embrace and took out a handkerchief from his pocket. "I'm sorry, detective..." He began, smiling wryly as he wiped the tears from his eyes. "I must be getting old." "No, sir, it's alright." The detective answered."I too have children, and I would die if anything happened to them. So I know how it feels like. Don't worry, our agency has brought back runaways without fail before. We'll bring Bryan back." "Yes... yes..." Antonio sniffed self-consciously then reached for his cup of coffee. He took a long sip before continuing. "We just love Bryan so much and we want him back. Do whatever it takes to find him. Bring him home, detective. We're willing to put off the counseling sessions until he's ready. He'll wake up one day and realize it's wrong to be gay and we'll be there to help him. But right now... right now..." His words trailed off. "Just bring him home, detective." Martina finished for her husband. She didn't add the words that were worrying all of them: before something bad happens to him.
  13. Hylas


    When people do not seem to understand that they are hurting you.
  14. Hylas

    Chapter 1

    Forgive the blessed, for they are innocent. Unknowing of their blunder, Indiscriminate with their curses, And as such know not good from evil. Forgive the young, for they are still foolish. Unseasoned by winters, Unwounded by battles, And as such know not of the keen edges of their swords. Forgive the gods, for they see only the tops of the clouds. Ignorant of the earth, Blessed with eternal sun, And as such have never known rain. Forgive the beautiful people, for they are still children. Untarnished by disappointment, Unsoiled by rejection, And as such have yet to know empathy.
  15. Hylas


    What do you do when the love of your life finds the love of his life? Letting go is not that easy when you're letting go of the last of your dreams with him. When you know that nothing like this will happen to you ever again.
  16. Hylas

    Chapter 1

    I love him. I love Tom more than anything else. That’s why I didn’t say anything. We had been together for three years now. The best three years of my life. Probably the best three years of my life ever. That’s not something you throw away that easily. Especially when it’s him… and it’s me. You see, I’m not exactly in his ‘league’, if you get what I mean. Tom is beautiful… and more. Sensitive, thoughtful, loving, kind, funny, vulnerable, confident, everything anyone could ever want in a guy. Everything I’m not, at least not physically. I’m… well you really couldn’t phrase it in any other way – I’m ugly. I get reminded of that every day when some random hot guy puts the moves on him. As soon as they see him kiss me, they go all wide-eyed before they can cover it up. The prince charming was kissing the frog! And no, I don’t feel smug at all when they do that. I feel… small. Reminds me of a time as a kid when my aunt trampled on a little inconspicuous plant (well… weed really) as she was gushing to my mom over how her rosebushes were blooming gorgeously this year. I was a kid and didn’t particularly care about the roses, but I could still remember clearly almost crying out as she stepped away, leaving the mangled remains of the quite dead plant. Because I knew I didn’t deserve him. He loved me, I love him (and do take note of the tenses there), but that really doesn’t erase the fact that guys like him weren’t supposed to be with guys like me. There were times when I would daydream that there was no one else in the world, but me and him. And he’d just love me and I’d love him, and it’d be alright. But yeah… From the corner of my eye, I saw him approaching me. I reached down into the sea and splashed my face with water to wash away the tear trails. I sat down on the wave-combed sand, not caring if I was sitting in three inches of seawater as well. I waited for it to end. I love him so much. We both have a mutual friend named Mark. I wish I could say he was a lowlife douche, but he’s really not. If anything, he’s like the perfect clone of Tom, if you just changed the coloring a bit. Tom had dark Irish looks. Mark was blond in a weird (and irresistible) cross between surfer dude types and Vikings. They both were extremely intelligent and really good guys. Before it happened, I used to get random thoughts of how in an alternate universe, they would be destined for each other. They just fit. Like jigsaws, like a key in a lock, yin and yang, whatever. Well… as it turned out, I didn’t need an alternate universe. They knew each other from work. I got to meet Mark when he first came into Tom’s company. Being the only other gay guy there, Tom was determined to become good friends with him. I liked him a lot. He really was a lot like Tom, except of course, that he didn’t share Tom’s mysterious attraction to me. He was never uppity about it though, like a lot of Tom’s other friends. He didn’t even seem to look shocked when Tom introduced me as his boyfriend of three years. He smiled and shook my hand. He also actually included me in the conversation, again, unlike Tom’s other friends who would barely acknowledge me and spend the whole evening trying to flirt with him right under my nose. I genuinely liked Mark a lot and felt happy that Tom finally another friend of the quality I wished he stuck to more often. We hung out with him regularly along with our other friends after that and before you knew it, he had become one of the fixtures of our lives. Thinking about it, maybe I already recognized the signs back then and just didn’t want to see it. But then again, maybe it really didn’t start until that night. It’s hard to imagine Mark plotting like that, much less Mark and Tom. My Tom. It probably really was just… fate. When it happened, it was a Wednesday. I usually hung out with some coworkers after work on Wednesdays and Tom with his since we both didn’t work Thursday mornings. You see, we didn’t exactly run with the same circles. We were both huge nerds, but he was a sexy nerd. He had friends from all walks of life; I had friends who basically were replicas of the same people I hung out with in high school. That night I had a headache. James, one my coworkers, had started another heated ontological debate, I usually enjoyed that, but I wasn’t in the mood for hot-headed scientists with a hammer pounding away inside my skull so I left the pub two hours early. Caught a taxi home and stumbled into a pile of clothes on the living room. My headache cleared immediately as I followed the trail of clothes to the bedroom, forcing myself not to think of anything. One glance through the open bedroom door was all it took for it to come back full-force. I left. Took a long walk to the waterfront and sat watching the waves. The breakers smashing into the concrete like angry ghosts in the pitch-black night. I suddenly felt so tired. I know I should have been angry. Furious really. Instead I just felt… exhausted. It was ending. I knew it would someday. I’m old enough to know how the world works for people like me. I knew it even before I said yes to him. I had suffered through disappointment after disappointment in my younger years that by the time I reached twenty I had never dared to dream further than what tomorrow could bring me. The world didn’t owe me anything and I didn’t expect anything, I took what it gave me grudgingly and made the most of it. It still hurt. I realized I was faced with a choice. I could end it now and walk away or I pretend it never happened until I was actually forced to acknowledge it. Guess which path I picked? I spent the next few weeks after that hoping against hope that it was a one-time thing. I’m also a guy and I know things can get out of hand really quickly when two guys are horny like that. Wishful thinking, I know. After the initial quiet, it became clear to me that it was something more. Tom is one of those guys who can’t lie. I mean he tries, but he fails miserably. I always knew when he was lying because his whole body radiated guilt when he does it. He knows he’s hurting me and he’s sorry he has to. That almost made it better for me. Almost. He started coming home late. He started feeling too tired to make love to the point that we went whole months without doing anything more sexual than a kiss. All the things those corny love songs whine about really. Used to think it was all a load of bullshit. But yes, he stopped bringing me flowers. Mark was the same. He obviously was in the same dilemma as Tom. It was subtle but he started treating me a bit too kindly. Like the family cow you know you’ll have to slaughter soon. Still I didn’t say anything. I blocked it all out. All that mattered to me was to be by Tom’s side for the waning days of our relationship. Heck I didn’t even miss the sex. All I needed was at least the ‘official’ right to hug him in public, to cuddle with him all night, the little pecks goodbye every morning, the ‘I’m home’ kiss… That was all I want. That was enough for me and I’m not exaggerating. I just needed him close to me. Every night I’d hug him just a little bit tighter. Every day I’d find myself just staring at him from across the room, trying to commit every little thing about him to memory because I know memories will be all I have soon enough. The way he smiled, the way he held his coffee cup, the way he loved to just sit by the window when it’s raining outside and hum softly to his favorite songs. It didn’t even annoy me to notice that he was usually in high spirits when he came home and slowly become quieter and quieter in my company. I was now the raincloud ruining his sunny skies. At least for the first couple of hours he was still the Tom who used to love me. He was obviously, happily, deliriously in love with Mark and I was the complication he didn’t know what to do with. I know he still loves me in his way and he didn’t want me hurt. Oh fuck you, world. The elephant in the room was finally acknowledged six months later… by breaking a vase. Yes, I know - six months. Six whole months, and just as I was finally managing to deal with the twinges of conscience at holding back their star-crossed love. Just as I was finally learning to fool myself into thinking that everything was alright and that Tom still loved me, I went ahead and broke a fucking vase. This time it was a Monday and I just got promoted so I left work early. For the first time in six months I was a little happier. I skipped the celebrations wanting just to get home and give Tom a long hug. I let myself into the house and noted his laptop case on the table. I got a beer from the fridge and hurried up the stairs to find Tom and tell him about the good news. I didn’t notice the moans drifting from the half open bedroom door until it was too late. I had a glimpse of tangled sheets and two perfect men in each other’s arms, oblivious to the world around them. One dark and one light, and both so perfect I could cry. I stood transfixed at the doorway, staring at the love of my life making sweet love to the love of his life. I couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t anything. Thankfully, seems like they couldn’t either. I must have stood there for half an hour with my heart being torn slowly out of my chest, but they didn’t even notice me. When the pain got too much, I finally managed to gasp a sob and force myself away from the door. I slipped quietly downstairs. My eyes were filling up with tears so quickly I could barely see, but I still didn’t have the guts to just end it just then. Fate did it for me when I reached up with an arm to wipe the tears away as I was nearing the front door. My sleeve brushed the flower vase in the foyer. It fell with a hollow boom on the floor. I stared stupidly at the shattered pieces as I heard scrambling upstairs. I was too heartbroken to think clearly, so it was only when I saw Tom hurrying down the stairs half-naked and barefoot when it dawned on me that I should have left quickly. I heard his voice catch as he called my name. For what it was worth, I wrenched the door open and ran. And ran. So here we were. Tom found me an hour later sitting on the sand, my pants already getting soaked in the incoming tide. “Hey.” He said tentatively. “Hey.” I looked up at him, and smiled sadly. I wished I could say that I looked like a tragic heartbroken hero just then. I didn’t. I looked like I always did, only much worse. I have the kind of features that just makes me look hilarious when I’m crying. But my emotions have run their course, and the torrent of tears had stopped. For the first time in a long while I felt at peace… kinda. He sat down next to me and I noticed that he’s still only wearing pants and still barefoot. We stared out in silence at the sea for a while. The stars started to wink into existence one by one over the bay before I finally heard him quietly say “I’m sorry.” I lowered my head and watched the waves swirl around my ankles. “Me too.” He looked up. “For what?” “I’ve known for a while.” He glanced at me sharply in surprise before his expression melted into pained regret and he looked away. “How long?” “Six months.” I confessed. “Why didn’t you confront me back then?” “Because I’m a coward.” He looked back at me again. His eyes were glistening with tears in the reflected dancing light of the waves. “No. I’m the coward. You should’ve thrown me out then, you had all the right to. Why didn’t you?” “Because I love you, Tom.” I smiled at him sadly. It was my one chance at happiness and I didn’t want it to end so soon, I added in my mind but didn’t say it out loud. He picked up a pebble from the sand and examined it while he sobbed quietly. “I don’t deserve you.” I took my eyes off him before I lose control and try to hug him. He looked so… lost. As bad as it was, I knew I was the one who had to make the decision for him. I stared up at the sky. “Remember when you first met me?” “On the roof of Sammy’s house at the party, yeah.” I could hear the faint smile in his voice. “You were staring at the sky then too.” “Remember what I said?” “Yes.” He threw the pebble out to the dark water and followed my gaze up at the bright twinkling lights in the sky. “You said you hated the stars.” “I never answered you when you asked me why.” “I figured you meant you hated Hollywood stars or something.” “No. I meant those. Stars.” He was genuinely puzzled now. “Why?” “Because they’re beautiful.” “You hate them because they’re beautiful?” He scoffed. “Yeah, and so far away. And even if they are all quite toasty… they’re cold to me.” I turned away from the sky and met his puzzled gaze. “You’re a star.” His face grew sadder as he slowly realized what I was saying to him. “You’re beautiful, Tom. You’re everything I ever dared to dream of back when I didn’t know better.” He looked away. The water was now almost waist deep. I sighed and got up from the sand. Offering my hand I hauled him up with me. We trudged back to the concrete esplanade in silence. I perched myself on the still warm planks of one of the ersatz benches there and continued, “I don’t deserve you.” “Oh cut that crap. I was the one who-“ “Remember when you first suggested we make it official?” I cut him off. “You kinda expected me to jump all over you saying yes.” I chuckled at the memory. “Instead I ran away. Couldn’t really blame you though. I mean, look at me.” I gestured at myself. “And look at you. Any other guy would’ve said yes on the spot.” “But you did say yes eventually.” He countered. “Yes.” I admitted. “But I did it knowing that this would happen. I realized it was my only chance to ever really fulfill one of my dreams. I loved you so bad and I was shit scared that you loved me too. Me. Just when I had finally given up on that dream too.” “I really did love you.” He said quietly. “I still do… in a way.” “I know, Tom.” I suddenly wanted to hug him so bad. Before I could think twice, I had wrapped my arms around him tightly. Wordlessly I began to archive this moment. I closed my eyes and buried my nose on his neck. I breathed his scent, still sweaty from making love with Mark and running after me, mixing with the heady salt of the sea air. I felt his warmth, wishing for a moment to just become part of him, to somehow sink into him and become part of him, even if it meant losing myself. All the love I felt for him, I poured into that hug, willing myself to empty. I know he felt it too because he hugged me back almost as hard as I did. Almost. It was a long time before I could finally bring myself to think again. But then I panicked at the thought of letting go of him for the last time and held on some more. All in all, I think I clung to him for the better part of an hour. Silently saying goodbye to him and all my dreams. When I finally had enough courage to let go, I did it abruptly before I could change my mind again. I stood up and walked out to the edge of the esplanade and stared down at the waves slowly beginning to lap again at the incline. “Thank you, Tom. For everything.” I looked back at him and smiled. “It was the happiest three years of my life.” “It was for me too.” He replied without meeting my gaze. “Mark’s a good guy. I like him. He reminds me of you.” I mused after a moment. “Does he love you?” I asked. “Yes.” “Do you love him?” Try as I might I couldn’t stop my voice from breaking as I waited for the answer that I knew already. “Yes.” I went back to his side and gently caressed his soft black hair. Slipping my hand down to his jaw, I cupped his chin in my hands and looked him straight in the eye. “Then go.” I prodded gently. “But what about you?” He looked at me desperately. “I’ll be fine.” I laughed sadly. “I got through fine without you before, Tom. I won’t go crazy or kill myself or anything.” I turned away when I recognized a very familiar expression start to creep into his face – pity. “Seriously, Tom.” I forced a false joviality into my voice. “Life treats me like shit, I know, but I love life. The world is beautiful, and even if it breaks my heart in the end, I’ll take whatever little pockets of beauty it can give me. You were the best of those. Thank you.” Tom suddenly stood up and kissed me hard on the mouth. I kissed back fiercely, desperately, hanging unto his lips like a drowning man. When it was over, he held me again for what seemed like forever before quietly walking away. I turned away from his retreating form. I didn’t know if he looked back at me or not. I didn’t want to know. My mind was looping three words over and over that I couldn’t say out loud for fear of holding him back – I love you. It became a battle for self-control as I forced myself not to curl up and cry my guts out as his footsteps slowly receded up the road back to the house, I need him to know it’s okay. I need him to be happy. Suddenly I could see the rest of my life stretching away in front of me like a vast featureless plain. I was leaving the last oasis I was ever going to stumble upon. I didn’t feel this way when my teenage crush decided to beat me up when I confessed my feelings for him. Nor did I feel this way when my parents disowned me forcing me to go through college on scholarship grants alone. For the first time in my life, I was truly scared. But hey, I consoled myself, at least I can say that I loved and was loved. I can say that I lived. Once. But holy shit, I was scared.
  17. Hylas

    I am Oblivion

    I used to think that sunbeams were beautiful...
  18. Hylas


    I used to think that sunbeams were beautiful, The motes of dust dancing chaos in celebration Of vanquishing the gloom with light. And then I opened my eyes, And saw only the arrogance of illumination, And the frozen breath that curls through the shade, Where whispers the most primeval of all my fears, That mindless terror of utter dark, But it is not that of my heart. I had nothing to be afraid of, for the fear is theirs. For they are puny, the light is mightier, And they must perish. I used to think that I belonged to the skies, Where the sun sails mighty as the world turns, A galleon on the oceans of air. And then I reached out, And found only the damp walls of these hidden caverns. And though I long to flee this chthonic hell, That freedom I had sought so fiercely, Is the delusion of my dreams. I had no wings to fly, A maggot I had been, I am, and always will be. For I am gravity, imploding forever, And I must descend. I used to see only the shimmer of beauty, The mesmerizing spell of perfection, And I the mirror adoring. And then I peered within, And felt only the paradox of self-revulsion. And I turned my face inward in shame, To gaze solely on my lovely mind. For it, alone, is beautiful. I have nothing more, Inside me I had closed my eyes, and willed myself blind. For I am ugly, oh so perfectly flawed, And I am narcissus reversed. I used to believe in justice and balance, Of good and evil; that which sinks, lifts. In equilibrium.we all hang. And then I weighed myself, And found my curses far outnumber my gifts. And in the forges of gods they made me, Of anvils of sorrow and hammers of anger, I have been cast marred, tainted, damned. And I am but lead, Wanting beside the intricate works of gold and silver. For I am worthless, the universe is a divine feast, And I the smallest share. I used to long for things far greater, To be set beside the stars of heaven. Distant shining spark, I'll orbit. And then I saw the vacuum between, And I lost my dreams as I recognized my final haven. In that blackness I think of memory, Of what I once was and wanted to be, For I only am what I was, And there is nothing else. In this terrible silence, the void beckons so clearly. For I am empty, I cannot be filled, And my yearnings only echo. I used to dream of worlds within me, Where we were the weavers of our fates, Our music entwined in harmony. And then I awoke, Opened my ears, and heard only songs of discord and hate. And in the cacophony of this life, I am but the faintest of sounds, Singing alone of better things. And no one ever listens, And I learned to be mute, for none hears the voice their concert drowned. For I am silence, I move not to the tides this music, and my heart has gone still. I used to believe I am a child of the day, Those who keep in their innermost souls, The bright fires of eternal hope. And then I found despair, And saw that in the lake of diamonds I was a lump of coal. And I was but an avatar of oblivion. Quietly creeping in the womb of twilight, Desperately awaiting the flames of dawn. And in that sunrise, I shall be burned, my ashes blown away, and I shall die. For I am shadow, the night is my mother, And darkness is my soul.
  19. Hylas


    Kyle found out he was gay at 13. Now 23 and independent, he's still a virgin in all sense of the word - never been kissed, never had sex, and never shared his soul. Little did he know, his world was about to turn upside down. He meets Shawn - tall, muscular, handsome, smart, funny... everything he had ever looked for in a guy. Except for one thing - Shawn has a girlfriend.
  20. Hylas

    Chapter 1

    HAPPINESS 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. Lost. 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. FUCK! 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. "Yep." "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: ERIN! "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. Flowers. 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. Shawn 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. "Shawn..." "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... EPILOGUE "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. "Kyle...?" 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... THE END
  21. Hylas

    Dreams of Nowhere

    When dreams die...
  22. Hylas


    The sands, they never change, Sifting slowly through eons, For all the miles I've covered, No one but I remembered, That once, I was like you, That I wasn't always strange, I lost myself somewhere, My footprints fade away, Happiness I never knew, This life's broken promises, Afters the same as befores, What else is there to fight for? We are children of sunsets, The oaths only death holds true, I have long forgotten, For whom these tears are for, The stars, so far and cold, They shine, but not for me, Hopes intangible as air, I dream these dreams of nowhere, As I make my own way through, This dark desert of my soul, I have stopped asking, Where this road will lead me, Keeping my gaze on the glow, Of a day that never breaks, In this forever twilight, With Eden just beyond sight, Horizons never nearer, Always one more mile to go, Heaven has closed its doors, Let me go home instead.
  23. Hylas


    Tim is moving away and this may be Scott's last chance to tell him he loved him. How would he do that when for the last three years he had acted like a jerk to all of his friends, trying to deny what he was really feeling inside for Tim?
  24. Hylas

    Chapter 1

    Scott pedaled furiously through the driving rain. Not even daring to take a hand off the handlebars to brush away the wet locks that were threatening to obscure his vision. Please... please... please... please... His mind pleaded over and over. Don't let him be gone. Rain fell on him in big fat drops, almost painful in the intensity it drove through his soaked t-shirt that still proclaimed cheerfully "Fuck You World!". The pavement was almost lost in the fine spray produced by the raindrops as they exploded on the concrete. The bicycle's tires cut swathes of white through puddles, sending benedictions of water to drench his hopelessy muddied sneakers. Already, the sidewalk gutters were flooding and a flotsam of dead leaves swirled past him like dirges to his dreams. Scott's legs burned at the speed at which they pumped the pedals, but he couldn't care less. Whitewashed picket fences blurred past him. Relentlessly he sped on. He had to get there before... Before Tim leaves forever... Scott choked back a sob, but his eyes never left the strip of pavement ahead of him, stretching out until it was lost in a surreal curtain of gray. Gray. Everything had been gray before. For years he had denied his own true feelings from surfacing. Denied the upwelling of his soul from ever gracing his actions, his words, his thoughts... Denied. He had locked it away in fear. Buried it in a mask of brashness, a mask of mildly conceited posturing, a mask of cynical bitterness. Much easier to let the world hate him for what he was not than let it laugh at what he really was. Denied. Most of the few friends he had left were convinced he was a first class prick. He couldn't blame them. He had alienated his childhood playmates deliberately. Insulted their efforts of at least maintaining a facade of polite friendship. Ignored the attempts at reconciling him to the group. Even his own parents had professed at barely recognizing the sullen teenager that had once been the sweetest kid in the neighborhood. The model paperboy who always delivered the morning paper right up to the doorstep. The kid who would shovel snow out of driveways for nothing more than hot chocolate and conversation. The kid that even old man Kinney, the grumpiest man in the neighborhood, smiled at in passing. The kid who even the bullies respected and liked. The kid who was never without a mischievous grin and a wave. The kid who had fallen helplessly in love at fifteen. In love with the someone of the wrong gender. Timmy... His grades had dropped, not enough to cause real concern, but enough for his teachers to start wondering what had happened to him. Gone were the neatly combed hair, the backpack of books that he had always carried with him to school, the 'normal' clothes... in its place was a roughly cut mane dyed in places with streaks of day-glo blue, nose piercings, an earlobe studded with a trio of baroque earrings, t-shirts proclaiming various obscenities, torn jeans... He had changed overnight into someone none of them recognized. He had dove head on into weightlifting, changing his once slight frame into a bulk of muscle. Not even the varsity football captain, who incidentally was once one of his closest friends, would dare cross his path now. He had built up a menacing aura of concealed hatred and danger around him, until his mere presence was enough to silence a crowded cafeteria. He had changed. All because he couldn't accept what he was. Couldn't accept being what most people laughingly refer to as faggots. Couldn't accept the truth that nothing he could do would ever change the fact that he loved Tim so much, even his dreams and nightmares were filled with him. Gray. I'm gay. He told himself roughly as he raced on. I'm GAY! Tears were now flowing freely down his cheeks, unnoticed in the rivulets of rainwater that bathed his face. He kept his mouth set grimly though he wanted nothing more than to draw it back in a rictus of sorrow and wail at his own stupidity like a toddler. "I'm gay." For the first time, he whispered those words out loud. His heart was beating insanely from exhaustion, anticipation, and strangest of all, from a release of exultation at the words. He felt a vague warmth spread all throughout his body as he repeated the words louder. "I'm Gay." From somewhere within him, he felt his heart reconcile with his mind. Bridging the chasm that had separated the two these past three years. With a gut wrenching sob that almost unbalanced him on the bicycle, he felt his mind wrap itself around the fact. Felt it examine the reasons, and felt it accept. Accept what he had been forcing himself to deny for so long. And he felt something open up inside him. "Timmy, I love you." He sobbed the words out and felt his heart rise up and rejoice at the declaration. "I love you, Tim." Amazingly, he was smiling through the rush of tears that clouded his vision even more. Finally, he had to lift a hand and wipe his eyes clear of tears and rainwater. He should have accepted himself a long time ago. Now it just might be too late. From out of nowhere, a car door suddenly opened in front of him. Too late to brake, he slammed into it unmercifully, his bike skidding out from under him. He felt his head strike the upper edge of the door frame, thankfully padded with rubber. Nevertheless, he fell flailing into the muddy pavement, the skin of his knee scraping painfully through the gap in his jeans. Fuck it. I'm through with torn jeans. Scott cursed. Picking himself up hastily, he found himself staring at the horror-stricken face of James Rote. James was a junior and went to the same school as Scott. A scholarly introvert, James' worst nightmare was to give Scott a reason to beat him up. Now, it looks like he had done just that. For a moment, James gaped silently at the drenched and mud-splattered neighborhood toughie before babbling out a stream of apologies. "Scott. Oh God... Scott... I'm so sorry. Scott, I'm sorry... I... I didn't see y-" Scott waved a hand in dismissal, and to James' amazement smiled. He cringed into the car reflexively as Scott held a hand out to him. "James, right?" He asked in a mildly amused tone. James examined Scott's eyes suspiciously for any glimmer of malice before taking the outstretched hand and shaking it weakly. "Y- yeah." He stuttered. "My fault, man. I'm sorry." Scott said. He reached a powerful arm inside the car and gave James a friendly pat on the shoulders, making him actually squeeze his eyes shut as he expected a punch on the face. None came. Instead, amused laughter drifted through the thunderous pounding of James' heart. He hesitantly opened an eye and saw Scott still standing there, laughing in the downpour. His blue-streaked raven black hair framing his handsome features. "Dude." Scott told him, chuckling gently. "It's alright." "Oh." James whispered, then laughed nervously. "I was just... uh..." "Nevermind, dude." Scott's tone suddenly became serious again. He examined his skinned knee through the hole in his jeans and shrugged. "I'm in a hurry." "Oh... ok." James stepped out on the rain, not caring anymore if he got drenched himself. He wanted to clear things up before Scott decided to beat him up another day. "Listen... I'm really sorry... I -" He fell silent as he noticed the almost desperate expression on Scott's face. Scott was picking up his bike from where it had wedged beneath the open door. He mounted it quickly. Turning back at James, he smiled quietly, dispelling the anxious expression that had fallen over his face for a moment. "James, it was my fault. I'm sorry. Now, excuse me, I really have to go." "Ok..." James replied uncertainly. Scott waved a farewell and started off again down the sidewalk. A few meters away, he stopped and called back to James who was still rooted numbly beside his car. "James... hey. I love Timothy Clark!" Then with a grin he was lost behind the sheets of rain. James stood beneath the rain, open-mouthed in shock, for a long time after that. Scott was nearly there. Pumping furiously, he nearly missed the Coca Cola ad that marked the turnoff towards the Clark's residence. He skidded to a stop and turned his bike around to the inclined road. He was halfway up the line of houses when he decided that it was too slow pedalling uphill and got off. He pushed the bike's handlebars as his exhausted legs ran the last few meters into the Clark's driveway. He discarded the bike against the hedge fence screening the house. Hurrying up the driveway, he noted the van packed full with boxes of stuff still in the garage. He sighed in relief as he finally got beneath the eaves of the patio and rang the doorbell. No one answered. For a moment, he felt his fears that they had already left rise up within him. What if they had already gone ahead and it was just the movers left? Just as he was about to depress the doorbell button again, the door swung open and Tanya, Tim's six year old sister stared up at him. Her round blue eyes regarded him for a second before she screamed and slammed the door in Scott's face. A few minutes elapsed before the door opened again, this time more cautiously, with the chain in place. Another pair of dark blue eyes peered out at him. Then chuckling as the chain was disengaged and Tim came into view. Tanya was still clutching her brother's knees and was glaring up at Scott in challenge. Scott felt dizzy as he realized that he was finally face to face with Tim. Dizzy with joy at having caught him before they left, dizzy with apprehension at how he would react to his confession, and dizzy with grief at their impending separation. "Scott!" Tim greeted him hesitantly. "Sorry. Tanya came to me screaming about robbers on the doorstep." "Is he a robber, Timmy?" Tanya asked earnestly, not taking her eyes off Scott. "No. Tanya." Scott answered for Tim gently. "It's me, Scotty. Do you remember me?" Tanya kept silent for a moment as she squinted her eyes up at the tall, muddy stranger. "Scotty?" She piped up. "Scotty with the licorice?" She still pronounced it as 'lickrish' and Scotty laughed and nodded. Tanya's eyes lit up then gingerly she reached out a tiny hand and clasped Scott's large ones. She gave him a vigorous handshake. Wiping her hands on the seat of her pants she smiled brightly up at Scott, "I'd give you a hug, Scotty. But you're all messy!" Scott and Tim both broke out into laughter. Frowning, Tanya slapped both of them on the legs and ran back inside the house. "She always hates being laughed at." Scotty murmured fondly. "Yeah. I love that kid." Tim agreed, still chuckling softly. "It's good she still remembers me." Scott said, an almost wistful tone creeping up into his voice. Tim was silent for a moment. Without a word, he stepped out on the patio and closed the door behind him. "Scott..." "I know, Tim." Scott replied to the unspoken question in Tim's eyes. "It's been three years since you last came here." Scott couldn't meet Tim's eyes. "You don't answer my calls. You don't hang out with us anymore. You start dressing up like a punk... acting all mad and all that shit. What happened to you, man?" Scott could hear the anger at Tim's words. He knew he couldn't blame him. God knows, he had been acting like a jerk to them. The first year, he had ignored them pointedly to their faces until they had finally stopped talking to him. Even Tim. He still remembered an incident two years back when he had deliberately bumped Tim roughly in the corridors while Tim was busy adjusting the strap on his backpack. He didn't know what made him do it, he just remembered a vague yearning to touch him again. And he had to do it like a jerk. He hadn't helped Tim up either. He still remembered the look of hurt and anger on Tim's face and the conflicting emotions of shame and love that had washed over him at that time. He still felt ashamed about it even now. Scott ran his hand through his wet hair and turned away. "Tim, I..." Where would he start? He asked himself. There's so much I want to say... so little time. Why did I have to be so fucking stupid? He felt tears well up in his eyes again. Not daring to wipe it off and not daring to turn around and face Tim, he just stood there quietly, his shoulders slumped tiredly. He felt his breath catch in his throat as a gentle hand settled on his shoulders. "Scott?" "Tim, I'm sorry." Scott blurted out. Unable to keep the trembling from his voice. "Scott..." Suddenly he felt Tim slip his arms around his back. His slightly shorter and thinner frame molding itself to Scott's. "Scott. It's alright." For a while, Scott just leaned back against Tim's warmth. Sobbing quietly as he let out all the loneliness he'd bottled up all these years. The anger, the shame, the emptiness. The love... Sniffling gruffly, he brought a hand up to his face and wiped the tears from his eyes. Disengaging himself gently from Tim's hug, he took a deep shuddering breath and turned around to face Tim. Tim's eyes were damp too. Before he could stop himself, he had reached out and gently rubbed the tear trails from Tim's cheeks. Wordlessly, they gazed into each other's eyes. Scott found himself getting lost into the blue depths. Found himself overwhelmed by the years of suppressed yearning. Unthinking, he leaned in closer until he could feel his breath gently fanning his lower lip. Closing his eyes, he gently kissed Tim on the tip of his nose. Suddenly realizing what he had done, Scott's eyes blinked open. Realizing he had betrayed his true emotions, he let out a strangled moan and turned on his heel to run off into the downpour. But before he could reach his bike, Tim tackled him in a flying leap and he found himself facedown on the mud. Tim turned him around roughly and Scott found himself staring up at the dark blue eyes ablaze with anger. Here it comes, he thought. The part where he screams 'faggot' at me. "Fuck you, Scott!" Tim screamed at him. His hands clenched on Scott's shirt. "Fuck you! What the fuck was that?" "I'm sorry." Scott began. The rain was hitting him full on the face and he couldn't speak clearly without getting a mouthful of rainwater. "Tim..." He choked and spat out as water hit the back of his throat. "Scott..." Tim's voice had grown gentler. To Scott's amazement, he was openly crying above him. His tears mingling with the rain and dripping on Scott's chest. With a start, Scott realized that he was sobbing too. "Scott..." Without warning, he leaned forward and captured Scott's mouth in his. Hungrily, Scott met the brutal kiss with equal passion. Not caring for bruised lips. Tongues ravenously seeking each other. Moaning, Tim collapsed on top of Scott, their bodies mindlessly seeking full contact with each other. Hands ran through hair, desperately pulling each other closer, while the rain continued unabated about them. Both of them couldn't think of anything but the kiss. The whole world faded away as they devoured each others' lips. The storm battering on top of them a minor inconvenience as they gave themselves up to the surge of love that had rose to consume them. The unexplainable joy that now fluttered awake in each others' hearts. Finally, they broke the kiss. Out of breath and half-drowned in the rain, they stared at each others' eyes in wonder at what just happened. Unblinking until a bead of water trickled down Tim's nose and plopped right on Scott's. Splattering their eyes into closing. Giggling, Scott mischievously reached up again and kissed Tim once again. This time slower. Tenderly molding his lips against Tim's own. Their tongues meeting briefly before he fell back down on the mud. "Tim, I love you. I've always loved you." Scott whispered. "I was scared all these years. I... I didn't want to be gay... but now I don't care. I just know that I love you." Tim rested his cheeks against Scott's gently. "I love you too, Scott." They could feel each other smile. Their hearts beating steadily now against each other. Tim placed a sweet kiss on Scott's cheek before getting up. "You look like a drowned rat." He declared, laughing. "So do you." Scott replied before taking Tim's outstretched hand and pulling himself up. Briefly he drew Tim back into his arms again and gave him a peck on the lips. "A handsome rat." He added. Giggling like schoolchildren, they ran back to the shelter of the patio, their hands held tightly in each others' grips. Collapsing against the door, they just sat there, still amazed at what just happened. In a while, Tim's head drifted to closer to lean against Scott's shoulder, and Scott's arms automatically wrapped themselves around him comfortably. The rain was starting to ease up. Scott stared happily out at the outlines of the neighborhood houses just beginning to appear through the thinning downpour. Drunk on love, he was just about to start whistling happily when he caught a glimpse of the remains of a soaked cardboard box on the driveway. The reason for his earlier frenzy returned to him like a sobering splash of cold water. Tim was moving away. Scott's chest constricted painfully at the thought. This could be the last time he'd ever see Tim again. "Tim?" He whispered numbly. "Mm?" Tim answered softly, snuggled contentedly against Scott's collarbone. "You're moving away..." Scott felt hollow as the words left his mouth. He cursed the treachery of fate. Why do I have to lose this when I have just found it? He thought angrily. Is this how the fucking world works? He felt the return of his earlier anger. He wanted to lash out at something. For fuck's sake, WHY? Then he heard Tim chuckle softly. "What's so fucking funny, Tim?" Scott demanded. "You're going away. I may never see you again!" His voice had taken a desperate tone behind it. Tim was still smiling. "Scott, shut up." He told him with a laugh. He cupped Scott's face gently between his hands. "We're only moving to the Pritcher's place." "The Pritcher's?" Scott echoed. "Yeah, man. Remember Anna and her parents moved back to Florida last week?" Scott nodded. "Well... Dad bought their house. It's bigger and much closer to his workplace. Come to think of it... it's closer to your house too." He laughed in amusement as Scott's face slowly changed from despair to excitement in a matter of seconds. "Well... I heard you were moving and..." Scott explained. "...And hurried here to confess before it's too late?" Tim finished for him, erupting into a laughter. Scott blushed and punched Tim on the shoulder. "Shut up, dude. If I knew you're just moving a few blocks then I would never have..." He trailed off. Tim sobered at the realization. "Oh shit... yeah." He agreed. His expression turning serious before cracking an amazed smile. "Things do work out, don't they?" He added quietly before Scott ruffled his hair and pulled him back into his arms. "Yes, Tim. They do work out... beautifully." "So... does this mean we're going to get our old Scott back?" Tim asked. "Well..." Scott teased. "I kinda like my rep and my getup. Gotta keep them kids quaking in their boots, ya know." "Oh... shut up." Tim chuckled along with him. Without warning the door suddenly swung open and both guys found themselves hitting their heads on the doormat painfully. "OW!!" They exclaimed at the same time, their arms still entwined around each other. They stared up at a pair of spindly six-year old feet. "Mommy!" Tanya screamed delightedly. Tim's Dad was just rounding a corner when he caught sight of the three of them. Tim and Scott froze in each other's arms. Mr. Clark blushed to the tips of his greying hair. "Uh... Sorry, boys. I... uh... hope I didn't.." He started mumbling awkwardly before he caught sight of Tanya standing haughtily above them. "Tanya!!! You little imp!" Mrs. Clark was just coming down the stairs. Seeing the situation, she immediately snatched Tanya up in her arms before smiling apologetically at Tim. "Sorry, Timmy." "Uh... Scott, is that you?!" Mr. Clark blurted out in delayed recognition. "My God, what happened to your hair?!" Tim burst out laughing. Mrs. Clark sent a glare at her husband's way then apologized to Scott. "Sorry, Scotty. Same old husband!" Laughing cheerfully, she took her husband by the arm and led him back upstairs. Setting down Tanya to follow her father up, she called back to the boys. "Still got some packing to do." Then after a meaningful pause, "Timmy, Scotty... you guys...?" She let the question trail off. Tim and Scott looked at each other awkwardly then smiled back at Mrs. Clark, both nodding shyly. She smiled back gently. "Well, guys... Scotty, we already know about Timmy and it's good to see him find someone we've known since he's been in his nappies." She chuckled. "We're right here, remember that both of you. And Scotty, if you need help talking about this to your parents, we're here too. We had to go through the same thing ourselves when Timmy came out." "Aww... Mom." Tim groaned out, burying his face against Scott's shoulders. "Boys, just remember. Stay safe, okay?" Mrs. Clark turned pink at what she had just said while Scott almost choked. Tim was giggling quietly against him. "I guess you guys still have a lot to talk about, if I'm not mistaken?" Both of them nodded. "Well, we'll leave you alone for now, boys. Bye Scotty. I love you Timmy." She winked before starting up the stairs herself. "Love you too, Mom." Tim called out as she disappeared from their view. "What was that?" Scotty demanded in a low voice. They could still hear Tim's parents talking quietly upstairs. Obviously still discussing them. Tim shrugged "Parents..." He said dismissively then kissed Scott again. "Daddy, what's a condom?" Tanya's loud voice came from upstairs. Murmurs of hushing and giggling as Mr. and Mrs. Clark silenced their daughter's inopportune curiousity. Tim groaned in embarassment as Scott just laughed and held him tighter. "I love you, Tim" He said quietly. Outside the rain had trickled down to a fine misty drizzle. Just above the trees behind the house next door, they could just see the end of a rainbow. THE END
  25. Hylas


    Rick had set a deadline on himself. He was set on coming out to his family and his bestfriend. Grasping what little courage he could muster, he stutters out the dreaded words... "I'm gay."

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