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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Desert Dropping - 6. A Little Fun

"Oh, look at that," Dave mumbled, in a voice not much louder than a whisper. "It’s just not fair. I mean, just look at that."

I was looking; I just wasn’t as interested in it. I was actually more interested in the sunset, which had colored the sky various oranges and reds. We probably had a good hour left before it was completely dark, and that was fine with me, considering we were sitting in the middle of the park, in the grass, and watching the varying activities around us.

Luke and I had arrived early, and then we ran into Rick and Brian, and then finally Dave. Of course, Chey was there too, and Chey happened to be what everyone was looking at…well, Chey and the group of girls that had decided Chey wasn’t getting enough attention. Chey was now on her back with more than enough hands willing to scratch her belly.

"That’s just wrong." Dave shook his head sadly, when Chey licked the face of a short girl; pretty with short, curly, dirty-blonde hair and a bubbly smile. Earlier someone had mentioned that she was Angela Conner: current object of Dave’s desire. "Luke, dude, I never thought I’d be jealous of your dog."

"Shut up," Luke laughed, flicking a piece of dried grass in Dave’s direction, "you get jealous of my dog when I scratch her belly."

"Angela does look good today." Rick remarked from my left, where he was sitting on the other side of Brian, who was between us. Luke was next to me on my right, and Dave was next to him.

"Hey!" Dave leaned forward and glared in Rick’s direction. "There are like, ten of them out there, you have to look at her?"

"What?" Rick laughed. "It’s not like she isn’t available."

"Rick, I swear…" Dave started, sounding annoyed.

"Do you think she’d go out with me?" Rick interrupted, looking at Brian.

"Don’t see why not." Brian shrugged. "I don’t see anyone else asking her out."

"You guys are fucking assholes." Dave informed them, and Brian and Rick laughed.

I glanced at Luke, who just smiled and rolled his eyes.

"You should go talk to her, Dave." Brian insisted.

"Yeah, just don’t forget how to talk this time." Rick laughed.

I looked over at Dave, who as blushing somewhat and shaking his head at his friends. It was strange seeing someone like Dave act so shy. He definitely wasn’t unattractive, and he had an outgoing personality as far as I could tell. As I looked out towards Angela Conner I wondered what it was about this girl that had him so worked up. Sure, she was pretty, but I didn’t see anything particularly special about her. Then again, I was probably the wrong person to ask.

"Leave Dave alone you guys." Luke said. "He’ll come around…and don’t worry, Dave, if you don’t get it right soon I’ll date you myself."

Brian and Rick laughed when Luke suddenly threw his arm around Dave and pulled him closer to plant a big kiss on his cheek, while my eyes slightly widened at the gesture. I guess Luke was just extra friendly with his friends.

"That’s because you’re a slut." Dave remarked as he shoved Luke away, wipping his cheek off with the back of his hand.

"Yes," Luke smiled, "but I’m a picky slut, so take it as a compliment, asshole."

"Is this all you guys ever do?" I asked, deciding to join the conversation, "watch girls and pick on Dave?"

"Don’t make it sound so boring." Luke remarked. "I guarantee that by the end of the summer you’ll like picking on Dave as much as the rest of us."

I smiled, shaking my head as Dave elbowed Luke in response. We hadn’t been at the park very long, but I was surprised how comfortable I felt around Luke’s friends, considering the only one who I’d been around for more than ten minutes was Dave.

I think it had something to do with Luke. I was comfortable around him, so now I was also comfortable around the people who he liked. Ever since we made up from our one fight we’d grown used to each other’s presences, and I was starting to feel close to him-like he was the big brother I never had, especially after the last few days, and after learning about his mom, and that he really did know how I felt. It was nice actually, having someone who I could talk to about my mother if I needed to, someone who would really understand.

Of course, I doubted that Luke’s mom was coming back to haunt him. That’s exactly what it felt like my own mother was doing. She was haunting me. Don’t get me wrong, I would take my mom however I could get her. If it were possible to trade ten years of my life for one more minute with her, I wouldn’t hesitate. But, nothing that I’d learned over the last few days made any sense. Mostly, the fact that my mother had kept my entire existence a secret from Eddie made no sense.

I couldn’t understand why she would do that. If he was some sort of criminal or evil person it would at least make sense... and the fact that he was a lawyer didn’t count.

I guess I could only hope what grandma Alice was sending would at least provide some answers. In the meantime, I was stuck waiting. But, Luke and his friends proved to be a good distraction.

I was glad that Luke invited me to come along with him tonight, and quite frankly, I was surprised that Eddie let me go, especially after my incident the night before when I abruptly decided to go running off into the desert. I know that if I was with grandma Alice, I wouldn’t be going anywhere after pulling a stunt like that. But, I think Eddie was just trying to get along with me. And, he did seem really happy after I’d decided to share those pictures with him.

I guess I wanted to try to get along with Eddie too. I think the fact that I now knew he wasn’t just a deadbeat who walked out on his family contributed to me wanting to get to know him better. Maybe I hadn’t been very...nice, to Eddie before, but I could hardly feel guilty about it now. If he had just told me the truth in the first place...well, things might have been better.

"Oh god," Dave mumbled, pulling me out of my thoughts. "She’s coming over here. Why is she coming over here?"

"Will you just calm down?" Luke laughed.

I looked up to see what all of the fuss was about and noticed Angela and another girl were headed in our direction with Chey.

"Yeah Dave," Rick added, "calm down, it’s not like she’s coming over here to talk to you, anyway. I think she’s more interested in those of us who can carry on an actual conversation with her."

"Shut up, Rick." Dave mumbled.

"Yeah, Rick, shut up." Brian remarked. "If you keep talking we’ll miss the way that Dave’s about trip all over himself."

"Shut up!" Dave said, a little louder.

I noticed that everyone around me seemed to quiet down as the girls approached, but they didn’t hold my attention like they did everyone else. Actually, someone else who had suddenly caught my eye had all of my attention at the moment.

When Luke had first asked me to go to the park, I knew that there was a possibility of seeing Aaron. I’d even hoped to see him. But, at the same time I also hoped that he wouldn’t be here, because I was with Luke.

Luke said that he wouldn’t tell me who to be friends with anymore. He’d also suggested that he’d leave me alone about Aaron. But, I hadn’t exactly had a chance to test whether or not he meant it. I also wasn’t sure if I’d get that chance now, because Aaron was with a few other guys, and he hadn’t seemed to notice us, or me, yet.

I wondered if he’d want to come over and talk to me if he did notice. We’d gotten along just fine the last time we were at the park, and after I called him, he even asked if I wanted to get together and do something. I hoped that he wanted to talk to me. For some reason I was drawn to Aaron. I hadn’t figured out what exactly it was about him that interested me... except for the way that I’d thought he might have been flirting with me the last time we were together, and I wasn’t really even sure about that... but I knew for a fact that I really did want to get to know him better.

However, whether or not Aaron wanted to talk to me tonight, I wanted to be careful around Luke. I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my new friendship with him, and if that meant avoiding a conversation with Aaron while Luke was around, then I was willing to accept that.

But, when I finally looked away from Aaron I noticed that Luke was watching me with an unreadable expression. The most I could tell was that he was troubled, obviously having noticed Aaron. I opened my mouth to say something to him, I’m not really sure what, but something. Unfortunately, before I could, we were interrupted by a more feminine voice.

"Hey guys."

"Hi Angela!" Dave blurted in a way that made me think he’d been holding it in for weeks.

"Um... hi Dave." the blonde haired girl replied, but then looked in Luke’s direction. "Luke, your dog’s so sweet. What’s her name again?"

"Cheyenne." Luke replied with a proud smile.

"Hey, Meg." Brian said to the darker haired girl standing next to Angela. "Is Cathy around?"

"She’ll be by later, Brian." Meg smiled at the big guy.

"So, what are you guys up to?" Angela asked as she took a seat opposite us and started to pet Chey as Meg followed her lead.

"Isn’t it obvious?" Rick responded. "A whole lot of nothing...except Dave over there was just telling us how pretty you look today, Angela."

I looked at Rick, a little surprised, and then looked over at Dave, who looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole, with that red face of his.

"That’s so sweet, Dave." Angela smiled.

Poor Dave. It looked like he wanted to respond, but he couldn’t even meet her eyes and all he managed was a small shrug. Maybe he really did forget how to talk around this particular girl. When Dave didn’t respond, Angela ended up looking at me.

"You’re new."

"Yeah, Angela, this is Rory." Luke answered her. "He’s...visiting for the summer."

"Hi." I smiled.

"Really, you’re here for the summer? Where are you staying?" Angela asked.

"Cousin Luke’s." I drawled.

"Yeah, he’s staying with us." Luke responded, looking a little surprised, but giving me a smile.

"Great, maybe we’ll see more of you, Rory."

"Sure." I shrugged.

"Hey guys, I’m gonna go get some water." Luke suddenly announced, abruptly standing up. "Wanna come with, Rory?"

"Um...sure." I shrugged, a little curious why Luke wanted me to take a walk with him, considering he had a water bottle in the back pack he’d brought with him, along with Chey’s frisbee.

I smiled at the others around me as they waved me off and I stood to go with Luke, and together we started walking towards the water fountain on the other side of the park.

"Are you doing alright?" he asked me.

"Yeah. What do you mean?"

"You just seem distracted." he shrugged. "But I guess after today you have a right to be, huh?"

"I guess it’s been a long day." I admitted.

"Aaron’s here." he said abruptly, looking in the direction where Aaron was still talking to the same group of guys.

"Yeah, I noticed." I frowned, not sure where this was going. "Look, Luke...."

"Are you gonna go talk to him?"

"I don’t know..." I replied slowly. "I don’t have to, and it’s not like I came here with him, I came here with you, so..."

"Just because you came here with me doesn’t mean you can’t go talk to him." Luke pointed out.

"Look, I don’t want to..."

"You don’t want to piss me off."

I looked over at him feeling annoyed, trying to figure out if he was trying to start a fight with me. That definitely wasn’t something I wanted right now. But, as I did look at him I realized that he was smiling.

"I just don’t want to start trouble." I admitted. "I get that you don’t like him, so I figured that maybe when you’re around..."

"If you’re going to be his friend you can’t avoid him just because of me, Rory."

"I thought it was you who didn’t want me to be his friend at all."

"I don’t." Luke replied, without any hesitation whatsoever. "But, I realize that it’s none of my business. All I can do is tell you to be careful and wait for you to figure Aaron out on your own."

"You know," I said, sounding frustrated, "it might help if you just told me what he did to you. I’m sort of getting sick of people waiting for me to figure things out on my own. The last time I did that I ended up with a cactus needle in my ass."

"Right." Luke laughed. "How’s your foot, by the way? Is this too much walking for you?"

"I’m fine. So are you going to tell me what’s up with you and Aaron?"

Luke’s face scrunched up in a thoughtful frown as I waited for him to decide whether or not he wanted to tell me. I hoped he did. I was definitely curious about what could make someone who seemed as outgoing as Luke dislike someone so much. I mean, I’d had my share of people who I didn’t really like, but I’d never detested anyone as much as Luke seemed to with Aaron. I don’t think I’d even had as big of a problem with Eddie as Luke seemed to have with Aaron.

"Let’s just say that he doesn’t make the most reliable friend." Luke finally replied. "And, he was my friend, Rory. I won’t deny that. The truth is, at one time he was my best friend, closer to me than Dave, even."

"So what happened?"

Luke let out a breath, looking annoyed that I’d even ask, but I didn’t care. If he didn’t want to tell me then he could just say so.

"He’s always been...sort of a trouble maker." Luke shrugged. "I think part of it was his parents let him get away with anything. When I first met him, I thought some of the stuff he could get away with was cool. I mean, if I ever did some of this shit.....but, back then I was dealing with losing my mom, and I didn’t think that Eddie and Jase wanted anything to do with me. I just figured that I was this kid that got dropped in their laps. So I started acting out, you know? I went along with Aaron every time he did something he shouldn’t."

"Like what?" I asked curiously.

"At first it was small stuff," Luke explained. "Getting into his mom’s cigarettes, maybe taking a few bucks from her purse here and there. It was stupid, all of it. But we never got caught. I think for a while we thought that we could get away with anything...but it didn’t last very long."

"What did you get caught doing?" it was strange for me to picture Luke in trouble with anything. He seemed like such a ... do-gooder.


"Well, Aaron’s neighbor went out of town and Aaron thought it would be cool to break into his house." Luke frowned and I followed his gaze over the where Aaron was still talking to the group of guys I saw him with. "It wasn’t all his fault, though. He didn’t make the decision for me, or anything like that."

"You got caught?"

"Oh yeah. We were in so much trouble." Luke shook his head. "But, in some ways I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me-getting caught. After that, I started talking to Eddie and Jase and things just got better for me from there."

"That’s why you stopped talking to Aaron? Over that? You said it was probably the best thing that ever happened to you."

"No." Luke stated. "We were still close at that point. We were for a while. Aaron was still rough around the edges, but after we got caught and he got grounded just as long as I did, he mellowed out some, got in less trouble... that lasted for a few years, Aaron was still my best friend... it was on my sixteenth birthday when we stopped talking. Aaron’s two months older than me, so he was already driving... I didn’t even have a party that year, just a small dinner with Eddie and Jase because I’d rather go out with Aaron. Anyways, he picked me up in his mom’s new car and said he wanted to do something special. I’d just gotten my drivers licencee that morning, so when Aaron asked me if I wanted to drive, I thought it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, you know?"

"Not really," I admitted with a smile, "I don’t drive."

"Right." Luke laughed, but then grew serious and went back to his story. "Anyways, his mom didn’t let him take her car very often, and I couldn’t believe that she let him take the new one. He said it was because it was my birthday. But, I still couldn’t believe that he was letting me drive."

"Did you get in a wreck or something?"

"Worse." Luke snorted. "See, it wasn’t his mom’s car. The asshole stole it. When we got pulled over, all I can think about it how Jase is going to kick my ass for getting my first ticket when I hadn’t even had my licence for one day. I was thinking about how I could get out of it, maybe tell the officer that it was my birthday and get off with a warning, right? But, the next thing I know, I’m being told that I’m under arrest. It was such bullshit."

"Are you serious?" maybe it was the fact that I’d never really been in trouble in my whole life, but just the idea of being arrested freaked me out. And apparently it was just last year.

"It gets worse." Luke replied. But, instead of sounding angry, he sounded sad. "Since I was driving the car, Aaron sat there saying that he didn’t know anything about it and that I already had the car when I picked him up."

"Shit." no wonder Luke didn’t like Aaron. After hearing this, I wasn’t really sure if I liked Aaron, either. "So what happened?"

"Eddie." Luke sighed. "Thank god him and Jase knew I wouldn’t steal a car. They didn’t think I was guilty for a second... unfortunately, the police believed Aaron’s version, no charges were even brought up against him."

"He never told the truth?"

"Oh, he came and apologized to us when it was all over, but up until then he was playing the role of the innocent victim... even when it went to court. He still said that I did it. I guess I’m lucky that Eddie’s not that bad a lawyer. After what Aaron told the judge... and he’s a very good liar... I ended up guilty, but Eddie got it knocked down and all I had to do was a little community service. But, it’s still on my record, that I’m a thief."

"I’m sorry Luke, if I knew that..."

"Well, you didn’t know. But now you do. So like I said, be careful with Aaron."

"I don’t think you have to worry about that anymore." I stated, glancing in Aaron’s direction as I made a mental note never to speak to him again. The fact that Aaron could do something so...wrong...to Luke, angered me. Maybe I was curious about Aaron, but after what Luke just told me, I could safely say that I was probably better off without him.

"Look, Rory..." Luke sighed and ran his fingers through his curls. "It was wrong of me to tell you to stay away from him like that. And, the truth is, I don’t think he’s really gotten into any trouble since then, and it’s not like he hasn’t tried to apologize a thousand times..."

"Now you’re thinking about forgiving him?"

"No." Luke immediately replied. "I’ll never forgive him... look, it’s complicated with Aaron for me. But, I really do hope he’s changed. I don’t necessarily like the idea of you being friends with him, that much I can be honest about. But, if he has changed, it’s not really fair for me to tell you to judge him based on this. So, if you still want to get to know him...I’ll deal with it."

"Luke...thanks for telling me. But seriously, you were right about him in the first place. If he did that to you... believe me, he’s just one less complication that I don’t need right now."


"So Cathy’s your sister?" I asked.


"And she’s Brian’s girlfriend?"

"Uh-huh." Meg nodded. Meg. I’d only met her briefly, earlier in the evening when she’d approached us with Angela. I remembered Brian asking her about someone named Cathy, but that was it. Of course now, I seemed to have the whole story, at least after properly meeting Meg. She seemed to know everyone.

I glanced over to where Brian was sitting in the grass, his red hair standing out even in the dark as he spoke to a tall, blonde girl who looked like she could fit into one of his shirt sleeves. She’d been introduced to me as Cathy earlier on, but if Meg was her sister they looked nothing alike, Cathy being light and Meg being dark.

"Do you have a girlfriend?" she asked me. I really hated that question.


"Do you want one?"

I hadn’t seen that coming. A second ago we’d been having a normal conversation and I was actually getting comfortable with her, and now...she was scooting closer to me on the picnic table bench that we were sitting on.


"Hey Meg," I heard a familiar voice call and turned to look behind us, "I think Craig is looking for you."

When I saw Aaron standing there, still looking good with his hair shading his eyes and his small features, even that sly smile...I wanted to smile at him, but, remembering what Luke had told me earlier, I held it back. But damn it, why did the sight of him have to make me feel so good?

"Really?" Meg smiled, standing up. "Oh, well it was nice meeting you, Rory." and just like that I was forgotten as she walked away, leaving me to look as unapproachable as possible and slide over as Aaron took a seat next to me.

"Hey," he said, "I was hoping to see you here tonight."

"Oh," was my short response as I took a quick look around to see where Luke was. Unfortunately, it was too dark for me to be able to tell exactly where he was anymore.

"I saw you earlier, but you were with Luke and after last time..."

"Yeah." I abruptly cut him off and stood up. "Well, see ya."

"Hey." Aaron grabbed my arm as he stood up, I wasn’t expecting it and turned around to face him, feeling uncomfortable. I simply didn’t know how to talk to him after what Luke told me. "Are you alright? I thought Meg was bothering you, but if you wanted to talk to her..."

"It’s not that." I stated. "I just...gotta go."

"Okay," Aaron said slowly, looking a little confused. "Well...did you still want to get together this weekend, maybe we could..."

"I’m sort of busy." I replied, avoiding his eyes.

"Busy?" now he just sounded suspicious.

"Yeah, I have some things to do." I replied. I guess you could say that I didn’t like this sort of confrontation. When I was angry, it was different. But, blowing off Aaron made me uncomfortable...and sad. But, I think part of my sadness came from disappointment too. I’d been looking forward to getting to know him better. I’d been attracted to guys before, obviously. Hell, I was attracted to my cousin. But then, I’d never actually met anyone as attractive as Luke before, I’m not sure I ever would in the future. But with Aaron, I wasn’t only attracted to him, but in the short time that I’d been around him I actually felt something with him. There seemed to be a connection there, the way he talked to me, the small touches and gestures... I wasn’t sure if this connection was one sided or not. I guess I’d never find out now. But, it was for the best. Aaron seemed too...complicated for me. And, after hearing about what he did to Luke, I was having a difficult time believing that I could trust him. I definitely didn’t need that right now.

"What kind of things?" he asked, moving a little closer. I was becoming increasingly uneasy. Something about Aaron’s face... he seemed cold all of a sudden, angry even. The look surprised me, but I pretended that I didn’t see it.

"Just things." I said, feeling annoyed.

"Okay, what about next weekend?"

I let out a breath. Obviously, he knew something was up and wasn’t going to let me by without an explanation.

"Look, Aaron," I relented, letting out a breath. "I don’t think..."

"Right." he interrupted. "I get it. So you talked to Luke?"

"Yes." I admitted.

"And he’s the reason you’re telling me to fuck off?"

I jumped at his sharp tone, not liking the way that he seemed to be putting words into my mouth.

"He told me what you did." I stated. I was beginning to sound defensive, but I couldn’t help it. The way that Aaron was standing in front of me...taller than me...he wasn’t that tall, but at the moment I felt like he was towering over me.

"And what did he tell you?" Aaron demanded. I definitely didn’t like his tone. It was borderline angry and nothing close to the happy personality I’d met my first night here.

"About the car." I replied.

"So you’re not even going to ask my side of the story?"

"I don’t hear you denying it." I pointed out.

A look of annoyance crossed Aaron’s face before he abruptly took a step back.

"You know what, fine." he frowned. "It was stupid of me to think that you’d actually get to know me before you judged me, just because you’re new. But you’re obviously just like everyone else around here, and I don’t need this shit from you."

I wasn’t sure what Aaron meant by that, but he succeeded in making me feel guilty when he walked away. I turned to go back to the table but paused when I saw Luke standing there, staring past me, in the direction that Aaron had walked off with an unreadable expression on his face, but, when he noticed me standing there he took a small step forward.

"It’s getting kind of late." he said. "I was gonna get going. Are you ready?"

"Sure." I shrugged.

"Alright...just let me get Chey."

Luke turned to go find his dog but suddenly stopped and looked back at me.

"You’re okay, right?"

"Yeah." I nodded. "I’m good...thanks."


"The kid’s worse than Jase." I heard Eddie mutter behind me, and then a little louder, "I’m starting to wonder if you’re his son instead of mine."

I felt myself cracking a smile listening to Eddie, but kept a straight face as I turned around and added a bag of carrots to our grocery cart, which seemed to resemble a miniature version of the produce section.

"You’re the one who wanted me to come so you could figure out what I eat." I pointed out.

It was Saturday morning, and while I would have preferred to sleep in, Eddie had barged into my room early, insisting that I get up and accompany him to the grocery store. And, after I made a few not-so-polite protests, Eddie had mumbled something about how it wouldn’t kill me to spend some time with him on his day off, right before he threw my pants at me and told me to meet him upstairs.

Now, we’d spent the last half hour in the produce section with me picking out various fruits and vegetables after Eddie told me to pick out stuff I like. Of course, normally I never would have taken so long, but I was dragging my feet at the moment mostly because it proved to be driving Eddie crazy, and it would probably guarantee that he’d never make me go grocery shopping again.

"Yeah, I know I did," he replied, "but don’t you eat anything fun?"

"Fun?" I repeated, raising an eyebrow at him.

"Yeah, like cheetos, or popcorn or... something that I can tell you to stop eating before you rot your teeth out."

"I like nerds." I said.


"You know, the candy?"

"Yeah... I know." Eddie smiled. "That was your..." he left the sentence unfinished, like he was afraid to say it.

"My mom’s favorite." I finished for him, and even offered a small smile.


"And tacos." I added. "I like tacos... so did she. Every week we’d have taco night and grandma Alice would come over. They’d always argue because my mom liked to mix the cheese in with the meat and melt it."

"Taco night." Eddie repeated after a moment. "Not a bad idea. We could do something like that... if you want."

"Okay." I shrugged, and he smiled. I was a little surprised at myself, talking to Eddie about my mother. I think I was doing good, though. I mean, I hadn’t screamed at Eddie or run away yet.

"So, is there anything you want to do this weekend, Rory? I don’t have to work until Monday."

"I don’t know... it seems like all anyone does around here is go to the park."

"Well there are other things." Eddie laughed. "There’s a water park about twenty minutes away from here. What do you think? It could be fun...we can go tomorrow."

"I guess," I sighed, "but... what if Grandma Alice’s package comes tomorrow?"

Eddie gave me a sympathetic smile and a pat on the shoulder before he turned the cart and headed out of the produce section with me following along beside him.

"The mail doesn’t come on Sunday." Eddie reminded me. "But don’t worry, Rory. It’ll be here. In the meantime, we should go do something entertaining to get our minds off it."

That last statement only reminded me that I wasn’t the only one waiting. I guess Eddie would be as curious as I was to see what was coming. After all, it would make sense for him to want an explanation why he never knew he had a son.

"What do you think it is? That Alice is sending?" I asked.

"I’m not sure. All she told me was that it’s from your mom. So, it’s probably something like a letter if it’s addressed to both of us."

"You’ve been thinking about this, huh?"

"Haven’t you?" Eddie smiled.

"Of course I’ve been. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense. My mom and me told each other everything." at least, I told her everything. "It’s hard for me to understand why she’d keep this from me."

There was a moment of silence and when I glanced up at Eddie he seemed lost in thought.

"You guys were really close, then? I know Alice said you were."

"She was like my best friend." I said sadly.

"Did you...ever ask about me?" Eddie cautiously asked.

"Well... I think I did a few times," was my hesitant response. "When I was younger I saw all of my friends with their dads. I was curious, so I asked where mine was. But, all my mom ever told me was that you couldn’t be with us."

Something that could have been interpreted as either pain or anger flashed across Eddie’s face before he quickly hid it and looked back at me. For a moment, after seeing that look on his face, I found myself feeling guilty that I never learned who he was before.

"Did you ever ask anything else?"

"Not really." I admitted. "I was..I was happy with just me and my mom, so I guess it never really occurred to me...I’m sorry, Eddie."

"Hey, don’t apologize." he said quickly. "It wasn’t your fault, and knowing your mom... well, I’m sure she had a reason."

I noticed that he didn’t say good reason.

"I’m glad you were happy." he said. "I’m still sorry that I never knew...but, it’s good to know that you were happy. That... means a lot to me."

I didn’t really know how to respond to that. It was a nice thing for him to say, but having a meaningful conversation with Eddie was pretty much new to me...and, sort of weird.

"So, are you ready to get out of here and wake up the rest of the household?" he asked, before the silence could become too awkward.


"Okay, we just need a few more things before we go...do you want to split it up? We can get out of here faster that way."

"Yeah, what do you need?" I agreed. I definitely wouldn’t mind getting out of the grocery store.

"Dog food... it’s right over there." he pointed. "I think Luke feeds Chey something for large breeds. Think you can handle it?"

"Sure." I shrugged, deciding that it couldn’t be that hard to pick out dog food. "Where should I meet you?"

"Checkout." Eddie replied. "The first register."


I found the pet section with no problem and began my search for large breed dog food. That wasn’t difficult to find either, choosing from all of the different brands was. I had no idea what Luke fed Chey, and Eddie didn’t specify, so I ended up choosing a forty pound bag that was harder to pick up than it looked like it was going to be, but, that could have had something to do with tear in the bottom of the bag and I found myself cursing as bit’s of dog food began to pour out, littering the floor and crunching under my feet as I moved to put the bag back down as soon as possible. Unfortunately, somewhere during the process the tear had worsened and I lost half the bag of dog food before I dropped the bag and stepped back, wondering what exactly I was supposed to do about the mess.

I decided to ignore it. After all, it wasn’t my fault the bag tore. But, I suppose I could mention it to someone on the way out. But, as I knelt down to lift a second bag, after checking it for tears of course, I noticed a shadow over me, and looked up, realizing that someone had witnessed my unfortunate mishap.

"It wasn’t my fault." I blurted, before anything else. But, I left the second bag of dog food where it was and stood up when Aaron Keslin raised a sharp eyebrow at me.

"Can we talk?" he asked, after a moment of just staring at me.

Maybe his request wasn’t out of the ordinary when it came to normal situations. After all, people want to talk all the time. It wasn’t exactly unusual. Except, after last night when I’d made it clear enough that I wasn’t interested in being around him, and he made It clear enough that he understood, and it pissed him off, it didn’t make much sense for him to be there. In the grocery store. Early Saturday morning. Was he following me?

"What are you doing here?" I asked, feeling uneasy.

"Watching you make a mess." he remarked. "So can we talk?"

"How did you know I was here?" I asked suspiciously.

"I saw you walk in," Aaron replied, sounding annoyed. "I’m here to pick up milk for my mom."

"Where’s the milk?"

"I haven’t picked it up yet. Christ, what is this, an interrogation? It’s not like I’m stalking you or something...that’s not what you think, is it?"

"No." I said quickly. "It’s just...weird, seeing you here, after last night."

"What’s so weird about it? We’re in a grocery store, and it’s not like anything happened last night, you were too busy trying to avoid me."

"Aaron, I told you..."

"Right, you talked to Luke." he said coldly. "And now you think I’m just an asshole, right?"

"Look, I’ve got a lot going on right now and I don’t really have time..."

"So now I’m not even worth your time?"

"That’s not what I meant..." I started, feeling frustrated at the way he seemed to be putting words in my mouth again.

"And yet, you won’t talk to me for five minutes right now."

"You stole a car and blamed it on Luke!" I suddenly snapped. I didn’t like the way that he was making me feel like a jerk, just because I didn’t want anything to do with someone who was capable of betraying a friend, like he’d betrayed Luke.

"That was over a year ago! I’m sorry about it, okay? I’ve always been sorry!"

"Really?" I retorted, feeling more annoyance than caution now. "Were you sorry when you were telling the cops that Luke was responsible, or was it later when he had to go to court? Exactly when were you sorry, Aaron?"

"Eddie’s a lawyer! I honestly thought that Luke would be okay!"

"Are you fucking kidding me? What kind of excuse is that?" I demanded.

"A shitty one, I know," Aaron frowned as he brushed his bangs off his forehead and away from his brown eyes. "But, I really am sorry... maybe you have no reason to believe me. You don’t even really know me... but, don’t you believe people can change?"

"I do believe that. But... this is just too complicated. I mean, the worse thing I figured Luke could hate you for might be because... you stole his girlfriend or something, but this... Luke has a reason to not like you, Aaron. I’m living with him for the rest of the summer and..."

"So that’s the only reason why you want me to piss off? Because of Luke?"

I just stared at Aaron for a moment, a little surprised by all of this. Aaron seemed genuinely upset. But, it wasn’t like I was ending a ten year friendship with him, I was ending something that hadn’t even started yet. I couldn’t understand why he seemed so interested in talking to me now...about this...almost like he wanted another chance.

"That’s not the only reason." I admitted, as I knelt down to lift the new bag of dog food. "I just don’t want to try to be friends with someone...who I already can’t trust."

Aaron took a step closer as I lifted the bag onto my shoulder and stood, and when I looked up again I realized he was close. Too close. He was in my personal space again, just like he had been that first night at the park, and it gave me that strange feeling again... butterflies or something.

"You can’t trust me?" he asked incredulously, but he didn’t raise his voice. "You don’t even know me!"

"And I’m not going to." I said simply. This time I was the one who walked away from Aaron. But, it felt no better than when he had walked away from me.


I closed my eyes, pointed my toes and let the water splash up against my sides as I held onto the matt and sank into the feeling of falling as I picked up speed on the slide. It felt like only seconds passed before I was splashing into the pool and I came up smiling, and rolling my eyes at Eddie when I saw him standing outside of the gate with Jase and aiming a video camera in my direction. But, when Eddie smiled at me I did give him a small one in return, right before I felt two hands on my shoulders and someone dunking me under the water. I surfaced, sputtering, to the sound of Luke laughing, so I splashed him in retaliation, earning us both a chastising whistle from one of the lifeguards.

Luke shot the older man a defiant look but then grinned at me and slapped my wet shoulder.

"Come on." he said, so we grabbed our matts and headed over to where Eddie and Jase were waiting.

When Eddie had casually suggested going to the water park, I’d shrugged off the idea, not really thinking that we’d all be piling in the car to go the very next morning. But, on Sunday, the day I was used to Grandma Alice waking me up so I could accompany her to church, Jase and Eddie were barging into mine and Luke’s rooms and telling us to get our swim trunks and be in the car in twenty minutes.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of going this morning. I was too busy moping around and wondering when whatever Grandma Alice was sending would get there. But, when we got to the park and Luke and I ran around like little kids all morning, I started to enjoy myself....even if Jase and Eddie were following us around like mother hens with electronics, refusing to have any fun of their own. And, despite the fact that Jase was ordering Luke and I to renew our sun screen every thirty minutes, I was beginning to develop a summer tan.

For me, it had been a while since I’d gone anywhere like an amusement park... it had been a while since I’d gone to do anything like this for fun. It was kind of nice, having a break, and it was the first day in a long time that I hadn’t had random moments of depression bringing down my day. Not that there weren’t things that made me think of my mom, it’s just that today, they all seemed like happy thoughts, remembering her.

"You guys ready to eat yet?" Eddie asked us as Jase handed us each a towel.

"Nope," Luke replied, after exchanging a glance with me.

"But, if you guys are hungry you should go ahead without us." I added.

"Oh... well, we can wait if you want." Jase replied.

"You guys don’t have to." Luke said quickly. "If you’re hungry you should go get something to eat."

"What if you guys get hungry later?" Eddie asked.

"Then me and Rory can pick something up." Luke insisted, sounding exasperated, and I just nodded when Eddie looked at me.

"I think they’re trying to get rid of us." Jase remarked, lightly elbowing Eddie.

Eddie just made an unhappy face before he took in a breath and looked between Luke and I for a few minutes.

"An hour?" he asked.

"Two." Luke smiled. "We’ll meet you guys outside of the bathrooms at the park entrance?"

"Alright, two hours." Jase agreed.

"Is this okay with you, Rory?" Eddie asked.

The question was for me, but Luke and I both responded with a hummed, "uh-huh," as Luke placed a hand on my shoulder and started to lead me away. Jase had to chase us down to make sure that we had towels, sun screen and plenty of water, but soon we were on our way. It wasn’t that I minded having Eddie and Jase around. Actually, we’d been having a good time with them around. But, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t ready for a break from their constant hovering. Besides, I liked the idea of running around with Luke for a few hours without adult supervision.

And we did run around, for over an hour before we were supposed to meet Eddie and Jase we ran around the park having lots of mindless fun, stopping at practically every ride that could leave us out of breath when we were through with it, and some we went on twice. And I enjoyed my company. It was nice being able to laugh about random, foolish things with someone else.

When we finally decided to stop and relax, Luke was the one who led us into a boat. It was one of those small ones, part of a ride that didn’t seem to be working at the moment, the kind that goes through a tunnel that I’m sure couples took advantage of. But, the boat was just floating there in the water, and it was dry, and in the sun, and at the moment, the perfect place to relax.

"Water?" Luke asked from the seat next to me as he reached into his bag. I nodded in response and took the bottle when he offered it to me, and after a large swallow I handed it back to him.

I started to look around as I leaned back in my seat, watching the crowds of people go by. The water park was definitely crowded, but I don’t think I’d really noticed just how busy it was until I took the time to sit down and watch it all pass by.

"What?" Luke asked.


"You’re looking around like you’re expecting someone."

"Oh, no. I guess I keep thinking that Eddie’s lurking around somewhere with that camera again... I’m just waiting for him to pop out."

"Nah," Luke laughed, "he’ll be too busy trying to convince Jase that the slides aren’t dangerous. We’re free until it’s time to meet up... so, what do you think? Wanna keep going?"

"Give me a second," I sighed, "I think it’s time to take a breather."

"I’m glad you feel that way," Luke smiled as he further relaxed into the seat and closed his eyes as his body started to lean heavily against my side. I lifted my arm and draped it over the back of the seat, finding it oddly comfortable when Luke leaned against my side and rested his head on my shoulder. His skin felt warm against mine, and it was nice, despite the hot weather, and when I felt his hair dripping down onto my skin, the small water droplets running down my chest, I took in a breath and fought of f the chill that went through my body.

"Don’t you think it would be fun to work here?" Luke asked after a few minutes of blissful silence.


"It would be fun to work in a place like this all summer." he explained. "It’s outdoors... fun atmosphere...probably free rides, too."

"So why don’t you?"

"I already have a job for this summer," he replied unenthusiastically.

"Uh... construction, right?" I asked, remembering that Aaron had mentioned something about Luke working.

"Yeah, did Eddie tell you?"

"I heard it somewhere." I shrugged, lightly, so that I wouldn’t dislodge his head from my shoulder. I didn’t want to mention Aaron during a peaceful moment. I still hadn’t mentioned my encounter with him at the grocery store, and I probably wouldn’t, either. I’d come to the conclusion that Aaron was better left forgotten at this point.

"Yeah, well it’s a summer job," Luke said, "and the pay is good."

"Saving up for something?"

"Sort of... I’ve got one year left of school and then it’s college after that. Eddie and Jase put together a fund for me a while back, but I don’t want them to do everything, you know? Sometimes it feels like they’ve done more than enough already, so I’ve been working summers since I was fifteen. I start work on Monday."

"That’s tomorrow."

"I know."

"Great," I groaned, "now I’ve gotta find a job too, or something constructive to do with my time."

"Why? I thought you were on vacation."

"Well, if you’re working, and Eddie and Jase are both working... then it’s just gonna be me and your hound hanging out all summer. Doesn’t make for a very interesting time."

"Shit... I didn’t think about that... I guess you’re gonna be on your own a lot, huh?"

"Don’t worry about me. I’m sure I’ll find something. I don’t know... maybe a job will make this summer go by faster.

Luke lifted his head and looked at me with a slight frown.

"You’re still in a hurry to get this summer over with?" he managed to keep a straight face, but I could definitely hear disappointment in his voice. When I realized why, and what I’d just said, I immediately felt bad.

"I’m sorry, Luke. I didn’t mean it like that."

"I know." he shrugged.

"I mean, I don’t hate it here as much as I thought I would. It’s just... this isn’t where my home is. I knew that I wouldn’t be here permanently the second that Eddie gave me the option. I’ve got my own life to go back to."

"Hmm," Luke shrugged, as he abruptly stood up. I looked up at him as he lifted his leg and stepped over my knees to get off the boat, and I lifted my eyes even higher when his movement placed his groin at eye level. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t been trying to avoid looking there all day. He was wearing a dark blue pair of swim trunks that hung low on his hips and seemed to contrast his golden skin, but the material was thin enough that when he walked the outline of his flaccid organ could be seen swaying under the suit. I was really beginning to hate the fact that Luke was so damned hot. You’d think I would have gotten used to it by now, with him walking around naked all the time. "Are you hungry, Rory? I think I’m gonna go get a pretzel or something."

"Not really." I replied. "Do you mind if I wait for you here?"

"I’ll bring something back for you." Luke smiled as he reached down to slap my knee, "don’t go anywhere."

"Don’t worry about that," I yawned, leaning back against the seat as I tiredly watched him walk away. Even his ass looked good in those trunks. I forced myself to look away and closed my eyes, deciding that I probably shouldn’t be staring at my cousin’s butt, especially in such a public place. It was bad enough that walking around half naked with Luke all day, not to mention being around crowds of other guys smelling like sweat, sun tan oil and chlorine had my cock twitching, but thankfully I’d avoided sprouting wood thus far. But, I was definitely going to be taking a longer shower than usual when we got home, I was pretty sure of that.

I wasn’t sure how long I had been sitting in the boat, but the sun coming down on me, the gentle rocking and my combined exhaustion had me ready for a nap. I wondered if it would be a terrible idea to doze off, just until Luke came back.

I was vaguely aware of the sound of more people around me, but I didn’t really pay attention to it until the boat actually rocked. For a moment I felt like I was off balance and sat up with a start, the fact that the ride was starting eluding me for a few seconds before I got my bearings. I realized that people were boarding in front of and behind me, but when I moved to get off before Luke returned, the boat actually jolted and I was forced to sit down as I was pulled towards the tunnel ahead.

"Crap." I frowned. Apparently I would just have to wait for the ride to get over.

I glanced behind me, trying to see Luke in the crowd, but there was no sign of him yet. I turned back around when I felt someone else’s weight come into the boat, and I think my jaw dropped as I looked up and saw none other than Aaron Keslin stepping over me in a red swim suit to claim Luke’s seat.

"Enjoy your nap?" he remarked as he dropped down into the seat and I watched him buckle up.

"What are you doing here?" I demanded.

"It’s a public park, Rory. Even assholes like me are allowed in." he replied coldly.

"Aaron!" I frowned.

"You might want to buckle up." he said as we entered the tunnel and everything went dark before my eyes were attacked by an onslaught of flashing lights.

"This is just too weird!" I stated. "What are you doing here? Did you know I would be here?"

"Will you calm down, I come here every weekend. Seriously, buckle up!"

"And you just had to get in this boat?" I demanded as we picked up speed a little.

"It was the only seat available and this is my favorite ride... put on your seatbelt."

"You know, I hate to sound paranoid, but I’m starting to think that you are following me, why do you....shit!" the boat suddenly jolted forward as we started falling down a hill, sort of like being on a roller coaster on water, and it occurred to me that this wasn’t a peaceful, tunnel of love, sort of ride.

"I told you to buckle up!" Aaron scolded me as I grabbed onto the nearest thing to keep my balance, and it happened to be his arm.

"I can’t see anything!" I frowned as I started to search for the buckle. Aaron reached over as the boat was suddenly turned to the right and water splashed over us and we hit a bump that had my ass coming off the seat, but somehow Aaron managed to find my buckle and as he started fastening me into the seat, I couldn’t help the way that I clasped his hand, wanting something to hold onto. "This is all your fault!"

"Shut up." he laughed as he leaned back in his own seat, but didn’t let go of my hand, even when I tried to pull it away from him, "and get ready."


A second later I felt like we were spinning, sliding up and down a coarse of hills as water sprayed us, lights blinked and people around us released delighted screams. I could hear Aaron laughing, and when the boat spun again, I found myself smiling, just because this ride seemed to have the same joy bringing effect as any roller coaster, despite the company.

"See," Aaron remarked over the noise, "you should be thanking me! If I hadn’t gotten on with you, you totally would have been overboard by now!"

"I’m sure you’d like to think so." I retorted.

He tightened his grip on my hand as we started falling again, and the boat began to spin in the other direction, and despite myself, I found myself holding his back as more water splashed over us and the ride became rougher.

"We could have come here together, you know." Aaron shouted over even more noise.

"That was before I found out what you did!" I retorted. "I told you, I can’t..." I was cut off by screams as everything suddenly went dark and the ride abruptly stopped, the lights going out until I could see nothing around me, and the screams were slowly replaced by silence and whispers, Aaron’s voice among them.

"You don’t believe in second chances?"

"That wasn’t the point." I replied.

"Well what if I want one?"

"I second chance?"


"You already know how I feel about it." I said, as I strained to see anything in the dark, wondering if the ride had broken down. That would be all I needed, being stuck in a dark tunnel with Aaron.

"What about how I feel about it?"

"Aaron," I frowned, although I knew he couldn’t see me, "I just..."

I was cut off again, but this time by something much more frightening than the twists and turns in the water. I hardly had time to blink between the time it took Aaron to place his hand on the back of my head and pull me forward, and to press his mouth firmly against mine.

My eyes went wide with shock, just as the ride suddenly started moving again, this time in the dark, but even then, he didn’t pull away from me. While I was trying to keep my balance and prevent my head from knocking into his as the boat jolted, I could feel Aaron’s tongue pressing sloppily against my lips, and while my instinct was to push him away, curiosity prevented it and I found myself hesitantly opening, my breath hitching as his tongue entered my mouth and I pressed back against it... I was kissing a boy.

It would be the sloppiest, most awkward kiss that I’d ever experience in my life. But, it was also my first real kiss. My first kiss with another boy, and it was the one person who I was supposed to be staying away from. The one complication, that I was in no way prepared to handle.

Copyright © 2010 DomLuka; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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So Luke has a record for something he didn't do because of Aaron and Aaron figures an apology will suffice to clear it up....right

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"If it were possible to trade ten years of my life for one more minute with her, I wouldn’t hesitate." No mother worth a damn would ever take take that trade, but it's awfully sweet of Rory to think that way.

Aaron seems to be the sort that likes the chase; which only adds to his general assholishness. Too bad he will forever be Rory's first kiss.


Wonderful work, thanks.

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So am I supposed to be totally creeped out that Aaron just keeps showing up wherever Rory is? Cause if so it's totally working.

Edited by spikey582
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Aaron HAS to be following him, it's the only reasonable explanation. Didn't expect that ending!

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I have mix feeling about Aaron and Rory kissing. I think that Rory needs to be very careful who know what Aaron might do but time well tell!

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