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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.

With Trust - 14. Waiting

Worried for Milo, I grabbed his arm long enough to get him to follow me, because if he wanted to avoid Emily Hill then just standing there was a bad idea for three reasons. First was that my mom liked Emily Hill. Really, she did. While I’d done my best to be honest with Milo about every time the woman showed up at my house, I may have neglected to mention that she wasn’t just stopping by to talk about her wedding anymore. She was stopping by to visit my mom. Which brought me to the second reason, which was that my mom was going to invite Emily Hill in. Probably right after she finished hugging her. Reason number three was that you just couldn’t show up at the Larmont residence without a smile on your face, especially during the holidays, without being expected to stay until you’re acceptably cheered up. Acceptably would be at my family’s discretion. I’m pretty sure that Milo was beginning to catch on to that last thing and was regretting his decision to show up in the first place, but he didn’t exactly argue as we bypassed my family in the kitchen and headed straight to my room.

I let him in before me, closed my door after us and momentarily contemplated sneaking him out the window. It didn’t take me long to dismiss the idea as I looked to where Milo was staring blankly at the pictures on my wall, hands in his pockets as he rocked restlessly back and forth on his feet.

“You alright?” I asked cautiously, approaching him from behind.

“Do you think she’ll forget and leave Juanita in the car?” he asked, his voice sounding void to my ears.

“I don’t think Juanita would let that happen,” I mused, moving around him, wanting to better search out his eyes for what was going through his mind. “What exactly happened, Milo?”

He shrugged, avoiding my interested gaze. “Told you. My dad...”

“What about Emily?” I found myself asking since I couldn’t exactly be with Milo and upstairs eavesdropping at the same time to find out for myself.

Oddly, Milo looked defensive. “She wasn’t like that when I left. The only thing I’ve said to her all day is when I asked her to pass the butter. I said please and it didn’t make her cry.”

“But you didn’t get into it with her?” I asked, the look on his face answering the question for me. “Well... that’s probably good since I’m pretty sure my mom’s inviting her to sit down with us.”

Milo groaned, eyes narrowing as his face contorted into one of his more brooding expressions when he moved past me, his body aimed for the door only to stop in front of it to turn and face me. “I have to get out of here.” He looked so sincere that I wanted to help him to do just that.

Instead, I moved towards him despite his edginess, and didn’t take it too personally when he tensed the moment I dropped my hands over his narrow hips and drew him a step closer, my gaze drifting habitually to his pink lower lip when his tongue moved over it. “I’m glad you came here,” I said quietly. Because he hadn’t gone to Jame. Ha! No, never mind that last part. Probably not the time to gloat. “And this isn’t as bad as it seems.”

Milo cut his eyes at me, hostility behind them that I found adorable, but refrained from smiling at it because he hated that.

“It’s not,” I insisted, sliding my hands closer to his ribs when his fingers wrapped around my wrists. “I know... Emily. But look, if you walked out before she was all upset, maybe she had a fight with your dad, too. Maybe the two of you have something in common.”

Milo didn’t look amused. “Or she blames me for every problem they have, just like he does.”
I dropped my eyes, not really sure how to talk to him about this even though I was obviously the one he’d come to. When it came to his dad, or even Emily, Milo had always seemed pretty set in his opinion. Honestly, I could understand that given what he’d been through with each one of them. In my opinion, Milo’s dad needed to open his eyes while Emily... well, as far as he’d ever told me her only crime was that she’d been shocked to learn a man she cared about had a seventeen-year-old son; and then there was his complaint about her only being interested because of his family’s last name. That last thing seemed more like an excuse to me--more and more, in fact. I’d met plenty of people who became interested the second Trust came up. I wasn’t so sure that Emily Hill was one of them.

“She told my mom she wants to get to know you. My mom believes her, and she’s pretty good at judging stuff like that.”

To my surprise, he seemed to consider that as his grip loosened on my wrists. Reluctantly, his eyes met mine. “I don’t want her to get to know me,” he whispered, a slight hitch to his voice that hinted more at stress than downright emotion.

I cocked my head at him, wanting to understand, but at that moment my bedroom door swung open and Milo jumped away from me so fast his back rocked my dresser against the wall, sending my lamp on its side and a few sketchbooks to the floor. After looking up to see that it was Chad, I moved to retrieve the items while my brother raised an eyebrow at Milo. “Decaf, maybe?” Chad suggested, and then turned his attention to me. “You coming up?”

“We need a minute,” I told him, and his pointed look suggested that my mom wasn’t willing to spare too much time. My brother left us anyway, as I finished straightening my dresser.

“Don’t you have a lock?” Milo asked, still looking three shades paler than usual and seeming alarmed.

Without bothering to answer that question, I moved to the door, locked it, and turned back to him, this time grabbing his hand and tugging him towards my bed where I sat, leaning back on my pillow. He glared at me for a long moment before the weight of his knee dipped the mattress and I pulled him back until I could draw my arm around him, his head resting below my chin. My fingers went to his hair, gliding easily through the soft waves as I closed my eyes and breathed in the mild scent of his shampoo. “We don’t have to go up until you’re ready,” I told him. “They won’t make us.”

I opened my eyes when Milo turned his head enough that my still hand came into contact with his smooth cheek. His eyes, green and heavy, were on me. “I’m ruining your Thanksgiving.” He said it more accusingly than apologetically, and I couldn’t help the short laugh I released at his tone.

“Worth it,” I promised him. “I like when I get to see you.”

His features softened the way they did when I couldn’t tell if he were in the middle of a deep thought, or worrying about something. “I don’t want you to stay down here with me,” he finally said. “Your family’s waiting on you.”

“They’re waiting on you, too,” I pointed out, and then regarded him seriously. “You don’t have anything to worry about when you’re here... you know?”

His mouth turned down, and I found myself running a finger over it, wishing I could fix it. “You’ve talked to them about me,” he said, and not for the first time. He’d made the same comment the first time he ever set foot in my house, but this time I had a feeling that it was going to go a step further. “How much have you talked to them?”

I let out a breath, more nervous than I was willing to let on. “I tell my family everything, Milo... almost, everything. My mom. My dad. Chad. Whatever I’ve told them about you, they’ll never say anything, to anyone. I swear. I told you, I wouldn’t do something to hurt you like that. Neither would anyone in my family.”

For a moment I couldn’t tell if Milo was staying there so close to me on his own accord, or if I wasn’t giving him much of a choice, the way my fingers were suddenly curled over his shoulder. But then he let out a breath, giving me more of his weight. “What’s it like?” he asked. “To be able to talk to them?”

I swallowed against a suddenly dry throat, not liking the way he sounded so alone. I found myself tightening my arm around him. “You could talk to them, too, Milo.”

I watched as his hands moved over mine, lifting my fingers as if to inspect them before he suddenly sat up, turned to face me. “I shouldn’t have bothered you today,” he said stubbornly, but before I could object to that his tone softened. “But I’m glad I did... and I’m not going to ruin your Thanksgiving.”

I don’t think I’d been properly introduced to awkward until the day I’d sat down to an early dinner with Milo Trust and Emily Hill at the same table. Coincidently, it was also the same table my entire family was also sitting at. And Juanita, who was looking around like we were all too noisy and maybe a little bit crazy, too, after she’d shooed Chad out of his seat so she could sit next to Milo. She made a point to move her seat within three inches of his and when my mom had poured her a glass of wine she’d regarded the glass suspiciously before taking a cautious sip. She seemed to like Leanna, though. I guess Chad’s girlfriend spoke enough Spanish to get by, and made enough mistakes to make Juanita laugh.

Emily Hill was opposite the table to me, tucked between my mom and my uncle Ray. She seemed decidedly better than she had when she’d arrived. She’d straightened her black hair, and she managed a smile as she engaged in conversation with the people around her, but her eyes were still red, mildly swollen, and every so often she stole a cautious glance in Milo’s direction. It might have made him nervous, but I doubted he was noticing it.

I guess as far as awkward went, my family seemed pretty good about handling it. They didn’t allow for many silences, and more often than not ended up talking over each other. I found myself wanting to smile at each and every one of them for acting as if a distraught family showed up every year for Thanksgiving. But that didn’t make me feel the situation any less, seated next to Milo. He was the only one who didn’t seem interested in speaking at all, except when he thanked my parents for the food and told them that he liked it. I didn’t bother pointing out that he was hardly making an effort to move food around his plate with a fork, only smiled at him whenever I managed to catch his eyes.

It wasn’t that he was being rude. I don’t think anyone thought that. More like, he seemed uncomfortable in his own skin, afraid of what would happen if he dared to look up. It occurred to me that I didn’t like him in that position, and half wished he would have taken me up on my offer to get him out of there, anywhere he wanted to go, just so he didn’t have to feel like he was feeling now. But he’d chosen to stay, and I knew that was for me. I think it might have scared him to know how much I wanted to jump him over that. In a lot of different ways, and that said a lot because I tended to have a pretty active imagination. Only, nothing I’d concocted involved my family or his around the dinner table.

And then Emily Hill started talking about her family. My parents, my uncle and his wife, they’d managed to make her feel at home in a way that I seemed to have failed to do with Milo. She talked happily about her at-home traditions, the closeness between her and her siblings, her niece, her nephew. I don’t think anyone didn’t realize that she sincerely missed them. And that’s when Milo started sneaking glances in her direction, listening. It was as if he hadn’t even been aware she had a family. Maybe not surprised about it, but almost disappointed. I wonder if that’s because he hadn’t known. Or maybe it was because she seemed so close to them that he no longer understood her, why she was sitting at our table, with him.

“...and we put up the tree Thanksgiving afternoon at my mom’s house,” she said, sighing. “My dad makes the best eggnog.” She smiled at my mom. “Thank you so much for having me here, it makes me think of them. I didn’t want to miss it this year but it had seemed...” she paused, as if suddenly insecure about where she was going, her dark eyes touching Milo and then fleeing as fast as his did every time they landed on her. “I thought it would be a good idea to spend it with my new family.”

The table grew uncomfortably silent just then, Milo’s eyes downcast on his plate, and he finally took a bite of his turkey, as if to avoid having to come up with a response.

It was my mom who saved the moment, breathing life back into things when she finally said, “Well, we’re happy to have you here, Emily... and Juanita... and Milo,” she added gently, causing my boyfriend’s cheeks to color. I smiled at my mom, happy to have Milo there, too, even if he didn’t realize how much.

Voices still echoed through my house, happy chatter and laugher just beneath the sound of running water where I stood at the sink, scrubbing off dishes and passing them to Chad to be rinsed before he passed them to Milo, who had a towel ready. After we ate, instead of fleeing Milo had volunteered to help me and my brother with our annual chore, seeming amused as we bantered back and forth, arguing over which one of us had more accurate versions of childhood memories.

“You ever think about doing something like this?” Chad suddenly asked Milo, who’d been caught eyeing a tattoo on my brother’s bare foot. Some sort of bird flying out of the sun--the ink was colorful, standing out against his skin, which was almost just as pale as mine.

“Getting a tattoo?” Milo replied. “My dad would freak.” I laughed when he eyed me, the look on his face suggesting that wasn’t something he was against.

Chad rolled his eyes. “Not getting one. Designing something. You’re good with art. Nels talks about it all the time.”

Milo’s expression turned sheepish, and then nearly accusing on me before he replied to my brother. “I paint. I don’t think it’s the same thing.”

Chad shrugged. “Well if you ever change your mind about that have Nelson bring you by the shop. The guy I work for, Dane, he’s always looking for new ideas, or someone else who can get an idea someone has down on paper.” My brother suddenly lifted his shirt, just over his right hip to reveal another tattoo of my family--my parents, me, and himself--all looking rather cartoonish. I had super-big muscles, my mom had a halo, my dad horns, and my brother was a full inch taller than all of us. “Nels did this one.”

Milo leaned forward, taking an interest, and then raised an eyebrow at me.

“If I’d known he was going to put it on his body I would have made myself look way better, then there’d be no question about which one I was,” I remarked.

Chad grabbed the towel Milo was holding and snapped it at me before smiling at Milo. “And if you change your mind, he’ll pay you for it.”

Milo gave him a nod, seeming more interested than before. I tucked away a mental note to bring it up again with him, thinking he might end up enjoying something like that. Besides, Chad said he’d take me in for one the day I turned eighteen, and I knew the work of one artist in particular I wouldn’t mind having stamped onto my body. It seemed that no matter how I was feeling about Milo Trust at any given time I could become absorbed in his work with nothing more than a glance. He was scary-good, and I’m sure my brother would think so if he could see more than one painting. I think anybody would. Except Milo’s dad, it seemed, and that tended to piss me off to no end.

He’d mentioned an argument during Thanksgiving dinner, no less, over grades. My parents didn’t accept me failing classes by any means, but they also didn’t discourage me, especially from the things I loved the most. And Milo wasn’t failing. That I knew. And he loved painting. The more I heard about his father’s opinion about the matter, the more I felt sad for Milo.

Meelo?” Juanita’s accented voice interrupted, and I watched as Milo turned to face her, allowing her to hug him before they made a silent exchange and he nodded before glancing back at me.

“Everything okay?” I asked him.

“Juanita’s kind enough to drive me home,” Emily Hill said as she suddenly appeared behind Juanita and Milo. She glanced between Chad and me. “Thank you. For having me. Dinner was perfect.”

“No problem,” Chad said politely.

I found myself forcing a smile in her direction, more concerned for Milo who was beginning to look more uncomfortable than he had at the table. Maybe that’s because Emily was looking right at him now, not exactly leaving like she said she was going to do. I recognized that look. A woman with something on her mind. From knowing my own mother, and Haily, I’m not sure there was anything I was intimidated by more.

“Um... I’m going to go check on Leanna,” Chad said, once again polite by excusing himself. The firm pat he gave to my back suggested I should do the same thing. But still, I watched my brother and Juanita leave the kitchen before I caved in to propriety and attempted the same thing myself. It was Milo moving between me and the exit that prevented me from doing so. He didn’t have to look at me for me to pick up on that don’t-leave-me vibe.

So I paused, looked sheepishly between Milo and Emily as I ran my fingers through my hair, opened my mouth, realized I had nothing to say and abruptly turned around to keep up on the dishes.

That awkward thing again. Didn’t help that I’ve always been too nosey for my own good and found myself peering over my shoulder. Of course, the first thing I ran into was Emily Hill’s eyes warily on me, and snapped my attention back to the sink. What was I supposed to be doing again? Right. Dishes. Clean them. I turned up the water, picked up the sponge and the closest plate to my fingertips.

“Tommy... I mean, Milo,” Emily said, her voice so soft I felt as if I were straining important ear muscles just to hear her as my hand paused against the plate, hot water scalding my fingers while I tried not to notice. “I just wanted you to know, I had no idea you’d be here. I’m so sorry if by showing up I upset you, it’s really the last thing I’d ever...”

She stopped suddenly, as if they’d been interrupted, and too cautious to turn I waited until no one else seemed present, deciding that Milo had obviously indicated that she should stop.

“You’re allowed to be wherever you want to be,” he finally said, seeming anxious to me. I think he was trying to be nice, but he sounded borderline defensive.

“I feel terrible, you know,” Emily said. “I’m sorry about what happened with your dad. I didn’t mean to upset either one of you. I wish I’d just kept my mouth shut. I get the feeling I’ve just ruined everything, and I don’t even know how I did it.”

Milo was silent for a moment, and then, “It’s not your fault. Just... don’t worry about it, Emily.” He said her name like he was trying it out for the first time, and I found myself turning off the water, turning around. Milo had backed up a few feet, as if wanting to put more distance between the two of them, seeming uncomfortable with Emily Hill’s reluctant smile.

“Maybe if I talk to your dad...”

Milo shook his head, suddenly not so shy. “It won’t matter if you talk to him. Trust me, you don’t want to get in the middle of it. He’ll ground me, and everything will go back to normal.”

Emily sighed, not seeming to care for that idea, but she also didn’t look like she wanted to argue with Milo for fear of making things worse. “Maybe I’ll see you at the house later? I really would like to sit down for a dinner. Just the three of us.”

Milo shrugged. “Yeah. See you later.” But I already knew that his later was a lot more distant than the one Emily had in mind. Of course, if I was about to be grounded over something stupid, I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry, either.

Emily stepped forward, and then awkwardly gave Milo’s shoulder a pat since it seemed that a hug was out of the question. After a quick wave goodbye in my direction she was gone, and when Milo didn’t turn to face me, I went to him.

“What was that all about?” I asked. “I thought everything was over your grades.”

Milo let out a breath. “It was. She asked me how school was going and my dad made a big deal about how I’d be doing a lot better if I was back at Stratfort. I guess I didn’t take it very well.”

“Oh.” I wasn’t sure how to comment on that. Milo back at Stratfort? I guess it could be worse. It wasn’t like I saw him all that often at school, anyway. What seemed to matter was that for some reason--the rumor he’d spoken of, or whatever else--he didn’t want to go to school there, and if it was going to make him unhappy I was completely against it. I might have told him that if I didn’t get the impression he’d rather not talk about any of it as he headed back to the sink. After the day he’d just had, I wasn’t about to push it, liking the fact that I seemed to be one of the only people he could stand right now. “So are you hanging out with me today?” I asked, my smile an attempt at lightening his mood. “I’m probably heading to Haily’s family thing this afternoon. You should come with me.”

Milo frowned. “Nelson...”

“No one will mind,” I promised him. “Trust me. She has a ton of relatives. No one will even know we’re there. Besides, you’re rebelling, right? It’ll beat going home.”

I think it was a good thing, Milo seeing Haily, knowing she knew the truth about me. I knew he’d been worried about her making more assumptions than just my having a crush on him. But I think he started relaxing when Haily made an active attempt to hide my secret from Milo too, mentioning she saw me checking out one of her cousins--female cousins--or suggesting she set me up on a blind date with one of them. I’m not sure who was more amused by it, Milo or me.

Haily had me wishing that all of my friends could be more like her, especially when we tried to get Joe to come hang out with us. He’d more or less turned up his nose at Milo Trust and disappeared for the rest of the time we were there. I might have been more annoyed about it if Milo had been, but the longer he hung around me and Haily, the more his mood seemed to improve. Until he asked me to drive him back to his car because he had to go home and deal with what he’d left there. An hour after I’d said goodbye to him he called to say I wouldn’t be hearing from him until school started back up. I guess that answered whether or not he was grounded.

The rest of break seemed to drag on, and I spent most of my time with my family and the occasional visit with Joe and Haily. I watched too many movies and ate too much food, and the day the temperatures finally crawled above forty I was stuck inside because once again, Hellschool was in session.

But, it wasn’t all bad. First thing that morning I was standing in front of Milo’s locker before Milo ever got there, and I didn’t even let it bother me that Assface was with him when I spotted him coming in my direction. Light sweater and faded jeans. I liked those particular jeans, especially when he turned around. His black scarf was dangling over his shoulders, as if he’d tossed it on as an afterthought and his dark hair was newly trimmed. Not too much. Just made him look a little cleaner, and despite the fact that it was all sitting on his head perfectly he nervously moved his fingers to brush his bangs out of his green eyes when he found me watching him. Assface spotted me moments after, rolled his eyes, and after a few short words to Milo, took off in another direction. Even better.

I stepped aside so he could get into his locker, my head tilting in his direction as I hoped to catch the scent of sandalwood and paint. His eyes cut in my direction as he worked on his combination, and then rolled at me as if he knew exactly what I was doing. I grinned at him, my attention turning to the blue slip of paper between his fingers. I brushed the tips of mine against them as I reached for it, and then compared the list to my own.

We’d received our new class schedules through the mail over break. This time my friends and I were split down the middle for lunch. Joe and Haily for first, Caleb and I for second. Joe wanted Caleb and me to try to switch because the way he put it, we had better luck with school officials. I had pointed out that the only reason he didn’t was because he liked to talk to people like they were stupid, but that hadn’t been received well. Still, Caleb was willing to switch. I hadn’t been sure, but now I was.

“We have lunch together,” I told Milo, happy despite the fact that we no longer had any of the same classes.

Interested, Milo took both schedules, and after a quick overview, pressed his lips to muffle his laughter.

Milo raised an eyebrow. “You have three classes with Jame.”

My smile dropped at that as I snatched back my schedule and regarded it suspiciously. Then I held it out to him. “We should trade.”

Milo unloaded books into his locker, regarded me pointedly and decided to change the subject. “I’m grounded forever. It’s probably good we have lunch together.”

I sighed, not liking that at all. “And what are the chances of Jame letting me sneak you away if that’s the only time I get to see you?”

Milo’s gaze turned to his locker again, his fingers fumbling over the books inside. “Jame doesn’t have lunch with us.”

I found my smile again. “Caleb does, but he’ll probably switch. I told my dad I’d stop by Hollander’s today. Wanna come with me?”

Milo closed his locker, giving me a short nod. “Do you want me to drive? My car’s closer to the school.”

I shrugged, not bothered either way. “Sure.” I glanced at the schedule in his hands again, knowing that his first class was as far away from mine as possible, but I was determined to, at the very least, walk him halfway. “So... what happened with Emily? Is she still fighting with your dad?”

“Not really... he’s been bringing home a lot of flowers lately. Juanita says jewelry, too.”

“Milo... I know you have the whole issue with her, but on Thanksgiving...”

“I don’t think she’s just after his name anymore, Nels,” Milo cut me off, his gaze peeking from under his lashes in a way that effectively shut me up. He dropped his voice, despite the noise in the halls. “My dad made some new rules. Says he doesn’t like my attitude. “He doesn’t think I’m focused and told me I’m not supposed to pick up a paint brush until summer, and he’ll let me know when he’s in the mood to discuss how long I’m grounded for.”

“What?” I asked indignantly. “But...”

“Obviously, I told him to fuck off,” Milo added. “I think that got me locked up indefinitely. But the other night, when I thought he was busy with Emily, I went to look for where he stashed all my stuff because Juanita wouldn’t tell me... and Emily was looking at my paintings.”

For an awkward moment, my mind took in that image, not very happy with it before Milo shook his head.

“Not that painting.” He grinned at me. “That one no one will find.”

I laughed. “Just checking... so Emily knew where everything was?”

Milo shrugged. “I guess so... she said I was really good,” he said, as if he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the concept.

My smile softened. “You are good.” Because maybe he didn’t know that. I found myself studying him for a moment, trying to remember if I’d ever gotten a thank you for all the times I’d told him so. What I could remember seemed to consist of him changing a lot of subjects or pretending he hadn’t heard me. Maybe it was hard for him to hear it, take a compliment. The one person who should have been behind him no matter what, was the one telling him he couldn’t. I was so not a fan of Thompson Trust. But maybe someone had finally gotten to him. Someone he didn’t think was even supposed to like him. “You didn’t get mad at her?” I asked carefully. “For looking?”

A sheepish blush crept into Milo’s face, probably because he couldn’t exactly get offended by that. Sometimes it seemed like he looked for reasons to dislike someone. Like Emily. Hell, he’d done it with me for a while, too--I mean with me, maybe he’d had a reason at first, but still... the more I got to know him, the more I didn’t want to hold it against him. No one I knew had a wall thicker than the one Milo Trust had built. Obviously, he saw a reason to have it there. Inconvenient for him, since the more I noticed that wall, the more I wanted to tear it down.

Some days it felt like he was letting me.

“At first,” Milo admitted. “But then I figured out, she had no idea they were mine.” He shrugged at the doubtful look I flashed him. “My dad doesn’t talk about me to her, Nelson. I think he’s afraid that if he did I’d ruin everything... but maybe she doesn’t see it that way. I know what I’ve said about her--and, I’m not exactly ready to be her new best friend or anything--but out of all the women he’s brought home... she’s the only one that I wish would get the hell out before it’s too late.”

I raised an eyebrow. “But...”

“She’s the one who’s too good for him,” Milo said, startling me. He came to a stop in the hall to face me, so I did the same. “You know why my dad can’t stand me? He was married to my mom for almost ten years before he figured out that he couldn’t change her. He didn’t figure that out until she was gone... I remind him of her. He doesn’t want me to be like her. But I already am, because as soon as I get the chance, I’m going to leave him, too. So will Emily, because she’s not a bad person. She cares about people and he doesn’t know how to appreciate that. She just doesn’t know it, yet.”

I opened my mouth, wanting to comment on so much of that, wanting to know more, especially when it came to his dad. Milo said it all the time: they didn’t get along. This was the first time he’d spoken more than a few words about it. I wanted to know everything he had to say because it let me in on more of him. I wondered what he’d say if he knew how much that meant to me. Sometimes I wondered about the fact that we were the only two gays either one of us really knew. Wondered if it would make a difference if there was more to the population. I wondered if he wondered about that. I guess I just wanted him to know that it was him I wanted to get to know. He was worth knowing, even if his dad couldn’t figure that out. I wanted to tell him that, because I thought he should know, but as the first bell rang his mouth turned up at one corner and he took a step back from me so students could walk between us.

“I’ll see you at lunch,” Milo said, and I gave up on wanting to walk him all the way to class as he turned and walked away from me. Whatever. It’s not like he would have let me carry his books, anyway.

I navigated my way past other students heading to the cafeteria, followed others out the door towards the student parking lot. One hour. Milo. No Jame. No anyone. I had a lot of time to think about that when I probably should have been paying attention, or learning something. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. One hour a day, five days a week, roughly twenty hours a month. That was, like, more time than I got to see him even when he wasn’t grounded. I loved my new schedule.

“Where are we going?”

I had to look twice when Caleb fell into step beside me. His blond waves were packed down and trapped beneath a dark-brown beanie that made his eyes look darker as he rubbed his glove-free hands together, warding off the cold air trapped beneath the overcast sky.
“What are you doing here?” That sounded snappish. Oops. At least my friend didn’t seem to notice, his breath fogging in front of his face, over his hands.

“It’s too fucking cold. We’re taking my car. Your heater sucks.”

“Um, actually, Milo has this lunch and he was going to drive...”

“Whatever,” he cut me off, picking up the pace. “Where’s he parked?”

Despite being annoyed over this unplanned interruption, I didn’t go without noticing that instead of arguing about having to spend his time with Jame Graham’s best friend, he was more concerned with getting out of the weather. Sometimes less of a reaction was a better reaction.

“I thought you were switching your lunch,” I said as I caught up to him.

Caleb shook his head. “Joe said you didn’t.”

“Oh.” Well, that was to be expected then.

Caleb let out a breath. “And... Ronnie has first lunch.”

“Why would that be a problem?” I asked as we reached neatly and not-so-neatly parked rows of car and I looked for Milo’s.

“Because I think she dumped me,” Caleb replied, saying the words as if they weren’t his first language.

“What do you mean? How could she dump you?”

Caleb shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of record because I haven’t even bought her dinner yet.”

“Well... do you think it’s because of... you know, Assface?”

Caleb snorted, waving that off. “No, she dumped him right after the dance. She told me she wanted space. What the hell is that supposed to mean anyway? It never works when I say it. I think she could have put a little more thought into the blow-off. If she cared… she would’ve come up with a better one. And I told her I’d give her space, and then she asked me not to see anyone else and I told her... “Sure. Why not?” What the fuck is my problem, Nels? You know what this feels like? It feels a lot like that dream I had when I looked like a doormat.”

“Why would you look like a doormat?”

Caleb and I turned towards the voice, and I smiled at Milo. He was subtle, his eyes meeting mine as he obviously wondered why Caleb was with us, but he seemed to figure out quickly enough and waved for us to follow him.”

“Caleb has dreams,” I explained to Milo. “Weird ones. He thinks they mean stuff.”

Caleb elbowed me, and when I smirked at him he gave me a dirty look, silently objecting to me sharing that kind of information with a stranger. But I figured I’d get a head start on filling Milo in when it came to Caleb’s quirks, since I planned on having my twenty Milo hours Caleb, or no Caleb.

“It’s your dream,” Milo replied. “Why not just be the boots, then you’re the one doing all the stepping.”

“Because I don’t wear size six with little butterflies on the shoe laces,” Caleb said reasonably.

I made a mental note to look for that particular description on Ronnie’s feet later. For now I gave Milo a sheepish shrug when he raised an eyebrow, questioning Caleb’s sanity. Caleb got that same shrug when he pointed a thumb at Milo, shaking his head like my boyfriend was some kind of walking blond joke. “So...” I said. “Maybe we’ll make it to Hollander’s in time to have lunch with my dad.”

My parents had been saving me a lot lately. I’d have to remember to thank them for it. Especially my dad, who was the perfect distraction when it came to making sure that Milo and Caleb weren’t so aware of the fact that they were having lunch together. He entertained us with stories about his customers which kept the mood light. Maybe Milo hadn’t been so comfortable with the entire situation at first, but by the time we had to go back to school he was visibly less tense over our company, and he even managed to smile at a few of my dad’s jokes. And it was good, him hanging out with my father like this. Maybe, it would be easier to get him to come home with me more often if he knew my family better.

Milo had plenty of time to get used to my dad over the next days. At lunch all three of us would meet at Milo’s car and head to the bakery. Caleb and Milo seemed to coexist across the table together, but it took a little more time before they seemed comfortable enough around each other to smile at the same time. But it wasn’t long before we started going other places, without needing my dad as a buffer so much.

I didn’t delude myself into thinking that Caleb and Milo actually liked each other, but I didn’t mind being able to see my best friend and my boyfriend at the same time, in the same room. Hell, at the same table. Even though I would have much rather seen Milo alone for quite a bit of that time. But by Christmas he was ungrounded enough to call me, and I was learning fast to wait by the phone ten minutes to nine, every night. And I noticed when we talked the conversations got longer. And now I knew that when he was six he wanted to be a robot for Halloween but his dad dressed him up as a doctor. His parents had apparently fought about it, before his mom left. When he started sounding sad, I asked him if he would dress up like a doctor for me. Or a robot. I could work with either.

When I asked Milo what he wanted for Christmas, he told me to make him something. A bout of inspiration and a box of colored pencils later, I was done with a little comic book that started with paintings scattered on the street and Milo Trust ready to knock me out. It ended with Santa dropping me off at his window. He’d laughed out loud at my sketches, smiled at me in a way that had warmth seeping into my cheeks, and he’d gently tucked it into a locked box at the top of the closet in his room, a room I wasn’t supposed to be in. That’s what Milo had translated anyway, when Juanita started reminding him that his father would be home soon.

But Milo hadn’t let me go without the painting of our field, which he explained, he’d finally gotten around to finishing. It was perfect. And it was Milo. I spent most of Christmas morning trying to figure out where I wanted to hang it, but after a quick snowball fight with my dad, Chad, and Leanna, I came in to find that instead of where I’d left it on my bed, my mom had hung it in the living room. I guess I wasn’t the only one who loved it.

The first weekend after classes were back in session, Milo called to tell me his dad had finally let him out. When he walked into my house thirty minutes later his painting was the first thing he saw, and I found myself smiling at how a soft blush crept into his cheeks over it. He’d seemed surprised to find it in our living room and stepped forward to admire it, but not the same way I did, or anyone else who recognized that he had talent would. Milo seemed humble about his work, this one in particular, hanging in my home where it could be seen. He turned emerald eyes on me, his head cocking curiously. “You put it up.”

“My mom did,” I admitted. “Everyone loves it...” I made a face at him after glancing towards the painting again. “Maybe I should have given you something that you don’t have to hide.”

Milo shook his head, a smile curling his mouth. “I like my gift.”

I grinned at that, unable to express the satisfaction that gave me in any other way. “My parents are out back with hot chocolate... so I thought we should go hang out in my room.” Because I didn’t want to share the time I had with Milo with anyone. This time I felt like I had a choice about it. Finally.

Between Milo being grounded and finding it nearly impossible to have more than a few minutes alone with him here or there during school, I figured I was allowed to be a little bit selfish this time around. Talking on the phone wasn’t the same thing, and as he followed me to my room I couldn’t help the way I kept glancing in his direction. Staring, probably. I definitely had a staring problem. Milo noticed, smirked his amusement at me.

“How did you get out, anyway?” I asked, lowering my voice because even halfway down the stairs to my basement bedroom, I was afraid someone would overhear us, interrupt. “You’re really not grounded anymore?”

Milo made a face. “I don’t know. My dad’s been distracted with Emily, I think. I told him I wanted out of the house and he said I could have a few hours at Jerry’s.”

I raised an eyebrow at that. “Jerry?”

Milo shrugged as we reached my room and I turned to face him in the doorway. “Jerry will cover for me without me having to ask him to if my dad calls... which he won’t. My dad likes Jerry.”

I thought about being offended by that, but quickly decided not to bother. The last time I met Mr. Trust I’d kicked his own front door in his face. I could get the dislike thing. I didn’t like him much, either, and found myself frowning when I noticed Milo’s eyes drift to the second of his paintings occupying my house, the scarecrow I still had in my room. He’d known it was there, but never really looked so confused about it before. I found myself sighing as I closed my bedroom door. I was willing to bet that Mr. Trust didn’t have anything Milo had painted hanging where someone could see it.

“How long do you have?” I asked.

“A couple hours. You should lock your door.”

I raised an eyebrow at that, but he wasn’t paying attention to me as he shed his jacket, letting it drop on my bed. He seemed lost for a moment, his eyes moving over my room like he was supposed to find something particular in it, but had just then remembered to look.

“Milo, are you okay?” I asked.

His attention drifted back to me, his head cocked as if he didn’t understand the question. “I’m not stuck at home.”

No. He was with me.

I smiled at him, crossed the room and hooked an arm around his waist. I pulled, toppling his weight against me as I purposely fell to my bed and shoved his jacket aside as he, after minimal protest, settled against me, his back half against my chest, his head just above my shoulder. I slid my fingers against his ribs, drawing a small shudder from him. My mouth found his ear and I let my bottom lip trace his lobe before I moved my mouth to his cheek, my kiss lingering there as he closed his eyes and let his weight fall more firmly against me.

“I like it here,” he said so softly I hardly heard him.

I smiled against his cheek. “Does that mean you’re not going to tell me you have to be somewhere else in twenty minutes?”

Milo’s pink tongue slipped out, touched his top lip. The curve of his smile was more patient than annoyed as he opened his eyes and turned them in my direction. “I have plans with Jame tomorrow, if that’s your way of asking.”

I feigned horror. “He gets a whole day?”

“Shut up,” Milo responded, and then let his mouth fall on mine. He paused, seeming surprised by himself. I was used to him being shy. Thanks to him being grounded, I’d gone an entire week more than once before the opportunity arose to even sneak a kiss. When I was able, sometimes it felt like we were starting all over from the beginning. Nervous. Careful. Perfect. And I liked the way I could make him blush, the moment he went from uncertain to excited. But this was nice, too, and before he could decide to pull away from me I moved my tongue between his lips to search for his as I rolled him beneath me. I let my weight fall over him, my thigh pressing between his. His hands moved to my hair, fingers catching enough to remind me that I really did need a haircut soon, but Milo seemed to like the leverage it gave him, pulling my mouth back to his when it ventured lower, over his neck.

My eyes fell closed, my tongue moving against his. I nipped at his lips, nuzzled at his nose with mine and heard him sigh as I slid my hand around his waist, urging his hips to lift against mine.

“Door locked?” Milo murmured, his voice strained as I pulled away from him, lifting the hem of his shirt over his chest.

I didn’t respond as my eyes followed my fingers over inch after inch of smooth skin until my thumb moved lightly over his dark nipple, then followed it with my mouth, causing a small bead to form beneath my tongue as his hands moved over my shoulders, his hips lifting from the bed, pressing the rising bulge beneath his pants against my thigh. Milo gasped, door forgotten when I cupped him through his jeans, my palm sliding over the length of him until my fingers found the button holding his pants together and I unhooked it. He arched, searching for more attention there, but my hands moved higher, gripping his shirt and guiding it over his head while he sat up, and then caught my mouth with his. I moved an arm over his bare back, hauling his chest against mine. He slid his fingers over my torso, gripping at me as my hands came to the hem of his jeans and lowered them over his hips, his boxers caught in the descent until his thighs, still parted around mine, stopped them.

Milo’s fingers fumbled with my belt, but didn’t manage to pull the leather out of the first loop before I allowed my gaze to drift down his bare chest to the thin trail of hair beneath his belly button that led down to his exposed cock, thick and ready where it stood, angled upwards. I moved my palm over the head of it, squeezed gently, causing his back to arch, his member pressing firmly against my hand.

I moved my mouth back to his, tongue entering and swirling pointedly against his as I moved my fingers over his shaft, around him, down his length to cup his balls before I made my exploration upwards again, my grip growing firm around velvet as I found a pace that had his fingers digging into my ribs and his hips bucking towards mine.

My hand on his back moved lower, fingers spreading to cup the smoothness of his rounded ass, pressing him closer before they slid hesitantly into his cleft, tracing him to his balls while I caught his soft moan against my tongue. I could feel myself shaking, my jeans hurting my dick where it was restrained as I pressed the spot that made him jump, soft, sensitive skin behind his balls, before my fingers moved upwards to rest curiously against puckered skin. He squirmed against me, his cock eager for the friction of my hand while he pressed shyly away from where my fingers explored his ass. He pulled his mouth from mine, his hot breath touching my ear in heavy, even pants. I could feel his mouth open against my neck, his voice uttering nothing more than a moan when I slid my finger over his hole, and then a safer distance away to cup his left cheek, pulling his hips towards me and setting him off balance until his back fell against my mattress, his jeans tangled around his knees.

He looked up at me through heavy lashes, his lips puffy from my attention. His hands once again reached for my belt, and I moved to help him with it, only long enough to release my jeans, removing the pressure from my cock. My fingers moved quickly back to his pants, pulling them down his knees, but too inpatient to pull his shoes from his feet I left them around his ankles and dropped my mouth over the firmness of his stomach, dipping my tongue mildly into his small, round belly button. He arched his hips, said my name, his voice husky in a way that made my cock twitch. I let my mouth slide lower, over the thin trail that guided me until my nose touched the head of his erection. I breathed him in, eyes closing as I licked him there, down his smooth shaft slowly, and kissed my way back up while my hands moved to his hips, sliding beneath. I grabbed the cheeks of his ass as I closed my mouth over his cock, knowing better than to go too far but testing his reaction as I moved my tongue against the head.

Milo’s hands moved back to my hair, his grip tight in a way that encouraged me to continue as I moved my mouth to taste the crease between his thighs, the sensitive place just below his stomach and back to where he was hard. He released another sound when I squeezed his ass, my fingers wanting to explore again as I massaged his cheeks, moving deeper into his cleft until I touched his hole, careful, gently. I circled the tight ring, pressed gently as I took the head of his cock back into my mouth. He said my name. I loved it when he did that. My scalp burned where he gripped at my hair, holding without pushing, and I tasted him against my tongue as his back arched and he shook beneath me. I’m not sure he was finished before he was pulling me upwards, my cock, tenting my boxers just outside my jeans sliding up his body, resting firmly against his hip as my lips touched his chin, then his lips as they searched for mine. I kissed him back when his tongue found my mouth, held him to me, feeling his small trembles and enjoying each small moan when I pressed my thigh against his softening cock. He turned his head, his breath warming my head as his fingers moved, hooking my jeans, pushing them over my hips.

“See,” I said, unable to help myself. “You won’t have this much fun with Jame.”

I felt Milo’s laughter, where his mouth had roamed down my neck, where the collar of my shirt ended.

He softly reminded, “Shut up, Nelson.”

I laughed as he slid his hand between my cock and my boxers, willing to do just about anything he wanted me to

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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Milo's dad is a perfect example of just because you have money doesn't mean you are a good person. In fact, Milo's dad is an awful person, and I don't see him having a successful relationship with anyone if how he treats his son is any indication of what a jerk off he is. Milo has a good plan, turn 18, walk away, don't look back. Hopefully, for Nelson's sake, that walking away doesn't include the whole town.

The story just keeps getting better...thank you.

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