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    Ethan
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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.

Noah and Jordan - 14. Chapter Fourteen

*** JORDAN ***

--- Thursday ---

Fuck. This is bad. This is really, really bad.

This isn’t how it should have happened.

And here I thought the past few days couldn’t get any crazier.

First, I made some really stupid decisions.

Then, Noah and I took a huge step forward in our relationship.

I had one of the best nights of my life.

But now, all of that seems in the distant past.

I hope Noah remembers how he felt last night when all of this is done ...

Because this is not going to be easy.

Fuck.

--- The Previous Monday ---

It’s been almost two days, yet I still feel terrible.

I could tell by the way his body tensed, I freaked Noah out on Saturday. I tried to explain I wasn’t saying we should have sex. I was just saying he could stay the night if he wanted to. We could cuddle, hold each other, until we fell asleep. (If he wanted to have sex though, I wouldn’t have said no, but I didn’t tell him that part). But the damage was done. I could feel Noah slipping away from my grasp, retreating into his shell. I felt like such a fool. I promised Noah to take it slow, not to rush him, yet only a week into our relationship, and already I was making him feel uncomfortable. Noah said he was fine. But I could tell he wasn't. He was distracted. We didn’t make it through the rest of the film, or get a chance to make out like horny teenagers. Noah decided to call it an early night. I didn’t want him to leave. I wanted to talk to him, but I decided it was best to let him go.

It doesn’t help I wasn’t able to see him on Sunday either. I was busy with work and school. Noah also had plans. The days we don’t see each other we usually talk on the phone, or at least FaceTime, but even that wasn’t possible. Noah was out all day with Jenn. He did though text frequently. It seems like everything is okay. I apologized to him again, but he said there was no need, everything was fine. Perhaps I’m just blowing this out of proportion.

I’ll get my chance to find out today. We’re meeting for lunch. Noah was supposed to be here a few minutes ago. I’m sure he’ll be here any moment.

“I’m so sorry,” Noah says when he arrives about twenty minutes late. “I was with Jenn and she wouldn’t let me leave. She kept talking.”

“That sounds like Jenn. How was yesterday? Did she end up finding a costume?”

Halloween is Wednesday night. One of their history friends is throwing a party. I had to convince Noah that he should go! It’s too bad we won’t be together that night. I’ll be going to a party organized by one of my lab partners. I’m dressing up as Waldo.

“Yes! But it took hours! She kept changing her mind. In the end she decided to go as Daenerys from Game of Thrones. We walked the entire city to find everything she needed. My feet were in so much pain.”

“What about you? Did she manage to convince you to buy a costume too?”

Noah hates dressing up. He told me that since childhood he has refused to wear a costume. He says every year Jenn tries to convince him to change his mind, but he doesn’t. Even I tried to persuade him this year, but he won’t listen.

“She kept saying we should go as a famous couple from history, since we’re all history majors. But I said no, that was not going to happen.”

“Why? It’s only one night. There are lots of interesting options.”

“There are, but if I was going to dress up with someone and just to be clear I’m not – then it’s going to be you.”

What a guy. I can’t help but smile. “Maybe I’ll convince you next year. We can go as the greatest pair in history.

“And that would be?” he asks.

“Salt and pepper, obviously. They make life so much more tasteful.”

“True,” he says laughing. “Out of curiosity who would be salt, and who would be pepper?”

“Good question,” I say as I stroke my chin. “Obviously, I’d be pepper, because, you know, I have a bit of a kick. You’d be salt, because you are kind of bland, and you do give everyone high blood pressure.”

“Really? Well, too much pepper can be irritating, and make people sneeze, just like you,” he says still with a smile.

“Ouch. I so deserved that. And that settles it then. Next year, salt and pepper!”

“Sure, good luck with that, buddy. Jenn ended up buying me this vampire costume. It’s a cape, some fake blood, and teeth. I’ll see. Maybe I'll wear it.”

“You’ll make a very sexy vampire.”

“Obviously. Anyway, I actually wanted to talk to you about something serious.”

My ears perk up. Serious is never good. Shit. This is about Saturday. I knew he wasn’t okay.

“If this is about the other night, Noah, again I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to —”

“Jordan,” he says cutting me off, “it’s not. I’m okay. You have no need to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“But I should have known,” I respond.

“There was no way you could have known. I’m sorry I wasn’t more —”

“You have nothing to be sorry about! I only want you to be comfortable, Noah. Honestly, you can take as much time as you need. I mean it.”

“I know. Thank you. What I wanted to talk to you about was Jenn. I think I should tell her the truth. I hate lying to her. I didn’t feel right on Sunday. Even now, after class, she asked where I was going and I lied. I think the longer I wait, the harder it will be, and the angrier she will be.”

“I agree. I think you should tell her.”

“And you don’t mind that she’ll know you’re gay?”

“The thought of other people knowing makes me a bit anxious. This is still all so new. But, no, I don’t mind if Jenn knows. I know you trust her, and so I trust her too. She’s your best friend, so the decision is yours. You have my full support with whatever you want to do.”

“Thank you, Jordan. The other reason I probably should tell her is because she was trying to convince me to hook up with this guy from one of our history classes.”

“Really? He is at least cute?” I ask to bug him.

“Oh, extremely. Way cuter than any guy I’ve ever dated.”

“Well, sounds like a great opportunity.”

“Yeah, but I said no. If we hooked up it wouldn’t be fair to every other couple, you know?”

I can help but laugh. “I'm glad you’re thinking about others.”

“Always.”

So, when are you going to tell Jenn about us?”

“Tomorrow, I think. If I can find the courage.

“Best of luck.”

“I’ll need it,” he says.

I guess there is no reason to feel terrible. Lunch with Noah is great. I guess he truly is fine. I hope he stays that way. His conversation with Jenn will not be easy. She may be angry at first, but eventually she’ll realize just how happy Noah is now. That is if she stays around long enough to listen to Noah.

——— 

It's a weird feeling, being both excited yet disappointed at the same time. I'm excited because tonight I have a volleyball game. We didn’t have any games for the past two weeks because of midterms. So, it’s great to be back. But I’m disappointed because Noah won't be here. I told him he was welcome to come, that I would love to have him cheer me on. But I also made it clear he didn’t have to come unless he felt completely comfortable. I can’t imagine it would be easy for him to see Sebastian. I could tell Noah felt torn. But in the end, we both felt it was best if perhaps for now he stayed away. After Saturday, I don’t want to do something else that will make Noah feel uneasy.

As for Sebastian, I’ve largely been ignoring and avoiding him. One of my volleyball friends had a Halloween party this past Saturday, but I didn’t go. Sebastian was also invited. Unfortunately, I can’t avoid Sebastian all the time. Since I started dating Noah, I’ve had volleyball practice twice. Both times I fought off the urge to punch Sebastian in the face. He deserves it for everything he put Noah through. Yet, I refrained, because I promised Noah.

Tonight, my plan is the same, to avoid Sebastian as much as I can. Unfortunately, because of the way the rotation works I am right beside Sebastian on court. The idea is that when the ball comes over the net, I set it to him so that he can spike it over. But I don't. When the ball comes over the net, I can see Sebastian get ready. But instead, I pass it to the guy to my left. He hits it over the net, scoring a point. The next time I hit it over myself. Sebastian gives me a look indicating ‘what was that?’. I just shrug. We got the point which is all that matters. The third time I accidentally hit the ball into the net. Oops.

Sebastian isn't an idiot. I think he knows I am avoiding him on purpose. Others start to realize it as well, but I don’t pay any attention to them. By the time the second set ends I've only passed the ball to Sebastian a handful of times. Once was by accident. During the third set he starts to avoid me too. A number of times we have a good opportunity to clinch a point, but we blow it. We quickly start to lose our lead. Soon it is match point for the other team. The ball comes over the net. Both Sebastian and I call it. Fuck him, I'm not going to back down, I called it first. I move to hit the ball. So too does Sebastian. We end up hitting each other. The ball falls to the floor.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?" Sebastian yells at me. “Are you deaf? I said I got it!”

I don't have time to respond. The coach it yelling at both of us. He is angry.

What the hell are you two doing? he asks.

“It was my ball, coach,” I say. “I called it first.”

Bad communication coach, that's all,” Sebastian says.

“That's more than bad communication. You two haven't been passing each other the ball all night. We've given up a number of opportunities. I don't know what's going on between the two of you but you better leave it outside this gym. I'm not going to put up with this crap. And you,” he says pointing to Sebastian, “watch your language. I don’t want to hear any of that again. Now start working together or I am benching both of you. Got it?”

Yes, we both say.

As much as I hate Sebastian, our team is more important. I love my crew and it’s not fair to them that I’ve been acting so unprofessional. Both of us start to act more civil and we manage to win the next few sets. Once the game is over, I quickly run into the locker room and grab my bag. I can shower and change at home. I want to get out of here before my friends start asking me a million questions. But I’m not fast enough. Soon the place is full and everyone wants to know what is going on. I keep saying nothing, that I have to run, and that I’ll talk later.

But just as I exit the gym I’m cornered by Sebastian. “What the hell is your problem?”

“I don’t have a problem. I don’t know if you have one. But if you’ll excuse me, I have to be somewhere.”

You know exactly what I'm talking about,” he says moving closer.

I don't have time to play mind games Sebastian.

“Jordan, don't fuck with me. I’m not an idiot. You’ve been avoiding me during practice the past few weeks, and tonight you wouldn't even pass me the ball. What the fuck is your problem?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just acting like I normally do. You know, like a respectful, decent human.”

He smiles. Fucking asshole actually smiles!

“Ah, I get it. This is about Noah. I don't know what he told you, but it’s none of your business. I didn't do anything to your stupid little friend, okay?”

“He’s a better human than you’ll ever be. Now, if you’ll excuse me,” I say taking a step to the side.

“You’ll leave when I tell you that you can leave,” he says shoving me into the wall. “And as for Noah, that fucking slut …”

Oh hell no.


*** NOAH ***

I’m not much of a boyfriend, am I?

I wanted to stay on Saturday with Jordan, to spend the night with him, to hold him. He tried hard to convince me he wasn’t saying we should have sex. I believed him. I knew he wasn’t going to force me to do anything. But the minute the thought crept into my mind, of being intimate with him, I couldn’t shake the feeling I got the night I was with Sebastian. With that thought, that dread, lodged in my brain, I started to retreat. I wanted to shake off the feeling. I wanted to be stronger. But in that moment, I couldn’t. And so, I left.

The worst part is Jordan thought he did something wrong. He kept apologizing, even though he had no reason to be sorry. I told him several times I was okay, that what he said was fine. I over reacted. The issue was with me, not him.

So, that’s the first reason why I’m a crappy boyfriend. The second, I didn’t go to Jordan’s volleyball game tonight. I should have been there to support him, to cheer for him. But that would mean I would have to face Sebastian again. Jordan went out of why way to assure me he was okay if I didn’t come, that he understood why I wouldn’t want to go. It’s true I have no desire to see Sebastian again. Just even saying his name brings up awful memories. But I have to get past all that. I can’t let Sebastian get in the way of my relationship. He already ruined so much, I don’t want him to ruin even more. I don’t want him to be the reason why I miss important aspects of Jordan’s life. Next time, I’m going to Jordan’s game. I don’t care how I feel. I need to support my boyfriend.

Speaking of my boyfriend, he should have called by now. We usually FaceTime before we go to bed. Or well, I go to bed. He’s a night owl and stays up much later. I message him, but I don’t get a response. Weird. Maybe he went out with his team.

Instead, I decide to read for a bit. I message him again a few minutes later. I even try calling. I guess we’re not going to chat tonight. I shut off the lights and climb into bed. I’m just about to fall asleep when the phone rings. Finally. It’s Jordan.

When his face pops up on my screen, that joy that I had a moment ago is gone. Normally, his signature smile is spread across his face. Not tonight. Instead, there are some marks and scratches on his face. He looks off.

Hey, beautiful, Jordan says softly. “Sorry I’m calling so late.”

“Don’t be. I’m glad you called. Is everything okay? What happened to your face?

He opens his mouth but doesn’t say anything for a while. “I’ve had a long and interesting night.”

“What happened?”

“I um … I kind of broke a promise that I made to you. I’m really sorry, Noah.”

I’m starting to feel very uneasy. What promise did he break? Clearly, it’s something big.

“What promise?” I ask.

“I kind of got into a fight with Sebastian.”

Shit! I was afraid this would happen. “What!? Why? Are you okay?”

“Sebastian felt I was avoiding him during the game, and that I wasn’t passing him the ball when I should have.”

“Were you?” I ask.

Again, he pauses before answering. “Yes, at times I was.”

“Why?”

“I just … I know I was stupid. But it wasn’t like I was making bad plays or decisions. We were winning. But then Sebastian started to avoid me as well, and the game started to fall apart. Coach yelled at both of us. After that we were both okay. We ended up winning the game.”

“So, then what happened?”

“Sebastian cornered me outside of the gym. I tried to leave. I didn’t want to fight or argue with him. But then he started saying things about you …”

“What kind of things?”

“Bad things. Lies. Then he shoved me.”

“He shoved you? He’s such an ass. I’m so sorry, Jordan.”

“Yeah …. then I sort of lost my temper … and I punched him in the face.”

Fuck! “Oh, Jordan. Why would you do that?

Because I care, Noah. You’re a good person. Even if I wasn’t your boyfriend, I couldn’t just stand there and let him say awful things about you. After what he put you through, he had no right to say anything. Anyway, he moved out of the way so I didn’t hit his entire face, just clipped the lower part of his jaw. And then he swung at me. The next thing I know a bunch of guys are pulling us apart.”

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

“No, not really. I’ll be fine. Sebastian is okay too.”

“I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“Well … that’s not the end of it.”

Oh God. I just want this story to end. “Please don’t say you hit him again.”

I wish. But, no. The coach saw us,” he says.

Oh. That can’t be good. “Shit. What did he say?”

He suspended both of us from the team for two weeks.”

Shit. That team means so much to him. “I’m so sorry, Jordan. I know how much you love your team. This is why I didn’t want you to say anything!”

I know. But, why are you sorry? I should be the one apologizing. It was my decision. I promised you I wouldn’t say anything, and then I broke that promise. I know I shouldn’t have but … I just … he … I couldn’t ...

“I know.”

You have every right to be angry.”

I don’t even know what word to use to describe how I feel right now. I should be angry. Jordan made a promise. But he broke it to defend me. I can tell just how bad he feels right now. Plus, getting suspended from the team is punishment enough.

“It’s not that I’m angry. I’m just … a mix of things. I’m annoyed that stupid Sebastian won’t leave us alone. I know it’s not easy dealing with him, and he did start all this by shoving you first. I’m not thrilled that you broke a promise, but I know why you did what you did. I’m really touched that you defended me, that you risked your own safety. But honestly Jordan, I don’t care what Sebastian says. He’s not worth it. Your health is more important to me. Your well-being is more important. I worry about you. I know how much you love volleyball. And the fact that you risked that for me, I feel awful and guilty.

Don’t be. If I have to choose between my team and you, I choose you every time, Noah.”

How can I be angry when he says things like that? “That’s very sweet of you, Jordan. But I don’t want you to have to choose one or the other. I want you to have both.”

“Coach said if he sees us fighting again then he'll kick us both off of the team.”

“Don't let it come to that. Don’t take that risk. Sebastian isn’t worth it. You’ve worked too hard to throw it all away. When you see him at a game or practice, be civil. If he says something stupid, ignore him. When you're off the court, avoid him. I know it’s not going to be easy, and I know Sebastian won’t make it easy, but you don’t have a choice. Please, Jordan. Please, for me, tell me you’ll try.”

“I will. I promise. And this time I mean it. I won’t let this happen again.”

“Thank you.”

“I must say though, it did feel really good punching him. If only I got a bit more of his face.”

“Jordan! What did we just talk about!?”

“I know, I know. I won’t. But, come on, you know he kind of deserves it,” Jordan says.

“He does. I believe in Karma. He’ll get what’s coming to him.

“I hope so. I really am sorry, Noah.”

“I know. So am I.”

Here is this perfect guy who sticks up for me. Who risks his spot on the team for me. Who cares. Who is patient. Who is everything I could have ever asked for in a boyfriend. It’s time I started acting like one too.

——— 

I didn’t sleep at all last night. I was stressed. In a few hours, I knew I would be telling Jenn about Jordan. I kept going through the different scenarios in my head, how she would react, and how I could possibly respond. But no matter how many times I went through what I was going to say, I was never convinced it would be enough. In every scenario she challenged me why I didn’t tell her before. I could never come up with a good enough answer. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to today.

Even though I’m unsure how she will react, I am sure about telling her. I can’t keep lying. I feel guilty every time. She has a right to know. She is my best friend. And the longer I keep this up, the harder it will be to tell her. Plus, once she knows I don’t have to worry about hiding Jordan. We can hang out together at parties, or other events. Now, I’m not ready to announce we are a couple just yet, I’m not sure when I will be. But at least we can be seen together in public as friends. At the moment we can't even do that.

My plan is to tell Jenn after class, but the moment I see her I can tell something if off. She seems upset.

“Hey, Noah,” she says sitting down.

“Hey. You doing okay?”

“Not really.”

“What’s going on?”

“I spoke to my parents this morning. Turns out, they’ve been lying and hiding stuff from me.”

“What do you mean?”

“So, the doctor found this lump near my mom’s neck like two weeks ago. There’s a possibility that it could be cancerous. Or it could be nothing. They don’t know. She had a biopsy last week to find out. And they didn’t even tell me!”

“Jenn, that’s awful. I’m so sorry to hear that. Hopefully, it’s nothing. When do they get the results?”

“In a few days, my dad wasn’t sure.”

“How did you find out?”

“When I went home over the summer, I synched our calendars in our phones. That way I knew if they had plans, and it was easier to figure out who needed the car and when. But when I came back to school, I barely looked at it. By chance today I did and I noticed the biopsy appointment. So, I called my dad. They weren’t going to tell me until after they got the results! He said he didn’t want me to worry because it could be nothing. The doctor said lots of adults have these nodules in their throats, and they’re fine. But I was so angry! They should have told me.”

“They should have, but I can see why they decided to wait. You’re so far away, you can’t do anything, but worry.”

“I get that, Noah. But I’m not a kid anymore. They shouldn’t hide bad news from me because I’ll be upset. I have a right to know if something is wrong. She’s my mom!”

“I know, Jenn. Well, I really hope it turns out to be nothing.”

So do I.”

Turns out I’m not the only one lying and hidings things from Jenn. Throughout class, and even after, she continues to talk about how angry she is with her parents, that they would lie to her, and would hide something so big. Kind of like what I’m currently doing. I want to tell her the truth, but now doesn’t seem like the right time. She’s already pissed and upset. This will just make it worse. I figure it’s best to tell her after her mom gets her results. Hopefully, it will be good news.


*** JORDAN ***

I usually look forward to Wednesdays. I get to spend a few hours with Noah in class. And while I’m glad he’s sitting beside me, I don’t feel like I normally do. For one, he wasn’t able to tell Jenn about us. I understand why he didn’t. I probably would have done the same. I hope everything comes back okay with her mom. Otherwise, I don’t know when we’ll be able to tell her the truth. And if we don’t, then we will have to continue to hide around her. That means we can’t be together at parties or events like Halloween.

The other reason my mood is off is because I should be going to volleyball practice tonight. Usually, we have practice on Thursdays, but it was moved to today because the coach will be away for a few days. It doesn't really matter because I can’t go regardless! I’ve been suspended from the team. Several of my teammates have called me over the past two days to ask what exactly happened. They want to know why I was avoiding Sebastian. Most people on the team know Sebastian is a bit of a douche. He isn’t the best captain, so they don’t blame me for hating him. But they are pissed my behaviour almost cost us a game. I don’t blame them.

“Let's go,” Noah says to me after class is done.

“Where?”

Outside.”

“Where outside?”

“You ask too many questions! If you can't play with your team that doesn't mean you can't play at all. I don't like this mopey, sad, Jordan. I like loud, energetic, Jordan. I'm not that great, but I challenge you to a game of volleyball.”

I can't help but laugh. You serious?”

Does it look like I'm joking? he asks with a stern look on his face.

I guess not.

“Then let's go. There's a tennis court near my apartment. Well just have to improvise.”

This should be interesting. The next half-an-hour is not like any game of volleyball I’ve ever played. Noah tries, I'll give him that. But he is right, he's just not the athletic type. He is getting a bit better though. I really do appreciate his effort to try to make me feel better. Laughing at him actually does distract me.

As I've said before, this is NOT dodgeball, hit the ball, don't move away! I yell at him.

Well, it was like coming at 100 kilometres an hour!

You're such a drama queen.

You’re the drama queen! My arms are going to fall off! I'm like 10 different shades of red.”

Man up!

“Screw you! This hurts! My arms are sore!”

And will be in the morning.

“Why couldn't you pick an easier sport, like badminton or something?” he says as the ball flies past him.

Are you good at badminton? I ask.

No.

So then?

“My arms wouldn't be this red!

These are the moments that really draw me closer to Noah. He's always there to support me. He tries to take interest in the stuff I like to do, even if he doesn't enjoy it himself. After Noah has managed to trip, fall, miss the ball completely, get hit by the ball in the head and a number of other things, we decide to call it quits.

“Thanks for the game. I had fun, I say.

So did I. I’m sorry I have to run. I promised Jenn I would meet her by seven. Have fun at your party.”

“I’m probably not going to go,” I say to him.

“Why? You should go. The world deserves to see a Sexy Waldo.”

“I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel the same if I’m not there with you.”

“Tell you what, go to your party for a bit, and I’ll go to mine, but I’ll leave early and we can meet back at my place. And for you, I’ll dress up as a vampire.”

“A sexy vampire?”

“Only for you.”

“But you hate dressing up,” I say.

“Yeah, but you’re worth it. What do you say?

“I don’t know …"

“I’ll make it worth your while,” he says.

“Oh? What do you have in mind?

“You’ll just have to come over to find out.”

“Well, then I guess I’ll see you tonight.”

I’m intrigued.


*** NOAH ***

Life is funny, odd, unexpected at times. It likes to mess with your head; throw you off course. There are times in life when you’re so scared to take a step forward, that you convince yourself to stay frozen in time. And when you finally find the courage to move ahead, you realize just how much you’ve been missing.

I'm lying in bed like I would be on any other morning. Half of the blanket is on top of me, I’m on top of the other half. The bed is in disarray, with pillows and sheets thrown about in all directions. But today one thing is different; I'm not alone.

Lying beside me is a soul peacefully asleep. His face turned towards me, his hair thrown across his forehead. His bare chest slowly rising and falling. Jordan barely moves or makes any noise. The moment is almost too perfect to believe. I'll wake up at any moment from this dream.

Well, if it is a dream I might as well make it one to remember. I shift over and slowly bring my lips close to his. They are just about to touch when the next thing I know I'm pinned down. It happens all too quickly. An arm comes flying out around my waist; I'm rolled onto my back and the next thing I know he is on top of me.

Good morning, he says, a smile plastered across his face, his hair falling forward.

“I thought you were sleeping.”

Ah, so you were trying to take advantage of me in my sleep, eh?

Just checking to make sure you're real, and that I'm not going crazy.

He leans in and softly plants his lips on mine. Even though we’ve kissed on many occasions, every time we touch, I still feel a rush of excitement inside of me.

Does that convince you? he asks.

Nope, I think I need a bit more convincing.”

“How's that?” He asks after another brief kiss.

Better, I say.

“Good, so we've established I am in fact real. Whether or not you're crazy, well ... the jury is still out on that one.”

Last night, as we played volleyball, I decided I want more, that Jordan deserves more. I want to be close with him. I may not be ready to have sex yet, I don’t know when I will be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be intimate in other ways. I trust Jordan. He won’t hurt me. So, when he came over, all dressed up as the sexiest Waldo ever, I asked if he wanted to spend the night. He was surprised, but thrilled. He asked several times if I was sure, that I didn’t have to. But I was sure. I am sure. I want him.

All to say up to the moment we walked into my bedroom, I was nervous as hell. But the moment we got under the covers, that anxiety started to melt away. I can’t begin to describe how it felt lying next to him, Jordan’s arm around my waist, holding onto me tightly, our bodies pressed together. I was in heaven. Never in my life have I felt so aroused. Jordan clearly was too. I felt warm, protected, loved, as his hands roamed over my body. Neither of us said a word. We didn’t have to. The closeness spoke for itself. We just lay there in silence, our limbs intertwined, as we drifted off into sleep. It was simply perfect.


*** JORDAN ***

I really could get lost in his soft eyes. They truly are a gateway into his soul. Lying next to him, as I peer into the soft hues of hazel, I can sense a range of emotions. Excitement and joy, but still a bit of fear. I know exactly how he feels. Last night was huge for us. We broke down a major barrier, as we continue to move closer together.

To be honest, I’m beyond surprised to be waking up next to Noah this morning. After the way he left last Saturday, I didn’t expect he would be ready to spend a night together for a long time. And I was okay with that. I asked him several times if he was sure. I didn’t want to rush him, or make him feel like he had to spend the night with me. But he was sure. So sure, he bought a toothbrush for me on his way home from his Halloween party. It was a small gesture, but it warmed my heart.

“How are you feeling?” I ask him as I rub my foot against his leg.

“Alright,” he says.

“Just alright?” I ask with a smile.

“Pretty good. I’m really glad you stayed.”

“So am I.”

“Plus, I learned something valuable last night,” Noah says.

“What’s that?”

“You’re a blanket hog,” he says pulling the blanket towards himself.

“Am not!”

Next time you stay over, bring your own blanket!”

“So, there’s going to be a next time?” I ask him.

“Not if you don’t learn how to share the blanket!”

Lying in bed, holding Noah tightly against my bare chest last night, feeling his heart beat, his chest rise and fall slowly, was better than I ever expected it would be. Better than any night I ever spent with Kate. It felt right being with Noah. Even though neither of us said a word, it was obvious how both of us felt. I could tell by the way he moved his body. How he pressed harder against my chest, held tightly onto my hands, intertwined his legs with mine, we couldn't get close enough. As we lay there in bed, I knew this is where I am meant to be.

I never thought I would get this close to Noah so quickly. That I would be this comfortable with him so quickly. In the last week I've thought about telling John or Aiden, my high school friend in Australia, about Noah. But every time I chicken out. I'm really not sure how John will react. We've never really talked about any topics pertaining to homosexuality. When he doesn't like something, he does say 'that's so gay' to indicate it's a bad thing. Other than that, I don't really know how he feels.

Then there is Aiden who I've known for years. He is my best friend; the person who gets me completely. He's my version of Noah's Jenn, you could say. I spoke with him a few days ago. I told Aiden that I had finally done it, I had finally asked that 'girl' out. He was thrilled. I wanted to tell him the truth, that Noah isn’t a girl, but I didn't. I couldn’t. I was too afraid I might lose him.

“What are you thinking about?” Noah asks. “You look so deep in concentration.”

Oh, nothing. Just ... I'm thinking about how we've managed to come so far.

“Yeah we have. Did you ever imagine you'd be waking up in bed next to a guy?” he asks. “I never thought my first time would be with you.”

Honestly back in September I would have said no, not a chance. Yet, here we are.

It's surreal.

“It is, but there honestly is no one I'd rather be in bed with right now. I’m glad my first time with a guy was with you. I like waking up next to you.”

“I like waking up next to you too,” he says as he runs the tip of his finger down my chest. “You hungry? I can make breakfast.”

Hungry for him? YES! Noah starts to throw off the blanket, but I stop him.

“No. I’d much rather you stay in bed here with me,” I say pulling him in close.

We stay in bed for what feels like hours. I’m lying down, his head resting on my chest, my hand running through his hair. Our conversation is all over the map. At times pointless and quirky, and others serious and heartfelt.

I want to know everything about him. I want to know what makes him, well him. What makes him tick. What makes him want to get out of bed every morning. His dreams, hopes, desires. I ask him a million questions. We speak about our childhoods, growing up, and our families. He tells me about his family, what his mom, dad and siblings are like. How much he loves his nephew and niece. And how difficult it was growing up in a religious household, his struggle with his faith, all while hiding a secret.

“I always felt conflicted. I was told my desires were unnatural. But I thought how can what I feel inside be wrong, if this is the way God made me? I didn’t choose to like guys. I just do. And so how is that a sin? So, over time, my faith started to decline. I still believe, I guess, but it’s not the same. I guess I would call myself more spiritual and not religious. I hope that makes sense.”

“It does. I’m surprised though you still have faith after that struggle.” Noah already knows I’m not religious at all.

“If I don’t have faith, I don’t know what I have. I know that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but it’s part of who I am. It gives me purpose in life. Religion taught me to be kind to others, be compassionate, treat people with respect. You know, just be a decent human. That’s what I aim for every day. Some days it’s easy. Some days it’s not and I fail.”

“If only more people were like you, the world would be a better place. And what about your family? Are they still religious?”

“My parents are super religious, especially my mom. She’s the main reason why I hid in the closet for so long. Why I'm still afraid to come out.”

“Do you think you’ll ever be able to tell them?”

He takes his hand into mine, weaving our fingers together. “I honestly don’t know. Every time I think about it, I remember my mom changing the channel when Ellen would come on television. Or fast forwarding the parts with Cam and Mitch on Modern Family. She won’t accept me. I fear I’ll lose her and everyone.”

“If she loves you, she’ll accept you,” I reply. I know just how much his family means to him.

“I honestly don’t know if that’s true. I hope one day I have the courage to tell her. I’m sorry for not telling you this sooner. I should have been more open with you from the beginning. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so afraid to come out. I thought I would be able to when I moved half way across the country. But even now I’m paranoid the news will travel back to her.

It’s okay,” I say squeezing his hand. “You don’t have to apologize. I understand. I’m not sure when I’ll tell my mom either. We’ll figure it out together.


*** NOAH ***

I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. Or a better boyfriend.

I didn’t think it was possible to have a stronger emotional connection with Jordan. But lying here in bed, his one hand caressing my chest, the other combing through my hair, as we talk about our lives, I feel like I’m getting to know Jordan on a whole new level.

He goes on to tell me things he says he’s never told any of his friends, even Aiden. He starts with the toll his parents' divorce had on him growing up. Aiden knows most of this, he says, but not the full extent of the emotional damage. He tells me how he was only a child, and that when his parents fought it would scare him.

“I had no sense of stability or security growing up. Seeing their relationship fall apart gave me little hope that any relationship could last. And then he left. One day he was gone. He didn’t even say goodbye. I just came home from school, and he wasn’t there. He was too much of a coward to tell me he was leaving. Growing up I felt abandoned. He was never there for me when I needed him. Aiden’s dad taught him how to ride a bike. He took him to baseball games. Mine was off doing who knows what. He never taught me anything. My mom had to do everything.

“Life really wasn't easy growing up. We barely made the bills. We were living paycheque to paycheque. My mom struggled and her age caught up with her quickly. She tried her best to give me everything I wanted. And I have to say, she did a great job. Somehow, she managed to pull it all off. I don’t know how she did it all. But her life vanished. It became all about survival. She didn’t date again, or go out. She didn’t buy herself fancy clothes. She deserved so much more. But everything she had, she spent on me. And that just made me hate my father even more.”

Its clear how to this day his father leaving still affects Jordan. He tells me how he barely dated a girl for more than a week or two in high school.

“I could never commit to anything,” he says. “I had a hard time trusting people. I was always afraid they would leave, just like my dad. That only started to change in my senior year and when I got to university. My first real long-term girlfriend was Kate, and even she lied to me, and cheated. That brought back all of those feelings of anger and abandonment that I felt growing up. But then I met you. And everything changed. Right now, lying here in bed with you, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything in the world. That everything I need is right here with me in this room.”

“I will never abandon you, Jordan,” I say turning around. Normally, his eyes are full of life, the crystal blue shining brightly. But not right now. Right now, they are dull. I can see the pain inside of him.

“I know,” he whispers. “Alright, that’s enough serious talk for today.”

I don’t know how to erase the pain he feels, the pain he felt growing up. I want to. But I know I can’t. So, I do what I can. I bring my lips to his. I kiss him passionately to let him know just how much he means to me, just how much I care.

The other way to mend a broken heart; pancakes. “Get dressed. I’ll make breakfast.”

“Sounds good.

But as we get ready, our perfect morning, is interrupted. Someone is at the door.

“Hey Noah, it's me Jenn, she yells from the hallway.

Jordan freezes. Neither of us makes a sound. I can tell from his facial expression he is thinking the same thing as me. FUCK!

“Uh, coming in a second.” Then in a lower voice to Jordan. “Grab your stuff and just go into my room. I’ll see what she wants.” He quickly gets up and starts to gather his things. “Jordan!” I try not to say too loud.

What?

“You forgot your jacket,” I say pointing to where it is still lying on the couch.

Shit, sorry.

Noah, what the hell is taking you so long! Jenn yells.

Just a minute! I yell back.

Why did she have to show up now? Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Okay. I open the door.

“Hey, Jenn,” I say trying to be as casual as possible. “What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting at noon?”

Jenn needed to return some of the crap she bought for Halloween. We agreed to meet at the store at noon. It’s only 11:30. What is she doing here?

“Oh, I figured we could walk together. I texted you. Didn’t you get my message?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Okay, well, are you ready?”

“Um, yeah, just give me a second,” I say. Shit. Shit. Shit! I need to talk to Jordan, and figure out a plan.

“Whose bag is that?” she asks before I can walk away.

“What?”

“On the floor.”

Shit. It’s Jordan’s. “It’s mine.”

“It has the volleyball team’s logo on it,” she says.

“Yeah, it’s mine. Jordan gave it to me a while ago.” That sounds plausible.

“Oh. Well, you should probably throw it away.”

“It’s just a bag. Be back in a second.”

“Did you get new shoes?” she asks.

Shit. Those would be Jordan’s distinctly coloured running shoes.

“Wait. Aren’t those …”

Fuck. She knows. I look up. Her smile is gone.

“Jordan's here, she says tersely.

“It's not what you think.” That’s all I can come up with.

“It’s exactly what I think. What the fuck is going on?” she asks angrily.

This is not going to be good.

Sorry for the delay! I hope this chapter was worth the wait. Again, I decided last minute to rewrite it all. Do let me know what you think. Leave a comment below!

Copyright © 2018 Ethan; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

The cat's out of the packpack.  Noah is going to be forced to "out" himself to Jenn and let her know (or guess) about the relationship with Jordan.  The distinctly colored running shoes (probably neon and flashing) told Jenn that Jordan was around.  All right, Ethan, how are you going to resolve this situation?

 

 

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Bugger! Karma is a dog....  can't say enough of us didn't warn the two of them! Ah! The younger generation....if only they'd listen.😁

 

Great read. Thanks.

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Somehow I hope it will be better this way. Jen can have a fit and yell at them, get all the anger out at once. She's entitled to feel betrayed, but on the other hand she hasn't really made it easy for Noah to tell her anything.

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19 hours ago, WildcatLes said:

All right, Ethan, how are you going to resolve this situation?

Oh, I have a couple of ideas on how this all could go. ☺️

 

14 hours ago, Canuk said:

Bugger! Karma is a dog....  can't say enough of us didn't warn the two of them! Ah! The younger generation....if only they'd listen.😁

 

The younger generation is awesome! If they listened there wouldn't be so much drama, and that wouldn't be fun (wait, I think I kind of see your point 🤔)

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9 hours ago, Tonyr said:

This chapter leaves me wishing that just  once there were two in the same week...

What!? I've posted more than once in a week. I actually just went back and counted: 14 chapters in 9 weeks. 

The next chapter is largely done, but I have to make some minor adjustments. (Minor usually turns into major when I start writing). So it shouldn't be too long. 😎

If only work, errands, and being a "responsible" adult didn't get in the way ...

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4 hours ago, Ethan said:

What!? I've posted more than once in a week. I actually just went back and counted: 14 chapters in 9 weeks. 

The next chapter is largely done, but I have to make some minor adjustments. (Minor usually turns into major when I start writing). So it shouldn't be too long. 😎

If only work, errands, and being a "responsible" adult didn't get in the way ...

I just love Jordan and the hole story. What can i say?

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It may be painful, but now Jenn can have her fit and Noah and Jordan can get on with their romance. Jenn will get over her anger, or not. I would think a best friend would get past the initial hurt. Noah can try to explain, if Jenn will let him. Meanwhile he needs to focus on his new boyfriend. Thanks for more drama and more of this good story.

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On 11/28/2018 at 12:13 AM, Timothy M. said:

Somehow I hope it will be better this way. Jen can have a fit and yell at them, get all the anger out at once. 

 

On 11/28/2018 at 10:44 PM, JeffreyL said:

It may be painful, but now Jenn can have her fit and Noah and Jordan can get on with their romance.

 

Sort of like lancing a boil....  :gikkle:

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"There are times in life when you’re so scared to take a step forward, that you convince yourself to stay frozen in time. And when you finally find the courage to move ahead, you realize just how much you’ve been missing." True words.

 

I like the movements back and forth in time. Jordan is presumably hiding in Noah's room at the beginning of this chapter and Jordan's anxiety is explained. Jenn has become a regular drill sergeant, hasn't she? 

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Jenn is carrying on like her and Jordan were dating for months,

not just one date 

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:20 AM, Homosapiens said:

"There are times in life when you’re so scared to take a step forward, that you convince yourself to stay frozen in time. And when you finally find the courage to move ahead, you realize just how much you’ve been missing." True words.

 

I like the movements back and forth in time. Jordan is presumably hiding in Noah's room at the beginning of this chapter and Jordan's anxiety is explained. Jenn has become a regular drill sergeant, hasn't she? 

Look out for Sargent Major Jenn. 

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So Noah couldn't bring himself to stay the first night. I suppose from a position of safety, he realised what a lousy boyfriend he was becoming. At least he took the initiative after seeing how much Jordan life was being affected, fighting with Sebastian the douche and then losing out on the Volleyball and other social events.

So it was great that Sexy Waldo and Sexy Vampire finally spent the night cuddled up. Great morning in bed sharing their most important personal memories.

But inevitably they get caught red handed by Jenn. 

She'll be fine, after she's beaten them senseless for a day or two. 

But here's a big chance for Noah and Jordan to show their true worth as close friends and help Jenn deal with her mum's life threatening condition. Get it right this time boys.

Edited by Bard Simpson
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Ooo not the way Jenn should find out!  I really like how Jordan and Noah are drawing closer to each other.  They're building a solid foundation for their relationship.  Jenn's going to be pissed off, and rightly so, but I think she'll eventually get over it.  I hope they can all repair their friendship and move on.  And I soooo wanted Jordan to punch Sebastian squarely in the face! 

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