“Kane Harris!” Ian stormed up to his best friend. It was only by virtue of the teacher standing a few doors away watching him that Ian didn’t punch Kane. “You fucking asshole!” He managed to keep his voice down, but only barely.
Kane flinched at the f-bomb, blinking at his friend and Ian’s eyes narrowed. “What…”
“Don’t try to play innocent with me,” Ian said. “I know you way too well. You told him! You asked him!”
“What? No! I didn’t!” Kane protested, but Ian wasn’t listening, he was too busy angrily working the lock on his locker door.
“How could you? You promised! Why would you tell Hayden I like him? Why? God, gym class was hard enough as it was!” Ian raged, banging his head on his open locker door, not paying a bit of attention to Kane’s face.
“Uh, Ian–” Kane started.
“Don’t. Just don’t! He’s got to think I’m an idiot now…” He buried his face inside his locker.
“Ian—” Kane tried again.
“Don’t you get it? God, you were right. I know I said I didn’t have a crush on him, but dammit I should know by now that you know me better than I do.” He shook his head, digging into the bottom of the pile for his math book.
“Um, Ian,” Kane started again, but it just ended in a sigh when Ian ignored him.
“You figured it out before I did. But, did you have to tell him I had a crush on him? I mean, come on! Upperclassmen do not get crushes on freshmen! And… and… I still don’t even know if he’s straight!” The last was almost wailed and Ian hit his head against the locker door again. “Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!”
Kane flinched again at each subsequent “f” word. When he recovered, he finally shouted, “Ian Kelly!”
Ian turned to him. “WHAT?!”
Kane pointed to the spot on the wall behind Ian on the other side of his locker door.
“Oh shit.” Ian closed his eyes and the color drained from his face. “He’s there, isn’t he?” He opened his eyes to see Kane nodding. “You… didn’t tell him?” Kane shook his head. “Fuck,” he whispered then glanced apologetically at Kane when he reacted.
He gripped the locker door hard and took a deep breath then he plastered a very fake smile on his face and very slowly closed the locker door.
Hayden Green was slightly taller than Ian. He was lean with thick shaggy dark hair that hung over sparkling dark eyes and lips that made Ian’s cock stand up and twitch. He was also leaning against the lockers next to Ian’s with an amused smile on his face. “Hi.”
“H—” Ian had to clear his throat. “Hi.” The shakiness in his voice brought his color back with a vengeance, leaving his cheeks bright red. “You… heard all of that, didn’t you?”
Hayden nodded. “Yes.” His smile spread and the amusement still danced in his eyes.
“Right. Um, well, I’m… going to go… get hit by a bus now. It was… um… nice talking to you.” Ian turned with the full intention of running out into the street. With any luck, a bus would be driving by at that point so he could get hit.
“You know, there are more pleasant ways to spend a Friday afternoon and the weekend than in the hospital,” Hayden said, conversationally.
Ian swallowed and looked at Kane for help, but he just shook his head and shrugged. Ian’s gaze told him there’d be retribution; then Ian turned back around. “I’m afraid that, at the moment anyway, I can’t possibly think of a single thing that would be more appealing than throwing my humiliated self in front of that bus. Maybe I’ll be lucky and bypass the hospital altogether.” He looked down at his watch. “In fact, one is due any minute.”
Hayden laughed and stood up from the lockers. “Do you really have to catch a bus to go home?”
Ian glanced again at Kane who, for once, stayed silent. He promised more retribution. “Um, yeah. Kane and I always take the bus.”
Hayden nodded. “Well, how about this. Why don’t I give you two a ride home and we can talk somewhere that isn’t the middle of the school hallways about the things that you just said, hmm?”
Ian was wondering if it might be possible for the bus to take a detour and just drive right through the school for him. He paused for a moment, listening hopefully, but apparently he wasn’t going to be that lucky. He glanced once more at Kane who just shrugged again.
Ian took a deep breath and forced a smile onto his face. “Um, that’d be great, thanks. I… didn’t think freshmen usually drove…”
Hayden turned to head down the hall when Ian closed the locker door and the other two fell into step next to him. “Freshmen don’t. I’m not a freshman.”
“Oh. Oops.” Ian wondered how much more of an ass he could make of himself and if maybe he’d be lucky and an earthquake or tornado might hit instead. He waited again, but when he heard no rumbling or wind, he sighed. “I’m sorry.”
Hayden chuckled. “Quite alright. I’m usually taken for a freshman. The only thing that saves me is my height, though that’s not all that spectacular, compared to some of the guys here.” He turned a smile on Ian again and Ian had to fight the urge to run. Again. No one should be that good looking. “In fact, I once had a teacher – and this was just this year, mind you – but the teacher asked me if I was supposed to be in the building and shouldn’t I be over at the middle school.”
“You’re joking.” Ian stared at him. Maybe he looked young for an upperclassman, but really.
Hayden shook his head. “Nope. Itwas earlier in the year and, apparently, I’ve grown a bit since then, but…” he trailed off with a shrug.
Hayden pushed open the door at the end of the hall and held it for Ian to go through. Ian glanced over at him then stepped through and his eye caught Kane’s. Kane was strangely quiet, but he gave a smile of encouragement and Ian started to feel a little better.
Only a little. He still mostly wanted to die of embarrassment. They approached an old blue soft-top Jeep and Hayden went around to the passenger side to unlock the door. Ian opened it and Kane slid into the back before Ian could try to hide back there. Kane gave him a look that told him he was being ridiculous and Ian sighed, climbing into the front seat.
Hayden tossed his bag in the back next to Kane and climbed up behind the wheel. “Um, where am I going?” Hayden asked after he’d started the car and waited a moment and Ian blushed, fighting another urge. This one to bounce his head off of the dash. He gave Hayden directions and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath to try desperately to calm down.
Hayden glanced in the rearview mirror. “Are you going home? Or to Ian’s?” He asked Kane.
“It’s the same place,” Ian answered for him. At the puzzled glance, he said, “My mom sort of adopted him. His…”
“My real mother’s not around anymore,” Kane finished. “Ian’s mom is my mom now. She kind of has been for a while, anyway.”
“Okay, then, that’s easy,” Hayden said and Ian was grateful that he let it go. His friendship with Kane was complicated enough without trying to explain it.
They sat in silence for a while; then Hayden turned on the stereo. WKIB came floating through the speakers and they let the music fight the awkwardness.
“No,” Hayden said, turning down the stereo a bit and Ian’s head whipped around.
“No?” Ian asked, confused.
“Um. The answer to the question you wanted to ask. No, I’m not straight,” Hayden clarified.
“Oh.” Ian blinked, not sure what to do with that, except maybe hope the other boy didn’t think he was a complete idiot.
He wasn’t really holding out much of that hope.
Silence fell again and the awkwardness in the car grew once more. Ian glanced over his shoulder at Kane who was just sitting back and looking out the window. He didn’t know what to make of that, or of the unreadable expression on Kane’s face, so he turned around and tried to get a grip on his nerves again. Thankfully, a few minutes later, they pulled up in front of the house.
Hayden turned off the car and Ian cleared his throat. “Want to um, come in for um, a drink or something?” Ian wanted to bounce his head off of something—again—at the nervousness that he knew came through, but the window beside him was plastic instead of glass and obviously not going to do enough damage. He contemplated the windshield, but it was just a little too far away. Perhaps the seat would eat him…
“Sure,” Hayden said, interrupting Ian’s internal panic. He climbed out of the Jeep and started around the car. Ian scrambled to get out quickly, Kane right behind him. He dug his house key out and nearly dropped it twice before he managed to open the door.
“Um, just have a seat, I’ll be right back.” Ian waved a hand a little frantically toward the living room. With a glance at Kane he escaped to the bathroom.
He shut the door a little too hard and banged his head against it a couple of times. He turned to the mirror and noticed he was still blushing. “Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. What the hell am I doing?” he asked the mirror.
“Panicking,” Kane said from a crack in the door, a laugh in his voice, and Ian nearly screamed.
“FUCK, Kane!” He slammed a hand over his pounding heart and glared at his best friend. “Don’t leave him out there alone!”
“Why not? He’s got the TV.”
Ian rolled his eyes. “Because he’s a guest,” he hissed.
“Naw, he’s your future boyfriend,” Kane said with a grin.
Ian gave in to an urge and punched Kane in the arm. Hard. “Ouch! What the hell?”
“I owed you that,” Ian grouched. He turned back to the sink, twisted the knobs and splashed some cold water on his face, hoping it would cool the color in his cheeks a little. “Go out and get him a drink,” he said through the towel. “I’ll be right out.”
“Sure, sure,” Kane said and Ian was sure he could hear a laugh. He was going to punch his friend again later. Or maybe take it out on him at the dojo the next day.
He hung the towel back up, took another deep breath and left the bathroom. Why did he feel like he was walking to his doom?
When he got back out to the living room the god of a boy was sitting on the couch, drink can in hand, half-watching the television. When Ian stepped in, Hayden sat up a little more and smiled at him again. Ian noticed that Kane had made sure to take the only chair they had so Ian would be forced to sit on the couch next to Hayden.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a second. Get a grip! He smiled back. “So, um…”
“I figure we’ve answered your big question,” Hayden said.
Ian blinked, confused. “My…?”
“My orientation.” He clarified. “I figure that was probably the biggest thing.”
“OH.” Ian breathed a sigh of relief. “Um, yeah, I guess.” Ian glanced at Kane, who was trying to ignore them and failing miserably. He had a half smile on his face that had nothing to do with the rerun that was currently on the television.
Ian closed his eyes again and took one more breath. “Look, I feel like an idiot,” he said, opening his eyes again. “I thought Kane said something to you, or asked you or something and I was just too mad that he might have broken a promise to me to think clearly and I never really expected for you to be standing there anyway so I was just running off at the mouth because, like I said, I was just ma—” He stopped when Hayden put a finger over his lips. “—mad.” He finished when the finger moved.
Hayden’s lips twitched. He was obviously fighting another smile. “I like you too. How about we go out, hmm? A movie or something?” Hayden asked and Ian blinked at him.
“Out? Like… a date?” Shit. Way to trap him into one. He probably just meant to hang out or…
“Is that a problem? Are you allowed to?” Hayden asked.
“Hmm?” Ian had to focus. He wasn’t arguing the date thing. He wants to go out on a date with me. Oh shit, now what? “Oh, um, yeah. I guess. I… haven’t been on one before, but I don’t think she’ll—I mean my mom—I don’t think she’ll have a problem with it. My… mom doesn’t really know, I guess. I mean, my orientation. But that’s mostly because she just works a lot. I just don’t think she’s noticed that I don’t really talk about girls all that much.” He wound down and knew his face was probably bright red again. He sighed, closing his eyes and wishing for the millionth time that the floor would just swallow him up already. “God, I still sound like an idiot.”
Hayden laughed again. “No, you don’t.”
Ian shook his head. “I don’t know how you can think I don’t.”
“It’s opinion. Just accept it. So, how about tonight? Movie? I’ll pick you up at six?” Hayden asked, smiling.
“Uh… okay.” Ian swallowed and nodded. “Six.” Hayden set his empty drink can down and stood, Ian standing up with him.
Ian walked Hayden to the door. “See you tonight,” Hayden said, quietly and Ian had to swallow. The look on Hayden’s face made Ian blush again. It was… well, Ian didn’t know how to describe it. The amusement from earlier was gone. He was serious and quiet, instead.
“See you tonight,” Ian echoed and Hayden pulled the door open. Ian watched him as he went down the short walk from the porch. He turned and waved when he got to his car and Ian waved back then watched him get in and drive off.
“Oh fuck, I’m in so much trouble,” Ian groaned, sliding down the door and landing on the floor.
“Why?” Kane asked from the living room doorway.
“I’m going on a date, Kane. What the hell was I thinking?” He put his head down on his knees and tried to remember how to breathe. “I’m going on a date. With another guy. The one I have a crush on.”
“You have a problem with the fact that it’s a guy?”
Ian looked up at his best friend. “No. You know that. But then again, how many gay guys do you know at school?”
“Point.” Kane nodded. “But do you really care what they think?”
Ian shook his head. “No, you’re right. I care what you think.” He paused, frowning. “What do you think?”
Kane crossed the small hallway and sat down next to his friend. “I think you’re freaking out over nothing. It’s a movie. Maybe some food. And he’s a guy, just like us. He goes to the same school, has the same—well, mostly the same—classes we do. He watches TV, listens to music and is, you know, a mostly normal guy.”
“Well, he’s got to be a little weird. He likes you, doesn’t he?”
The attempt at humor bypassed Ian. He stared at his friend a moment then shook his head. “I don’t get it.”
“What’s there not to get? Why wouldn’t someone like you?” Kane asked, sounding irritated.
Ian missed the tone and shrugged a shoulder, but didn’t say anything.
“Fuck that,” Kane said and Ian fought the urge to flinch. His cock, despite his mental state, still responded to the word. They really were going to have to figure that out. He glanced up at his friend and glared, but the glare was wasted on Kane. “Look, Ian, you’re hot. I’ve told you that. And obviously, this guy thinks so, too.” He shrugged. “Why not just go and enjoy the movie and see where it goes from there?”
Ian sighed and let his head fall back against the door. “I guess. God, I just feel like such an idiot. What a way to start.”
Kane shrugged. “Maybe it was better.” At Ian’s look, he said, “look, at least he knows you like him, right? That part’s done.”
Ian frowned. “I didn’t think of it that way.”
“And he said he liked you.” Another shrug. “Seems like the weirdest part’s out of the way.”
“Yeah. I guess so.” Ian sighed. “Now I just gotta figure out what the hell to wear.” He made a face. “I sound like the giggling girls in the cafeteria.” He shuddered.
Kane laughed. “Hardly. You’re not going to start wearing makeup, right?” The glare from Ian was answer enough. “And as long as you don’t discuss whether your shoes match your bag, we’re good.”
Ian laughed, feeling better. Leave it to Kane. “Thanks.” He bumped Kane’s shoulder with his own. He glanced at the clock. He still had a couple of hours. “Well, better get some homework done or something.”
But an hour later, Ian hadn’t done a single bit of homework and was, instead, just staring at himself in the mirror, his nerves back, full force. Then he heard his mom calling from the front of the house, “Ian! Kane?”
Ian gulped and stepped out into the hall. He glanced at Kane, who’d come out of their room, and Kane gave him a bolstering smile and made a shooing motion with his hands. “Go on…”
Ian swallowed again and headed out to the kitchen to find his mom putting groceries away. “Hi Mom!” He hurried over and he and Kane started unpacking bags for her. “Um… I… have something to tell you,” he said, his face buried in the pantry.
“Oh?” Mrs. Kelley asked.
“Yeah, um…” he started and nearly dropped the can in his hand onto his foot. He cursed himself silently then picked it back up. “I…um… have a… date tonight.”
“Oh that’s wonderful!” His mom said and beamed at him, her warm brown eyes lighting up. “Who is he?”
Ian stood up fast, almost hitting his head on the upper cabinet and stared at his mother for a full minute before her question sunk in. “He… you… know?”
“Oh honey, I’ve known for a while.” She glanced at Kane, but didn’t say anything. Both boys blushed. She set the bag of rice down onto the counter and walked over to her son. “I may not be around as much as I want to be, but I still pay attention.” She dropped a kiss on his forehead and went back to putting groceries away. “So, what’s his name?”
“Hayden,” Ian said, still a little stunned. “He’s… um, supposed to be here at six.”
“Hay… oh.” Her eyes darted to Kane who had busied himself in the refrigerator, then back to Ian. “Okay.” She glanced over at the clock on the wall. “Better finish getting ready then,” she coaxed and Ian gulped.
“Home by eleven. And not a moment later.” She made a shooing motion with her hand.
Ian shoved the last of the cans onto the shelf and hurried into his bedroom. He was still standing in front of his closet a few moments later when Kane came in.
“For God’s sake, it’s just a movie!” Kane grumbled, yanking out a sweater and jeans and shoving them into Ian’s hands. He shook his head. “But you might consider masturbating before you get dressed.”
Ian blinked at him. “What?”
“Masturbate. You’ve got to loosen up or you’re going to be a basket case for the night. I’ll even help.” Kane said as he stretched out on his bunk.
“Um…” Ian stared at his friend for a minute, his best friend, the one who had, on more than one occasion done exactly what he’d just suggested. But… somehow it felt weird to think of having Kane do that right before a date with another guy. Ian shook his head. “No, um, I’ll be fine.”
Kane shrugged. “Up to you,” he said, and rolled onto his back.
Ian considered his friend for another moment, but something seemed off. He sat down next to Kane. “What is it?”
“What’s what?” Kane asked with a raised eyebrow.
Kane blinked at the upper bunk. “Why would something be wrong?”
Ian growled. “Don’t. Just, don’t. Don’t try to bullshit me.”
Kane didn’t say anything at first then sighed. “Why’d you turn me down?”
Ian blinked. “Turn you down? You mean about…”
“Yeah, about helping you,” Kane said, still not looking at Ian.
“Well, I just… think it’d be weird to do that right before a date with another guy,” Ian said, frowning.
Kane nodded, but Ian had a feeling he didn’t really understand. At a loss for what else to say, he got up and hurried into the bathroom.
While he was in there, however, he couldn’t help but think about what Kane said. He soaped up his hand and brought Hayden’s image into his head. But when it was all over with, he frowned when he realized it wasn’t Hayden’s face he’d had in his head at the end. It was Kane’s.
The knock on the door came at six on the dot. Ian’s eyes flew to Kane, who looked back at him, lips curved. The smile didn’t seem to quite reach Kane’s eyes, but Ian couldn’t figure it out right then.
He answered the door to see Hayden dressed almost exactly the same as he was. The sweater was a V-neck instead of a turtleneck and in red instead of blue, but the jeans were the same and he even wore similar loafer-type shoes. And that incredible smile. Ian smiled back. “Hi.”
“Hi. Ready to go?” he asked and Ian nodded.
“I’m going!” Ian shouted into the house.
“Have fun, honey!” his mom shouted from the back.
He was about to step through the door when Kane came out of the living room. “Hayden.” The look on his face wasn’t welcoming.
“Kane,” Hayden said, nodding.
Ian looked from one to the other, confused by Kane’s tone of voice. “Well, um, later, Kane.”
“Later, Ian,” Kane said, his eyes never leaving Hayden.
Ian’s eyes went from his best friend to his date and back again, but gave up trying to figure it out and turned to the door. “Um, let’s go?”
Hayden nodded and turned his attention back to Ian, the smile back in place. They walked to the car in silence and Hayden surprised Ian by opening the car door for him. “Um, thank you,” Ian more mumbled than said, and took a moment after he was in the seat to try to calm his nerves again. The session in the shower apparently hadn’t done very much for him.
“So, have you eaten?” Hayden asked as he pulled out into traffic.
“No. To be honest, I was too nervous.” Ian swallowed, annoyed at the butterflies that seemed to have taken up residence in his stomach.
Hayden smiled, but didn’t laugh, which Ian was grateful for. “Would you believe I was, too?”
Ian shook his head, and this time it was his turn to chuckle. “No.”
The smile widened. “Yup, really was. Think you could eat now?”
Ian nodded. “Yeah, I can.”
“Pizza?” Hayden suggested.
“Sure,” Ian said and again felt a little silly for being so nervous. He shook his head at himself. “So, um, what kind of movies do you like?”
Hayden threw him a grateful look and Ian wondered if maybe Hayden was as nervous as he was. They slid into a discussion of different movies, which spilled into TV and books and before Ian knew it, the pizza—they discovered they liked the same toppings—was on the table between them and they were talking and laughing.
When they got to the theater, the movie choice was almost a no brainer and they settled into the seats with a shared bucket of popcorn and their drinks, conversation having never really slowed. They’d moved into a discussion on music and then back into books so that when the movie started, they almost didn’t want to stop. But the tornados and their chasers took their attention and they got sucked into the action on screen quickly.
The only awkward moment came about half way through the movie when both of them reached for popcorn at the same time. Their hands collided and they paused to look at each other. Ian blushed, but hoped the dark theater would hide the color.
Of course, it got worse when Hayden took his hand and held it and used the other to pick up the popcorn, not letting him go. Ian’s heart pounded, but he managed, through sheer force of will, to turn his attention back to the movie. His hand tightened in Hayden’s, and Hayden squeezed gently back. Then the house crashing onto the street caught their attention and the comments about cows made them laugh and the tension eased again.
When the movie was over, they let their hands go to get out of the theater, tossing their cups and bucket into the garbage. But as soon as the trash was taken care of, Hayden glanced over at him again and took his hand once more. “Great movie…” Hayden started.
Ian nodded. “Yeah. ‘That’s no moon, that’s a space station!’” he quoted and Hayden laughed.
“One of the best lines. Although the one at her aunt’s house… how did it go… ‘Honey, this is a tissue of lies… there was another Bill, an evil Bill… and I killed him’,” Hayden chuckled. “That might have been even better.”
Ian laughed. “Yes. I think I’m going to have to watch this one again.”
“Me, too. I have a feeling it’ll be one of those that people quote a lot,” Hayden said with a grin, opening Ian’s door for him.
Ian nodded and climbed up into the Jeep. Hayden let go of his hand reluctantly and closed the door. Hayden hurried around the car and Ian found himself watching Hayden move, more than a little fascinated—and, if he was honest with himself—a little turned on by just how hot Hayden was.
When Hayden slid behind the wheel and started the car, he turned to Ian. “What time do you have to be in?”
Ian glanced at the clock on the dash, frowning. “Eleven.”
Hayden looked disappointed and it made Ian feel good. “Oh well,” he said and started driving. “For the first time in my life, I find myself annoyed with standard shift,” he muttered.
“Oh? Why’s that?” Ian asked before he could think it through.
Hayden didn’t answer at first and Ian realized Hayden probably hadn’t meant to speak out loud. Hayden glanced over, shifted the car again, then reached over and took Ian’s hand once more. “So…” he started, then grumbled as he had to let go and shift again. Ian left his hand were Hayden had put it and smiled when Haden’s hand came right back when they hit a stop light.
“So,” he started again, “would you like to go out again?” To Ian’s astonishment, Hayden’s voice hitched a little.
Ian blinked for a moment at Hayden. He was nervous! And that knowledge steadied Ian a little. “Yes, I would. I’d… take you out, but I don’t have a car.” He chuckled.
“I wouldn’t have one either, but my brother fixes them up. This is technically his, but I badgered him until he let me drive it. Do you drive?”
“Yeah. Just don’t have the car. Kane and I got our licenses the same day.” Ian frowned, realizing he hadn’t been thinking of Kane all that much throughout the night.
“That doesn’t surprise me. I’m a little surprised he let you out of his sight long enough to go on a date.”
Ian’s frown deepened. “We’ve been friends a really long time. I think I was maybe six when we met.”
“Wow that is a long time.” Hayden glanced to the side at Ian. “And, hey, I have no interest in getting between you.” He paused. “I don’t think he likes me, though.”
“Kane? Of course he does. He was the one that encouraged me to talk to you,” Ian said, “even if I didn’t take his advice.”
Hayden shrugged. “I don’t know. Seems like he wasn’t too happy when I picked you up.” He glanced at Ian again. “Like I said, though, I don’t want to get between you. I’d like to be his friend, too.”
Ian smiled. “I’m sure you will be.”
They pulled up in front of the house and Ian swallowed. “Well, um…” he started, his nerves coming back full force.
“What are you doing tomorrow?” Hayden asked.
“Oh, Kane and I have class at the dojo tomorrow morning. Afternoon, though, is free.”
“How about we do something then? Maybe we can all hang out—Kane, too.”
Ian nodded. “Okay. We, um, get home around eleven.” Hayden had turned toward him in the seat and was looking at him and Ian’s voice had started to shake again. He took a deep breath.
“Okay. I better get you in so your friend doesn’t come out and kick my ass.” He chuckled, but Ian shook his head.
“I’ll kick his. He knows I can beat him.”
Hayden laughed. “Good to know. Stay there,” he said, then climbed out of the car. Ian couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away as Hayden walked around.
Hayden took his hand as they walked up to the porch, then turned toward him. “Can I kiss you?” he asked quietly and Ian’s heart nearly stopped.
He’d never kissed anyone besides Kane before. But his head was nodding before his brain could seem to work and Hayden was leaning in toward him. He paused, just a tiny distance away from Ian’s lips and glanced up at Ian’s visible eye. He reached up and brushed at the bangs, and smiled when the other eye was exposed. “Better,” he whispered and leaned forward that final inch.
Ian’s eyes closed automatically when he felt Hayden’s lips on his. It was… nice. Chaste and light, Hayden just brushed his lips over Ian’s. They held there briefly, then Ian put a bit of force behind it, wanting and needing to feel more and Hayden responded.
Ian’s hands snuck up onto Hayden’s shoulders and he held on as the kiss deepened. Nibbles and nips and then Hayden’s tongue glided along his bottom lip. His mouth opened then, still without much thought. Then Hayden’s tongue slid along his and he nearly stopped breathing. His hands tightened into the thick sweater and Hayden’s other arm snaked around his waist pulling him in close.
They broke apart a moment later, both panting hard. Brown eyes met black and they stared. Hayden’s arousal pressed insistently against Ian’s own and it only made it that much harder to breathe. “I…” Hayden cleared his throat. “I should go.”
Ian nodded. “Yeah,” it came out just barely on a breath, but neither moved.
“Um, does your mom know about your, erm, about me?” Hayden asked as they both worked to steady their breathing.
“My?” Ian asked, holding his breath. Please say boyfriend, please say boyfriend…
“Well, um, I don’t want to… well, assume. Just one date, you know,” Hayden stammered and Ian smiled. Hayden’s nervousness helped him feel a little less self-conscious about his own nerves.
“My boyfriend?” Ian asked and Hayden swallowed and nodded. “Yes, she knows. She, um, apparently already figured it out.” He chuckled. “I should know better. My mom’s a very observant person.” He sighed. “Which means she knows I’m already home and out here.”
Hayden nodded. “Okay. Tomorrow, then. After lunch?” He asked and Ian nodded. Hayden leaned in and laid another kiss on Ian’s lips before reluctantly stepping back.
Kane didn’t wait to see Hayden go back to his Jeep or drive away. He stepped away from the window and went back to his bunk. He rolled onto his side, facing the wall, his back to the room. He had no idea why it bothered him to see Ian kissing someone else, but the feelings that had stormed through him when he’d seen them lean in had really messed with him.
When Ian came into the room and heard the quiet, “Kane,” he ignored it. Hopefully, Ian would think he was asleep. He wasn’t sure what would be on his face right at that moment and he didn’t want to upset Ian. At least until he figured out what was wrong himself.
He followed the sounds of Ian undressing and changing into his pajama bottoms, then the movement of the bunk as he crawled into his own bed. Kane resisted the urge to sigh and instead pulled the blanket tighter around himself. It was a long time later before he fell asleep.
Ian lay in the quiet room, his mind going a million different directions. He had a boyfriend! He was dating.
And he felt terrible.
Kane didn’t have one, that’s what he told himself. It was just that he didn’t want to see Kane alone. That was all. He felt bad because there was someone else, now, that would want his attention.
The patterns of shadow and light moved across the ceiling from the street lamps and traffic on the road and he stared at them, though they didn’t register. The trees that stood just outside his window moved in the slight breeze and made interesting shapes, but Ian didn’t see any of them.
He saw Hayden’s face and Kane’s face. They kept switching places, his best friend turning into his boyfriend and vice versa. He fell into a fitful, uneasy sleep plagued by odd dreams.
The whimpering leaked through his dreams again. Another dream where he couldn’t reach Kane, couldn’t touch, couldn’t comfort him. This time, there was something keeping Ian back. Hands were holding him, strong ones.
And the frustrating thing was that they were hands he wanted on him. Hands he wanted to feel, except for the fact that they were keeping him from Kane. He tried to call out to Kane, tried to tell him it would be okay, but no sound came out.
He sat bolt upright again, and yet again struggled to surface from the dream. His breathing was harsh, loud pants filling the silent bedroom and he looked around in confusion until the room righted itself and normalcy once again became obvious.
His and Kane’s bedroom. Their bunk beds.
Another whimper floated up to him and he realized what was going on. He took a deep breath to calm his pounding heart. The whimpering came again and he slid off of his bunk, landing on Kane’s. He leaned forward, shaking his friend’s shoulder. “Kane.”
Kane didn’t move and Ian shook him again. When Kane didn’t react for the second time, Ian frowned and stretched out along his friend, wrapping his arms around him. “Kane,” he said, into his friend’s ear and Kane rolled over, grabbing Ian, arms tight around Ian’s waist. Kane snuggled into him and, despite himself, Ian found he was having the same problem he’d been having anytime Kane curled up with him.
He got hard. Again.
Ian suppressed the sigh when Kane tangled his legs with Ian’s and pulled them tight together. As had happened before, Kane was just as hard as Ian was and their arousals brushed again. Ian’s eyes closed on a quiet moan and he gritted his teeth to hold in the sounds.
Kane rocked into him once more and Ian’s moan got louder. Then Kane’s mouth was on him, hiding the moans. One hand trailed down Ian’s back to cup his ass and pull him tighter into Kane’s body. A tongue slid along his and Ian nearly lost himself.
Then he remembered. Hayden.
He had a boyfriend now! He couldn’t do these things with Kane! He pulled back from the kiss and stilled. “Kane.”
There was no answer at first, then a sigh. “It’s because of him, isn’t it?”
“Kane… he’s my boyfriend,” Ian whispered miserably. “I’m sorry.”
“Then why’d you bother coming down here?” Kane asked, grumpily.
Ian swallowed. “Because I’m not going to let you go through those nightmares, Kane. You’re still my best friend. I still want to help you.”
There was another long silence. “I’m fine now. You can go back to your own bunk.”
Except Ian knew it didn’t work that way. If he went back to his bunk, the nightmares would just start back up again. Fuck. Now what? What could he do? As he thought it over, though, he knew he couldn’t leave Kane to the nightmares just because he had a boyfriend now. He prayed that either Hayden would never know or he’d understand. “I can stay here to help you, Kane, I just can’t do that.”
The hand on his ass flexed then slid back up to his waist. It hovered on Ian’s side, just above his hip then slid to the center of his back and the arm squeezed in a comfort-seeking hug. Ian relaxed and tightened his own arms around Kane. “I’m sorry…” he whispered miserably.
“Don’t.” The single word tore Ian’s heart. He swallowed hard and nodded, hoping Kane could understand the movement.
The arm disappeared briefly to pull the blanket over them. Kane tucked it around Ian and then he wrapped his arm back around his friend.
They’d been worked hard in the dojo the following morning and both boys had been rather grateful for it. When they woke, things had been awkward for a few moments. They didn’t say much, just got up and got ready to go.
Greg had greeted them as he always had with his exuberance, thumbs up and huge smile then proceeded to put them through their paces. The physical exertion had helped them clear their heads and by the time they left and were on the bus on the way home, the tension from the night before had begun to fade.
“Hayden’s coming over this afternoon. He wants to hang out with both of us,” Ian said over their lunch of sandwiches.
“Both of us?” Kane asked, looking up.
Ian nodded. “Yeah. He wants to be your friend, too.”
Kane frowned. “I wasn’t very nice to him yesterday when he picked you up. Sorry about that. I guess it’s just weird for you to do stuff without me.”
“I know. But if we’re all friends, maybe it won’t be the rule, you know.”
Kane nodded. “Yeah.”
Not long after they’d finished and cleaned up, there was a knock at the door. They looked at each other and Kane smiled, this time genuinely. “Go on. It’s your boyfriend.”
Ian shook his head at his friend, still a little confused by Kane’s shifts over Hayden and hurried to the door. When he opened it, Hayden was leaning against the jamb.
“Hi,” Hayden greeted Ian then gave him that deadly smile.
“Hi,” Ian said, his own smile wide. He stepped back and Hayden stood up, approaching him. He glanced over Ian’s shoulder at Kane.
“Hi, Kane,” Hayden said, a little warily.
Kane considered him for a moment, then grinned with real amusement. “You better kiss him before he explodes.” He laughed as headed into the other room.
“Kane…” Ian groaned, his eyes closing in mortification.
Hayden just chuckled and then Ian felt his boyfriend’s lips on him and a hand on the side of his face. His eyes flew open then slid closed right away as he accepted the kiss. Hayden kept it light and mostly chaste and pulled back just a moment later. “Hi,” he said again, quietly this time.
“Hi,” Ian grinned up at him. “Come in.”
Mrs. Kelly chose that moment to come out from the kitchen. “Hello,” she smiled. “You must be Ian’s boyfriend.”
Ian was back to hoping the floor would open up. Did she have to put it that way? He swallowed. “Mom, this is Hayden. Hayden, this is my mom. Um, Mrs. Kelly.”
“You can call me Mom, too.” She smiled. “It’s nice to meet you. Ian, come get drinks for everyone.”
Ian glanced at Hayden. “I’ll be right back.” He waved toward the living room. “Just… yeah…” he turned and hurried after his mother.
She’d pulled cans of soda out of the refrigerator and set them on the counter. “Do you want snacks or something?” she asked, turning to her son.
“No, Mom, that’s okay,” he said, grabbing the cans, hoping to escape quickly back to the living room.
“Just a minute, Ian,” she said and stepped up to the counter next to him. She bit at her bottom lip and panic settled in his chest. “Um, I wanted to ask you… um… are you…”
No. No no no no no. She’s not going to ask me this. She’s not.
She did. Ian closed his eyes and knew his face was bright red. “No, Mom. I haven’t had sex yet.”
“Okay. Good. I just wanted you to, you know, be safe if you do.”
Ian’s eyes flew open and he stared at his mother, blinking. “Mom?”
“Well, I don’t have to worry about you getting a girl pregnant, do I?” she asked, with a puzzled look. “But I’m a nurse. I see plenty of diseases and stuff that comes from unsafe sex. I just want to make sure you’re being safe.”
“Mom, is it possible to die of acute embarrassment?” he asked, closing his eyes again.
She laughed. “No. I won’t say anything more, I promise.” She pulled him in for a hug. “I saw you kiss and I’m a mom. I worry. Now, go have a good afternoon with your friend and boyfriend.”
When she let him go, Ian stepped back and stared at her. “Thanks,” he mumbled and escaped the kitchen. When he got to the living room, Kane raised an eyebrow, but Ian just shook his head. Not now.
He handed the drinks around and settled in on the couch next to Hayden – yet again the only place open to sit. Ian registered vaguely that Star Wars was playing on the VCR. Hayden looked over at Ian. “Are you okay?”
Ian closed his eyes and willed the color to fade from his cheeks. “My mother has the world’s worst timing.”
Kane moved over next to Ian on the couch. “What did she say?”
Ian glanced over at Kane. “She…” he started, his cheeks heating more. “She asked me if I’ve had sex yet.”
Both of the other boys winced. Kane cast a frightened look toward the kitchen. “She’s not going to ask me, is she?”
Ian shook his head. “I don’t think so. She… she didn’t catch you kissing your boyfriend.”
Another wince. “Sorry,” Hayden mumbled.
Ian looked over at him. “No. Not your fault. See… my mom’s a nurse and, well, she sees a lot of stuff at the hospital, so she’s a little more, um, health conscious than other people. And, well, she’s just worried about… you know… stuff…” He buried his hot face in his hands for a moment then sighed and looked back at Kane. “Besides, now that she’s talked to me, she’ll assume I’ll talk to you. You’re off the hook.” He glared at his best friend a minute, muttering “not fair” then sighed. “Ugh.”
Hayden rubbed a hand over Ian’s back. “That sucks. How about we worry about Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, instead?”
“I like that idea,” Ian said and they turned their attention to the screen.
It didn’t take long for the embarrassment to fade as they heckled the movie and quoted along. Ian’s mom brought out popcorn at one point. They switched tapes and though Hayden made a point of holding Ian’s hand or keeping an arm around him, they did have a lot of fun together. “No! No! Don’t kiss her! She’s your sister! And she’s a girl! Ewww!” Kane yelled.
“Seriously, dude, kiss Han. He’s a lot hotter,” Hayden added and Ian and Kane laughed.
“Then there’s Lando. He’s not bad,” Ian added then glanced at his boyfriend, realizing what he’d said.
Hayden grinned at him and dropped a kiss on his cheek. “Eh. He’s okay.” Hayden shrugged. “There really aren’t a lot of cute guys in these movies, you know.”
Kane either didn’t notice the kiss, or he ignored it. “I think they just don’t want to take the spotlight away from Han,” Kane said and the other two nodded. “Mr. Badass himself.”
This was answered with chuckles and they turned their attention back to the movies. When the credits were just rolling on Return of the Jedi, Ian’s mom appeared in the doorway again. “Hayden, would you care to stay for dinner?”
Hayden glanced at Ian, who raised his eyebrows and waited. “Mom makes great stir fry,” Kane said and Ian felt Hayden relax.
“I’d like that, thank you.”
“Good. Okay, Ian, Kane, come set the table and get washed up.” She left the doorway and the three of them stood up.
Ian was nervous at first. His mother made sure that Hayden sat next to him. But she didn’t bring up anything embarrassing, thankfully. He was also grateful that the naked baby pictures he knew she had stayed in her bedroom.
Hayden helped clean up and wash dishes, which earned him major points with Mrs. Kelley. When they were finished and everything was put away, Hayden turned to Kane. “Mind if I steal him away for a while?”
The spiky-haired boy just stared. “That’s up to him, but… I appreciate you asking.” He smirked at Ian. “Might be good, anyway. I never even get two minutes to myself with him around.” Ian snorted and smacked Kane in the back of the head.
When they were settled into the Jeep, Hayden glanced over at him. “I thought we might just drive for a bit,” he said, reaching for Ian’s hand.
“Okay. I don’t much care, as long as we’re… erm…” He trailed off, embarrassed again and looked out the window, watching the cars go by.
Hayden grinned. “Me, too,” was all he said as he took the turns to the interstate, grateful to be able hit fifth gear and leave it there. He took Ian’s hand again. “I think Kane’s warming up,” he commented as he maneuvered through the Saturday night traffic.
“He’s just not used to sharing my time.” Ian glanced back over at Hayden. “I told you last night we’ve been friends for a long time.” Hayden nodded, keeping his eyes on the road. “But in all that time, it’s been pretty rare that we’ve spent any real time apart. There was a few times where he lived further away than we liked, but he found his way to my house as often as he could. His… home life… well, it sucked. I can’t tell you more than that, it’s up to him, but…” He trailed off with a slight shrug. “Anyway, it’s not you, specifically,” Ian finished.
Hayden nodded again. “I kind of gathered that. So, does he have anyone? A boyfriend?”
Ian shook his head, “No. He’s got a crush, but like I was with you, he doesn’t even know if the guy is straight or what.”
“Oh? Who is it?” Hayden asked.
Ian glanced over at him, hesitating. But he hadn’t promised Kane he wouldn’t say anything. “Kenji.”
“Kenji Narita?” Hayden asked.
“Yeah… do you know him?” Ian asked.
Hayden chuckled. “Your friend has good gaydar. Yes, I do. He’s a friend of mine.”
“No kidding.” Ian stared. “Wow. Well, that’s… something. Now if I can just convince Kane to say something…” He frowned in thought.
“I could. Say something, that is.”
“You don’t have to do that. I mean, I think it would be great, but…”
“Are you kidding? Maybe Kane will let me have more time with you that way,” Hayden said and Ian blushed, again.
“Okay. It would be nice for him to have someone else.” Ian said, and shifted his attention back to the window. Why did the thought of Kane with a boyfriend bother him? He shook the thought away and watched the scenery go by as Hayden took an exit off of the interstate. A few twists and turns and he pulled the car into a small parking lot. The sign next to it said, “Evergreen Nature Preserve.”
“They don’t patrol out here much.” Hayden said and Ian raised an eyebrow at him.
“You, um, spend a lot of time out here?” Ian asked with an amused twist of his lips.
Hayden laughed. “No. Not me. I heard my brother talk about it. He brings his girlfriends out here.”
“Oh.” Ian blushed, feeling foolish. “You know, though, um, I… don’t know if, erm, never mind.” He snapped his mouth shut, his face blushing brighter.
“I’ve had a few boyfriends before, but not many, Ian,” he said, turning to his boyfriend.
“It’s… none of my business. I mean, you know, what you did before me.” Could this be any more awkward?
“It is, in fact. You have a right to know what you’re getting into,” Hayden said. “I’ve had sex,” he said simply and shrugged. “But it was only with one person and, in case you’re worried, I’m negative.”
Ian just blushed more. He hadn’t really given a lot of thought to it. Then again, he’d just started dating the other boy the day before, for God’s sake! He tried to take a deep breath, but was finding it very difficult to do so. He’s just told his mother that afternoon he wasn’t sexually active! He closed his eyes and did his damnedest to get a hold of himself. “You’re… my first boyfriend. I haven’t before. Not… well, not actual sex.”
He kept his eyes closed, trying to will the color out of his cheeks again. He was infinitely grateful in that moment that his hair covered at least half of his face. He breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth in a vain attempt at finding some calm.
“Kane?” Hayden asked and Ian nodded. He opened his eyes to see a pensive look on Hayden’s face.
“He’s not my boyfriend. You are,” Ian said quietly.
Hayden looked back at him and smiled. “It’s okay.” He shifted in his seat and leaned forward, reaching up and brushing the bangs out of Ian’s face, then closing the last bit of distance. Their lips met and this kiss wasn’t chaste. This kiss wasn’t light. Hayden’s tongue traced a line along Ian’s bottom lip, asking for entrance and Ian opened to him.
It heated fast. Ian lifted his hands to frame Hayden’s face, and he, too, leaned in. Someone let out a quiet moan and Hayden slid his arms around to Ian’s back, pulling him as close as possible within the awkwardness of the car. They shifted until Ian was stretched across Hayden’s lap, arms wrapped around each other, lips still fused.
They broke apart for air, both panting heavily. Neither noticed the windows steaming nor cared. Their mouths crashed back together, tongues dancing again. More quiet moans, hands wandered and frustrations increased.
When they pulled back again, Hayden reached down and slid the seat as far back as it would go and Ian shifted again, straddling Hayden. He laid the seat down and then they were crushed against each other again. He wrapped his arms around Ian again, the Ian’s arms bracing him against the seat.
Ian ground his incredibly hard cock down into Hayden’s earning him a ridiculously loud moan this time. Hayden slid his hands down to cup Ian’s ass and pulled Ian even tighter against him. They moved together, bodies straining. “Oh God, Hayden…” Ian moaned.
“Oh yeah…” he whispered. “Fuck, Ian, you feel good. Oh God…” The words trailed off to a long moan, their groins pressing into each other harder.
“Mmm. Yes. You too…,” he managed. Ian couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. He’d lost all sense of place and time. The only thing he knew was Hayden’s body against him, the feel of that hard cock rubbing against his own even through the layers of fabric. He pulled back, resting his forehead on Hayden’s shoulder before he embarrassed himself and came right there in his pants.
“Fuck…” Hayden whispered, his breath coming in harsh gasps. “Ian…” he moaned then one of his hands came around and cupped Ian’s cock. He rubbed his palm along the length, pulling even more sounds from Ian’s throat.
“Fuck, Hayden, stop, oh God, stop… I’ll… I’m going…” he didn’t get to finish what he was going to say. Hayden pulled him back down, capturing his lips again in a kiss, but slowed his hand.
Ian took one of his own hands and pushed it between them, rubbing Hayden’s cock through the thick denim. He gripped it tightly, and Hayden pulled back from the kiss, gasping. He scrambled for the button of his jeans. “Touch me, please…,” he nearly begged.
Ian’s hand dove into the jeans, his fingers dancing over the hard length. Their lips met again, the kiss sloppy and hot and Ian’s own button came open, then the harsh rasp of the zipper sounded as it was lowered. When the cool air in the Jeep met Ian’s hot flesh as Hayden pulled his cock out, he hissed. “Fuck.”
Ian scrambled for the zipper on Hayden’s jeans then finally managed to get his dick out, too. Their hands moved over each other’s cocks, letting out loud pants that filled the air, breath hot on each other’s faces. “Oh God, Ian… I’m… fuck, I’m close…” Hayden moaned loudly. He yanked his t-shirt up and out of the way, his back arched and Ian watched his face twist. “Fuck now, oh God, now! Ian!” he shouted and Ian savored the feel of the cock jumping in his grip as the thick cum shot out over his hand and Hayden’s chest. He kept his hand going, drawing it out as long as he could, giving as much pleasure as possible.
The vision alone would have been enough, but when Hayden’s fingers tightened around Ian’s hard length, it was almost too much and he lost it too. The climax roared through him, stealing breath and sight. “Hayden! Ohhh fuck!” His body shook and shuddered, and Hayden’s hand milked the last few drops of cum from him as he rode out his orgasm.
Ian slumped down onto Hayden, resting his head on Hayden’s shoulder. Hayden’s arms came around him and held on as their breathing and hearts slowed.
Ian swallowed hard, half afraid to look up into his boyfriend’s face. What must he think? They’d been together barely twenty four hours and they were practically having sex. God, he must seem desperate and slutty and… He licked his lips and braced himself then slowly looked up.
And before he could even register the look on Hayden’s face or anything else, there were lips on his again. He placed a soft gentle kiss on Ian’s lips and it stole Ian’s breath once more. Hayden slid one hand from Ian’s back and brushed at the brown hair, pushing it back off of Ian’s face. They broke apart and Hayden smiled, almost sheepishly.
Ian puzzled over it. “H…Hayden?”
“I hadn’t meant to push you into something like this, this soon,” he murmured.
Ian blinked. “You didn’t push…” His cheeks colored. “I didn’t exactly resist,” he muttered. “More like acted like a slut.” Ian started to bury his face in the shoulder under him, but Hayden stopped him, tilting his chin up.
Hayden brushed a thumb across Ian’s cheek. “Not hardly.” Hayden rubbed his hand soothingly up and down Ian’s back, then pulled Ian back in for another kiss. When they broke apart, Hayden snagged the blanket off of the back seat and they resettled a little bit, Ian laying on top of Hayden. He spread the blanket over them and they lay quietly together for a while, dropping soft kisses now and again.
Finally, Hayden glanced at the clock and sighed. “We have to go.”
Ian nodded. Hayden didn’t let him go at first, though, stopping to kiss Ian again thoroughly. With another sigh, he finally unwound his arms and Ian struggled to get into the other seat again. They adjusted themselves in silence and, after one more kiss, Hayden started the Jeep and pointed it back to Ian’s house.
They made the trip back in silence, the road noise and quiet interior broken only by the radio. Hayden held Ian’s hand except to shift, occasionally bringing it up to his lips to kiss. When they finally pulled up in front of Ian’s house, Hayden squeezed Ian’s hand and hurried around to open his door again.
They stopped on the porch and Ian was grateful that his mom had left the light off. They exchanged more light kisses; then Hayden reluctantly pulled away. “Can I see you tomorrow?” he asked.
Ian hesitated. “I have a shitload of homework to do.”
“I haven’t done mine. I could bring it over.”
Ian smiled at the hopeful tone of voice. “Okay. I’d like that. Um, Mom serves a kind of big dinner at noon. You’re welcome to come for that.”
“I’d like that. I’ll call Kenji tomorrow too, then you and I can talk about him.” He dropped another kiss on Ian then finally stepped back with a sigh. “See you tomorrow.”
“Bye,” Ian said and stepped into the house. He watched from the door as Hayden got into his Jeep and drove away before turning inside.
When he got into the bedroom, Kane was still awake. He had a book open and face down on his chest. He glanced over at Ian and one eyebrow went up. “Well, well. You look like you got busy.”
Ian’s cheeks colored. “What do you mean?” he asked, turning his back and stripping quickly, then grabbing his pajama pants out of the dresser and pulling them on.
Kane got up and walked over to Ian, looking at him in the mirror over his shoulder. “Hmm…” Kane said in Ian’s ear, “let’s see, swollen lips, messy hair and if your face doesn’t say ‘just fucked’…”
Ian stared at his friend, but there was no malice, only amusement. He frowned. “We didn’t fuck.”
Kane’s eyebrows shot up. “There’s a whole world of sexual activity between nothing and fucking.” His lips twisted again, fighting more amusement.
Ian sighed. “Fine. We jacked each other off. Happy?” he asked, cheeks coloring.
“What? Was he an ass about it?” Kane eyebrows dropped into a scowl.
“No! No, he wasn’t. I…” he frowned. “I didn’t know how you’d react,” he finished, swallowing. “And… well, to be frank, I feel a bit like a slut.”
“Why?” Kane asked.
Ian blinked at him. “We just started dating yesterday.”
“Well, you didn’t fuck on the first date. Hell, you didn’t fuck on the second date… if you could call that a date.” He shrugged. “But really, jacking each other off isn’t that big of a deal. You and I used to do it all the time.”
Ian closed his eyes. “Yeah, but we’ve known each other for years, we’re best friends. We’re not practically strangers.”
“And neither are you and Hayden. If the look on his face is anything to go by, he’s well on his way to being in love with you,” Kane pointed out. “And I’d bet you know what he’s done sexually, know pretty much all of the things he likes, what he eats, know his full name, his brother’s name, his family’s name, probably know exactly where he lives… stop me when I get to something you don’t know about him…” He paused and Ian’s mouth stayed firmly shut. “You’ve spent the better part of the last twenty-four hours talking to him, so I’m guessing you know plenty. And let’s be serious. We’re still in high school. It’s not like this is the guy you’re going to marry someday.”
Ian frowned. That was very likely true. Hayden would likely not even be the last boyfriend he’d ever have. But the bottom line was, Kane didn’t think less of him for it and that, even more than Hayden, was what mattered to Ian. Something felt off about that, but Ian was too tired and mentally fucked up to figure out what. “Sorry, I’m still a little… lost here, you know?”
“I know. Don’t worry so much. Come on, you look ready to pass out,” Kane said and flipped the light switch, then steered Ian toward their bunks.
He aimed Ian for the ladder to the upper bunk, but Ian just turned to look at his friend. “Let’s not even bother with that, hmm? You’ll just end up with another nightmare.”
Kane considered him a moment. “It won’t bother you… because of Hayden?”
Ian shook his head. “I’m not comfortable doing other stuff, Kane, but you’re still my best friend, and I won’t make you go through that. If I can keep them away just by sleeping next to you, I will. I want to.”
Kane grinned. “Thanks, Ian.” He rolled into his bunk and Ian stretched out next to him. Ian turned onto his side and rested on hand on Kane’s hip. A short time later, he was asleep and neither so much as stirred until the next morning.
“Hiya gorgeous,” Hayden said in Ian’s ear. Ian spun around from his locker and grinned up at his boyfriend.
“Hi.” He glanced around and, seeing the hall mostly empty, he leaned up and dropped a quick peck on his cheek.
“Is that all I get? Should I be hurt?” Hayden asked, feigning a frown.
“I… didn’t know how… public you’d want to be. I think the four of us are probably the only gay guys in the school.” Ian frowned. “I don’t care, but…” He shrugged a shoulder.
“Neither do I. We’ll probably take some shit in gym class, but…” He grinned, and with that, leaned in for another kiss. He still kept it short, but much more obvious. “So, I finally got a hold of Kenji last night. He’s going to meet us at lunch.”
“Okay. I haven’t said anything to Kane. He’s got The Bitch first period, so he’s already over there.” Ian shuddered.
“Ewwww. Mrs. Suki? Ugh. I don’t envy him. How’d you get out of it?” Hayden asked as Ian shut his locker. Hayden took Ian’s hand and they walked toward his first class.
“Pure damned luck. I put my schedule request for this year in right before Kane and I was the last one in the class. I tried to switch, but they wouldn’t let me. So, he got stuck with Suki for math. I felt so bad.” Ian was so wrapped up in Hayden, he barely noticed the odd looks he got, only catching a few. He did his best to just ignore them, focusing his attention back on his new boyfriend.
“I would, too. Well, it might comfort him to know Kenji’s got her, too. Later in the day, but…” Hayden said as they stopped outside of Ian’s classroom. He glanced around and the girls that were watching them turned away, so he leaned in to Ian’s ear. “I’ll miss you. See you in an hour.”
Ian blushed. “I’ll miss you. I feel a little silly saying that, but…”
Hayden raised his eyebrows. “But?”
Ian shrugged a shoulder. “Happy too.” His cheeks got even redder and he cleared his throat. “Um. See you.” He squeezed Hayden’s hand and escaped into the classroom before his cheeks could heat any more and he’d burn down the building.
He thought lunch would never get there. Five minutes between classes suddenly felt like about thirty seconds. Ian had no idea how Hayden managed it, but his boyfriend always seemed to be outside his classroom by the time he managed to get through the door. When lunch came around, he was waiting with someone else.
Ian looked over the other boy. He was almost as tall as Hayden, but not quite. He had long brown hair, pulled back in a tail and tied off, light hazel eyes and a narrow face with sharp cheekbones. Individually, his features seemed a little too… sharp, a little too angular, but together he was good looking. Ian admitted to himself he was a little biased, but he thought Hayden was better looking. He kept his opinion to himself.
“Hi, Kenji,” Ian said as he approached them. Hayden took his hand and they turned toward the cafeteria.
“Hi,” Kenji said, smiling. “So, um, tell me about Kane. What does he like?”
Ian grinned. It looked like Kenji really was interested in Kane. He ignored the tiny poke at the back of his mind, ignored the annoyance at the information, and instead thought through the request. “That could take a while. But… we take martial arts on the weekends, he’s a geek like me, likes sci fi and fantasy stuff. He’s read Lord of the Rings about a hundred times…” he trailed off as they got to the cafeteria. Kane was leaning against the doorway, scowling.
“Kane?” Ian asked. He glanced over at Hayden who squeezed his hand and let go. He and Kenji stepped back. “What’s wrong?”
“The Bitch gave me detention.” His scowl deepened.
“Why?” Ian glanced over his shoulder at the other two. Both looked concerned, but not upset.
“Because she yelled at me for not working two of my problems out.” Kane sighed.
Ian blinked. “And you yelled back, didn’t you?”
Kane frowned. “Yeah.”
“Oh, Kane.” Ian dropped his face into his palm, then took a deep breath and looked back up. “Well, there’s someone here who wants to talk to you.”
Kane blinked and looked over at Hayden and his companion for the first time. His eyes widened when he realized who it was. “Kenji? What the hell, Ian? Did you tell him I liked him?”
Ian shook his head. “No. I told Hayden that you might and he knew Kenji. Who, it turns out, has seen you.”
Kane swallowed. “That’s too convenient.”
Ian sighed. “Put your suspicious nature aside for a moment, Kane. He’s nice. He asked me what you like.”
“He did?” Kane’s eyebrows went up again.
“Yes. Now, come on, before they get lunch without us.” Ian said, dragging a now-blushing Kane over to the other two. “Kane Harris, Kenji Narita.” Ian stepped back.
“Hi,” Kane nearly spat out, his color getting worse.
Kenji grinned. “Hi. Let’s get in line before it gets too bad,” he suggested and Hayden and Ian went ahead to give them a bit of privacy.
Ian grinned up at Hayden. “Thanks,” he said and they took each other’s hands as they got in line.
Ian ended up having to literally drag Kane away from Kenji and to class after lunch. They shared history with Hayden and the three of them sat together in the back. Kane grilled Hayden about Kenji for the better part of the hour and by the time they were done, Ian was ready to scream.
He was glad Kane had someone to talk about and be occupied with, but Ian missed most of the lecture. Chemistry was almost as bad, but finally, they were in gym class. At least there wasn’t a lecture there.
But when they went to change, Ian found he was nervous. Normally, he didn’t even think about dropping his uniform pants and stuff and putting on his gym clothes. But Hayden was there this time and he was torn between worrying about what his own body looked like and stealing glances at Hayden. The glances at Hayden won, but it caused a new problem.
And gym shorts didn’t contain erections very well.
He was so worried about that, he didn’t notice at first that Hayden seemed to have the same problem. It wasn’t until Kane leaned in and mentioned he might consider wearing a jock strap for class from then on that he realized it. And that Kane was talking to both of them.
Hayden and Ian stared at each other for a tense moment, then Hayden leaned in. “Well, I guess we don’t have to wonder if we like the other’s body.”
Ian nearly choked, but the laughter at least helped him calm down a little. He spent the rest of gym class trying desperately to ignore his boyfriend. It didn’t help and he ended up taking a very cold and very useless shower at the end. He wasn’t remotely comfortable until he was back in his regular clothes. The uniform pants weren’t great but they beat the shorts, at least.
“Can this day be over yet?” he grouched as they left the gym.
Hayden laughed. “I know how you feel, Ian, I really do.”
“Hey look, it’s the fags!” Someone called and Ian turned to stare at Hayden, his color draining completely.
Hayden’s jaw clenched and he looked around to find whoever said it. Kane’s fists were balled and that’s when Kenji came up. “What’s going on?” he asked in confusion.
“A small-minded individual felt the need to express his limited intelligence,” Ian said through gritted teeth.
Hayden laughed, diffusing the situation. “Well said, babe, well said.” He grabbed Ian’s hand and headed toward the lockers. “I’ve got to pick up a few books at my locker,” he said. He glanced around, found what he was looking for then leaned in and dropped a kiss on Ian’s temple. “I’ll meet you at yours in a few.”
“Okay,” Ian said, stunned. Babe? And… he kissed me in front of everyone! He shook his head to clear it and caught Kane’s amused look.
“Let’s get our books. We have better things to do than worry about assholes like that,” Kane said.
“Here, here,” Kenji added and followed behind them. Ian saw out of the corner of his eye the finger Kenji lifted as they passed the jerk and he smiled.
They piled into the Jeep and headed to Ian and Kane’s for homework. They didn’t get as much done as they should have, mostly because Ian spent half the time poking Kane to actually work and stop yakking. Though, he was just as guilty when it came to Hayden. They kept stopping to talk or kiss each other too. That was until both Kane and Kenji made gagging noises. Both Hayden and Ian rolled their eyes, but kept their touches to hand holding under the table.
As Kenji and Hayden were getting ready to go, Hayden pulled Ian aside. “I refuse to get gagged at for this,” he said with amusement. He glanced over at the other two, but they were involved in a heated discussion about dwarves. With a chuckle, he turned back to Ian. “So, I was thinking we might do a double date thing on Friday with them. Kenji’s like you two. He has a license, but no car. What do you think?”
Ian nodded. “I think that’s a great idea. I just hope…” he trailed off and cursed himself for blushing. Again.
“What’s that?” Hayden asked, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend.
Ian sighed at himself. “Just kind of hope to get some time alone with you.” As soon as it was out, he bit his lip.
Hayden chuckled, then bent and pulled the bitten lip between his own. Ian moaned into the kiss. Hayden’s tongue slid into Ian’s mouth and they lost themselves in the movement of mouths and lips and tongues. Hayden pulled back with obvious effort. “I want time alone with you, too,” he whispered. “We’ll find some,” he promised. He leaned into Ian, pushing him into the side of the porch, their bodies crushed together. “God…” he moaned again then dove in for another kiss.
Ian’s arms wound around Hayden’s waist and he trailed his hands down to that incredible ass. Ian squeezed it gently, pulling him in even tighter. “Want more of you…” Ian whispered and Hayden gave an agreeing groan. He rocked into Ian and he thrilled in the feel of Hayden’s want very obviously against his own.
“Ahem.” Kane’s voice floated through, but neither paid attention at first. The kisses deepened, the rocking became a bit more urgent. “Uh, guys?”
“Hayden! Ian!” Kenji nearly shouted and they jumped apart.
Ian’s hand slammed onto his chest. “Fuck!” he shouted and Kane winced. He threw an apologetic look at his friend. “Don’t scare me like that.”
Hayden looked back at his boyfriend. “I guess we do need to go.” He sighed then bent and gave Ian another long kiss earning them more gagging. “See you tomorrow.” He grinned.
“See you,” Ian said and they both watched as Hayden and Kenji got into the Jeep and drove away.
“Is it Friday yet?” Kane asked and Ian laughed.
“No. Not yet,” Ian said with a sigh. “Not by a long shot.”
Surprisingly, however, Friday did show up pretty quickly when they spent the week hanging out together. They got into something of a routine, spending lunch and the classes they could sitting together. Hayden appeared most of the time between classes at Ian’s rooms and they walked together to the next class. The four of them did homework together after school and invariably Ian and Hayden got distracted with each other toward the end of the afternoon.
With the other two present, they didn’t get to be alone, but they took what they could get. There was plenty of kissing and touching so that by Friday, they were both close to being basket cases.
Ian had been so wrapped up in Hayden, that he hadn’t really noticed that Kane and Kenji hadn’t even so much as kissed yet. It wasn’t until they were getting ready for their double date on Friday that the subject came up.
“So, how does he kiss?” Ian asked, pulling the hairbrush through the tangles.
Kane raised an eyebrow at him while he worked on his spikes. “Uh, who?”
Ian blinked. “How many people have you kissed?”
“Um… let me think… one,” Kane said, staring at Ian.
Ian turned his head. “Wait. You haven’t kissed Kenji yet?”
Kane shook his head. “No. We just… haven’t really had the opportunity.” He blushed. “I hope he does tonight, though.” He turned his attention back to the mirror and messed with his spikes a little more. “And maybe more,” he muttered.
Ian blinked again. “Wow. Well. Um… I hope so, too…” But strangely, Ian wasn’t sure what he was hoping for. He found himself just a tiny bit glad that he was still the only person Kane had ever kissed. He shoved that away. That was silly. Kane wasn’t his only kiss. It wasn’t right.
The knock on the door came a few minutes later and Kane and Ian grinned at each other. “It’s your boyfriend,” they said at the same time and laughed, then scrambled to be the first one at the door.
They, of course, got there at the same time and were wrestling over the door handle when Ian’s mother pushed them both aside and opened it for them. “BOYS! Your dates are here!” she said wickedly and they looked up in embarrassment at both Kenji and Hayden, who were grinning.
Kane and Ian both blushed. “Um, Hi,” Ian said and slid out of the door toward Hayden who took his hand and immediately dropped a kiss on him. Ian’s blush faded.
“Hi, Kenji,” Kane said, his color getting darker.
Kenji’s grin widened. “Hi yourself.” He took Kane’s hand as Kane stepped out the door.
“Eleven boys, don’t forget,” Ian’s mother said and Kane and Ian both nodded.
“I’ll have them here on time,” Hayden promised.
“I know you will, Hayden.” She glanced from one boy to the next. “Be safe,” she said and three faces turned red. Kenji cast a puzzled look at the others, but Hayden just waved a hand. Later.
When they were settled into the jeep, Kenji and Kane in the back holding hands and Ian and Hayden in the front, Hayden looked in the rearview. “The first day I was over here, poor Ian got pulled into the kitchen for a safe sex talk.”
“Oh geez. In front of you?” Kenji asked, casting an empathetic look at Ian.
“Not exactly, but he was so embarrassed, he was still bright red when he came out. So we all now know that when she says that, she’s not talking about my driving.” Hayden chuckled, then glanced at his boyfriend and squeezed his hand. Ian was still blushing. When they stopped at the next light, he leaned over and dropped a kiss on Ian.
“No wonder he turned so red.” Kenji shook his head and turned to Kane. “She talk to you?”
Kane shook his head. “No. For one, the main thing that spawned it was that she saw them kissing. She hasn’t seen me kissing anyone yet. And for the other, she knew that Ian would say something to me.”
“I’m still mad he got out of it. He should have to die of embarrassment too.” Ian grumbled from the front seat and they all laughed.
Kane sat back in the booth and stared as Ian and Hayden fed each other. He was feeling distinctly green around the edges. He glanced at his date. “Are you getting as nauseous as I am?”
Kenji chuckled. “Yeah, they’re a bit much, aren’t they?” He turned toward Kane. “Or, we could ignore them altogether.”
“Oh?” Kane asked, turning his attention to Kenji. The guy was hot as far as Kane was concerned. Kenji took martial arts like Kane and Ian did but at a different dojo. He made a comment about switching, though. Something about not being happy with the one he was at, but Kane thought that maybe it was because of him. He was hoping, anyway.
He was built, his chest was nicely defined, he was a bit taller than Kane and that hair was something else. He’d found himself playing with it on more than one occasion when they’d finished their homework and were sitting and watching TV. Kenji had taken up the spot on the floor in front of Kane’s chair, leaning back against him and Kane had taken the opportunity to play with it. Kenji had pulled the hair tie out and shook it out like he’d been tired of it up, but Kane wondered if it wasn’t more to get Kane to play with it. Kane didn’t care, he just loved doing it.
And then there were the hazel eyes. They were so gorgeous, it made Kane want to just get lost in them. He shook his head a himself.
Kenji leaned in a little. “Yeah. Like, maybe instead of getting sick watching them, we could…” He held up a piece of the sweet and sour chicken. Kane raised an eyebrow, but leaned forward and nipped the chicken out of Kenji’s hand. Kenji grinned.
“Like that?” Kane asked in a quiet voice and Kenji nodded. Kane picked up a small piece of broccoli and offered it out and Kenji opened his mouth. When Kane put the vegetable into Kenji’s mouth, his lips closed around Kane’s fingers and sucked.
Kane nearly went cross-eyed. He felt Kenji’s tongue lick the tiny bit of sauce off of his fingers, then lean back and finished eating the morsel of food.
Both couples lost themselves in each other for the better part of the evening, feeding and chatting. Feeding each other took much longer than they would have if they’d just fed themselves and the waitress eventually got annoyed with them taking up her booth for so long and made some very pointed comments. By the time they paid the bill, they realized they’d missed the movie.
So, instead, they drove up to one of the bay overlooks. Hayden grabbed the sleeping bags he kept in the back of the Jeep and gave one to Kenji and Kane. He pulled Ian with him onto one of the picnic tables. Ian settled into Hayden, sitting between his legs and Hayden wrapped the open bag around them. They didn’t say anything, simply started kissing.
Kane and Kenji took the other picnic table. Kenji pulled Kane up to sit the same way Ian did and after they got the sleeping bag in place they simply looked out over the water for a few minutes. Kane was beginning to wonder if maybe Kenji didn’t really want him when his date spoke.
“I’ve been trying to find a way to approach you all week. I didn’t want to push, knowing you haven’t had a boyfriend before, but I’ve been wanting to kiss you,” Kenji said in Kane’s ear and Kane closed his eyes in relief. “So, I…” he started, but Kane didn’t give him a chance to finish. He turned, buried his fingers in that long soft hair and pulled him down into a kiss.
Kenji wasted no time. He deepened the kiss quickly, their tongues battling as it heated. When they broke apart briefly, Kane took a deep breath. “I was beginning to think maybe you were trying to figure out how to tell me you weren’t interested.”
“Oh hell no.” Kenji’s hand threaded through the spikes and pulled gently. He’d discovered rather accidentally earlier in the week that Kane liked his hair pulled and he shamelessly used that now. Kane moaned softly in reaction. “I just didn’t want to freak you out. I want you, Kane. Badly.”
Another soft moan was loosed at the words and their lips crashed together again. Hands went everywhere, pulling hair, touching, stroking and grabbing at clothes and before long, both were incredibly aroused and nearly desperate. Kane cupped Kenji’s cock through his jeans and rubbed at it while the hand not buried in the spikes was busy unbuttoning Kane’s own jeans.
At the other picnic table Ian and Hayden were just as busy. Ian’s cock was already in Hayden’s hand and the taller was stroking it slowly. “Fuck, Hayden, you’re driving me crazy,” Ian whispered into Hayden’s neck.
Hayden chuckled. “I like you this kind of crazy,” he murmured into Ian’s ear and tightened his fingers around Ian’s dick just a little. One of Ian’s hands was buried inside Hayden’s jeans and underwear, working his boyfriend’s cock over, too.
“Hayden…” Ian paused and bit his lip.
“What’s that, babe?” Hayden asked, adding a twist to his upward stroke and nipping at Ian’s ear, earning himself another moan.
“You make it impossible to think clearly,” Ian grumbled and Hayden chuckled. Their lips crashed together again for another thorough kiss. Touches got more urgent and Ian managed to move Hayden’s clothes aside and out of his way. He took his boyfriend’s cock in his hand and started stroking with more purpose.
“Oh fuck, Ian…” Hayden moaned, his breath getting shorter. “God, that’s…”
“Oh fuck. Hayden,” Ian said and it was only the slightly panicked tone of voice that got through.
“Ian?” Hayden looked over his shoulder in the direction Ian was. “Shit! Kenji! Kane!” Hayden called and the other two sat up quickly. “Car!”
The four of them scrambled around to put themselves back together enough and hurried over to the Jeep. They all watched with baited breath as the car slowed, but kept going. A collected sigh of relief was released when it passed completely.
Not a moment later, the noises from the back seat started up again and could not be mistaken. Hayden and Ian stared at each other, then glanced in the back seat. They’d thrown the open sleeping bag over themselves and gone back to what they’d been doing when they’d been interrupted.
Hayden snorted. “They don’t get the right to gag anymore,” he chuckled, then glanced at the clock. “Damn. It’s too late to get to the nature preserve.”
Ian groaned and flopped his head back against the seat. He was still hard as a rock, his body still on fire, nerves still on edge. Hayden considered him a moment, then reached back and smacked at whoever he could reach. “Scoot over to the passenger’s side,” he warned them then pushed his seat back. He made a “come here” gesture and Ian climbed over the stick and settled himself onto Hayden’s lap as well as he could around the steering wheel.
“Not as comfortable, but I can’t let you go tonight,” Hayden whispered. “Need more of you.” Ian made an agreeing moan, grabbing onto Hayden’s sweater.
Hayden pulled Ian in for another kiss and had his pants open almost immediately. Ian fought with Hayden’s and a moment later, they were right back where they’d been when they’d scrambled for the jeep, hands stroking each other’s cocks and lips fused.
Kane groaned softly when Kenji pulled on his spikes again. Their mouths met again and the kiss was sloppy as their hands grabbed at each other. Kenji was on top of him, their hard cocks rubbing against each other, eased by a generous amount of spit and pre-cum. Kane grabbed Kenji’s butt again and squeezed, pulling him in closer and Kenji rocked again and started pumping his hips faster.
“Oh fuck, Kenji,” Kane groaned and Kenji’s answering moan was almost as loud.
“God, Kane… going to… so close…,” Kenji moaned and the sounds made Kane crazy.
“Yes, Kenji, fuck, yeah…” Kane moved his hips, thrusting up to meet Kenji’s and he could feel his own balls tightening. “Yes, oh God, yes…” His words dissolved into grunts the closer he got.
A moment later, Kenji moaned out a “Kane” in Kane’s ear, he felt Kenji tense, and he warmth spill over his own cock. Then Kenji’s hand gripped him and started pumping. A few strokes later, he bit down on Kenji’s shoulder to muffle his shout and came hard.
The sounds from the back seat only succeeded in spurring the other two on. Hayden lifted Ian and turned him until he was straddling Hayden’s hips. He tilted the seat back just a little and wrapped one spit-covered hand around both of their cocks. He started stroking them quickly and Ian buried his face in Hayden’s neck. “Hayden…” he warned, incapable of more.
“Yes, Ian, God, yes, come…” was the answering moan. Their hips moved, hands tightened, the sounds in the back getting louder and pushing them even closer.
Ian heard Kane’s orgasm and it sent him over the edge. “Hayden!” he shouted into Hayden’s sweater, his orgasm hitting him hard and spilling his cum over his boyfriend’s hand.
Hayden groaned, using Ian’s cum to ease their combined hands as they moved them over his cock. “So close, so fucking close, Ian…”
“Oh fuck, Hayden, that’s it, come for me, let me feel your hot cum, baby…” Ian moaned into Hayden’s ear.
“Oh God yes, talk to me more, Ian…” Hayden nearly begged.
“Fuck baby…” Ian thought quickly. “If we were alone, I’d suck that thick cock of yours into my mouth, and work it until you come down my throat…” he said in Hayden’s ear and Hayden’s surprised shout of Ian’s name was loud in the car. He snapped his hips into their hands once more, spilling himself over their fists.
All four of them were quiet except for their loud pants as they tried to calm down. The jeep smelled badly of sex, but none of them seemed to care at the moment. They were clearly too surprised by the volume of the shout.
Hayden’s silence told Ian he was stunned at what Ian had said and Ian was equally as shocked he’d said it. He’d wanted to taste Hayden, wanted to go down on him, there was no question about that, but he’d never considered actually saying something like that. Much less the way he’d said it.
He buried his face in Hayden’s shoulder, knowing it was as red as a tomato. “Babe?” Hayden asked.
Ian just shook his head, keeping his face buried. Hayden ran his hands over Ian’s back to try to soothe him. “Babe, it’s okay. God that was hot. It was what you said that sent me over the edge, you know,” he whispered into Ian’s ears.
Ian swallowed, then lifted his face and looked up at Hayden. “You… I mean, it was…” he trailed off, still unable to talk.
“Ian…” Hayden pulled Ian’s face to his and kissed him, putting his assurances into the kiss. “I liked that. A lot. I’d say you could talk to me like that anytime, and that’s true for the most part, just… not in gym class.”
Despite his embarrassment, Ian laughed. He laid his head back onto Hayden’s shoulder and Hayden’s arms tightened around him.
Kane tightened his arms around Kenji, his mind a mess. The things Ian had said to Hayden had both turned him on and pissed him off. He didn’t get the pissing him off part. He got the turn on part, though. Ian’s voice and his talent with words had always turned him on. He shook it off mentally and turned to Kenji when his boyfriend started kissing him again.
“You okay, Kane?” Kenji asked and Kane nodded.
“Yeah, I’m sorry,” he said, quietly.
“Don’t be. I can’t say that this would have been the preferred place for us to do something like this for the first time.” He chuckled and Kane chuckled with him.
“I suppose it could be worse,” Kane said.
“Yes,” Kenji agreed, dropping another kiss on Kane and Kane gave his full attention back to his boyfriend.
The four in the jeep fell into silence until it was time for them to get back home. Kane and Ian were on their porch just a few minutes before eleven, both of their boyfriends wrapped around them. Kisses were exchanged, plans made for the next day, and good nights said.
After Kane and Ian made their way into their bedroom and changed into their pajamas, they stopped. “Are you okay with me sleeping next to you?” Ian asked.
Kane gave him a puzzled look. “Of course I am,” he said, “why wouldn’t I be?”
Ian blinked. “Kenji?”
“Oh.” Kane paused. “No, I think you’re right. We wouldn’t want to do… other stuff, but just sleeping, you know… what we’ve done the last week… that would be fine.”
Ian nodded and they settled in to sleep.
Saturday dawned rainy and gray. After a wet trip to the dojo, they settled in for another movie marathon. This time, it was Star Trek instead of Star Wars.
“Now, see, I don’t get the fascination with Shatner,” Ian said from the couch. He and Hayden curled up together under a big blanket.
“Me either,” Kane said around a handful of popcorn. Kenji stole a piece from his hand, earning a nip and laughter from Kane. This quickly devolved into a long kiss. They had sprawled together on the floor on a bunch of blankets. “I’m more of a Spock kind of guy. All lean and long, narrow faces. It’d be better if he had long hair,” he said when he pulled back from Kenji, and crunched on more popcorn. Kenji grinned and dropped a kiss on Kane’s head, and all three besides Kane snickered because Ian was sure Kane had no idea he’d just described his own boyfriend.
“I like ‘em tall,” Ian agreed. “But dark hair. Shaggy and, well, not short but not really long, either.” He ran his fingers through Hayden’s hair. He knew what he was saying. He grinned up at Hayden who bent and kissed him.
“Uh uh,” Hayden disagreed. “A little shorter than me. Brown hair, brown eyes. Let’s see… if McCoy wasn’t so old, he wouldn’t be too bad.”
“No one there that interests me,” Kenji said. “None of them have spiky hair.”
Kane snorted and threw a piece of popcorn at his boyfriend. “Kiss ass.”
“I’ll kiss your ass.” Kenji grinned. “Roll over.”
Koetsu snorted again, but leaned in and planted another on Kenji’s lips, which they got lost in. This sparked another long and involved kiss between Hayden and Ian. A throat clearing interrupted them. “If you lovebirds are interested, I’m planning to order pizza for dinner.”
Four boys jumped apart guiltily, though they all knew she was well aware of their kissing. “That would be…” Ian paused to clear his throat.
“Great, Mom,” Kane finished for him. They glanced at each other then back at their mom.
“Toppings?” she asked.
Next came a flurry of discussion about toppings and Ian ordered for him and Hayden and to everyone’s surprise (except Kane himself), Kane ordered for him and Kenji. Kenji grinned again at the fact that Kane had paid so much attention and there in front of their mom, kissed him again. This got another bright blush from Kane.
They’d opted to stay in that night, the rain having not let up at all. So, when eleven o’clock came around, Hayden and Kenji dragged themselves to their feet and helped clean up. The two couples exchanged final long and thorough kisses; then they bemoaned the weather, though still made plans for the next day. If the rain let up, they were going to the preserve the next day to hike to get away from people and prying eyes and just be alone.
Ian and Kane never even talked about it. When they’d changed into pajamas, they curled up together and passed out pretty quickly. And slept like the dead. Unfortunately, they would also end up sleeping late.
Someone was pounding. Ian couldn’t figure it out at first until he opened his eyes and stared at the bottom of his bunk. Oh. Someone was knocking on the door.
He rolled out of bed and glanced at the clock. Crap, they were running late. A quick glance out the window showed that the rain had, indeed, let up and they’d be going hiking. “Kane, get up,” Ian poked at his friend who groaned.
“Wha?” Kane said, rubbing his eyes.
“Get up. We’re late. Kenji and Hayden are going to be here any time. That might be them, now.” And just as he did, there was a knock on the bedroom door. Yawning, Ian stumbled across the room and opened the door.
He let out a very unmanly squeak when he saw Hayden standing in the hallway. He slapped a hand over his morning-breath mouth, but it couldn’t hide the grin. “Hey, baby!”
“Hi,” Hayden said with a warm grin and glanced into the room, then stopped, the grin fading and a look of horror coming over his face. Kenji was standing next to him, and he, too, stared into the room.
Ian looked around, puzzled, wondering if there was something out of place, but nothing, at first, registered.
“Ian?” Hayden asked and the tone of his voice set off alarms.
Ian paused and looked at the room again from Hayden’s perspective and gasped, then swallowed hard. He saw the bunk beds with the top bunk made. He saw himself and Kane in their pajamas, rumpled and obviously right out of bed and he saw the two pillows each with its own indentation on the bottom, messy bunk. “Hayden…” Ian started, “this isn’t what you think.”
“It’s never what you think,” he answered shortly and turned around.
“Hayden, wait!” Ian called, going after him. He didn’t hear the conversation between Kenji and Kane, he was too busy chasing after Hayden. He caught up at the front door. “Hayden, wait,” he said, nearly desperate now. “Please, listen to me.”
“Listen? I should have known that something was up between you two! But… God, did you have to bring me into it? I loved you, Ian! Fuck, I still do!” He turned around, but Ian tugged on his arm again.
“Hayden? You… love me?” Ian asked, dumbstruck.
“What difference does it make? You obviously love him.” He said, pointing a finger behind Ian. Ian glanced over his shoulder to see a shocked Kane standing in the hall.
“Wait, no. I mean, Hayden, wait! If you’d just listen…” Ian nearly begged. He didn’t notice the tears that had started to fall. He turned to Kenji, “Kenji, listen. This isn’t what he thinks it is.”
“Right. It’s not. You two fucked each other behind our backs,” Kenji hissed.
“NO!” Ian looked from Hayden to Kenji and back again, concentrating on his own boyfriend. “NO! We didn’t. Dammit, listen!”
But Hayden was just shaking his head. “I don’t need to hear it, Ian.” He spun on his heel and started to walk away.
“GOD DAMMIT!” Ian shouted half way between anger and pain. “Don’t do this, Hayden! Please!”
Hayden spun back around and for one brief moment, Ian thought he was going to listen, he was going to agree. He stopped in front of Ian. “No, you listen,” he said, very quietly. “You did it, not me. You slept with him! I hope you’re happy together!” He turned around and headed to his Jeep. Kenji threw one last hurt look at Kane and followed. A moment later, the jeep was gone.
Kane stared at Ian’s bowed, shaking back. He wanted to chase the damned Jeep down and punch them. Both of them. He was pissed at Kenji for not even listening, but he’d deal with his own boyfriend later. He was more pissed at Hayden and wanted to shake the guy and make him listen.
But for one thing, he had a feeling Hayden simply wouldn’t hear anything, at least not yet.
And for another, Kane had a bigger problem, in the form of a hurting best friend. Which only made him want to punch Hayden more. Visions of black and blue eyes and bloody noses flashed through his head, but he forcibly shoved them aside.
He approached Ian carefully and squatted next to him. “Ian?” He reached a hand out and laid his fingertips lightly on Ian’s shoulder.
Ian spun as if he’d been released from someone’s hold and launched himself at Kane. He wrapped his arms around his best friend, hiding his face in Kane’s stomach. Kane hugged him, stunned and at a loss for what to do.
Ian was always the one there for him, comforting him. Ian always held and soothed, not the other way around. Kane had no idea how to handle this.
“How could he?” Ian asked into Kane’s stomach. “He wouldn’t even talk! He wouldn’t listen!” Ian hiccoughed, his body shuddering harder. “And why did he have to tell me he loved me? Why?” The shuddering increased and turned into trembling.
Kane simply held Ian, letting him rant and cry, running both hands over Ian’s back. He noticed his own hands were shaking, but he didn’t know if it was in rage, hurt or a combination of the two.
He glanced out the door and saw the neighborhood gossip staring into the house. “Come on, Ian, let’s not do this here,” he said quietly and stood, pulling his friend with him. Ian followed docilely, tears still streaking down his face.
Their mom stepped out from the kitchen, a frown on her face. “Can I do anything?”
Kane shook his head. “Not now, Mom, thanks,” he replied, his voice low. She nodded and he steered Ian back down the hall and into their room. He got his friend across the room then pulled Ian onto the bunk with him. Ian curled into him, head to Kane’s chest, tears wetting the bare skin. Kane yanked the blanket up over them, wrapped his arms around Ian and just held on.
He made quiet soothing noises, nonsense sounds, and smoothed a lock russet hair out of Ian’s wet face. He dropped light kisses on Ian’s temple and head, doing the things Ian used to do to him to help calm him down after his nightmares.
He had no idea how long they lay there, but eventually, Ian’s shaking stopped and he lay still and quiet in Kane’s arms. “He’s a bastard,” Ian’s low, miserable voice was rough.
“Yes,” Kane whispered, running his hand over Ian’s hair again.
“He wouldn’t even listen,” Ian grumbled, a hiccup escaping.
“No, he wouldn’t,” Kane agreed, his arms tightening a tiny bit.
Ian looked up finally, his tear-stained face only making Kane that much more frustrated. If they’d done something, that would have been one thing, then Hayden and Kenji would have been right to be pissed. But they hadn’t, not that Kane hadn’t thought about having sex with Ian. He could admit that he wanted his friend, would happily have done way more than they ever had before. But that was before they had boyfriends.
No, they hadn’t done anything. They’d both done nothing but sleep. They’d been very good about that and that’s what pissed Kane off more than anything.
Kane shoved his own anger into a box to deal with later. He leaned down and kissed Ian gently on his forehead and cheeks, wiping the tears away the best he could. “He doesn’t deserve you,” Kane said fiercely and it made Ian smile.
“Thanks,” Ian said, sniffling and looked up at his best friend again. Kane leaned in and dropped a light kiss on Ian’s lips. Kane didn’t register when it shifted right into a not-so-light kiss, their lips opening and tongues tasting and sliding, mutually needy.
They pulled back from the kiss, their breathing erratic and hearts pounding. They stared at each other, Kane’s expression unreadable. Ian swallowed hard and curled back into Kane, tucking his head under Kane’s chin. He wondered that he never seemed to be able to resist Kane, that he was always tempted by his best friend. No matter what it was, he had to consciously think and force himself to pull back. He tried not to think about it, tried to just concentrate on what had happened that morning.
He should have told Hayden before this, should have said something instead of letting him find out the way that he did. But it wasn’t his place to explain what Kane’s nightmares were, and he didn’t know how he’d make clear just how bad they were without giving it all away.
It didn’t matter now; Hayden didn’t want to see him anymore. Another sharp pain lanced through him near physical in its intensity and he bit down on his lip, trying to ignore it as more annoying tears spilled down his cheeks.
Kane rubbed his back again and he closed his eyes concentrating simply on that, on the feel of Kane’s palms on his skin. He couldn’t believe how much this hurt. He’d only been going out with Hayden for just over a week. You’ve liked him for a lot longer than that, he reminded himself.
And then there was the fact that Hayden was the first person he’d done anything sexual with besides Kane. He swallowed hard and looked back up into the face of his best friend as the thought slid into his brain. His best friend. Kane. The one that had been there for him through everything. Befriended him, defended him, protected him.
He placed another small kiss on Kane’s lips. “Thank you,” he whispered and he saw Kane’s eyes flash before his friend regained control. Ian wondered at it for the shortest of seconds then registered what he felt on the leg he had wedged against Kane’s groin.
His own body responded, swiftly and completely. His heartbeat sped up, his breathing shortened, his skin sensitized. And his cock hardened impossibly. He closed his eyes, trying desperately to calm himself down. He shouldn’t do this, it wasn’t right!
Why? His body asked. Why shouldn’t you? Why not?
Ian stopped. Why would it matter now? Hayden wasn’t his boyfriend anymore! His heart shied away from the newest jab at that thought. But he wasn’t! And Kane and Kenji weren’t together. So… why did it matter?
It doesn’t, he answered himself. He shoved the pain that thought caused to the back of his mind and he swallowed again, looking back up at his friend.
Kane’s body respond to the decision in Ian’s eyes. Kane’s breath hitched, his heartbeat sped up, and cock twitched against Ian’s leg. Kane’s hands flexed, the one in tangled in his hair pulling slightly.
He leaned up and kissed his best friend once more and this time, the intention was clear. This time, neither of them held back. Their tongues danced, lips nipping, and the kiss heated quickly. Kane moved his hand to Ian’s ass and pulled him in, their hard cocks rubbing against each other.
A moan bubbled up in Ian’s throat and he rocked into Kane again. Kane answered with a low groan and rolled them so that Ian was on top. The added weight ground Ian into Kane harder and they both gasped.
“Fuck, Kane,” Ian hissed, rocking his hips again. He tried to calm himself just a little, wanted to, needed to find some sanity. He bent instead to nip at Kane’s lips, sucking the bottom one between his teeth. He bit down slightly, drawing a bead of blood and a louder moan from his friend.
He pulled back and licked lightly at the wound then their lips fused again. Kane snaked his hands under the waistband of Ian’s pants and bare hands cupped the firm globes of Ian’s ass. He squeezed again and Ian let another of those low sounds of need slip out.
Ian reached up with one hand and threaded it through the shaggy black mass. He dove in again for another taste and tugged on the hair, tilting Kane’s head for him before attacking once more.
“Fuck, Ian, oh God more…” Kane moaned when Ian pulled back.
Ian released Kane’s hair and braced himself up on one arm. He reached between them and into Kane’s boxers, wrapping his hand around the hard flesh and stroking it. They dove in again for another kiss, this one even hotter and very sloppy. “Fuck, more, want… to feel you…” Kane groaned and Ian pulled back.
He stared at his friend who stared back at him. Time froze, there was no mistaking what he meant. Ian wanted it, God, he wanted it, needed it, even in that moment, but he had to be sure he knew what Kane was saying. “Kane…” He swallowed hard. “Do… you mean—”
Kane nodded. “Please… want you inside me.” The naked need and want in those dark slanted eyes slammed into Ian. The near plea caused a tremor to go through him and it took everything in Ian to just be able to hold his position, much less think.
Ian’s cock twitched at that need and want in Kane’s eyes and he hardened even more, if that was possible. And then his body took over the last vestiges of coherent thought.
“Oh fuck, Kane,” Ian groaned and went back to his friend’s lips. They fought with each other’s clothes – boxers flew and somewhere in there, there was a rip, but neither paid attention. Then skin was against skin, hot, hard cock against cock, and both let moans out.
Kane slid his hands down Ian’s back again, squeezing Ian’s ass once more. He nipped at Ian’s neck, the spot he knew would make Ian and he teased it mercilessly. Ian rewarded it with a long low sound from his throat and a hand cupping Kane’s balls.
Ian squeezed them gently, teasing the sac then ghosted his fingers back over the sensitive skin behind them. Kane’s legs spread wide as Ian’s fingers ventured further, one slim digit sliding into the crack of Kane’s ass. Kane shifted, opening himself more and Ian touched the tight muscles lightly.
The gasp from Kane was loud in the room and they pulled back, staring at each other.
Ian swallowed hard then slid his other hand up under the pillow for the bottle that was always there. He wrapped his hand around it, gripping it tightly but didn’t move at first. Ian’s heart was pounding, his throat dry and his breath short. He tried to swallow around his desert-like throat, but his mouth was just as lacking in moisture.
They hovered there for a minute, suspended, and staring. Both of them were insanely aroused, cocks almost painful in their hardness, both nearly desperate in their need, but there was just enough sanity leaking in to give them pause. “Kane—”
“Boys?” Their mother called through the door and both of them jumped.
They stared at each other again, eyes wide then scrambled for the blanket. Ian moved off of Kane and lay next to him. Kane pulled Ian tightly back up against him, causing both of them to moan quietly when his cock slipped between Ian’s legs. He rocked once, bringing gasps from both of them then Ian felt the sharp pants as he brought himself back under control.
Ian breathed carefully through his nose, forcibly pulling himself together then made sure everything was covered and called out, “Yes, Mom?”
She opened the door and peeked in, her face looking miserable. “I’m… sorry for what happened.”
“It’s… okay, Mom. I mean, it’s not your fault,” Ian said, frowning. He swallowed around the lump as Hayden’s face floated back into the forefront of his mind.
“It kind of is. I sent them back to make sure you were up. I didn’t realize… Well, that you, um….” She trailed off and to Ian’s surprise, his mother blushed and wouldn’t look directly at them.
He blinked and glanced down, but thankfully the tent wasn’t visible. “Mom?”
“Well, that… you slept together.”
Ian’s eyes widened as understanding sunk in. “Um, we do, but Mom that’s… all we do. Is sleep, that is.”
She stepped into the room cleared her throat then glanced down, her blush brightening. Kane’s boxers and his pajama pants were in a pile together right there next to the bed, very obviously having been dropped in a hurry. Ian’s eyes flew from their clothes to her face and back again.
“Oh,” she said, uncomfortably. “Well, um are… you… okay? Do… you guys want some pancakes or something?”
Ian was quite sure his face was bright red. “We’re, um, fine, Mom, really. We’ll be okay.” He glanced over his shoulder at Kane, who nodded.
“Really, we will be,” Kane assured her. His hand tightened on Ian’s hip under the blanket in reassurance. Ian could still feel Kane’s hard cock in the small space between his legs, felt it twitch when he shifted uncomfortably from the conversation. “But, if it would make you feel better we won’t turn down the pancakes.”
She threw a grateful smile at Kane. “I… think I’ll go get those started. About, um, twenty minutes, okay?” she asked, sidling out of the room.
“Okay.” Ian nodded and their mom escaped, pulling the door tightly closed behind her.
They lay there without moving for a couple of minutes, both of them a little stunned. Kane eased back and Ian rolled onto his back. “Um…” Ian stared at the slats of his bunk. He was actually rather grateful that his erection had started to wane. He glanced over at his friend. “Um… Mom thinks we have sex.” He blinked. “With each other.”
Kane shook his head. “I have no idea what to say to that.”
“Me, either. Especially since we… almost did.” Ian swallowed hard and turned his attention back to the bunk.
“For the record, if she hadn’t interrupted us, we’d probably be in the middle of it right now.” Kane pointed out.
“Kane!” Ian groaned, covering his face.
“What?” Kane asked, looking genuinely puzzled.
Ian sighed and dropped his hands, looking over at his friend. “You’re right. You’re right. You’re just so…” He shook his head, letting the comment drop. He took a deep breath and blew it out.
“I guess since we’re not going to have sex, we should get up and shower and stuff before the pancakes,” Kane said his own sigh coming out with a note of disappointment laced through it.
Ian closed his eyes a moment, trying to get a grip on his sanity. It was still on vacation somewhere, and obviously unwilling to answer its phone. He gave up and pulled the blanket aside, rolling out of the bunk.
He snatched his pants off the floor and stood with them a moment, staring at himself in the mirror on the wall over their dresser. Thoughts of Hayden crashed into him hard and he fought the need to curl into a ball again. He didn’t realize he was gripping the fabric in his hands hard enough to tear it until Kane came up behind him and pried it out of his hands.
His friend wrapped strong arms around him and just held. He had no idea how Kane knew what was going through his head, no idea how his friend understood so well. He was just glad for it. He turned around in Kane’s arms and rested his head on the other boy’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around Kane’s waist and burying his face in his friend’s neck. “Bastard,” he muttered.
“I know, Ian, I know,” Kane crooned quietly. He placed more soft kisses on Ian’s temple. “Doesn’t deserve you,” he said again.
Ian took one long shuddering breath. “Thank you,” he whispered and Kane let him go.
“Take the first shower,” he said and pushed Ian toward the door.
Ian smiled gratefully at the gesture – they were always fighting over the lion’s share of the hot water, and headed to the bathroom. He stood under the hot spray for just a minute and let the water clear some of the cobwebs.
He was a little glad he and Kane hadn’t managed to go through with it. He needed to try to talk to Hayden yet. He needed to explain what had happened so Hayden knew what was really going on.
If he still didn’t understand or still didn’t want to be around, well, then Ian would deal with that, then. But Ian had to try.
He felt like, if he was going to be dumped, it should at least be for the right reasons.
He shut the water off and hoped Kane would have enough for his then scrambled to dress quickly. When he got out to the kitchen, his mom gave him a look and he sighed. “I feel like a broken record saying this. It’s not what you think.”
“I don’t know that I want to know, Ian,” his mom said, shaking her head.
Ian stepped up to the stove and put a hand on his mom’s arm. “Look, I was just thinking about this in the shower in regard to Hayden. If you’re going to think something, you should at least think the right thing, then you can be disappointed or not. Kane and I haven’t had sex. Ever.” He patently ignored the little voice that reminded him they almost did. Almost only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades of which this was neither. “We sleep in the same bunk because of Kane’s nightmares.”
His mom turned from the pan and looked at him. “Oh, I didn’t realize he still had them.”
“He doesn’t. Most of the time. Because I’m on his bunk. But we sleep.” He left off the fact that before they had boyfriends, they sometimes did other things. He also shied away from the second reminder in as many minutes of what almost happened.
She sighed. “I’m sorry. It’s not really any of my business.” She flipped a couple of the flat discs. “I really don’t want to get into that part of your business—” She glanced up at him. “—except to make sure you’re safe. But…I’m… glad to know about the nightmares and sleeping. If things work out with Hayden, I’d hate to cause the kind of thing again like I did this morning.”
“I… I should have told him, Mom. In fact, I’m still going to try. If he’ll talk to me. I hope so.” He swallowed hard.
She nodded. “Good. Why don’t you try him now?”
Ian considered it a moment and shrugged. “Yeah, worth a try.” He approached the cordless phone on the wall and picked it up. Glancing at his mom who had gone back to flipping pancakes, he dialed the number and held the receiver up to listen.
He didn’t realize how tightly he was holding it until he felt the plastic dig into his fingers. He didn’t realize how badly he was pressing it into his face until he felt the pain on his jaw and ear. He forced himself to relax and counted the rings. On the fourth ring, a feminine voice answered. “Hello?”
“Hi. Mrs. Green?”
“Yes?” she replied, cautiously.
“Hi. Um, this is Ian. Um, Ian Kelley, I’m calling for Hayden. Is… Is he there?” Ian did not like the tremor in his voice.
“OH! Hi, Ian. Just a minute, let me see if he’s back yet.” The questions in her voice were obvious, but left unasked, which Ian appreciated. He imagined she knew that they were supposed to be spending the day together. He heard her set the receiver down, could vaguely hear raised voices in the background, then the receiver picking up. “I’m sorry, he’s not back yet,” she said, the lie obvious in her voice.
He cleared his throat and forced out a “thank you, I’ll try back later” before hanging up without a reply from her.
Hayden was avoiding him. As he thought about it, Ian knew that would happen, but it didn’t hurt any less.
Breakfast had been mostly silent while they ate. Kane had tried to call Kenji when he came out, but the other boy wasn’t home. They figured Kenji was either with Hayden or simply avoiding Kane like Hayden was Ian.
They forced themselves to work on homework, which ended up taking most of the day because they simply couldn’t concentrate. They took turns trying again to call their boyfriends after lunch and once more before dinner, to no avail.
They had seriously considered discussed their mom to borrow the car and go over to one or both of their boyfriends’ houses when the phone finally rang later that night. Kane and Ian stared at each other while their mom answered it with a quiet, “Hello?”
They waited with baited breath for the person on the other end to speak. A moment later, Mom looked over at Kane. “Yes, just a second.” She held the receiver out to Kane.
Kane took the phone, his eyes glued to Ian. “Hello?”
“Kane?” Kenji’s voice came through the line, short and still angry-sounding.
“This is Kane,” Kane answered, his voice low and rough. The tone of voice told him plenty, but he forced himself to listen to his boy… former boyfriend’s words.
“Stop calling. We don’t want to talk to the two of you. We don’t want to hear lame excuses, don’t want your lies. Tell Ian to leave Hayden alone.” And with that, Kenji hung up.
Kane stared at the lump of plastic in his hands for a long moment, the fast beep of the disconnect harsh in the silent room. He very carefully handed it to his mom, lest he release the violence bubbling under the surface and took it out on the telephone. Mrs. Kelly hung it up and stood with a helpless look on her face as her eyes darted from one boy to the other. “Kane?” she asked, tentatively.
Kane just shook his head sharply once. He saw the look in Ian’s eye and knew his friend understood the gist of the conversation without needing a recount. “Excuse me.” In a daze, Kane headed for the front door. He stepped out into the cold night and leaned against the porch rail, forcing the frigid air into his lungs.
He stared up at the stars, and from somewhere deep a curse toward the bitch of a biological mother he’d had roiled to the surface. How he hated her in that moment. If she hadn’t tried to sell him to her john, if she’d maybe just chosen a different john… he closed his eyes and fought the memories.
The sagging couch and stained carpet flashed through his mind and his head shook, trying desperately to deny the images. Greasy hair, tattooed skin and stained teeth. Hot rotten breath on Kane’s cheek and in his nostrils, the stench burned forever on his memory. The bruising fingers on his arms, grabbing at his twelve-year-old body, the struggles he gave and too-old-for-his age curses that flew from his mouth. Kane gripped the railing in the present hard enough to press dents into the weathered wood.
“No!” he shouted out loud at the man and sanity reasserted itself, just barely. He felt a hand on his back and he sagged in relief as the sharp spring air brought him forcibly back. He turned to Ian and pulled his friend into his arms. “Fucking bitch!” he growled and Ian made soothing noises in his throat. “She’s going to ruin everything, isn’t she?” Kane asked, desperately.
“No, Kane, no. We won’t let her,” Ian replied, running his hands over shaggy black hair and a back with muscles taut from anger, frustration, and remembered pain. “She hasn’t ruined us, Kane,” Ian reminded him and the arms around Ian tightened.
“Thank God,” Kane whispered. “God, don’t… don’t ever…”
“No, no,” Ian crooned. “Shhh. I’ll always be here for you.” Tears dampened Ian’s shirt, but he ignored them. “Always…”
They stayed there on the porch in the chilly night air, Kane fighting for sanity, Ian petting and soothing until Ian started shivering, bringing Kane more firmly back to himself. He pulled back from his friend and stared down into the single visible brown eye. “Let’s go inside, you’re cold,” he said, voice still thick with tears and anger.
“I’m fine, Kane, if you need to stay here—”
Kane shook his head. “I’m fine, or… I will be. Come on,” he said, sounding stronger by the second.
They turned and went into the house. Kane glanced at the clock on the wall and sighed. “We should head to bed. School tomorrow.”
Ian made a face. “Yeah, and you have detention in the afternoon, don’t you?” he asked, frowning.
“Ugh. Don’t remind me.” Kane groaned. “Yet another bitch in my life.” He shook his head.
“Well, one is already gone and the other will be in a few months,” Ian reminded him and Kane smiled.
“Yeah,” he said as they turned the corner and went down the hall.
“Night boys!” their mom called from her room.
“Night!” they called back and took a detour into the bathroom.
“God, what a fucked up day,” Kane grumbled, pulling open the cabinet to grab the toothpaste. He stopped dead at what he saw.
“I know,” Ian said from next to him, as he turned on the water and snatched up his toothbrush. “Could it have been worse?” Ian asked then turned to Kane. “Kane? What’s wrong?”
Kane turned from the cabinet and looked at his friend, the color rising in his cheeks. “Um…”
Ian blinked. “What, Kane?”
Kane opened the cabinet door just a little farther and Ian’s eyes widened. His face paled; then color bloomed on his cheeks. Their eyes met, and Kane carefully pushed the cabinet door closed.
“That wasn’t what I thought it was, was it?” Ian asked with a squeak in his voice. “Please, please please tell me it wasn’t…”
“I’m afraid it was. Those… weren’t there last night.” Kane’s voice reflected the shock going through him.
Ian shook his head. “No, no, neither the box nor the… bottle was there.” He stumbled over his words.
“And… did she have to buy both?” Kane asked, his color getting worse. He peered around the door and out into the hallway, but their mom’s door was closed.
“How did she know… I mean, did she ask someone?” Ian asked, nearly stuttering, color darkening even more.
“I have no idea. God, the thought of her asking someone about… about…” He stopped, unable to say gay sex, the thought just a little too much for him. “I love our mom, I really do,” Kane said, “but this has to be the single most embarrassing thing she’s ever done.”
“And… geez, if they stay there, she’ll think we’re not safe and having sex—” Ian’s gaze met Kane’s.
“And if we take them, she’ll know we’re having sex.” Kane finished.
“Shit.” Ian’s gaze moved back to the closed cabinet door.
Kane cleared his throat, working to reorient his world just a little bit. “Well, what’s… worse? Thinking we are and unsafe?”
“Or thinking we are and safe?” Ian asked, his eyes still glued to the wood. He raised one hand to his face and started chewing on a single finger.
“Yeah. Um…” Kane turned back to the cabinet and opened it again. They both stared at the box of condoms and ridiculously big bottle of lube for two full minutes, neither moving a muscle.
“So… take them out,” Ian prompted.
Kane looked over at his best friend, incredulously. “Why me?”
“Cause you’re closer.” Ian waved a hand toward the offending objects.
Kane solved that problem by stepping around Ian. “There. Now you’re closer.”
Ian rolled his eyes. “Oh, for God’s sake,” he growled but the ridiculousness of the situation finally got through and effectively broke him from his stupor. He pulled the box and bottle out of the cabinet and set it on the counter next to the sink with a thunk!, then snatched up the toothpaste. He squeezed it onto his toothbrush with a bit more force than was necessary and shoved the tube at Kane.
They bushed their teeth in silence, neither obviously having a clue what to say. When they finished and put their brushes away, Ian stared at the two items for another moment before getting annoyed with himself and grabbing them up with a glance at Kane. His best friend shrugged and he turned and hurried into their room.
Once there, however, he had no idea what to do with them. Even if he and Kane did something, which he wasn’t sure he would, they had no need to worry about safe sex. Neither of them had ever been with anyone else. He ended up shoving the condoms into his underwear drawer and throwing the bottle at their bunk, where it landed in the middle. He stared at it for a moment before forcing himself to turn away.
They changed quickly into pajamas and curled up on Kane’s bunk without speaking. The bottle got nudged under a pillow and, mostly, ignored.
But neither of them was quite ready to sleep. They lay on their sides and stared at each other for long moments. There was a slight lump under the edge of the pillow between them and both sets of eyes kept straying to it.
All of this succeeded in distracting both of them from the biggest problem of the day. As the silence grew, however, Hayden’s face came to the front of Ian’s thoughts again, and he frowned, his throat working as he tried to contain his emotions.
“Don’t think about him. He’s not worth it, Ian. You’re a hundred times the man he is,” Kane said, quietly, pulling his friend to him. “You’re way better than he is,” he whispered, running his hand over his friend’s back in an attempt to stave off the tears.
Ian curled up, tucking his head under Kane’s chin and accepting the comfort quietly. He fought with the tears, fought the hurt, but in the end they won, anyway. They were silent tears, though, dripping down Ian’s cheeks and onto the muscled chest under his face.
Ian recognized that there was anger leaking through the hurt. Anger that, though Hayden said he loved Ian, he wasn’t willing to give him a single chance to explain.
Anger that, despite the billion and one times he and Kane could have done something, they didn’t. Anger that, after all of that, he’d still held them back. And maybe if his mom hadn’t interrupted them, they might have anyway, but they didn’t.
It just wasn’t fucking fair.
The anger and pain were a potent mix in an already confused mind. Confusion is the name of the game for any teenager. Add in the preferences that aren’t part of the “norm,” a very attractive best friend, unusual sleeping arrangements, and a broken relationship and the situation was just down on its knees begging for trouble. With a very large curly-cued capital “T.” In bold. And italics. And underlined. Twice.
So when Ian pulled back and looked up at his best friend—his very attractive, very hot best friend, the one that thought he was just as hot and attractive right back, it was difficult at best to not react to the heat in those dark eyes. When he was already feeling low and hurt, already confused and frustrated, already angry, it was nearly impossible to not react to the body up against his.
And when he was as tired as he was after the long-ass emotional rollercoaster of a day he’d had, it was no wonder he gave up.
Ian was sure Kane was no better off. He’d found himself in the brand new situation of comforting the comforter. He couldn’t miss that Kane was just as emotionally volatile, just as confused and crazy after the day that they’d had. So when their gazes met, both of Ian’s eyes after the bangs had fallen away, and the emotion Ian was sure was in them showed, it was no wonder that Kane, too, gave up.
They lay there in a sort of suspended animation. It had to be seconds, couldn’t truly have been more than that, but it felt like it could have been counted in seasons instead. The truth of what they both wanted, what they were going to do was right there between them.
In the form of a not-quite innocuous lump under the edge of the pillow.
Not a muscle twitched, not so much as a harsh breath broke the silence in the room. The quiet hum of the ancient, tiny digital alarm clock could even be heard by the two lying on the bed as they contemplated fate and choices. The headlights of a car skimmed across the off-white plaster ceiling and still the two on the bottom of the bunk beds didn’t move.
Ian didn’t think there was anything specific that prompted it. No sudden noise, no shifting of eyes or movement of limb. Nothing in particular started it that he could tell.
But they went from staring at each other to locked lips, tangled limbs, pulling hair and grinding bodies in the space of those few seconds. The suspense broke, along with their resolve. Ian’s hand went into shaggy black locks and pulled. Kane moaned loudly, lost to the pain and the resulting desire. His cock swelled, he bucked into Ian and in response, Ian nipped hard at his throat.
Ian pulled back, looking at the mark then dove in to tongue over it. Kane scratched his nails down Ian’s back, hands landing on his ass and pulling him in even closer, rubbing their cocks together through the thin fabric of boxers and pajamas.
Another groan was let out, though Ian wasn’t sure from whom and their mouths crashed back together again. Tongues and teeth, nips and bites, the kiss was anything but gentle or sweet. It was hard, it was demanding and both gave in to those demands.
Ian rocked into Kane and Kane flipped over onto his back, pulling his friend with him. His legs spread, his hips rocked and Ian’s moan was only muffled by the lips that captured his again at the last second.
“Please, Ian…” Kane begged and his hands slipped under the waistband of Ian’s pants. The warm palms cupped soft skin and if there had been any thoughts of resistance, it was officially gone. Ian pulled back and shoved his pants down, wiggling around enough to get them off. Kane grabbed at his own waistband, and a moment later, his boxers joined the pants at the bottom of the bed.
Another pause, another suspended moment as the reality of what they were about to do came home to them then Ian dove in for another of those insane kisses. Hot flesh met from shoulder to toes and both of them released sounds of dark need. One of Kane’s hands found its way around their straining desperate cocks and stroked them together.
“Fuck, Kane…” Ian hissed, Kane’s cock jumping at the word. “If you…” he had to pause and gather his wits. “If you do that, I won’t manage much else.”
Kane let go and his hand went immediately under the pillow. He shoved the bottle at Ian and spread his legs wider. “Please…” it was the only word that made it out coherently, though other sounds accompanied it. Cocks rubbed as Ian struggled with the bottle and both of them panted hard in an effort to find basic oxygen.
“Kane… are you sure you want me to…” Ian managed that much before Kane let out a frustrated groan.
“God, yes, now!” Was the response and Ian gave up the last thoughts of sanity. He poured the liquid over his fingers, using way too much, but he didn’t care at that point.
He sent up a prayer of thanks for the magazines Kane had shown him at the bookstore that gave him just the tiniest of clues about what he was doing and he ran his slicked up finger over the tight muscle he finally found. Kane’s gasp told him he was in the right place and he rubbed the liquid over his friend’s entrance. He slowly pushed a finger in, momentarily distracted by the feel of it.
“Holy fuck, Kane, that’s tight…” Ian swallowed hard, briefly afraid. He missed the twitch of his friend’s cock over his language, he was so distracted. How the hell was it supposed to fit?
“It… fuck, it stretches.” Kane moaned as Ian’s finger slid farther in and brushed something. Ian paused and brought the fingertip back to it, gliding the pad back over the slightly smoother spot. “Oh fuck Ian…”
Ian’s own dick twitched hard at the word and he forced his attention back to the body under him. He pulled his finger out and added more of the liquid to them then pushed two back into his friend. He closed his eyes, trying to remember what he’d read and seen, but he drew a complete blank. He swallowed around his dry throat and did his best to work his fingers around. Once more he pulled them back and added liquid. Three fingers, this time, he tried and though they went in, Kane’s tensed.
“Relax,” Ian muttered, “or it’ll hurt.” He remembered that much, then he paused, stilling. “Unless you want to stop…” Ian started, but Kane grabbed his free wrist.
“Don’t. It burns a little, but… don’t please.” He sucked in a breath and closed his eyes and a moment later, the muscles around Ian’s fingers started to ease.
Ian pushed them in further, working them around then pulled back again. He looked from his fingers to his own cock and forced himself to ignore his fears. His cock was a lot bigger than his fingers, but there was nothing for it. He glanced up and saw that Kane’s own dick was softer and he worried about that, then, too.
Shit. This is going very bad, very quickly. Ian paused for just a moment to collect himself. It didn’t have to, this could still be good for both of them. He took a deep breath then opened his eyes. He flipped the cap on the bottle and made sure he was thoroughly coated, again using more than he needed to. He took some of the excess and wiped it around Kane’s entrance again, then moved into position.
He wondered briefly if they should try a different position, but the look in Kane’s eye told him he’d need the eye contact. He lined up, his gaze on his best friend’s, took another deep breath and started to push into the tight heat.
“Oh… my… God, Kane!” His eyes slid closed without his permission and his breathing shortened. He hadn’t even managed to get past the ring of muscle. He’d be lucky if he didn’t go off an inch in. He swallowed hard again, trying desperately to think of something, anything else.
Ian turned his attention back to Kane. His eyes were screwed tightly shut, his poor erection had gone nearly completely away and he was tense as all hell. “Kane,” Ian said, and Kane looked up. “You have to relax.” Kane nodded and closed his eyes again.
Kane took a deep breath and nodded shortly; then the pressure around the head of his cock eased slightly. He continued to push in a little farther—slowly, incredibly slowly. “Still burns, but… oh God, Ian, it feels good, too.”
Ian groaned at the words. His sanity, what was left of it, was slipping away quickly, and he thrust faster than he’d meant to. It pulled a gasp from Kane, but he jerked his hips, lifted his legs a little more and then Ian was seated fully. He fell over Kane, bracing his upper body on his hands, his head hanging as he tried to simply breathe. Nothing, nothing in any of his experiences up until that point had prepared him for the feel of being buried in another body.
Kane’s body. His mind told him and the distracting thought was enough to pull him back. He took the hand that still had lube left on it and wrapped it around Kane’s flagging cock. He ran his fist over it slowly, not moving his hips, simply staying there and giving Kane a chance to get used to the idea of being filled. Instead he worked the dick in his hand, slowly stroking it back to full hardness.
And a few moments later, his friend was moving, hips tilting, trying to get him to move the cock buried in his ass. So Ian eased slowly out almost all the way and pushed back in, then paused again, his eyes nearly rolling into the back of his head. It was still so tight and felt… “so good,” he groaned out loud.
He leaned forward and caught Kane’s lips, this kiss slow and not nearly as desperate as the earlier ones. Ian had no time to ponder it, though, when Kane lifted his legs a little bit more and wrapped them around Ian’s waist.
He took the hint and started moving again. Slowly at first, then faster, thrusting harder and when he did something that made Kane gasp, he tried to find it again. He shifted and got the same kind of gasp, this one followed by a moan. He worked to keep doing that, trying to keep the same angle, but he was losing his concentration fast.
The pleasure was building with a swiftness that stunned, the feel of Kane so tight, the working of his cock over just too much. “Oh fuck, Kane…” he managed then trailed off into wordless moans.
Kane reached down and wrapped his hand around his own cock and started stroking it. “Fuck, fuck, Ian, oh fuck that’s good…” He gripped a slat on the end of the bunk bed with his other hand to brace himself and his legs tightened just a little bit.
And the last bits of sanity and coherency died a brutal death in the pounding of bodies and the slap of flesh on flesh. Ian’s rhythm broke, his body demanding the end. His thrusts were hard and fast, and then it hit, his balls tightened almost painfully and his orgasm was absolutely nothing like he’d ever felt before. “Kane, oh fuck, oh god, oh fuck… I’m coming oh fuck I’m coming…”
And then he slammed into Kane one more time, his body shaking hard with the strength of it. The nerves along his spine caught fire and his teeth bit down on Kane’s shoulder enough to break skin so he could muffle the near animalistic scream that came out. He jerked once, twice, and then emptied his balls into his friend’s body.
Kane’s hand spasmed on the thin wooden slat over his head and it broke when he yanked his hand at the feel of Ian’s cock slamming into his prostate. His hand jerked over his dick maybe three more times before his own climax screamed through his body igniting every nerve ending in its path. Thick ropes of cum shot out of him and sprayed them both. He registered the bite on his shoulder and the razor sharp pleasure intensified, forcing even more cum through his cock and onto the two of them.
They lay utterly stunned in the aftermath of the storm. Ian collapsed in almost slow motion on Kane, ignoring the mess, and they stayed that way for and unidentifiable amount time while they tried to collect their wits and sanity. Even the simple fact that they’d had sex was barely a blip on their mental radar; they were too shocked by it all.
Finally, Ian leaned up and looked into the dark eyes. They didn’t say anything, couldn’t. There were no words in any vocabulary that could possible do justice to what had just happened. He eased out of Kane, wincing apologetically when his friend’s face twisted. As he sat back, his eyes caught sight of his cum dripping out of his friend and he swallowed hard at the sight.
In continued silence, they cleaned each other up, stripped the sheet from Ian’s bunk and replaced Kane’s with it. When that was taken care of, they curled up together, not bothering with their pajamas. Their legs tangled, arms wrapped around each other and then their lips met in a kiss that confused the hell out of both of them in its emotional intensity. When they pulled back, they stared for a moment, then Kane pulled the blanket over them and tucked Ian under his chin. There were still no words spoken, still no sounds from either.
“Come on, Kane, we don’t want to miss the bus!” Ian called from the front door.
“I’ll be right there!” Kane yelled back, pulling open the bottom drawer of the file cabinet, pawing through folders quickly. He should have guessed it would be in the very back of the drawer, but he shook the self-annoyance away and pulled the folder out. He paged through the contents hurriedly, found what he wanted finally and shoved everything else back. Stuffing the papers into his backpack, he caught up to Ian.
“What was that all about?” Ian asked as they ran toward the street, making it to the stop as the bus pulled up.
“Nothing, just something I needed to grab,” he said cryptically as they took their seats.
The morning hadn’t been nearly as awkward as Kane had expected. The alarm went off as loud and annoying as it ever did for a Monday and as always, Ian rolled out of bed to slap it into submission. They took their turns showering and dressing as they always had, mostly in silence as neither of them were morning people.
So by the time they would normally have started talking anyway, they’d both managed to shove their fears and worries aside. They had sex and both of them recognized that, had they not met and gotten involved with Hayden and Kenji, they might well have done it long before then.
Even so, their ride into school was in relative silence, though that was as much in deference to the Monday morning misery as anything. When they got to the school, they said their good-byes and “see you laters” and went their separate ways, Kane to The Bitch and Ian to his less annoying math class.
The morning dragged for Kane. He had lunch plans and it felt like the clock in each of his classrooms was mocking him, going slower than time really possibly could. So by the time the bell rang for his lunch, he was more short-tempered than usual.
Even so, he hurried to the cafeteria so he could be there first and stood off to the side, waiting. He knew it would take Ian longer to get there, since he was on the other side of the building. This meant Kane had a window of a good few minutes to get done what he wanted to.
Finally, the person he was waiting for showed up. Said person was, of course, not alone, but Kane had expected that. Kane waited until they’d gone through the line and taken their seats.
Kane forced himself to look the other guy over critically and was gratified to see that he didn’t, at least, look happy. In fact, he looked tired and out of sorts, which was promising. Kane approached the table, pulled a chair out, turned it around, and straddled it before Hayden had a chance to react.
“Don’t say a word.” Kane held up a finger. “Because I know what you’re going to say. I have some things to tell you, things that only one other person our age and a handful of adults know. You can sit there and listen, or I can guarantee you’re in detention with me this afternoon.” Kane finished with a scowl on his face and the light of battle in his eye. He almost wanted Hayden to argue, wanted him to start something because it would make Kane feel a lot better if he could plant a fist in that pretty face Ian loved so much.
Hayden considered him a moment, glancing to the side at Kenji, but Kenji’s gaze was locked on Kane. Kane glanced at his former boyfriend. “You and I have our own discussion to have. You can stay and save me some breath or you can leave, but we’re not done, either.”
All three boys sat in silence for a few seconds then Hayden gave a short, single nod.
Kane pulled the papers out of his bag that he’d grabbed that morning and slapped them onto the table. “Four years ago, I was arrested for murder.” He couldn’t help but feel a little bit of glee at the widening of Hayden’s eyes. Kenji simply blinked once slowly at him in obvious shock.
“Now that I have your attention,” he said, “let me explain. I was twelve. My bitch of a biological mother thought it was time I earned my keep. She was a whore. I’ll let you connect those dots.” He waited a brief moment and wasn’t disappointed when the light of understanding hit the other two.
“I didn’t agree,” he continued in a voice low enough that both of the other boys had to lean forward to hear him. “I didn’t feel I should have had to earn my keep that way and I fought it. And him. And I killed him. Four years later, I still have nightmares.”
The word ‘nightmares’ hung in the air over the table almost as if it were a tangible thing dangling on string from the ceiling. Kane’s eyes swung from Kenji to Hayden and back again. He nudged the papers across the table. “That is the summary of the investigation, along with the psychological evaluation they put me through.” He took a breath, his chest tight from the memories that were horribly close to the surface as they always were when he forced himself to think about it. “The only thing that keeps me from the nightmares is Ian.”
He waited again, letting the words settle. “We. Did. Not. Have. Sex. That. Night. When he’s there, I don’t dream, I don’t have nightmares, I don’t wake up screaming. When he’s not, I do.” He prayed that they didn’t get upset yet about the minor point of clarification he put in there about when they didn’t have sex. They’d dealt with that shortly.
He took another breath. “Someday, the years of counseling will get through. Someday, I won’t be so fucking dependent on my best friend.” He paused to gather his control and spotted Ian on the other side of the cafeteria watching them. He raised a hand and gave a come here gesture. “But right now, I do. He sleeps next to me. Sleeps. And yesterday and last night, I held him while he cried because you—” He jabbed a finger at Hayden. “—you told him you loved him, then stepped on his pleas for you to listen and then walked away as if it was bullshit. Was it? Did you lie?”
Hayden swallowed hard and his eyes dropped to the table, leaving the question unanswered.
Ian approached then, but had heard the question and Hayden’s lack of answer. The tension around the table so heavy, Ian wondered that they didn’t drown in it. “Kane? H…Hayden?” Ian looked from one to the other.
Hayden turned around and the pain on Ian was sure the pain he showed on his face would have been obvious to a blind man. “I…Ian… I…” He glanced at a shame-faced Kenji, whose eyes were glued to Kane, then to Kane who was staring at Kenji, pain in the dark slanted eyes. Hayden finally brought his gaze back to Ian, who was still staring at him.
Ian struggled to hold back the incredibly tangled knot of emotion filling his chest.
Hayden stood up and took the half step toward Ian. “I…” he started again, then closed his mouth. He opened it and closed it again, as if he couldn’t find the words he needed. “There… I… fuck,” he said in frustration, his eyes closing. “I’m a bastard,” he settled on, then opened his eyes again.
“Did you lie? Was that bullshit, Hayden?” Ian asked, struggling to firm an annoyingly shaky bottom lip.
Hayden shook his head, almost automatically. Ian wasn’t sure if that comforted him or not. Hayden took one more breath, then swallowed again. “No, Ian, I didn’t lie. It was true and maybe that’s why it hurt, but I was wrong to not even listen, to not even give you a chance to answer the accusation.”
Ian nodded then took a deep breath. “There’s else something you need to know.” He glanced over at Kane who was now sitting next to Kenji. They were talking and holding hands. Ian wasn’t sure what to think about that, so he simply turned back to Hayden.
Hayden blinked a moment then, nodded. “You did, didn’t you? A… after?”
Ian nodded, fought the hurt and anger again, and lost. “You’d dumped me. You hurt me. I was angry because, well, I hadn’t. I was still hanged for it without a goddamned trial. You wouldn’t even listen. I was hurt and I was angry and the person that I comfort was having to soothe me. Tell me that you wouldn’t have done the same.” He paused to get himself under control again and waited. Hayden didn’t speak and that was answer enough. “Regardless of that, it doesn’t change how I feel. It doesn’t change the fact that…” he stopped again to swallow his lump. “The fact that you’re the one I… I love.” He closed his eyes and fought against the tear that wanted to escape, but the fight was in vain and it got away, anyway.
He felt a hand on his face and the tear was brushed away. “I’m sorry, Ian. I don’t… I don’t deserve it, but… please… forgive me.”
Ian let a shuddering breath out and the tears, despite his attempts fell faster. “Will you also forgive me? I should have told you, I should have said something. You should not have found out that way. I…” He was interrupted with a finger on his lip.
“Shh. Let’s… start over a little, okay?” he asked and Ian met those dark eyes and nodded. Hayden leaned in and closed the distance, placing a very short, chaste kiss on Ian’s lip. “I’d do a lot more. I want you in my arms right now, but this isn’t the place. Can we… be together after school?”
Ian look into Hayden’s eyes and nodded. He didn’t know just what Hayden meant, exactly, but the fact that they’d be in the same place at the same time was enough for the moment. He opened his mouth to say something when they were interrupted.
“Oh look, the fags are having a lover’s spat!” The annoying ass from the week before was back. Ian spun on his heel, pulled his fist back and swung forward in the space of a few seconds.
But he was, quite literally, beaten to the punch. All four of them were standing around the guy who was now sprawled on the floor. Ian knew his fist hadn’t made contact, but all four of them had theirs out. The cafeteria monitor rushed over and, unfortunately for all of them, it was Mrs. Suki. “Which one of you did it?” she demanded of them.
“Did you hear what he said?” Kane asked, eyebrows up.
“It doesn’t matter, nothing deserves violence!” she shouted, her fists clenched at her sides.
Four sets of eyebrows went up then four voices said, at the same time, “I did it.”
She blinked at them. “I know that’s not the case. Which one of you? Tell me now or you’re all getting detention tonight.”
They looked at each other, then back at her and, yet again at the same time, they all said, “I did.”
They watched in fascination as The Bitch’s face turned a nice shade of purple. “Office. All of you. Now.”
All four of them glanced at each other and shrugged. Kane scooped the papers up from the table and they turned toward the door. Ian glanced over his shoulder to see the ass still sprawled on the floor. He turned back and as he started walking, a hand took his. He glanced up at Hayden and smiled, closing his hand around Hayden’s and squeezed.
The back row of the detention hall held four completely unrepentant people. Kenji, Kane, Ian, and Hayden worked quietly on their homework as The Bitch sat at the desk in the front of the room attempting to glare daggers at them. Attempting, as it made absolutely no impression on any of them. As the clock ticked the end of their punishment, she actually let out a low growl before ungraciously saying, “Dismissed.”
The four boys headed to the parking lot where Kane and Ian paused. The afternoon had gone by fairly swiftly after the principal had passed down their sentence. He’d been disappointed by the display of violence, but confided that his own partner would probably have cheered them on. After they recovered from the shock, he’d said he had to pass discipline down because he couldn’t condone violence, but that a couple of days of detention should satisfy everyone.
Now that it was all over and there was no longer a desk or classroom or other students between them, the worry and awkwardness leaked back in. Hayden glanced at the others, then pulled Ian into his arms, pushed him up against the jeep, and captured his lips in a kiss that left no more room for doubts.
They ignored Kenji and Kane, too preoccupied with each other. He pulled back and pushed the bangs out of Ian’s face. “I love you, Ian. I know we’re just kids to a lot of people, but I don’t give a shit what they think. I know that we’re not typical teenagers and I know what I feel. We’ve both fucked up, me much more than you, but… I think we can get past it.”
Ian nodded, swallowing around the lump. His hands flexed in Hayden’s unkempt hair. “I’m so sorry for my part; I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t… I just… didn’t… think.” He shook his head as if to banish the block on his words. “I… love you, too.”
With those words, Hayden dove back in for another kiss and they got thoroughly lost in it. Their tongues danced and they forgot the parking lot, forgot the other couple, forgot everything but each other. When they broke apart again, Ian glanced to the side to see Kane and Kenji in a similar tangle.
“I should have given you a chance to explain,” Kenji said, frowning. He looked down into Kane’s eyes. “I’m not Hayden, we’re not them, and I don’t know that I… love… at all….” He paused. “Yet. But I know that I was an ass, and I’d like to…” He squeezed Kane’s hand. “I’d like to… not start over, exactly, but… try again, maybe?”
Kane returned the squeeze. “I don’t love you, either. My pride was hurt as much as anything, but I like what we had before this. I’d like to try to get back to that, at least.” Kane shoved aside the niggling thought that he may never love anyone. He knew, in the deepest parts of himself that was his mother talking.
Kenji nodded. “I’d like that, too.” His lips spread into a smile. “And maybe… a bit more?” He raised an eyebrow.
“You look totally like Spock when you do that,” Kane said with a chuckle and Kenji laughed. “Yeah, maybe a bit more.” Kane agreed and they kissed again.
The four of them managed to drag themselves into the Jeep and made their way to Ian and Kane’s house. They didn’t bother with the pretense of homework that afternoon. They’d get to that later, they had other things to make up for instead.
Kenji and Kane took up space on the couch and Hayden took the armchair, pulling Ian onto his lap. In relative privacy, hands roamed, lips nibbled and they lost themselves in each other again. Ian rubbed his palm along the growing arousal he felt in his boyfriend’s pants, his own cock making life more and more uncomfortable.
“Tell me about it,” Hayden whispered, dropping light kisses and nibbles on Ian’s jaw and neck. “Your first experience. Did you top or bottom?”
Ian pulled back and considered Hayden for a minute, but there was no malice or jealousy in his eyes, only curiosity, so he settled back in. “I topped Kane. It was… well, as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s nothing to compare it to.” He paused, a shiver running through him at the memory. “God, it felt so good.” The cock under his ass got even harder at the words. He thought about how much Hayden had liked the talking he’d done in the Jeep Friday night and decided to be just a little evil. He leaned forward so his mouth was next to Hayden’s ear. “I fucked him so hard he broke the bed when he came,” Ian whispered, drawing out the “f” word.
Hayden groaned and glanced over at the couch. The other two had stretched out and Kenji was lying on top of Kane, currently cradled between Kane’s legs. Kenji was rocking into Kane, their mouths busy with each other. Kane’s hands were on Kenji’s ass. One of Kenji’s was tangled in Kane’s spikes and pulling, and the other hand couldn’t be seen.
He turned back to Ian. “Tell me more,” he whispered.
Ian shifted so that he was straddling Hayden and leaned in to Hayden’s ear again. “My cock was so fucking hard. I filled his ass, fucked him until he nearly screamed.” He rocked against the thick arousal under him and nipped at the ear next to his lips. “I bit him, too,” he said, demonstrating on Hayden’s neck, earning another moan. “Pounded into him with this—” He rocked again. “—cock, then I came so fucking hard, filling his ass with my hot—” He licked Hayden’s ear again. “—cum.” He bit the lobe.
Hayden bucked up into him, the groan loud in his ear. “Fuck, Ian, you’re good at that.” He moaned again. “More,” he demanded.
As soon as Ian and Hayden got to the bedroom, Hayden wasted no time stripping the blanket from the top bunk and grabbing the pillow. He tossed them on the floor and turned to Ian.
Ian, meanwhile turned to his dresser and dug out the box he’d stuffed in his drawer. As he handled it, nervousness started to set in. It was one thing to do this with Kane—he didn’t have to worry about how good he was or what he did. He knew Kane would never laugh or anything.
And somewhere deep down, he knew Hayden wouldn’t, either. But he was still nervous, still wanted Hayden to be happy with him, what he—they did. He fumbled with the box, ripping it in his efforts to get the stupid thing open and still hadn’t managed to get it far enough to actually get anything out of it. His hands were starting to shake when Ian plucked the box out of them.
Hayden calmly opened the box and pulled a couple of the condoms out, tossing them down next to the pillow. “Do you have lube?” he asked just as calmly, and Ian had a moment to be annoyed.
How can you be so composed?” Ian couldn’t quite stop the irritation but rather than seem annoyed, Hayden pulled him close. When his arms were wrapped around Ian and he was up against Hayden’s incredible body, the tremor became obvious. “Oh,” he breathed. He looked up into Hayden’s face, at those dark eyes and just… stopped.
God, he did love this boy… man.
He swallowed hard, feeling very briefly like he was somehow betraying Kane, which was ridiculous. They were just friends. Best friends, maybe. And maybe they’d had sex, but they were just friends.
He shook the silly feeling off and leaned up, laying his lips gently on Hayden’s. He felt the emotions coming from Hayden, poured his own into it and hoped Hayden understood it. He could barely breathe for how hard that realization had hit him.
The kiss morphed, heat flared, and what started out as gentle and wondering turned into sharp need quickly. Ian’s cock, which had started to flag with the nervousness hardened fast and he moaned as want flew through his body.
God, Ian,” Hayden moaned. He grabbed at Ian’s shirt, pulling it over his head, Ian returning the favor and separating them for a very few seconds. Then they crashed together again and their tongues fought for dominance as they both attacked belts and buttons. There was a pop somewhere along the way and then the sharp rasp of zippers sounded in a room that was only otherwise occupied by gasps and groans.
And then they were naked and flush up against each other again. “Hayden…” Ian nearly whimpered, incapable of much more when his cock rubbed against Hayden’s. He wrapped a hand around the hard length and stroked it a few times, but Hayden pulled it away.
Won’t last if you do that,” he warned. “Too… worked… up…,” he said between bites and nibbles.
Ian swallowed hard, digging deep for some form of control. He pulled away long enough to dive for the bunk bed and the bottle under the pillow, then was back, and Hayden was pulling him down onto the blanket on the floor. “Want to taste you,” Hayden murmured and then Ian almost shouted at the feel of the warm, wet mouth surrounding him.
Oh fuck Hayden!” Ian managed to keep it a groan instead, unconsciously bucking up into Hayden’s mouth and threading his hands through the thick dark hair. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” It turned into a mantra, a litany of sounds as Hayden sucked and worked him over. Hayden slid his tongue along the underside of Ian’s dick and this moan came out much louder. He stared down at the top of the dark head as it bobbed.
“Stop. Oh God, stop, Hayden, stop!” Ian pulled on Hayden’s hair, tugging harder than he meant to, but he was already getting so close.
Hayden moved off him then, and he sat up, capturing Hayden’s lips and losing himself again in that wonderful mouth. “Mmm. I could kiss you all day,” Hayden murmured and Ian pulled back to look at him. The look in Hayden’s eyes nearly made him crazy and he brought his mouth back in and attacked, this kiss hard and full of teeth.
His cock dribbled pre-cum in a steady stream now. He was so hard it nearly hurt. He needed desperately. Needed Hayden, needed to feel this person that he loved. But he wanted to taste too. He pushed Hayden over, kissing his way down Hayden’s body, nibbling here and nipping there. He paused to tongue one nipple and thrilled at the sharp gasp he got from it. He gave the same to the other then continued down over the pale skin.
When he got to Hayden’s cock, he didn’t give himself time to think or wonder or worry, he opened his mouth and swallowed as much of it as he could. He moaned around the cock in his mouth, the taste and feel incredible to him, earning himself a hiss. He slid his mouth off, then back down again and tried to relax his throat a little to take more in. When he managed, his nose touching hair, Hayden let out a very loud, “FUCK, Ian!”
Ian sucked lightly, moved his mouth off and back down once more then Hayden was his hair pulling, much like he’d done to Hayden. With reluctance, he sat up. Hayden sat up as well and pulled him close again, lips claiming.
Claiming him. That’s what it felt like. Hayden moved his lips over Ian’s neck and down, then sucked a bit of the skin into his mouth hard enough to break blood vessels and mark. “Mine,” Hayden whispered against the bruise and a shiver run through Ian at the tone.
“Yours,” Ian agreed, his hands spearing through the mass of unruly hair. When Hayden pulled back, Ian leaned in and put his own mark on Hayden’s skin. “Mine,” he said, echoing the sentiment.
“Yours.” Hayden paused to brush his lips over Ian’s. “Only yours,” he whispered and the fast and hard slowed to soft in a blink.
Hayden pulled Ian closer, wrapping him into a tight hold, their lips brushing, nibbling, and loving. They ran their hands over each other’s bodies, feeling, exploring, and learning. They brushed their fingertips over muscles, dips, and ridges drawing new gasps.
Somewhere along the line, Hayden lay back down, pulling Ian with him and the skin to skin contact brought the need and want close enough to the surface to eclipse any prior thoughts of going slow. Hayden grabbed Ian’s hand and guided it toward his ass.
“Ian…” he said. That was all; just his name and Ian knew what he wanted. He grabbed the bottle on the floor next to them and sat up enough to open it. One of Hayden’s hands threaded through Ian’s hair and played with it as he worked to ready Hayden, his gaze glued to Ian’s face.
Hayden watched the play of emotions as they crossed Ian’s features: the worry, the want and the need and when his lover glanced up and those warm brown eyes met his, the love. His breath hitched and stuttered in his chest. He’d almost fucked this up, almost lost this person.
Then his thoughts derailed completely when the fingers probed and stretched. He closed his eyes, his back arching when one of them hit the bundle of nerves. A loud moan escaped and he tightened the hand he had buried in Ian’s hair. “God, baby…,” he breathed.
Ian relaxed a little at those words, at the knowledge that he’d caused that kind of pleasure. But his nervousness got worse again when he moved into position. He shook just a little, his hands not quite steady.
Hayden apparently saw it and rolled them. He kissed Ian again, another slow, soft and thorough one guaranteed to scramble Ian’s brain.
And it succeeded. Ian found himself on his back with Hayden moving down slowly onto his cock.
“Oh God, Hayden…,” Ian moaned loudly. His hands went to Hayden’s hips, and Hayden paused when he was all the way down. Both gasped for breath, both fighting for that tenuous and ever elusive control.
“You feel so good, Ian,” Hayden whispered before he began moving. Hayden rose up then lowered himself again, staying slow, and Ian could tell by the look in Hayden’s eye that it wasn’t just for his, Ian’s, control.
After only a few more of these, however, Ian was sure he was going to go insane and he squeezed Hayden’s hips. He sat up, pulling Hayden in for a kiss and tried to guide him into a faster pace. “Need more of you,” Ian moaned. “Please…”
And so Hayden gave, and Ian took. When Hayden lifted his hips up, Ian lay back again and started thrusting up into him, needing more, pushing for Hayden’s pleasure. He wanted, no, demanded Hayden’s moans and gasps.
Hayden leaned back a little, bracing himself on Ian’s thighs and started to ride with abandon. “Oh God, Ian. Oh…fuck…” His head fell back, the muscles in his stomach and legs bunching with strain as he moved his body.
“Hayden…” Ian warned. He tried to slow it down, tried to draw it out, this, their first time together, but it was no use.
No matter how good the intentions are, the body has its own agenda. The pleasure still built, still drew them in and Hayden’s nails dug into skin as their movements sped up and need took over. Moans got louder, rhythms broke, and thrusts turned erratic. “Oh God, Hayden…” Ian moaned as Hayden rode him hard.
“Yes, Ian! Oh fuck, Ian… I’m… I’m… oh God!” Hayden babbled, his eyes flying open in shock as his body shuddered and shook. He slammed down onto Ian hard once more and his cock jumped as he released a huge spray of cum, coating Ian’s chest and stomach in the thick white liquid.
The sight of Hayden coming with nothing other than Ian’s body buried inside him was a heady thought that took the building pleasure, tightening balls and nerves that were just on a razor’s edge and threw them into one of the most intense orgasm Ian had ever experienced. He shouted Ian’s name, surging up into him, back arched, head thrown back, hands tight enough to bruise and sight disappearing.
At some point, he became aware that Hayden was laying on top of him and he had a disconnected thought that he was still a mess and should clean up, but he couldn’t make the idea land anywhere in his brain. His arms were wrapped around Hayden, they were half on and half off the blanket and the pillow was nowhere to be found. And he was in heaven.
Ian had to clear his throat twice before he could force sound out. “Hayden?”
“Dear God, what was that?” Hayden asked from Ian’s neck.
“Um… besides the fact that we, well, we had sex?” Ian asked, amusement playing at the edge of his tone. At Hayden’s nod, he said, “Well, you have more experience than I do. I have no idea.”
There was a quiet chuckle. “Actually, I don’t. Now, anyway. I said I’d had sex with one person and that was true. But it was only ever once.”
“Oh,” Ian said, feeling ridiculously good about that. “I take it that didn’t happen last time?”
“No. But then again, I, um, topped, too.” Hayden still hadn’t moved and Ian quite couldn’t blame him. He’d be just as comfortable if he were there.
Ian blinked. “Oh.” The idea that he was Hayden’s first top rolled around his head for a moment looking for a place to take hold before it gave up too. “I… um…,” he tried again, feeling rather unintelligent in that moment, though he supposed that was acceptable after the mind-blowing orgasm he’d just had.
“Well, um…” Ian just stopped trying to think. He felt good, incredibly so, both physically and emotionally. Instead he did the only thing his brain could come up with and that was kiss any part of Hayden he could reach.
Hayden traced light patterns with his fingers on the shoulder not currently under his face, dropping his own kisses on the skin in front of him. He sat up a little and looked down into Ian’s face. He brushed at the bangs that never seemed to stay away and leaned in to kiss. When they pulled back, he traced the bruise on Ian’s neck in silence.
Ian let himself soak up the look on Hayden’s face, sure his own reflected the same feelings. He didn’t care, in fact wanted Hayden to see how he felt. He reached up and brushed at Hayden’s hair as Haden had done for him.
A moment later, Hayden eased himself off Ian and stretched out alongside him, then wrapped both arms around him and sighed. “I’m afraid I’m rather selfish.”
Ian tangled their legs together and snaked his arm around Hayden. “Oh?” he asked, burying his face in Hayden’s chest and dropping random kisses across it.
“Mmm. I don’t want to share you. I told you once I don’t want to get between you and Kane and that’s true. And… well, I won’t lie and tell you that it doesn’t bother me just a little that you sleep next to each other, but—” He squeezed his arms when Ian inhaled to argue. “—but, I understand, at least to a point. I understand why you do and I will deal with it because I don’t want to lose you. And I won’t make you choose.”
Ian closed his mouth, swallowing the comments he was going to make. They both knew who he’d choose, if he were forced. Rather than address that, he took a deep breath. “I can understand, actually, the… ‘selfishness’ as you’re calling it. I… wouldn’t be happy about it if you were in my place. I can only promise you that nothing more than sleeping will ever happen. I hug him to calm him down the rare times the nightmares break through, anyway, but that’s all.”
Hayden nodded. “I can live with that.” He paused for another of those slow, mind scrambling kisses. When they broke apart they simply stared at each other for another few moments. “I love you, Ian.”
“I love you,” Ian replied and snuggled into Hayden’s chest.
They lay quietly for a few moments then Hayden chuckled. Ian looked up with a raised eyebrow. Hayden reached up past Ian’s head and picked something up. When he held it up, Ian snickered which turned into chuckles and eventually a full laugh.
He was holding up the condoms, still in their packages.
He worked the cock over, licking, sucking, doing anything he could think of. He and Ian had done this a few times, but he was still new to it. He listened to the sounds Kenji made; paid attention to when he did something right and did his best to replicate it. “Fuck, Kane…” Kenji groaned, “Goddamn…” He pumped into Kane’s mouth, Kane working his tongue along the length then sucking on the tip. Kane relaxed his throat the way he’d learned to with Ian and swallowed Kenji on the next thrust. “Oh fuck,” Kenji nearly shouted.
Kenji pulled back then and paused, panting hard. When he could breathe again, he scooped the condom and lube back up and sat back. He ripped at the package, tossing the wrapper aside in his haste. The second the latex was on, he was back on Kane, with another of those hard kisses as he grabbed the bottle.
“Flip over,” he muttered, sitting back enough to give Kane room to move.
Kane turned around, pulling his knees up under him and looking back over his shoulder. Kenji fought with the bottle; then, when the first finger moved into him, his eyes slid closed. Kane moved against the finger, tilting his hips, hoping that Kenji would hit the spot Ian did.
It wasn’t until the second finger had been added that Kenji found it. “Oh fuck, yeah, there…” Kane moaned and Kenji brushed his fingers over it again. Kane loosed more grunts as Kenji stretched and readied him. But after only a few moments, Kane was getting frustrated. “Enough, fuck. Give me that cock, already!” he demanded.
“Impatient, aren’t you?” Kenji asked with a chuckle, moving into place.
“Fuck yeah,” Kane replied.
Kenji didn’t respond beyond that, apparently too focused on what he was doing. “Fuck that’s tight. Oh damn, Kane…” The moan was low, Kenji’s breathing short. He paused for a second, breathing fast, and Kane guessed Kenji was fighting with sanity just like he was. “God, yeah,” Kenji whispered, pulling out slightly then pushing back in, further this time.
“Goddamn you’re slow…” Kane moaned.
“I thought you’d only done this once before,” Kenji griped.
Kane chuckled. “And?” He glanced over his shoulder again with a raised eyebrow. “I want your cock in me, is there something wrong with that?”
Kenji grinned. “Hell no,” he said and pushed the rest of the way in.
“Oh Fuck!” Kane shouted. His head dropped and he panted hard as he worked to get a hold of himself and get used to being filled again. Kenji stayed there just a moment then it was Kane himself who started moving. “Fuck me, Kenji,” Kane demanded, rocking back against his boyfriend.
Kenji needed no further encouragement and he started moving, thrusting hard, pumping fast into Kane’s body. He reached up and grasped a handful of Kane’s spikes and pulled, earning him a loud groan. “God, yeah!” Kane shouted as he moved, meeting Kenji’s thrusts.
Kane got lost in the grunts and moans, the slap of skin on skin, the feel of Kenji’s body. It was unapologetically hard and it was fast and that was how he wanted it, how Kenji wanted it too, if the sounds he was making were any indication. Kane braced himself on one arm and wrapped his hand around his cock, stroking himself in time with the fast pace of Kenji’s thrusts.
“Fuck, Kane…,” Kenji moaned. “Going to come… fuck… soon…” He gave a hard thrust, pegging Kane’s prostate and puling another groan. “Oh god… now, oh fuck now! Kane!” Kenji shouted and slammed into Kane hard, cock twitching hard in Kane’s ass.
Kane was so focused on his own body and the pleasure crashing through him that he barely heard Kenji’s loud voice. He’d snatched up his shirt just in time to avoid messing up the couch. “Kenji, fuck, Kenji… coming…” he groaned loudly through harsh pants then shouted when Kenji slammed into his prostate. Kenji’s hands tightened in Kane’s hair, sharpening his orgasm and he nearly screamed with it.
They fell forward together onto the couch, Kane trying to remember how to simply breathe. “Damn, Kane,” Kenji managed between gasps.
Kane chuckled. “Something… wrong?” He swallowed around his dry throat when his voice came out in a croak.
“Hell, no. God.” Kenji sat back, and Kane hissed when he pulled out. “Sorry, you okay?”
“Yeah, fine.” He didn’t move, couldn’t really. “How the hell am I supposed to concentrate on homework after that?” Kane asked, not really expecting an answer.
He didn’t get one; Kenji laughed instead. “You’re too much, babe.” He leaned forward and dropped a kiss on Kane’s shoulder. Kane twisted around and returned it, their lips meeting again. When they broke apart, there were twin grins on their faces.
“Too much for you?” Kane asked, continuing the thought.
Kenji swatted Kane’s butt as they stood up to find clothes. “Nope. Good thing for you, too.”
“Oh, really?” Kane asked, grimacing at his shirt. “Damn, and I am not going into the bedroom.” He balled his shirt up and tossed it aside, pulling his jeans on.
Kenji chuckled. “You couldn’t pay me to go in there right now.” He pulled Kane against him. “Yeah, it’s a good thing for you. If you were too much, you wouldn’t get my thick cock in your ass as much as you want.”
“As much as I want? Are you sure you wanna offer that?” Kane asked, wrapping an arm around Kenji and squeezing his ass.
Kenji just grinned. “I can handle you.”
“Really? We’ll see about that…” Kane whispered nipping at Kenji’s neck. The reply was a quiet chuckle and an answering nip.
A short while later, Ian and Hayden emerged from the bedroom. Ian wrinkled his nose. “Better open a window, Kane.” He sighed. “And we should probably actually get some homework done. Mom may suspect something, but…”
Kane made a face, pulling himself from the couch and cracking the front window. “Yeah, we had that discussion already,” Kane said and groaned as he grabbed his bag. They shuffled to the kitchen and set up at the table. Kane and Kenji watched in amusement as Hayden pulled Ian’s chair around so that they were practically sitting in each other’s laps, anyway.
Kane shook his head then looked up in surprise when Kenji did the same to him. Kenji wouldn’t look at him, though. Instead, he put an arm around Kane and went back to his homework. Kane puzzled over it a moment, then let it go when he couldn’t figure it out and put his hand on Kenji’s knee.
That’s how Mrs. Kelley found them when she came home later that evening. She paused outside the kitchen door, watching as the two couples took their hands off each other long enough to turn a page or scratch or pick up a cup then went right back to touching.
She chuckled to herself. She’d recognized the smells. Her husband may have been gone for a long time, but she hadn’t forgotten it. A smile split her face when Hayden leaned over and kissed her son. Ian paused when he pulled back, his eyes closed for a few seconds, then Hayden lifted his hand and brushed at the bangs again.
She turned her attention to the other two. She frowned a little at Kane and his boyfriend. She could tell things weren’t the same between Kane and Kenji. He seemed happy enough, though and God knew that poor boy had little enough to be happy about for the first twelve years of his life. She hoped things would work out for them.
She backed away and turned toward her room. She’d let them have a few more minutes alone. As she stepped through her door, her eyes fell on the framed picture on her bedside table. Sean’s face grinned up at her, a tiny Ian in his arms. She swallowed around the lump that always seemed to form when she looked at it and turned to change clothes.
As she took her sweats out of her dresser, her thoughts floated back to the kitchen and she hoped that her two sons out there, the one of her body and the one of her heart, would someday be as happy as she’d had the chance to be.
She just hoped that it was sooner, rather than later, that they figured out they’d be happiest with each other.