Everything Will Turn Out Alright

by Cy-kun

Chapter 31

"This isn't your grandpa's room, is it?"

The question, which was almost enough to kill my arousal faster than a broken ankle, came to me less then a second after he pulled me into the room and closed the door with a loud 'click'. And, yeah, it's kinda wrong on at least seven different levels to be noticing the room you're in when you're about to have sex with your ultra hot boyfriend but it was just so NICE. Way nicer than a guest room should be. At least, that's what I assumed since we don't really have a guest room in our house. So I was a bit worried about getting naked in a bed where Vicky's grandpa used to sleep with his recently dead wife.

Thankfully, Vicky just laughed. "No, it's our room."

Now that was interesting. "Ours? As in, yours and mine?" Vicky nodded. "They're letting us sleep in the same room?" I asked incredulously. "In THAT big ass bed?" I pointed to the wonderful four posted monster standing proudly in the middle of the room like a kid in a locker room that just discovered he has a bigger dick than everyone else.

"Yes Nate." Vicky said patiently. "They're letting us sleep together. In THAT bed. Think we can get into it?" He flashed a seductive smile but my brain was too confused to let it work the way it usually does.

"But . . . . . why?" I asked. "Aren't they afraid I'm gonna, you know, 'dishonor you' or something?"

Vicky rolled his eyes. "No." he paused. "Well, maybe but we don't have enough rooms with my aunt and uncle and your mom and my dad to separate us unless one of us sleeps with Sarah, literally because there's one of those-" he pointed to the bed "-in every room, and there's no way she's sharing with either of us so we're stuck together."

"Oh." I said, slowly smiling. "Cool."

"Yeah, cool, can we fuck now?" Vicky asked exasperatedly.

I snorted. "And they say romance is dea-" I suddenly lost the ability to talk because Vicky had pulled off his shirt and was standing there completely and totally topless. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking 'Nate, dude, you've seen Vicky shirtless like a million times by now, surely it's not enough to make you totally speechless by this point, right?'. But you'd be forgetting one thing. Vicky's hot. And this was a brand new room I'd never seen him topless in before. And-oh sweet Jesus on a Christmas cracker in June he's taking his pants off.

He slid them down slowly and oh so seductively, baring his tan, silky smooth legs one slow inch at a time. I licked my lips and swallowed heavily, part of my brand new campaign against drooling like an idiot, until his pants were bunched up around his ankles. Oh. My. God. He wasn't wearing ANY underwear. He ate Thanksgiving dinner without ANY UNDERWEAR.

How my boner didn't rip out of my pants right then I'll never know.

He deftly stepped out of his pants more smoothly than I'd ever be able to do without hours of practice and stood there, totally naked with his stiff cock on display and a tiny smile on his lips. "So," he said, low and seductive and this time my brain had no problem reacting the way it was supposed to. "Am I the only one getting naked here? Or am I supposed to rip a hole in your pants?"

It's possible that I may be slightly oversexed because after only three days of not having Vicky that silky smooth tone shouldn't make me shudder and almost cum in my pants the way it did. I needed to get naked before this ended before it even had a chance to start. Or, maybe I should just cum now and save myself the embarrassment of exploding the second he touched me. It's not like I'm not gonna have a ridiculously short recharge time.

I didn't cum though. Instead I tore off my clothes without anything that could even optimistically be called smoothness or seduction. But judging by the way Vicky licked his lips and the slightly glazed look in his eyes I'd say I didn't even need to try. Trust me, there is NOTHING that can get you more in the mood than seeing the boy that you see as the personification of sex and desire get turned on by you just flopping out of your clothes. Nothing. It also does great things for the self esteem. "Come here." I said, my voice raspy with puberty and desire. But mostly desire. I kicked off my last sock, which made my cock slap against my stomach and a soft moan to come from Vicky's lips. I had about a second to wish I could make him do that when I'm trying to before he rushed across the room, tackled me onto the bed and planted a searing kiss on my lips.

My mouth opened the second his lips touched mine and his his tongue eagerly started exploring my mouth. I moaned and ground my cock into his and, yeah, way too long since we'd done this. My hands ran up and down his smooth naked back paying special attention to the sexy line of his spine. Yeah, even his spine is sexy. It's unfair, I know, but it's all mine so I'll get over it.

The kissing and the dry humping was great, which very quickly became a problem. As our cocks rubbed together and the sounds of our kiss muffled moans filled the room I felt a familiar tingling in my sac. Before I even had time to think "Shit! Not this fast!" I groaned loudly into Vicky's mouth and shot three days of frustration and longing between our pressed together bodies.

"Oh . . . . shit . . . ." I panted when I was done.

Vicky pulled back just enough so I could look into his eyes and see the satisfied grin on his face. "Am I really that good?"

I groaned but not with pleasure this time. "That one was all me and my amazing thrusting skills and-yeah, you are." I gave up trying to even pretend. He was way too hot and perfect to even try and mess with right now. Plus I could still feel his hard on poking me in the stomach and I really wanted to get to the rest of what I'd been missing. "Please tell me you have lube somewhere." I begged. "I packed mine but it's in the car and if I have to go out into the arctic wilderness and get it I'm not gonna be up for anything but curing my frostbite with-" I was cut off by a pair of moist, sexy lips. What was I saying again?

He pulled back from the kiss and gave the tip of my nose a little lick. I scrunched up my nose. It tickled. "That is too cute." Vicky said. "And don't worry about the lube." And with that his sexy self crawled off the bed, giving me a GREAT view of his perfectly rounded ass, and walked over to his pants and took a small bottle out of his pocket. "Got it covered." he grinned as he came back to the bed.

No underwear AND a bottle of lube in his pocket during Thanksgiving dinner? Oh yeah, I have the best boyfriend ever. And I was hard again.

He crawled back over to me and dangled the lube bottle in front of my face. I smiled, then frowned. "Hey! That's my lube!"

Vicky giggled. "No it's not."

"Yes it is!" I said. "I stole it from CVS."

"WE stole it from CVS." Vicky said with a smirk. "And then you left it at my house. So it's mine. And are we really gonna argue about this now?"

I might have thought about it but Vicky decided to pop the bottle open and pour a bit of the lube onto his fingers which he then started to slowly stroke up and down his cock so instead of thinking I just croaked out "No. No I'm good." and laid back to watch the show. It was a rerun, but one of my favorites.

I wished I had water nearby because watching Vicky kneeling on the bed in front of me getting his cock all shiny and glisteny was more than enough to make my throat go Sahara dry in seconds. I take back the rerun comment too. It was more like watching a rerun on a different TV with the tint settings just a little bit off from yours because the room was lit by one single bright ass fluorescent light in the ceiling that lit Vicky up in ways I'd never seen before. The shadows on his body were all different and it was almost like seeing him naked for the first time again.

Yeah, not gonna have ANY problems with my recharge time tonight.

Vicky stopped stroking himself and I started to protest before my brain caught up and remembered WHY he'd stopped. I grinned and opened my legs invitingly.

"Ready?" he asked, flashing me his wicked grin.

"Hell yeaaaaah." I moaned.

"You know," Vicky said thoughtfully. "We can't be too loud. The walls are kinda thin the room is pretty close to the living room."

"I'll keep it down." I said, knowing full well that I was probably lying my ass off, but way too horny to care.

Vicky raised an eyebrow, obviously not believing me (my boy's smart) then his face lit up. "I got an idea!" And with that he rummaged around on the floor by the bed and picked up a sock. He held it out to me and I took it between two fingers and held it up questioningly. "Put it in your mouth." he said.

I looked hesitantly at the sock. "What, now?"

"You know . . . . " Vicky trailed off shyly and his cheeks got just the slightest bit red. "Like, for a gag." He looked away.

"You . . . wanna gag me?"

"No! Well, it's just-for the noise, you know?" he stammered. "I just don't want anyone hearing and you can be loud and I just thought . . . ." he trailed off, then glanced quickly at me. "Never mind. It was stupid."

"It's not stupid." I said, because, well, it wasn't. I'm not exactly quiet during sex and having Vicky's entire family hear me moaning while he's fucking me was pretty much at the top of my "Things That Will Emotionally Destroy Me for Life" list. But I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about being gagged and I was kinda getting the feeling that he wasn't just suggesting it because it was practical. Still, it wasn't all that long ago that I told him he could tie me up and this seemed a bit less, I dunno, extreme than that, right? And I'd never not liked anything Vicky suggested in the past. I shrugged. "Maybe not a sock." I said finally, coming to a decision.

Vicky looked back at me and this time didn't look away. "Huh?"

"We can do it." I said, giving him my best reassuring smile. I definitely got how hard it was to suggest new things, especially things like this, and it's been a while since I was the one doing the 'confident boyfriend bit' so I decided to go all out with making him feel comfortable. "Just not with the sock. It smells like feet and you kinda got lube all over it."

Vicky blinked, then looked down at his luby hands and laughed sheepishly. "Oh. Yeah. Kinda forgot about that." He quickly wiped them off on his legs.

I laughed. "Ok, how about . . . ." I looked around for something.

"How about these?" he asked suddenly. I looked back to him and saw that he had my boxers held gingerly between two fingers by the waistband.

"You want me to put my own underwear in my mouth?"

Vicky glanced down and mumbled something.


"I said it'd be hot." he said louder, looking me in the eyes.

I thought about it for a few seconds, but I dunno why I bothered. When have I ever been able to refuse Vicky? "Ok." I said with a shrug. Better than socks I guess. I went to reach for them but he pulled back.

"Um." he said hesitantly. "Can I?"

I blinked. "Oh. Uh, sure." Shit, what was the protocol for something like this? Do I like, open my mouth and wait? Do we need to kiss or something first? Why does no one ever cover this kinda stuff when they write their kinky sex stories?!

I opened my mouth to ask Vicky, he was the one who wanted to do it so let him tell me how the hell this works, when I suddenly found myself sitting naked in bed with a pair of boxers in my mouth. Ok. That works I guess. I looked at Vicky and he looked back, chewing on his bottom lip. "That is so hot." he said breathlessly.

I would have said something back but didn't, for the obvious reason and because I was too busy being grateful that underwear that I'd been wearing all day didn't taste like anything but cotton. I didn't see what was hot about me with balled up fabric in my mouth but the lust in Vicky's eyes kinda dialed up to eleven so . . . . yeah, just going with it. "Mmpf." I said.

I really wasn't saying anything. I was just kinda testing it out to see how much it really muffled my voice (surprisingly well if you care) but apparently Vicky translated that into "Pounce. Now!" because the next thing I knew I was flat on my back with a Vicky on top of me kissing and licking and -oh my God!- biting the side of my neck. I moaned (muffled of course) and arched up into his body. Ohhhhh yeah. His tongue and lips and teeth on my neck and his silky lower abdomen on my cock was almost too much. I clenched my eyes shut and started wishing that my boxers tasted like old sweaty me so I'd have something unpleasant to focus on so I could maybe keep from shooting all over the place before he got in me for the second fucking time.

Then he stopped and all I could do was moan in frustration. No! I want the lips back where they were! Yeah, I'm being fickle. Deal with it.

I pleaded with my eyes for him to do something, anything, and he gave me a shaky smile. "This, um, might not last long." he said. "So turned on." He moaned and I barely had time to realize he was lining up before he pushed into me.

I screamed into my boxers. It had been three days since I had anything up there but that wasn't why I screamed. If I could think I might of thought it was a bit strange how there was like no pain at all. I was full and unprepped and I could feel every single inch of him but the only thing I felt were all those inches pressed right up against my prostate. So I screamed and thrashed and pulled him close and looked right in his eyes and used every bit of will power I had to force one single word out of my gagged mouth.

"Hard." I growled.

And my Vicky obeyed.

I wrapped my legs around his waist as he thrust into me with every ounce of strength his slim little hips could manage. Every single thrust hit my prostate and in between muffled moans and whimpers of pleasure I had the sudden thought that it was insanely unfair that anyone could be as good at sex as Vicky. Then I told myself to shut the hell up because I was the only one getting the benefit of his sex awesomeness and then I stopped talking to myself and just enjoyed.

It felt like I could feel every vein and ridge in his cock as he powered into me. How I didn't just completely break I'll never know but never once did I feel anything but mind blowing pleasure. Vicky started panting and his body started to get slick with sweat. The pace he was setting must have been exhausting but he never slowed even for a second. He just leaned down and pressed his forehead to mine as he fucked me and I was about to spit out the boxers so I could kiss those slightly open lips and fuck it if anyone heard when the loudest scream of the night tore from my throat and for only the second time in my life I came without anything touching my dick.

"Oh God!" Vicky groaned, biting his lip hard to keep his own moan as silent as possible as his cock started shuddering and pulsing inside me. As he came he gave three slow, hard thrusts and then collapsed on my chest, still inside me and panting for air.

I tried to do my own panting but kinda forgot about the boxers and maybe sorta accidentally almost swallowed them. I coughed, gagged a bit, then pulled them out of my mouth and dropped them on the floor. Then I joined Vicky in the panting.

"Don't . . ." Vicky gasped. "Don't . . . throw them . . . away."

"Why . . . not?" I asked.

He lifted up off my chest and supported himself on shaky arms so he could look right into my eyes. "Not . . ." He took a deep swallow of air. "Not done yet." he said with a smoldering look.

I blinked. Once. Twice. Then a slow smile formed on my lips. I clenched my ass around Vicky's amazingly still hard cock and he gave a tiny whimper as he shuddered. The smile turned into a grin seeing how much he still wanted me.

"Well," I said and gave his cock another squeeze. "I'll get the gag then."

Sex marathon doesn't even BEGIN to describe how we spent the night. I never in a billion years would have thought being too nervous and anxious and freaked out and pissed to jerk off for three days would ever lead to anything good but I've never been happier to be wrong. We stayed up until almost two in the morning doing nothing but having sex and recovering from having sex. (With a short break to dress and make my mom brave the Siberian tundra to get me my suitcase.)

We weren't apart long enough for it to be "reconnection" sex (not to mention that it wasn't a Lifetime movie) but after the first few times we got off it stopped being just about pleasure and it turned into a total claiming. Every thrust said "mine! mine! mine!" and every answering moan said "yours! yours! yours!". We used sex to wipe away any tiny little trace of fear that might have been left over from my dad about us being separated. We weren't closer than we were before. It would probably take five super geniuses and a room full of whiteboards with math written all over them to find a way for me and Vicky to be closer. It was more like we were showing the world that nothing was ever gonna get between us and every time something tried it was just gonna end with us back together and happier than before. Even though no one but us was there to, you know, see said showing.

I never said it was gonna make sense.

I actually kinda hate to admit it but the gag was a really great idea. There was about three seconds the entire night when I MIGHT have been able to control how loud I was being. Plus it ended up getting a lot hotter after we used it to clean up each time we finished. Something about tasting me and Vicky's mixed cum while I was getting drilled from behind by him was insanely erotic, if a bit weird. But I guess it's not as weird as crown sex being as hot as it was so maybe I should just accept that we're into some odd shit and look forward to the next time Vicky springs some strange bedroom thing on me.

After the sex we were gonna take a few minutes to recover and then shower but instead we ended up falling asleep until morning. Thank God for doors with locks.

Can I just say, waking up covered in dried, crusty cum with your boyfriend stuck to your back is probably the least pleasant way to wake up that doesn't involve a surprise alien invasion?

Yes. Yes I can say that.

After ripping ourselves apart we threw on the closest clothes we could find and ran to the shower. Well, showers really I guess, since we weren't gonna risk sharing one with his whole family there. I took the one in the hallway bathroom and Vicky used his grandpa's. We were the last ones up so there was no one beating down the door to get in. Which was awesome because there was no way I was gonna move once the hot, strong spray of water started soothing aches I didn't even know I had. It was an hour before I even bothered to wash my hair. After the shower I was looking around to try and find some toothbrushes and maybe a brush that hadn't already been used when I found something even better.

A half empty bottle of Vicky's strawberry body spray.

I stared at it, then slowly grinned. Oh, hell yes.

Ten minutes later I was downstairs in the dining room waiting for Vicky while my mom made us breakfast. Will, Anne and Sarah went out for breakfast because they were freaks and got up at like 7AM or something unholy like that and hadn't gotten back yet. Timothy had eaten earlier and was in the living room so it was only gonna be me, mom Vicky and Jack if he ever got up (don't wanna even think about why he might be so tired) at breakfast and I was kinda relieved. I liked Vicky's family, with the possible exception of the scary grandpa, but I'm an only child (technically) with a single parent. I pretty much overdosed on family time yesterday.

"Hey!" Vicky said, walking in with his hair still wet and a cheerful smile on his face. "Is your mom making us something?" he looked longingly towards the kitchen.


"It smells gre-" he stopped as he sat down next to me. He leaned towards me and started sniffing the air. "Dude, what's that smell?"

I grinned. "Found your body spray."

"Did you spill it or something?"

I cocked my head. "Um, no. I used it. Why?"

Vicky's eyes widened and he sniffed again. "Um, how much did you use?"

I shrugged, not really seeing where this was going. "I dunno. I sprayed it a few times. Why?"

"How much is a few?"

"I dunno? Twenty?"

"Twenty!" Vicky yelled. "Holy shit Nate. You're only supposed to spray it twice!"


"So?! You smell like a . . . a . . . strawberry factory!" he finished.

I raised my eyebrows. "A strawberry factory?"

"Yeah. A strawberry factory." Vicky said with a sharp nod.

"Like, a factory that makes strawberries?" I smirked.

"Just, shut up." Vicky huffed.

I ignored him. "Because you do know strawberry's grow on trees, right?"

"Shut up."

"And they aren't made in factories, right?" I continued.

"You used way too much!" Vicky threw his hands in the air. I filed that away for the next time he said I was being too dramatic. "And if there WERE strawberry factories you'd smell like one."

I sighed and took a sniff. Yeah, I smelled slightly of strawberries but so did Vicky when I got really close to him and I was really close to myself so that's why I kept smelling it right? "I don't smell much of anything."

"Because using so much probably blew out your sense of smell. Can you smell breakfast cooking?"

I took another sniff and was slightly alarmed when all I could smell was strawberries. "Um. No."

"See? Told you."

I took a few more sniffs and, holy crap, I really couldn't smell anything but strawberries. "Well, now was I supposed to know how much to use?" I said defensively and crossed my arms, which probably canceled out any leverage the hand throwing gave me.

"It says right on the back of the bottle." Vicky said. "Spray twice for fresh berry scent."

"Who the hell reads the bottles?" I grumbled. I may have even been pouting a bit.

Thankfully my mom decided to come out with breakfast before Vicky could start gloating. "Nate, why don't you go get-oh, Vicky you're up." she smiled and put two plates filled with eggs, bacon and waffles on the table in front of us. "Hungry?"

Vicky stared at the food and let out the cutest little moan. "Oh God yes. Are those Belgian waffles?"

"Of course." mom said happily. Even after all this time she was still a total sucker for Vicky's compliments on her cooking. "Here, take this plate. I'll go get another one for me." she gestured to the plate she'd put in front of Vicky, then went back into the kitchen.

She'd barely turned around before Vicky drowned his waffles in powdered sugar and started shoveling food into his mouth. Somehow he even managed to make that look adorable. And even if it wasn't, at least he was distracted from giving me crap about the strawberry stuff.

I snatched the powdered sugar from him when he wasn't looking and covered my own waffles. He gave me a tiny glare but I just stuck my tongue at him and took my time making sure every waffle was coated with equal amounts of sugar. When I was done I'd barely put the sugar cup down on the table when Vicky grabbed it and sprinkled some sugar on the one tiny corner of his last waffle that was bare. He gave it a satisfied smile before shoving half of it in his mouth.

"Vicky, don't choke." my mom said offhandedly as she came back in and sat down next to me at the head of the table where Timothy was sitting last night. She started eating without even bothering to see if he listened. Gotta love halfhearted morning parenting. We ate in silence for a few minutes before my mom looked up and frowned. "What's that strawberry smell?"

Vicky burst out laughing (thankfully it was between giant mouthfulls) and I groaned and covered my face with my hands. Between my fingers I saw her looking back and forth between us, a confused smile tugging at her lips. "What?" she asked.

"Nate-" Vicky started.

"Strawberry body spray." I cut him off. Please let that be it. Please let that be it. Please let that be it.

"Oh. It's pretty, um, strong." she said. "How much did you guys use?"


I opened my mouth to answer but this time Vicky cut me off. "I used two sprays like it said on the bottle." he shot me a smirk. It made him look sexy and that kinda annoyed me more than the smirk. "But Nate didn't read the bottle and used thirty."

"Twenty!" I said.

"Nate!" my mom exclaimed, then shook her head and laughed. "No wonder you smell like a strawberry factory."

Peals of hysterical laughter from Vicky weren't enough to drown out my groan. He kept laughing until tears were streaming down his face and he could barely catch his breath. I scowled at him. Serves him right. For what? I dunno. But it does. I sighed. No, no it didn't. Dammit sometimes I really wish I could stay mad at him.

"What's so funny?" my mom asked with an amused grin.

"Nothing." I said. "Vicky's just being stupid."

"St-strawberry factory!" Vicky said then started laughing again.

My mom stared at him for a few seconds, then shrugged and went back to eating. I started stealing the last of Vicky's waffles while he was distracted by trying to breathe. When he noticed he stopped immediately with an indignant "Hey!" and started stealing my bacon.

My mom rolled her eyes at us and we grinned at each other. Like a breakfast ninja I struck, stealing an entire waffle from my mom's plate and putting it on Vicky's while he gave me back my bacon. Fair trade all around.

"Hey. I was gonna eat that." my mom complained and lightly swatted my head. Well, except for her I guess but who really cares. I just flashed her my best innocent smile and went back to eating, glad that I had my bacon back and that me and Vicky could put the strawberry thing behind us.

We ate for a few more minutes before Jack walked into the dining room. He was the only one of us not dressed, wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a loose, white t-shirt. He hadn't shaved and his hair was hanging loosely around his face instead of in it's usual ponytail. "Hey guys." he said tiredly. His bleary eyes lit up a bit when he saw the food. "Breakfast!" he said eagerly.

My mom smiled warmly at him. "Sit down, I'll get you a plate."

He walked past her, giving her hand a slight squeeze as he went by, and sat down across from me and rolled his eyes at me and Vicky's gagging sounds. "Like you two have any room to talk." he muttered.

We giggled softly and smiled at each other as my mom came back in with a plate for Jack. "Mmmmm." Jack moaned. "That looks amazing Julia, thanks."

Her face lit up with what on anyone else I would have called a grin of girlish glee but there was no way I could think of my mom like that. Still, it'd be nice to get a look like that from Vicky, only without the girlish part . . . . . maybe I could make her teach me how to cook? "You're welcome." she said happily and started finishing up her own breakfast.

We ate in another comfortable silence before Jack stopped eating and looked around the room. He sniffed the air. "Hey," he asked. "Why does it smell like a strawberry factory in here?"

Two hours, one shower, two sprays of strawberry body spray (applied by a smirking Vicky while an aristocratically detached Nate raised his arms and bore it with a stoic dignity) and one pleading conversation with a mom who was scared to let her son wander off into the big bad city without a National Guard escort later and me and Vicky were off to explore New York.

"I can't believe she actually let us go." Vicky said as we walked down the sidewalk towards the nearest subway.

"I know." I let out another relieved sigh. "It's not like we're going to go all 'Die Hard With A Vengeance' in the middle of of Harlem or something. I'm just glad your dad was on our side."

Vicky shrugged. "I used to go around on my own all the time when I was younger. He knows I know what places to stay away from. Just don't tell him we took the subway."

That snapped my head around. Ok, so, even though I'd just spent like an hour trying to convince my mom that there was nothing to be worried about with me and Vicky going off into the city alone I was actually a little less than calm about it but we told Jack everything we were planning to do and he didn't have a problem with any of it. If we were doing anything that I should worry about he'd have said something and that was going a long way to helping me not freak out. So that comment from Vicky kinda bothered me. A little. Almost not even enough to mention, really. "What do you mean? Aren't the subway's safe? Why wouldn't he want us using them? Are we gonna die?"

Vicky looked at me and laughed. "Nate, calm down. No, we're not gonna die. My dad just doesn't like me on the subway's by myself-but don't worry!" Vicky quickly added, probably seeing a tiny, barely there, again not even worth mentioning panic rising in my eyes. "The stations up here are actually really safe and clean and I know when to get off before we get near any dangerous ones so there's nothing to worry about." he gave me a reassuring smile.

I was less than reassured.

"Maybe we should just walk?" I suggested hesitantly. "Or get a cab?" Jack and my mom did both give us a lot of cash to take with us, so it's not like we couldn't afford it.

Instead of jumping on my incredibly reasonable alternative though Vicky just laughed again. "You're such a country boy. It'd take us hours to walk to all the places we wanna go and have you SEEN how people drive in this city? We'd be more likely to get hit by a car crossing the streets or getting into a crash in a cab than getting mugged or kidnapped in the subway." he grabbed my hand and gave it a quick squeeze before letting it go almost immediately. Great, I can only think of one reason for Vicky to be hesitant about public displays. Apparently in addition to possible robbery, kidnappings and car related fatalities it wasn't safe for us to be 'open' around here either. "We'll be fine."

"Maybe they can put that on our graves." I mumbled.

Vicky giggled.

It turns out he was right though. Not that it bothered me. I'd much rather be wrong than, you know, dead. The subway was a bit scary at first. Standing underground surrounded by people who stepped on you without even looking to see what was in their way was more than a little intimidating at first but no one bothered us. We got on and rode around for a while, even bonding with the people in our car over our mutual angry glares at the fat woman taking up three seats with her gigantic ass. When we finally got out I saw what Vicky meant about the subway's by his grandpa's house being clean though. That station just had (mostly) dried gum and coffee cups all over the concrete floor. The one we got off at had all that plus a sticky floor and the nice scent of urine soaked vomit floating through the air.

"Maybe we should have got off one stop earlier." Vicky commented after dodging a suspicious looking pile of . . . . something.

Only the mass of people around me kept me from bolting out of the station after that.

Everything was better when we got out though. The air smelled fresh and clean (which, if you've ever been in the city, should tell you how bad it was in the station) and the streets were a lot less gross. It was kind of a shock though, getting onto a train in an area with mostly just houses and getting off right in the middle of huge crowds and amazingly tall buildings. I stood there on the street staring straight up with a look of open mouthed awe on my face.

"My little tourist." Vicky leaned close and whispered teasingly into my ear. Beyond almost absently shivering at his breath on my ear I didn't care. I was right in the middle of New York City with my boyfriend next to me and an entire world of new experiences in front of me just waiting to be snatched up. Suddenly I was way too excited to be scared.

I soaked in the sight of the tall skyscrapers up close for another minute before turning to Vicky with a giddy grin. "Ok," I said, practically bouncing. "Where are we going first?"

We spent an amazing two days exploring the city. We started out with Times Square which was exactly like it always looks in movies and during the New Years Eve ball dropping thing, which really shouldn't be a surprise but I'd always kinda suspected that they didn't have nearly that many lights and signs turned on usually and that they kinda 'spiced it up' whenever the cameras were on to draw tourists in. I had another of what Vicky laughingly called my "tourist moments" just gaping at all the flashing and blinking that should have been tacky as hell but was actually really beautiful. When I got myself back together Vicky took me around and played tour guide, pointing out all the famous buildings and telling me a little bit about most of them. We saw the MTV studios, the Times Square Studios where they film Good Morning America, the Coca-Cola sign, The Hard Rock Cafe, One Times Square (where they drop the ball on New Years) and a bunch more. He even pointed out where WWF New York/The World used to be before it closed.

Next we went to the Museum of Natural History and we both got "touristy" at all the dinosaur bones, (Hey, we're still young enough to think dinosaurs are awesome) followed by a walk through Central Park and a quick run back to Times Square to go through Ripley's Believe It or Not and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The next day we went out even earlier and spent most of the day visiting Ellis and Liberty Islands. Vicky showed me his great-grandpa's name on the immigration register at Ellis Island and we got to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty and visit the Liberty Island Science Center, which is a lot more fun that it sounds. Well, except for the torture chamber they call the Dark Tunnel. That fucking thing should be outlawed. It's basically this huge curvy wooden tunnel that's completely covered up so no light gets in and you can't see that they throw you and a small group of "teammates" into. You're supposed to use touch to find your way through it but it's confusing and terrifying and after five minutes of some asshole kid in the back of our group pushing at me and Vicky (who were in the front) and shouting at us to "go left" (which I couldn't because there was a fucking WALL to my left) I had a brand new case of claustrophobia to deal with and Vicky was shaking with fear. When we finally made it out we both just looked at each other and shuddered.

We silently agreed never to speak of the horror ever again.

After that we had lunch and calmed down before going to the Empire State building and taking the elevator to the observation area at the top. It was a half hour wait just to get on the damn elevator and I didn't wanna wait, both because I was impatient and because getting into a tiny box wasn't the most appealing thing to me right then, but Vicky looked at me like I was insane when I suggested we just walk up.

"No freaking way!" he said once he realized I was serious.

"Why not? We're not fat or anything. We've been walking all day and I'm not even tired. It's better than standing around waiting for an elevator."

"Nate, it takes thirty minutes because that's how long it takes the elevator to go up and come back down. That's fifteen minutes going straight up REALLY fast and you wanna walk that? It'll take hours! If we even make it halfway, which we won't." I started to protest but he cut me off. "You know how much it sucks to walk from the lunch room to Mr Harris' room?"

The lunch room is at the bottom of the school and Mr Harris' room is on the top floor. I've been late a few times and ended up running up four flights of stairs and, yeah, not fun. "Ok." I said, giving in. "Let's wait for the elevator."

It was worth the wait.

Being up on top of one of those skyscrapers was even more amazing standing at the bottom and looking up. And a LOT scarier. I was glad they had those huge safety fences, especially when I noticed that the WHOLE FUCKING BUILDING was MOVING with the wind.

"Ohmygod it's moving!" I yelped and clung to Vicky, totally forgetting about the 'not safe to touch' thing.

"It's ok." Vicky said soothingly and wrapped his arms around me. "All the tall buildings move when there's wind. They're supposed to do that. We're safe."

I took a few deep breaths as I let his words sink in. Ok, ok, that makes NO sense at all, why the HELL would anyone build something that moves in the freaking wind, but I'm gonna trust that Vicky knows a hell of a lot more about this that I do. Ok, Nate, just calm down.

I'm not sure if it was what Vicky said, his arms around me or maybe it was just like getting sea legs and I stopped noticing the movement so much but I actually did calm down. I took a final deep breath, then shivered and moved closer to Vicky. Fuck it was cold up here! I'd prepared for the freezingness before we left, raiding Vicky's suitcase and stealing two of his sweaters and wearing my thickest pair of jeans, but it was a lot colder this high up than it was on the ground. There weren't that many people up here but I wouldn't have cared if there were. Between being scared of the swaying building and then being insanely freezing I didn't care if anyone was gonna give us crap for being close. I just wanted Vicky's warmth.

I pulled him as close as possible and held him tightly and at some point it stopped being about getting warm and became more about just being close to him. I'd loved the way he'd been showing me around the city he grew up in, pointing out things he knew I'd like and not really giving me too much shit for acting like a tourist and probably embarrassing him. It really felt like I was sharing a part of his life that I'd never had access to before and this time I actually did feel closer to him. Like I finally had a claim on his past as well as his present and future and I made a silent promise to take him to Alaska someday so he could have the same feeling.

I pulled back just enough to look into his eyes. The wind was blowing my hair into my face and he gently reached out and brushed it behind my ear, giving me a shy smile. The cold made our rapid breathing visible puffs of air in the space between us. Here I was at the top of the world with Vicky in my arms and feeling more in love with him than ever, it was way too romantic not to kiss him.

It was a lot like our first kiss. I slowly moved my head towards his, keeping our eyes locked until the last possible second before closing them and slightly turning my head. Just like the first time my lips had barely brushed his before he leaned closer and locked his lips to mine. Unlike the first one though we didn't start going at each other frantically. We took our time. It was a slow, exploring kiss and even after our mouths opened and our tongues met it stayed that way. Slow, gentle and romantic as all hell.

Finally we pulled apart. Vicky's cheeks were flushed and his lips were swollen and he had the most beautiful, blissful smile on his face. My hair blew in my face again and he brushed it back. "I love you." he said.

"I love you too." I said, smiling.

We stared into each others eyes for a few more minutes before turning and walking to the edge of the observation area where we stood watching the city down below, hand in hand, together.

An hour later (elevator wait and ride included) we went to go see Ground Zero. It was a lot less romantic, to say the least. I was only three during 9/11 so I didn't really expect it to have that much of an impact on me, but standing in an area where three thousand people died for no good reason at all actually hit me pretty hard. And when I realized that Vicky had actually been living IN the city when it happened, that there was even the smallest chance that he could have been hurt or killed and not standing next to me right now, I had to blink back sudden tears. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it as hard as I could, needing to remind myself that he WAS here, unhurt and whole and mine.

I was suddenly very glad I'd never seen much footage of what happened that day.

We didn't let go of each other the entire time we were there and while we did end up getting some stares and snickers at the Empire State Building, no one here seemed all that eager to mock the gay boys in the middle of Ground Zero. Not even the people coming and going from a nearby church.

There wasn't much that was actually finished to see there, which was kinda strange seeing as it's been almost ten years, but we saw everything we could. Sites of future buildings, an unfinished memorial, an unfinished museum. The lack of progress was depressing in it's own right, Vicky was pretty somber the whole time we were there, and we didn't stay long.

As we left I pulled Vicky into a tight hug and whispered "I love you." into his ear. We parted and he smiled radiantly, the first smile he'd had since getting there, and gave me a quick kiss.

"Come on." he said. "Let's go home."

Assuming he was talking about his grandpa's house, we didn't get home right away. In the cab (yep, I finally convinced him to get into a cab. It wasn't nearly as bad as he said it would be, the guy only ran two red lights and clipped a bike messenger. Not exactly the yellow horseman of the Apocalypse he made it out to be) Vicky suddenly turned to me and asked if I wanted to see the house he grew up in. I eagerly jumped at the chance to be a part of more of Vicky's past and that's how we found ourselves standing on the sidewalk in a neighborhood filled with really nice houses very close to where his grandpa lived. "Only two blocks away." Vicky had said.

Whatever the hell a 'block' is.

Vicky's old house was really nice, about the same size as his grandpa's but with a tiny little fenced in yard that ended at the sidewalk. As far as yards go it was kinda pathetic, but I'm sure it was a Big Deal to people living in a city. Especially if they had dogs. After that Vicky walked me around the neighborhood, pointing out different things that meant something to him and telling me stories about things he did as a kid. I loved hearing it all. Sometimes he'd get so descriptive and into it it was almost like I'd been there and Vicky was just reminiscing with me.

"-and that one's where Mrs Avery lives." Vicky pointed to a disturbingly ugly bright pink house. "One year for Halloween she gave everyone apples and the next year no one stopped by her house so the year after THAT she had this huge sign out front that said 'I promise I have candy this year' in giant letters." he giggled. "I was the first one to ring her doorbell and she was so relieved that she poured half the candy bowl in my bag."

I laughed. "Sounds awesome. What did you go as that year?" Vicky suddenly looked away shyly and mumbled something under his breath. "What did you say?" I asked.

"Luke Skywalker." he mumbled. Before I could say anything his head shot back to mine with a glare. "And don't you dare say anything!"

I closed my mouth, but didn't bother trying to hide the grin. Vicky rolled his eyes and sighed. "You know-"

"Vicky?" Came a surprised voice from behind us. Vicky went completely still, the playfully exasperated look on his face immediately stiffening up into something that I wasn't used to seeing on him. Dread, mixed with pain. "Vicky Clarke? What are you doing here?"

I froze too, shocked and worried at the sudden change. A thousand questions ran through my head but the moment passed before I could even pull myself together enough to look back at the person who spoke. Vicky's expression cleared and he just looked resigned. He closed his eyes and took a deep, not so steady breath before turning around. "Hi Ben." he said softly.

I spun around, fast and seriously undignified, but at least I didn't fall. Even though Vicky had only even mentioned him two or three times, I didn't have any trouble remembering who he was. Ben. The first person that Vicky even had feelings for and the first (and last!) boy that ever broke his heart. The nemesis from Vicky's backstory that was the star of several "leaping-to-the-rescue Super Nate" fantasies I'd had since getting with Vicky. And yes, some of them included a cape and spandex. So, while I'd never expected it to happen, I did think more than a little bit about what I'd do if I ever met him face to face. But like pretty much everything that goes on in my head, it doesn't match up with reality all that much. Instead of jumping in to save Vicky from emotional pillaging or cutting the top of his head off with telekinesis and a pointed finger all I could do was stare and think "Holy shit, Vicky has a type."

It was like looking in a weird funhouse mirror but instead of making me fat or skinny it made me mouthwateringly gorgeous. He was slightly tanned, a few inches taller and his hair was a lot longer, coming down past his shoulders and tied back loosely, but pretty much everything else was the same. Same blond hair, same blue eyes, almost the exact same body type and he even dressed similar. And yet he somehow managed to be like a million times hotter than I'd ever be. I did have to sneer at his Human Torch t-shirt though.

If you're gonna wear a superhero shirt, Cap is much more tasteful.

Even with how disturbingly similar we looked though I didn't once worry that Vicky was only attracted to me because I looked like Ben. I remember the pain in his voice the first time he told me the story of what Ben did to him so if anything how alike we looked would have worked against me, not drew Vicky towards me. Some people just have a type. Just because I would have spread my legs for the first person that showed even a passing interest (before meeting Vicky of course) doesn't mean everyone would. I'm actually pretty damn glad I can be what Vicky was attracted to. It kinda answers the "why would someone as amazingly hot as Vicky ever want me?" question, even if I hadn't asked it in a long time.

I was drawn out of my thoughts and back into the real world by the sound of Ben's voice. "Holy shit, it really is you." he said wide eyed. His surprise only lasted a second though before his lips tightened and his eyes narrowed. "What the fuck are you doing here?" his glare slid over to me before going back to Vicky and if he noticed how similar we looked his expression never showed it. Probably one of those people that can't possibly conceive of ANYONE looking as drool-worthy as they do. Not that I'm bitter or anything. "And who the hell is this?"

"I'm visiting for Thanksgiving." Vicky said in a soft voice, not looking at Ben.

"I'm his boyfriend." I said at the same time in a much louder and harsher tone. Hot model clone or not, there was no way I was just gonna stand there staring at him while just a look from this guy was making Vicky totally curl in on himself.

Ben's eyes widened again, this time in shock, and he looked like he was about to take a step back before his look hardened and he glanced between us with a small sneer on his lips. "I thought we all made it really clear that no one wants you around here anymore but do you stay gone after running away? No. You come back and not only that but you bring some little fag with you."

"Don't call him that." Vicky snapped and I couldn't stop myself from grinning. He was definitely looking at Ben now and the glare he was shooting him was pure Vicky. At least, it was the Vicky I knew. It must not of been the Vicky Ben knew because he got another surprised look on his face before the sneer fell back into place.

He snorted. "Well, look who grew some balls. Too bad you only use them to tea bag your little pretty boy."

"Fuck you!" I yelled. "Vicky's always had balls. It's not his fault you were too stupid to realize that he was the best friend you could ever hope to have." I tried out a sneer of my own, really hoping I didn't look as stupid as I thought I might. "But I'm actually glad you didn't. As much as I hate that Vicky went through so much crap because of you if you were even a little bit less of a total shit head asshole Vicky never would have moved and I never would have met him. So next time you're laying in bed all naked and se-" shit was I really about to say sexy?- "stupid jerking off thinking about some big titted slut try not to think about all the sweaty, sticky boy sex me and Vicky are having all because of you!"

It was about then, when Ben was staring at me horrified like my nose had just turned into a penis, that I noticed a few things. One was a small crowd of kids that had at some point gathered across the street to watch our unexpected drama. Two was Vicky covering his mouth looking like he couldn't decide whether he was turned on, terrified, or about to burst out laughing. Three was that I might have, possibly, maybe, just sorta been a little bit louder than I meant to be, judging by the looks on the faces of our audience. But you know what? I didn't care. I don't know these people and their not part of Vicky's life anymore so who cares what they think? All that mattered was standing up for Vicky and doing everything I could to keep this asshole from the past from making him feel even the littlest bit bad.

"F-fuck you." Ben said shakily. Ha! Didn't look so confident anymore did he? Maybe I found an effective weapon against homophobes, making them picture the boys standing in front of them getting it on. Like the last few times though, he recovered pretty quickly. "It doesn't even matter. So you found another fag to be all faggy with, big deal. Everyone here still hates you and wants you gone. So just get the fuck out of here before I beat your ass."

I instantly went into protect mode and started to lunge at Ben-no one gets to threaten Vicky!-but Vicky stepped in front of me, put both hands on my chest and held me back. "Don't Nate." he said evenly. I stopped immediately, but cocked my head and gave him a questioning look. He just smiled his Vicky smile and gave me a grateful look. "You know what? It doesn't even matter." He gave my shoulder a quick squeeze and turned around to face Ben. He just looked at him for a second, then shook his head. I couldn't see the look on Vicky's face, but I could hear the smirk in his voice. "I can't believe I ever liked you. You're actually . . . . really pathetic, Ben." He let out a short, soft laugh. "Not even worth our time." He turned back to me and took my hand. "Come on, Nate. Let's go back and get some dinner. There's nothing important for us to do here." And with that he started walking away, past Ben, pulling me gently behind him. A part of me still wanted to kick Ben's ass, but an even bigger part of me realized that it probably would have been impossible and an even bigger part that didn't even care because I didn't even need to. I'd only do it to protect Vicky and it was pretty obvious that Vicky didn't need any protecting from Ben anymore.

We got about three steps away before Ben got his last shot in. "I always liked your grandma Vicky, but I'm glad she died before she had to see you holding hands with another guy." Vicky froze next to me and I saw a look of absolute, cut to the bone hurt on his face. It was only there for a second, but I saw it.

It occurred to me then that I'm actually kind of a forgiving person. I forgave Jen for outing me and Vicky. I forgave my mom and Jack for scarring me for life with their sex talk. I forgave Skip for, well, being Skip. I even forgave Carl for kissing Vicky and trying to break us up. I don't really like holding grudges and I really just don't have the personality for it. I'd much rather avoid something or deal with it and move on. Holding something inside of you like that is just way too stressful and gets in the way of enjoying life. But the second I saw that look on Vicky's face I knew that no matter how long I lived and no matter what happened in my life that I'd never, ever, forgive Ben for putting it there.

Looking back I'm sure it only worked because we were already so close and all his attention was focused on Vicky, but almost before the last word was out of his mouth I was spinning around and for the second time in my life I punched someone in the face.

He didn't go flying and his nose didn't break with that satisfying crunch like Carl's did though. Instead his eyes teared up and he collapsed right on his ass on the sidewalk. He looked almost comically stunned before grabbing his nose and screaming.

He screamed for a few seconds while all the kids watching stared at us with shocked looks on their faces before all at once they burst out in delighted laughter. There must have been about fifteen kids from ten to a few years older than us all just standing there pointing and laughing while Ben sat on his ass in the middle of the sidewalk and, for all intents and purposes, cried like a little bitch. Ok, so he wasn't really crying since everyone tears up when they get hit in the nose but the humiliation factor was definitely still there.

I grinned down at him with fierce satisfaction, soaking up his humiliation. It wasn't nearly enough, not for that look on Vicky's face, but it was a pretty damn good start. It took me a second before I even noticed the tugging on my arm and I turned to see Vicky pulling at my hand. "We should really get out of here before he gets up and kicks our asses." he said.

I wanted to protest, I wanted to say if he got up I'd just take his ass down again but the Common Sense suddenly started screaming in my head that Ben was bigger and older than me and I'd been having way too much good luck with fights in my life for it to keep up if I stuck around. Since Common Sense and Vicky were saying the same thing basically, I decided to listen. "Yeah, let's go." I said.

We took off running.

We ran down the street to the corner and followed it around to the left towards Vicky's grandpa's house. We kept going until we got to the next intersection and had to stop because there were too many cars shooting by to cross the street. We took a quick look behind us, but didn't see anyone chasing us so it was probably ok to stop. We both took deep breaths, trying to get our wind back. It was actually kinda pathetic since we hadn't been running all that long. Maybe there is a downside to spending all our free, non-sex time playing video games after all.

"Wow." Vicky said after his breathing evened out. "That was amazing! I can't believe you punched him in the face! Is that what happened with Carl too?" I nodded and Vicky grinned. "You are a total bad ass." he leaned close to me and whispered in my ear. "I'm so hot right now."

I grinned back at him but it faded when I remembered the look on his face. The one that shithead Ben put on his face. "Are you ok?" I asked, my voice filled with soft concern.

Vicky grin softened to a small smile and I knew he knew exactly what I meant. "Yeah, I'm fine. It just . . . I didn't expect that, you know?" he sighed. "I shouldn't have let it get to me. I mean, my grandma knew I was gay before she died, everyone found out pretty damn fast after Ben started telling people, and she never had a problem with it. I just can't believe he'd actually say something like that."

I was relieved, but still pissed at Ben. Anyone who would say something so horrible to hurt someone as sweet as Vicky deserved a lot more than one punch to the nose and some laughter. "I wanted to kill him." I said softly. "After he said it. God I just wanted to rip him apart for hurting you!"

"Hey." Vicky said soothingly, stepping close to me. "It's ok. I'm fine." He squeezed my hand and smiled. "And don't think I don't completely love you for it." His eyes narrowed slightly. "But if you ever get thrown in jail for killing someone just because they say something mean to me, or or any reason I guess, I'll kick your ass." he added sternly.

I giggled. "I'll keep that in mind." We smiled at each other.

"Hey! Hey!" Someone shouted from behind us, from where we'd just ran from. We stepped apart quickly and looked to see who'd followed us with varying levels of wariness. It wasn't Ben though. When the kid reached us, out of breath (at least we're not the only ones not in shape) and panting, I relaxed a little bit. He didn't look at all like he wanted to hurt us. Or even could. He was only about an inch or two taller than us, with messy hair, kinda dorky glasses and a white button up shirt that was about a size too big on him and I could almost hear the implied motherly "he'll grow into it". He caught his breath bent over with his hands on his knees and grinned up at us before standing up. "Wow! That was awesome!" All his attention was focused on me. "I can't believe you kicked Ben's ass. That was the greatest thing I've ever seen!"

I blinked, stunned, not at all sure what I was supposed to say. "Um, thanks?"

"Gary?" Vicky said, surprise in his voice.

The kid's -Gary's?- grin suddenly faded. He looked past me at Vicky, then flushed and looked away. "Um . . . hi, Vicky." he said hesitantly. He looked back to Vicky and held his gaze tentatively.

"Holy shit, Gary." Vicky said disbelievingly. "I . . . the last time I saw you-"

"I know." Gary cut him off and winced. "I know. I was a total asshole to you and . . . look, I'm really, really sorry. Ben said a lot of really bad things about you and we all believed them and, well, we were stupid and he's a dick and I'm sorry."

Vicky didn't say anything for a second, just gaped at him. He closed his mouth, opened it again, then closed it again and cocked his head to the side. "But, you were Ben's best friend after me." he said, ignoring the apology for now. "I . . . never thought I'd see you this happy about anything bad happening to him. What happened?"

Gary sighed and looked away again. "After he got into high school he turned into a complete asshole bully. He stopped hanging out with most of us and started spreading awful rumors about some of us. The ones he still hung out with he treated like crap so he'd look cool in front of all his new high school friends. He even . . . he even said that a few of us . . . did what he said you did." He winced again. "After that we all kinda figured out that he was probably lying about you too." He looked at Vicky again. "We all felt really bad about how we treated you. Hell, most of us didn't even think you were really gay but after today I guess that's the one thing he was right about-but I don't even care anymore!" He glanced at me and then gave Vicky a shaky half smile. "If being gay gets you a guy that can make Ben Reilly cry like a girl in front of everyone then I kinda wish we had more gay friends." he laughed nervously.

He looked at Vicky hesitantly, waiting for his reaction. He didn't get one for a while, Vicky just stared at him, but I sure as hell wanted to react. This was one of Vicky's supposed "friends" who turned his back on him without a second thought just because some asshole lied about him. A real friend wouldn't have ditched him without at least trying to get Vicky's side of the story. I wanted to tell the kid to get the fuck out of here, that he wasn't worthy of even looking at my Vicky, but I held back. This was something that Vicky needed to deal with by himself, sadly. If Vicky wanted to forgive his old . . . friend then I wouldn't get in the way of that.

"I," Vicky said after a minute of silence. He swallowed and I hated not being able to do anything to make this easier for him. "What you guys did . . . it really hurt."

"I know and I'm so-"

"Stop." Vicky held up his hand, cutting him off. "My turn to talk. You guys . . . do you even have any idea how it feels to have everyone you thought was your friend just abandon you and treat you like crap? Did any of you even think of maybe asking ME what happened with Ben? It's like . . . it felt like all of you were just looking for an excuse to ditch me and jumped at the first one that came along. What kind of friend does that? Just . . . what the fuck? I-" Vicky growled and shook his head. "Jesus! I thought I was over this shit! I just . . ." he trailed off, sighed and slumped. I immediately put my arm around his shoulder and he leaned against me with a shuddering breath. His arm slipped around my waist and gave me a small, grateful squeeze before dropping back. "What do you want, Gary?" he asked tiredly.

"I . . ." Gary sighed. "I want to be friends again. I know I don't have any right to ask that and I know I treated you just as bad as everyone else did but I, all of us really, really hate how much like Ben we used to be. We've changed a lot since you've been gone Vicky and a lot of us miss you. I miss you. I know things will never be like they were but . . . I wanna try." He smiled sadly. "I miss my friend."

Vicky didn't say anything. I had no idea what could possibly be going on in his mind but little by little I felt him relax against my body. "You know I AM gay, right?"

Gary looked slightly uncomfortable for a second, but quickly nodded. "Yeah. I know."

"Does everyone else?"

"Not really. Most of us thought Ben was lying about that too. Phil moved and Becky still says you are but that's just because she can't think of any other reason that you never went out with her but everyone else thinks Ben was full of shit."

Vicky sighed. "You need to tell them." he said. "I'm not . . . I'm not saying I'm even sure I wanna be friends with everyone again but if anyone wants to talk to me and maybe try they need to know. I'm not the same person I was back then and I'm not gonna pretend that I am or that I don't love Nate with everything that I am just so you'll talk to me. Ok?"

Gary quickly nodded. "Ok. Yeah. I'll tell everyone. And . . . . I really am ok with it, ok? I mean, it's a little weird seeing you cuddle up with a guy but your, um, boyfriend pretty much became the neighborhood hero when he punched Ben so that kinda cancels out the weirdness." he laughed nervously again. "But, really, I just wanna be friends again. I don't care if you wanna have sex with a tree."

Vicky snorted and I felt him shake his head. "Just give me your pen."

"How do you know I have a pen?"

Vicky laughed softly. "You ALWAYS have a pen."

Gary laughed too. "Three actually." he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a blue pen. "Here."

Vicky took the pen and gave me another squeeze before slipping out from under my arm and walking towards Gary. "Paper?" he asked. When Gary shook his head Vicky took his hand and started writing on it. "That's my email. If anyone still wants to talk to me after you tell them, you can give it to them. I'm not making any promises though, I dunno if I'll ever be able to forget what you guys did to me . . . but I think I wanna try." he handed the pen back. "I won't be home until Sunday and probably not till late, so I won't see any mail until then."

"You'll definitely have one from me when you get home." Gary said firmly.

Vicky looked at him for a second, then nodded and turned back to me. Our eyes met and the stiff, guarded expression he was wearing melted away into a soft smile that left me weak in the knees. God, how the hell could anyone treat this boy like anything other than the beautiful treasure that he was?

Vicky walked by me and gave my hand a squeeze. "I'm hungry." he said and started walking towards the now clear intersection.

I watched him until he was a few feet away then turned back to Gary. "You don't deserve him." I said quietly.

"Yeah." Gary said with a sad smile. "I know."

I looked at him for another few seconds, hoping that he was being serious about wanting to be friends with Vicky again. I may not have liked him right then, but I didn't want Vicky to have to go through rejection twice. I turned around and fast walked to catch up with Vicky and slipped my hand into his. He squeezed his hand and rested his head on my shoulder. "Thank you." he said.

"For what?"

"For being you." he said with a sweet smile. I smiled back and Vicky grinned wickedly. "And for making Ben cry like a little girl."

We laughed, then walked contentedly back to his grandpa's.

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