The Move

by Doug Smith

Chapter 43

Nicky

Despite everything my father had said, I was still nervous when we went inside. I didn't expect him to start yelling again but part of me wondered what he would do behind closed doors. It's one thing to say something in front of others. It's something else when nobody is around. I really wasn't sure what to expect, so I kept my guard up until I knew for sure. I'd bolt if he turned into Mr. Hyde again.

I admit my anxiety peaked when he closed the door. He didn't say anything for a minute. I stood in the living room, a room I had always felt comfortable in, looking around warily. He had never hit me and I didn't think he would now, but I was nervous. I looked towards the door wondering how I could get around him. My father must have sensed my apprehension as well. He simply smiled, walked over to me and wrapped me in a tight hug. All my fears melted away.

"I'm sorry Nicky."

"I'm sorry too, Dad. I'm sorry I ran away and I'm sorry I can't be the son you want. I'm not sorry I'm gay though. I used to be, but no more. I know nothing is going to change that. I'm just sorry because of you and Mom."

"No, no, no… don't be sorry because of us. I was surprised. I'm not proud of the way I acted. I've always felt being gay is wrong, that it's a choice. I still don't understand it. The thought of two guys together is… disturbing. I can't imagine how anyone would choose that."

"Being gay isn't a choice Dad. Dan says I can choose how I live my life but if I'm gay then I'm gay. I can't choose that."

"It's foreign to me Nicky. I can't imagine being with another man like that, doing the things two guys do together. I'll be honest. It's always made me cringe."

"That's because your not gay, Dad. And it's not about sex."

"Maybe. I just never thought I'd have to deal with this. It may not be right but I was willing to accept gay people if it didn't affect me. I was okay if someone else chose to live that lifestyle, but now, with you, I have to rethink things. All my life I've always felt a certain way, and now I might need to change. I'm not there yet, but you're my son and I love you. I'll try Nicky, but try to understand it isn't easy. Okay?"

"Okay Dad. I know you're surprised. I've had longer to deal with it." I didn't know how much discussion he really wanted but I'd thought about this stuff a lot. I'd been dealing with my feelings since I was ten, maybe earlier. I'd also read stuff online. Dan has helped too. "Can I say something?"

"Of course. I told you we'd figure this out. I want you to talk to me."

"Dad, it's not a choice and it's not a lifestyle. I listened to a podcast online where a guy who has a husband and a son talk about the gay lifestyle and the gay agenda. It was pretty funny. He talked about his lifestyle. It's like everyone else. He gets up, he gets his son off to school, he has a cup of coffee, he drives to work getting stuck in traffic..."

"Okay Nicky, I see your point. I'm talking about all the other stuff you hear about."

"His point was there are all kinds of people, gay and straight. The only difference is who they love. Everything else, how they live their lives, is what is a choice. Everyone is different. Dan is gay. So isn't Lt. Henderson. They're good people."

"Lt. Henderson is gay? How do you know?"

"He told me."

My father just looked at me. That definitely surprised him. He had no idea.

"Nicky, I just don't know. I'm trying. This is all new to me. How do you know all this stuff? You're only fourteen. I'm supposed to be teaching you, not the other way around."

"I've had a long time to think about this stuff. I've read a lot online. Danny and I have talked about it. Dan has helped too. It hasn't been easy Dad. I've struggled. I've willed it away. I've prayed. I've denied it. Nothing makes it go away. It's who I am. I've accepted that."

"Okay, you two," Mom said as she entered the room. "I've given you two enough time to talk for now. I'm hungry. "Do you want to go out or have something here? Hopefully I don't have to tell you the right answer, but if it helps, I'm not cooking."

Dad laughed. "I guess we're going out. Is that okay with you Nicky?"

Going out would probably be better than staying in. Not that we wouldn't 'talk' more at lunch but hopefully it wouldn't be as bad. Mom would be there too. She might not understand me being gay either, but she's not like Dad. She'll keep Dad from grilling me. At least he's talking to me and he says he loves me. That's a start I guess.

"How much trouble am I in?"

"Do you mean for running off?"

"That, and the other thing. You do know I did smoke, right? That story about second-hand smoke is bull. I don't know how Dan convinced Lt. Henderson to go along with that."

"Lt. Henderson seems like a good guy. He and I talked. I can't believe he's gay." Dad started to say Lt. Henderson doesn't seem the type but caught himself. "Sorry," he said. "I am trying. Anyway, you're not in trouble."

"Really?"

"Nicky, I wasn't much of a father when you needed me but after all this I know I need to do better. If you give me a mulligan then I'll give you one too. As for smoking pot, I went to college too. I was older than you but I've smoked it too. That doesn't mean it's okay for you. You're only fourteen. I was at least in college. And no, that doesn't mean it's okay when you get to college either."

"My Dad was a stoner??? Wow!!! What else did you do in college?"

"That's for me to know and you to wonder about," he said. "And I wouldn't exactly call myself a stoner. Now go take a shower and change your clothes. And put those in the wash."

"Yes sir."

"And Nicky?"

"Yeah?"

"Your mother and I do love you."

"I know. I didn't think so this morning, but I do now. I love you too. I'll be back in a few minutes."

I knew everything wasn't back to normal but I felt a huge sense of relief. I saw my mother give my father a hug and say something to him as I ran up the stairs. Maybe this was going to be okay. Hopefully Danny's grandfather would actually get him a phone and then we could talk. I don't know what will happen but I want to let him know I love him.

It did feel good to get out of my clothes. Everyone was right. They really did smell pretty bad. I stripped down in my room. I texted Dan as I stood naked in the middle of my room. I thanked him again and told him things were going okay with Dad. I also told him I was naked while I was texting. He didn't answer so I assumed he was busy. He'll see them when he gets a chance and hopefully smile. I know he doesn't have any interest in me like that but I am a little evil sometimes. Planting an image in his head isn't so bad. I could have offered to send a picture. I guess I don't really have any thoughts of him like that either. At least anymore. I admit I kinda did at first but not really. Danny and I just joked around. I wouldn't delete his picture if he sent me one though. Not that he would.

I stood looking into the mirror for a couple minutes. Nathan was right. I do have a cute little ass. I guess I'm what you call cute in general. I don't have many muscles. I certainly don't have bulging biceps or 6-pack abs or anything like that. I don't really like that look anyway. I'm also just fourteen. Nonetheless, I'd hit on me if I could. I guess you'd say I'm my type. Of course Danny is my type too.

I'm glad I didn't do anything with Nathan. I admit I thought about it but I couldn't do that. I was just horny. I'd be thinking of how much I'd be hurting Danny and wouldn't be into it. Besides, he might have been nice to me and would have liked to fuck my cute little ass, something I've never done by the way, but he only looked at it as a hookup. He didn't really want me. Like he said, he likes sex. Maybe he'll jerk-off thinking of my 'cute little ass'. Haha, I'm not really conceited. I am horny though.

The shower felt good. My parents had put in a sauna shower a couple years ago. It wasn't a commercial thing. It was something my father had done himself for the most part. He got kind of carried away but it's pretty cool. The whole bathroom was a steam room. It had a tiled floor, tiled walls and a tiled ceiling. Steam came out of a vent or something in the wall every so often. There was some type of sensor on the opposite wall that turned on the steam if there wasn't enough. You could use it as a regular bathroom too and I normally did but today I turned on the steam.

The entire room actually fills up with steam really fast. There's a vent and exhaust fan that directs it outside when you're done, but otherwise it just circulates in the room. And there's a drain in the floor for the water that forms from the steam. Maybe it's kind of pervy but I think it's fun to take a crap while the room is full of steam. It's definitely different. I'm not going to say whether I have to take a crap now or not. I'm not that pervy.

The shower was pretty open too. There were shower heads on the walls as well as in the ceiling. I remember a few times when Danny and I showered together when my parents weren't home. Thinking about that made me hard. I wondered if we'd ever be able to do that again. My cock was sticking straight out as I stepped under the water. I didn't have the biggest cock in the world. It was only about five inches when it's hard but then again I am only fourteen. In a couple years I'll have grown a lot. I'll be taller than 5'4" and my cock will be bigger too. There's no telling how much though. Not everyone has a big cock. Dan told me his isn't that big but it is six inches. Six inches is average, right? I am hoping for above average.

The shower felt really good. I put the shower head on pulse mode. It felt good on my back. There is a hand held sprayer as well. You can adjust that to pulse too. Want to know what I used that for? Let's just say everything got clean. I took my time. I knew my Dad wanted to talk. I wasn't in any hurry. And yes, I jerked off. I wasn't going to go back downstairs with a hardon. Besides, what is a horny, fourteen year-old gay boy to do?

"You look better," said my Dad, as I walked back into the living room. "Where do you want to go to lunch? You pick. What do you want? Italian? Mexican? Chinese? Barbecue? Your choice."

"How about Italian? That place that has the Italian sampler… spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and chicken parmesan sounds good. I also want a big piece of cheesecake for dessert. I'm starved."

He laughed. "I wonder why. We still need to talk Nicky, but as a family, and there will be as much listening as there is talking. There are a lot of things I don't understand. Just remember your mother and I both love you. That's not going to change."

"I love you too Dad."

The restaurant was in a strip mall much like where the gym was except newer. There were never many cars in the parking lot. The mall had quite a few specialty stores that people only came to when they needed something in particular. The building was shaped like an 'L' with the restaurant on one end and a meat store and pizza shop on the other. There was a different gym in the middle. Dan said he checked it out but didn't like it because when he went all the guys were older and were more muscleheads. Dan is like me and likes guys with lean, muscular bodies. Not that I qualify… yet. The rest of the mall was specialty stores that never seemed very busy. At least according to Dad.

The restaurant itself was nice, not that I really had a lot to compare it to. It wasn't a McDonald's style restaurant at least. The sign out front called it a family restaurant. It had two sections separated by a bar in the middle. It was late for lunch and early for dinner so there weren't many people in the dining area. There were a few people in the bar.

The hostess sat us at a table by the window. It didn't matter since it was sunny and the blinds were partially closed. There were only three other tables with people at them. One was a grandmotherly type person with a friend. There was another with a man and his wife and a family was at the third table. They were diagonally across from us. I noticed because there was a boy about my age facing me. I always noticed cute boys not for any other reason than they're cute. Some have nice smiles, some have nice eyes, or nice legs, or any of the above. A cute guy is just fun to look at. If you're gay and like to look at cute guys then you know what I'm talking about. If not then I assume straight guys feel the same checking out girls. I don't but I'm not straight.

"I guess I wasn't paying attention," my Dad said.

"What?" I asked.

"You. You're checking out that boy over there. Have you always done that and I just haven't noticed?"

"He's cute Dad. I'm sorry."

"I've just never noticed. This is all a surprise. Tell me, did you notice his sister?"

"Who? Oh, yeah, I saw her."

"She's cute too."

"I guess," I said. I knew what he was trying to do. He was hoping.

"But she's not who you're looking at?"

"I was just checking him out Dad. I do that. You're right, you haven't noticed before. I try not to be too obvious. It's also not like I want to run over and ask him out or anything. Danny is my boyfriend. At least I hope he is. But I look. What did grampa say? The day he stops looking will be the day they put him in the ground?"

"Grampa looks at women."

"That's good, not me though," I said glancing over at the boy again and smiling because he was looking at me. Maybe it didn't mean anything but I thought there was a momentary understanding when we made eye contact.

"I need to come to grips with this Nicky. I remember when I was your age. My friends and I were girl crazy. That's all we talked about. Sometimes one of us would get a hold of a Playboy and we thought we'd struck gold."

"You didn't just look on-line?"

He smiled. "We didn't have the Internet. Do we need to monitor your use of a computer? The point is I felt things inside when I saw different girls. You don't?"

"I feel things. I just feel them for boys. My friends talk about girls all the time too. I have to fake it. I make things up so they don't suspect. Being gay in school can still get you beat up. I'll say some girl is cute or something. Deep down I know though. I've known for a long time. I don't feel the things they do. I've tried. I just don't."

Dad just looked at me. I know he didn't understand. How could he? How can you really understand if you've never had those feelings? At least he's trying.

"Well," Mom said breaking the silence. "At least you've got good taste. That boy over there is a good-looking boy. You are too." Mom always knows how to lighten the mood when she has to.

My father laughed. "I'm glad I passed on those genes," he smiled.

"We passed them on," Mom said. "He has my eyes. He only has your nose."

"He's got my intelligence sweetheart," he said with a smile. "Whether he uses it all the time or not."

My mother just shook her head. "Yes, dear. Go ahead and believe that if that's what you want."

My father laughed. "Do you know that boy?"

"No, he doesn't go to my school. I'd have noticed," I smiled. "It doesn't matter. I'm only interested in Danny, and besides, he probably isn't even gay. It would be nice if it was easier to tell."

"I guess you never know. I admit I was totally surprised when Mr. and Mrs. Martin told us about you and Danny. Neither of you seem gay."

"Seem gay? What does that mean? Does Dan seem gay? Does Lt. Henderson?"

"You know what I mean. You seem like a normal fourteen year-old-boy. At least..."

"I am normal Dad." I was getting upset. I wasn't going to start crying. That was something I didn't want to do. Not now. That's all I needed, especially since the waitress took that instant to come over for our order.

"Can you give us a minute?" my father asked. She looked a little uncomfortable. First she looked at me and then at my parents.

"Of course," she said. "I'll be back in a couple minutes." She gave me a sympathetic smile as we made eye contact before she walked away.

"Nicky, I'm sorry. I'm not getting this right. That's not what I meant. Of course you're normal. I just meant you seem like any other fourteen year-old-boy. I've never known anyone who is gay. At least that I know about. I just know what you read about and see on TV. "

"You mean girly? That's not how it is Dad. You don't think I'm a femme do you? I'm not. Neither is Danny. Neither is Dan nor Lt. Henderson."

"Sweetheart, no, we don't think that at all," my Mom said. "This is just new to us. We never imagined we'd have to deal with this. There are a lot of things we've always assumed. We never really took the time to think about it. Please bear with us. We may not always say the right thing but we're trying."

"I'm still a boy. I just like boys. One in particular."

My father nodded to the waitress who came back to take our orders. Dad let me order anything I wanted. I ordered a Bocce Ball for an appetizer. That's an Italian meatball wrapped in some type of crust. There's probably more to it than that. All I know is it was good. For my meal I ordered the trio sampler. I was starved. My Mom just ordered a salad with grilled chicken while my Dad had spaghetti and meatballs."

"Where do you put all that food?" Mom asked. "Are you going through a growth spurt?"

I just smiled. I hoped something was growing but I didn't think I should mention that. So far lunch had been okay. I'd gotten upset, but they were trying. They probably didn't know the right things to say either. I had to know though.

"Are you going to be okay with this?" I asked.

"We love you Nicky," Mom said. "You're our son and we want you to be happy. I can't say I'm thrilled about it. I always envisioned grandchildren and a daughter-in-law. Now that won't happen."

"I'll deal with it, we'll deal with it," Dad added, looking towards Mom. "You've made me realize a lot of what I was feeling was because of how I've always thought. You're right, knowing Dan and Lt. Henderson, they aren't anything like what I would have imagined. Would I like it not to be the case? Of course, but if it is then I'll accept it. You're my son and I'll always be there for you."

It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew they weren't happy but they could be a lot worse. The thought of Danny being alone flashed through my mind. I felt my eyes starting to water. I'm sure my parents noticed as I wiped them off with my sleeve.

"Mom… Dad… listen, I've known for a long time that I'm gay. I hated myself for it. I couldn't tell you. I didn't want you to hate me. I was hoping it would go away."

"Nicky, you're only fourteen," Mom said. "How can you be sure? Maybe it's your feelings for Danny. You two have always been close. Could you be confusing your feelings for him with everything else?"

"No Mom. It's not just Danny. I love Danny. Maybe you don't think its real love but to me it is. It's not just him though. It's what I feel inside. I know you don't understand. Dan said unless someone feels the same way they can't possibly truly understand. He said we know though. He's made me feel a whole lot better about myself. "

"Speaking of Dan, there is something I want to ask," Dad said. "I've been curious about your friendship with him. I said some pretty cruel things to his Dad but I want to make sure. He hasn't done anything to you has he? Convinced you to be like this? Or more?"

"Dad!!!! No Way. He wouldn't do that. He's a friend and someone I can talk to who is like me. I've struggled with this for a long time. He's made me feel better about myself. He says being gay doesn't define me. It's just one part of who I am."

I turned red when I saw the guy across from us look while his sister elbowed him saying something and nodding in my direction. He had obviously heard me but he didn't look disgusted. I think he thought it was funny. I'm not sure his parents thought so but I didn't care. My Dad might not understand everything but he wouldn't put up with them saying something either. All they did was say something to cause the guy to look away. If my parents noticed they didn't say anything.

"It's just strange someone that much older being friends with someone younger."

"It's not like we're friends who hang out. He's just a nice guy who understands. He's someone Danny and I can talk to. Remember that night you met him at the mall? He didn't have to get involved. He had caught Danny and me having a little too much PDA."

"PDA?" asked my Mom.

I laughed when the waitress picked that moment to bring my appetizer. She brought rolls and a small salad for each of us too. My Bocce Ball was huge. She obviously knew what PDA is. She looked like she was in high school so I'm sure she's heard the term. She just gave me a smirk when she set down my plate and said our meals will be out in a few minutes.

Even my Dad laughed. He knew what it meant. "PDA is Public Display of Affection," he said. "Just what did you and Nicky do?"

"Nothing bad, and certainly nothing a guy and a girl can't do in public. We just got a little carried away. Danny and I were in the back of the bookstore and nobody was around so I gave him a kiss or he gave me one, I'm not sure. That was when Dan walked around the corner. We thought he was going to kick our butts but he didn't. He just smiled and said to be careful. I guess some other kids had seen us too. They followed us into the men's room a few minutes later. It could have been really bad if Dan hadn't seen them following us and come in too. You know the rest. He didn't have to get involved, just like he didn't have to do what he did today. He just did."

"What about those other three guys from today?"

"What about them? I just met them at the park."

"We love you son. I am trying to come to terms with this. It's a shock but you're our son. We don't want you hanging out with people like that. You could have got into real trouble. Next time you will."

"They're not bad guys Dad, but there won't be a next time. I promise."

Fortunately my mother changed the subject while I ate my Bocce Ball. It was good. It was also hard to talk with my mouth full. Mom said she wanted to stop at the store on the way home. She had to pick up a few things for Thanksgiving. My grandparents were coming tomorrow and staying through the weekend.

I watched out of the corner of my eye as the kid I'd been checking out got up and walk to the back of the restaurant. He must have been going to the men's room. It did give me a chance to look at his ass while he walked away. Up until then I had only seen his face and the side of his leg. I took another bite of my Bocce Ball when I noticed my father watching me. He had definitely noticed but fortunately didn't say anything.

It looked like they were leaving anyway. His parents and sister were putting on their coats and walking towards the door. His father kind of glared at me but his sister was smiling. Not that it mattered. I had no clue who they were. What happened next surprised the shit out of me. And my parents. The kid walked back through the restaurant right up to our table.

"Just in case," he said, and put a napkin down in front of me. On it he had written his name and phone number. "I'm Jaden … and you're cute," he said, and walked away.

I turned five shades of red as my parents sat there in shock. He does have balls I thought. I wish I hadn't been too shocked to check them out when he was standing there.

"Nice weather we're having isn't it," I said trying not to laugh. My mother cracked up.

"That's a first," Mom said. "Nobody ever did that to me."

"That's because everyone knew you were taken sweetheart."

"You're not going to call him, right Nicky"

"No, but he is cute!" I smiled. "Danny is still my boyfriend. At least I hope he is." I did put the napkin in my pocket though.

"We want to talk about that too."

Fortunately the waitress brought our meals so we couldn't really talk. I'm not sure I'd have room for cheesecake after eating my sampler but I was going to try. It had spaghetti and only one meatball the same size as the Bocce Ball but it also had some lasagna and a small piece of chicken parmesan. I was going to be stuffed. My mother just shook her head.

"You are a growing boy," she said.

"What about Danny," I asked. "You're not going to tell me I can't see him are you?"

"No, of course not, although I doubt his parents will let you. They said some pretty cruel things too, and they didn't seem the type to change their minds."

"They go to that conservative church you hear about."

"You may just have to face up to the fact they won't let you see him."

"I'll wait. If he wants to wait until we're eighteen then I will too. I love him Dad."

"Ahhh, there's the fourteen year-old I know. I'm sure it's the same for gay boys as it is straight boys. I know you don't want to hear this but you're young. The love you feel now won't be the same as the love you feel when you're eighteen or the love you feel when you're an adult. My first love was named Rachael Davis. She had the cutest, well, let's just say she was cute. I was your age and we had already decided we'd go to the same college and then get married. That lasted six months. Then there was someone else. I also learned not to think I was in love just because a girl gave me certain feelings. That's not love."

"Danny and I are different. We've been best friends since the second grade. We know everything about each other."

"We're not going to tell you what to do. We like Danny. We'll do whatever we can to support you but you have to be realistic too. Danny is only fourteen and has some pretty conservative religious parents. I don't know what you or we can do. Have you heard from him at all?"

"Not since all this happened. I'm not giving up though. I love him. Dan said he met his granddad this morning. He told him Danny is grounded, they took away his phone and Internet, and they're making him meet with the minister from their church. It won't do any good. I know it won't." I took out the necklace Danny had given me. "Some day this will be joined with its other half."

"Okay sweetheart, I hope so. Your Dad and I just want you to be happy. We're not going to tell you it won't happen."

"Thanks Mom. I know it seems that way now but you'll see. Danny and I love each other."

"Just remember love can hurt too. Sometimes you have to make some hard decisions and those decisions hurt."

"I'm not giving up Mom. Not until Danny tells me he is. We talked about what would happen and what we'd do if his parents ever found out. He won't give up either. I know it."

"We just don't want to see you hurt."

"I know Mom."

Lunch ended up being good. We stayed for at least two hours eating and talking. Not all our conversation was about me being gay. We talked about Thanksgiving and even what we're doing for Christmas. My parents asked if I wanted to go on a ski vacation. I don't think they had been thinking about it until now. The idea seemed to surprise my mother. My Dad said it's something he's been thinking about but we'd have to make reservations soon. I wasn't sure I wanted to go but I did like to ski.

It's funny. If Danny and I could see each other than I probably would have been all for going even if Danny couldn't go. We had been on other family vacations before. So had Danny. We missed each other but knew we'd see each other when one or the other of us got home. Now that we can't see each other I'm not really sure I want to go. I don't think I should go away to have fun if Danny was a prisoner in his own home. I'd feel guilty.

Mom let me take some cheesecake to go. She said she wanted to stop by the store and get home so she could get ready for Thanksgiving. She also said she wanted my help to clean. I was fine with that given how this day had started and how it's ending. She did say we could wait until tomorrow to do most of the cleaning though. That worked for me too.

Dan and Josh

We still had a light supper even though we had a late lunch. I wasn't very hungry but Mom made tacos. I loved tacos. Actually she made taco salads. That way I could eat what I wanted and not worry about biting into a taco shell. Dad and Mr. Michaels had a few beers but everyone else stuck with water or soda. Josh and I went with diet Dr. Pepper.

Mom waited until we were all sitting in the family room to 'remind' me that my aunt and uncle along with Jake were coming for Thanksgiving. I was leaning against Josh who looked when he felt me immediately tighten up.

"They're just coming for the meal, right?"

"They're not staying here if that's what you mean, but they aren't going to get here just as we sit down to eat and leave right afterwards. They're our guests. They're flying in from Chicago because we haven't seen them since we moved. I don't know what your problem with Jake is but you can fake it for one day."

I knew it wouldn't do me any good to argue. Maybe I could fake a relapse and stay in bed all day. Better yet maybe I could go back to the hospital.

"Alright," I said. "Just don't expect me to entertain him and don't sit him beside me. Sit him at the other end of the table unless you'd be willing to sit him at a table in another room. That works too."

"Dan, what is it about Jake that you don't like? You're not like this with anyone else. He's your cousin. What's he ever done to you?"

Everyone was looking at me. I definitely wasn't going to say what he had done... or said. Not in front of the Michaels.

"He's a jerk. I'd rather have you invite Phil Clayton to dinner."

"You two have never been close but you were never like this. You fought but could at least be in the same room. What happened?"

"It's not important. It's between Jake and me."

I knew I was being a jerk but my parents were grilling me while everyone else just stared at me. They'd feel the same way if they knew what he did. Maybe not but they'd understand why I did. They don't need to know.

"I'm going upstairs," I said. "I'm tired."

"Sit down. We're going to clear this up once and for all. Jake is your cousin and he's coming for Thanksgiving. And you're going to tell us why you hate him so much."

I was getting pissed. Even Josh was looking at me like I had two heads. At least he was holding my hand.

"I just don't like him. Leave it at that. I'll be good though. I won't ruin Thanksgiving. Now can I please go to bed?" I got up to leave without waiting for an answer. I wasn't sure if Josh would come or not. I think he was a little shell shocked listening to me argue with my parents. He looked at my parents before standing to help. He didn't really move until my mother nodded.

"We're not done discussing this Dan. We'll talk more later," my father said.

"Fine," I said. "You'll get the same response."

"Knock it off Dan."

"Whatever," I said, but either nobody heard me or they decided not to respond.

Josh helped me up the stairs. We had to go up two flights since the family room is in the basement.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.

"Not now. Maybe later but I don't know. You really don't want to know. I don't want to put you in the middle. If I tell you then you'll either have to tell them or lie to them. Neither of those are acceptable options."

"Dan, I'm on your side. I can keep a secret."

"Not now Josh. Please? I don't want you to have to lie. You can honestly tell them you don't know if I don't tell you. They'll know you know if I do tell you."

"Then there is a reason?"

"Oh yeah, there's a reason. The kid is an asshole and that's being kind. Will you please trust me on this? It's better I don't say."

"Okay Dan. For now. Do you need anything else? If not, I'm going downstairs for a while."

"No," I said. "I'm sorry, Josh. I love you."

"Yeah. I love you too," he said, as he walked back downstairs. I knew he was pissed. It wasn't an 'I Love You' love you. It was more of an 'I love you but I'm pissed' I love you. Maybe hurt is a better way to describe it. Hopefully he'll understand. I felt bad keeping things from him but it's for the best. Jake coming for Thanksgiving really sucks.

I went into my room and sat on my bed. It felt strange. It had only been a week. Nothing had changed. My trophies were still on the shelf I'd put up. My desk was the same. Some of Scott's clothes were on the floor because he'd been sleeping with Josh and he wasn't the neatest of people. I smiled. What eight-year-old is? I felt like yelling for Scott to come pick up his shit but he was in the family room and I couldn't yell that loud. I wondered if I should try changing the sheets but decided against it. It's not like complete strangers had been sleeping in my bed. I loved them both.

I tried not to think about arguing with my parents or the way Josh said 'I Love You too' before he went downstairs. Of course that only made me think about it more. 'Fuck'n Jake,' I thought. I definitely wasn't looking forward to seeing him. Of course he probably doesn't want to see me either, although he'll probably like that I got attacked. I can hear him now.

The worst part was Josh was downstairs and not next to me. I knew if he was here he'd just be upset I wouldn't tell him what was between Jake and me, but if it wasn't for Jake he'd be here and we'd be doing who knows what. We certainly wouldn't be fighting. This was the first time we've had any disagreement where I couldn't just tell him he misunderstood. This time he had a legitimate reason for being hurt. I know I would feel the same if things were the other way around. I'd be hurt if he wouldn't tell me. Hopefully he'd understand.

I was going crazy going over everything in my head. It was like a continuous loop. The same thoughts over and over again. I sighed and got up to turn on some music. I thought that might change my mood. I didn't know what I wanted to hear though. I wasn't in the mood for anything upbeat. I smiled thinking if I put on something that matched my mood it would be pretty depressing. I ended up putting on an FM station I like and letting them choose. 'Fuck'n Jake,' I thought.

I picked up my phone and saw I had two texts from Nicky. It looked like he had sent them right after he got home earlier and I hadn't seen them. He mainly said things were going well with his Dad and thanked me for helping. He made me smile because he said he was naked when he was texting. He was funny like that. He liked to tease. Maybe flirt was a better way to describe it. Not that I would, but I wonder what he'd do if took him up on one of his suggestive comments. Of course there could be worse things in the world. He's definitely cute if you ignore the fact he's almost three years younger. Plus, he loves Danny and I love Josh. It was tough texting with my left hand but I wanted him to know I hadn't ignored his texts.

D: Hey, sorry for delay. Just saw your texts. You doing okay?

I had never really texted him just to talk but I guess asking him how things were going was a natural thing to do. It didn't take him long to respond.

N: Hey, things are good with parents. No word from Danny. I'm just lying on my bed listening to music. I'm bored.

D: Me too. You still naked?

N: Haha, no. Do you want me to be?

Shit, now I was flirting with a fourteen year-old.

D: Sorry Nicky. I shouldn't have said that. I just saw your text.

N: It's okay. Did you like the image?

D: Truth?

N: Yeah

D: You're cute Nicky. It made me smile so I guess yes

N: I can send you a pic

D: That's okay Nicky.

N: You're no fun, lol. How are you doing?

D: Besides both my parents and Josh being pissed at me? Fine

I don't know why I told him that. I had wanted to see how his day was, not to talk about me. I think I just wanted to talk to someone.

N: What happened?

D: Long story. About Thanksgiving, shithead cousin coming, I'll deal. How are you? Your parents okay?

N: Yeah, it's different but we're talking. We went to lunch and Dad caught me checking out a cute boy.

D: How'd that go?

N: He asked why he hadn't noticed before.

D: Who was the boy?

N: Idk. Never saw him before. He gave me his number though.

D: What??? How did that happen?

N: Big balls.

D: What?

N: Saw me looking, wrote it on a napkin and dropped it in front of me on his way out. You should have seen my parents looks.

D: Haha, Wow. What did they say?

N: I think they finally realized I really am gay, lol. They were okay though. We talked. They did give me 'the I'm too young to know real love talk' when we talked about Danny. They gave me 'the I'm too young for sex talk' too.

D: Uggghhhh

N: It wasn't that bad. It kinda made me feel they love me. I wasn't feeling that so it was good. It's not like I have any sex planned.

N: Unless you're interested??

D: Nicky!!

N: Joking Dan. I can always hope. Thanks for texting. I've just been lying here missing Danny

D: I know. I was lying here thinking about Josh being pissed at me. He's probably more hurt than pissed

N: Y?

D: My fault. It has to do with my fuck'n cousin… and Aaron. Josh wanted to talk. I didn't.

N: Dan, shit, bad timing, g2g, Danny. Sorry, Later

D: GO!!!!

I was happy for Nicky. Hearing anything from Danny had to be better than not knowing anything. Hopefully he'd hear something to give him some hope. I was glad Danny's granddad had done what he said he'd do too. I had misjudged him, that's for sure. Hopefully Danny would text me too, so I could have his number. I didn't know how much he'd be able to talk but I wanted him to know I was here for him if there was anything I could do.

Unfortunately, texting with Nicky had given me something to do. Now I was back to staring at the ceiling. I knew I had to figure out this mess with Jake. Maybe if I talk to my parents alone. Of course, I'd have to tell them everything… not only what Jake did, but what I had done as well. At least then the Michaels wouldn't know. Josh wouldn't either.

And what about Josh? After all, he is Aaron's brother, but he didn't know him. Would he have the same reaction as the Michaels? I don't know. Was I being a coward? Did I just not want to tell him what I had done? We should be able to share anything… everything. That's what people who love each other do.

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