Beyond The Rain

by Grasshopper

Ch 9

Scarecrow: "Where are we, Dorothy?"

Dorothy: "We must be over the rainbow!"

Aaron & Billy

Classes started. Billy and Aaron found a new freedom they'd never felt before. They could stay up as late as they wanted; eat what they wanted; and talk all night long if they wanted. They just couldn't seem to find a way toward each other.

It was funny that two best friends, who'd been through so much together, suddenly became shy around each other. It was as if a curtain had been raised and the first act was ready to begin.

Aaron didn't want Billy to think he was staring at him when he changed his clothes, so Aaron took to sitting at the computer and trying not to look at reflections.

Billy did his dead level best to not watch Aaron when he came back from the showers. He buried his head in a book.

And, the worst was that, even though they were best friends, they had never jerked off in the same room or seen a bit of skin or anything at all, so there they were at night, in the same room, painfully not jerking off for fear the other one would think they were thinking about each other.

Billy decided he was going to come clean on Aaron's birthday. If Aaron hated him after he told him, then he didn't know what he'd do. He'd never been so scared. If he lost Aaron.................there was no end to that thought.

Neither noticed that the other was not dating, not flirting, not even looking. They were too busy not noticing each other. Any outside observer would have seen through it all in a second, but they stayed to themselves as best friends sometimes do.

September 22nd came on a Friday and Billy couldn't decide what to do. Should he take Aaron out somewhere for dinner? Should he order food and bring it back to the room? He had bought a gift and wrapped it himself, but the more he thought about it, the more nervous he got. Maybe Aaron didn't care that way. Maybe he'd look like a fool. Mostly, he was afraid Aaron was going to hate him for not telling him from the very beginning.

Aaron, on the other hand, was so frustrated, he wanted to scream. All he wanted was Billy. He saw really cute guys, but he just came back to Billy.... and Billy wasn't even gay.


Aaron's birthday morning dawned bright and clear. He had gotten a card from his mother and she had signed his father's name. "I guess my birth is not a day of celebration," Aaron thought sourly. He was finding that the longer he was away, the easier it all became.

Billy hugged him with a big "Happy Birthday' grin and said, "Well, you made it. Eighteen and free to do whatever you want to. Let's go out tonight and treat."

They walked out into the courtyard and Aaron took a deep breath. The air was crisp and they could feel a touch of autumn. "This time last year, I thought my life was over, Billy." He smiled as he touched Billy's arm, "Thank you."

"I didn't do anything," Billy answered. "You made it through and now we've got our whole lives to look forward to."

"I hope so," Aaron whispered to himself, "If it could only be with you."

They split up for class, promising to be back to the room by five. "Don't forget, Birthday Boy," Billy called as he stood watching Aaron walk away.

Billy had three classes and Aaron had two. By the time Billy swung through the student union to grab a sandwich, it was closing in on 2:00. He was starting to get nervous, worrying about what Aaron was gonna say when he told him the truth. He picked up an egg salad sandwich and started for the far door.

Hearing a very familiar laugh, he turned his head, a wide grin on his face. The grin faded as he saw the back of Aaron's head. He couldn't see much more because of the guy hanging all over Aaron's chair. As Billy stood there, his heart beating out of his chest, he watched the jerk practically eat Aaron with his eyes. Dang! He was drooling all over him. Something the guy said made Aaron laugh harder and the guy took that as an invitation to sit down in the next chair. Way too close!

It had been a long time since Billy had seen Aaron that happy around other people. They laughed and joked all the time, but since the retreat, Aaron had been shy and quiet around other people. What made this guy different?

Billy walked out the double doors, throwing the sandwich in the trash. He kept walking till he found a quiet bench and sat down, huddled into himself.

It had to happen. It was time for Aaron to find boys he wanted to know better. "Why would he want to spend all his time with me when I'm this straight guy?" Billy muttered. He had waited too late. He'd blown his chance.

Aaron needed his space to find out who he was and Billy was cramping his style.

"Maybe I shouldn't tell him now," Billy sighed. "It would just make it worse. He probably doesn't care about me like I thought he did."

He saw Aaron and that guy walk out the doors to stand talking on the steps. Shit! Billy noticed a girl he'd seen in one of his classes sitting under a nearby tree. He jumped up and walked over, leaning against the tree trunk. "Hi, I'm in your Lit class."

She looked up and smiled, "I know. I like your cowboy hat."

Billy kept Aaron in his line of vision from under the brim of his Stetson, but gave the girl a friendly grin. "You like Professor Greene?"

He knew just when Aaron saw him. He felt it, but he didn't look up. He bit his bottom lip and kept trying to make conversation even though he had no idea what the girl was saying. He sat down on the grass beside her and laughed loudly at nothing.

"Huh? Oh, yeah, the semester project will be cool, I guess," he replied to what he thought she had said as he watched Aaron hesitate, then walk toward the dorms with his new friend.

The girl gathered her things together quickly and stood up, brushing her jeans. "I gotta go. See you in class," she said as she gave him an odd look and hurried off.

"She thinks I'm a loon," Billy groaned. He searched the path with his eyes but Aaron was gone.

Back at their room, Billy beat himself up for the next couple of hours, yelling about how stupid he was and how dumb that had been. How Aaron didn't deserve to be treated like this and well, dang it all anyway......until he finally fell asleep holding the box that had Aaron's birthday present in it.

When Aaron came back, balancing a big box on his hip, he found Billy sound asleep with a small wrapped box in his hand. Setting the box down on the floor next to the computer, he felt the tears he'd been holding back begin to flood his eyes.

He stood looking down at the face he loved, the only boy he wanted. He had seen Billy talking to that pretty girl. He had known it was going to happen, but he still wasn't ready for it. "The one thing I want more than anything else...," he sighed.

He covered Billy with his sheet, taking just a minute to watch the way Billy's chest rose and fell as he breathed, then and took the little box out of his hand to lay it on the dresser.

He noticed the card with his name on it. This must be his birthday present. Sitting cross legged on his bed, he looked over at Billy and down at the box. He very carefully opened the paper, saving the bow and running his fingers over the little card where Billy had written his name.

Lifting the top off the box, he saw a silver bracelet, made of chain with a solid plate. His name, "Aaron" , was engraved on the front. His heart beating way too fast, Aaron turned the bracelet over expecting to see "Billy" engraved on the back. Instead, his eyes widened and his chest tightened as he saw words he never thought he'd see. "I love you ~ Billy" was engraved across the back of the plate.

Did that mean something? Did Billy mean that he loved him? Or he LOVED him? Like a friend or what? "Wake up, Billy'. Aaron stared at Billy, willing him to open his eyes, but all he got was a soft snuffly snore.

He walked out into the hall and came back in, slamming the door behind him. "You asleep?" he called out.

Billy struggled to wake up. "Oh, hey, you ready to go to dinner?"


Billy heard the note in Aaron's voice. He sounded hurt. "What? Why do you sound like that?"

"I just...............I," Aaron tried to talk.

"You what, Aaron? It's okay that you're finding new friends and ..."

Aaron looked confused. "What are you talking about? You're the one with new friends. I saw you today with...........,"

Billy looked into Aaron's clear blue eyes and saw the hurt. "Okay, let's slow down here. I saw you first."

Aaron frowned, "Well, I saw you second."

"I saw you laughing with that guy. I know you need to find yourself and..."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"It's your birthday. The day marked in red on the calendar I gave you. You were somewhere with someone else, laughing and I don't know what else. You were supposed to be with me."

"Well, you were flirting with that Tree Girl. I saw you."

"That was nothing....less than nothing. I did it because........"

Aaron wrinkled his nose, "Why Billy?"

"Cause it's your birthday and we were supposed to go to dinner and there you were........................"

"There I was what?" Aaron began to smile. It started in his eyes and spread across his face. This was getting good....this was getting very good.

"Why were you flirting with Tree Girl?"

Billy threw the pillow over his face and mumbled, "Because you were flirting with Drool Guy."

"I was so not flirting with....," Aaron started laughing. "This is got to be the dumbest conversation we've ever had."

He picked up the big box and set it on Billy's bed. "Drool Guy, as you so stupidly named him, had this CD player for sale cheap and I knew how much you love your country music, so I went to his room and got it for you, you dork."

Billy peered out from behind his pillow. "You did?"

"Yes, I did. I wanted to thank you for giving me my calendar and for marking it with a red pen and for being with me through everything and mainly because I......................." he stopped.

I have a birthday present for...................," Billy said, as he moved his hand around feeling for the little box.

"Looking for this?" Aaron held up his arm, the bracelet shining in the light from the glow of the computer screen.

"Oh, yeah, kinda," Billy stammered.

Aaron took a deep breath. "What did you mean when you said 'I love you'?"

"What do you mean what did I mean?"

Aaron shook his head. "You're being obtuse and that's not like you. I think it's time for truths here, Billy."

Billy sighed. "I meant what it says."

"In what way? You aren't gay like me. So, like a friend?"

Billy sat up, slinging his long legs over the side of his bed onto the floor. "Here goes nothing', he groaned.

"No, not like a friend. I love you, Aaron. I've loved you since the day we drove out to the Blue Mesa Ranch and you looked at me with those blue eyes of yours and asked me to help you."

"I'm confused, Billy. I would have loved for you to say that to me then or anytime after when I was so hurt and upset. Are you saying that you love me even though you're straight?"

Billy stood up and walked to the window. He knew he could lose Aaron right now. He had to admit that he wasn't as brave as Aaron was and that he had kept a very big secret. A secret that could have made things easier or made them much worse. He knew he'd find the answer to that right now.

Turning, he looked at Aaron across the room, his heart in his eyes. "I'm gay just like you. I knew I was then. I've known it for years. I just decided not to tell my family because I was too afraid I'd lose them. I'm not as brave as you are."

But, Billy," Aaron asked, his face showing his confusion, "Why didn't you tell me? We could have been together all this time. You already know I love you so much."

Billy walked over and sat down beside Aaron, taking hold of his hand. "You told me that if you went back to that place, you would die. I decided that I would never put you in a position where you would get in trouble. I didn't tell you because I care so much. I had to protect you."

Billy felt a tremor shoot through Aaron's body. He felt him stiffen and start to pull away. "I had to, Aaron. Believe me."

"You made a decision for me. I've wanted you so bad, Billy. I couldn't sleep at night for wanting you."

"You think it's been any easier for me? Sleeping right over there with you snoring and snuffling over here. I was going crazy. And then you were there laughing with Drool Guy on your birthday."

Aaron started to yell something back and then, instead, his face broke out in a big smile. "Billy, we're kinda saying the same thing here."

Billy rolled his eyes, "Yeah."

Both boys felt their bodies begin to relax and ease into each other, voices softening, fingers lacing together. "Do you know how long I've wanted to just hold you? How many times I wished that you were gay like me? How I had to stick my hands in my back pockets to keep from touching you? How proud I am of you? How I just want to be with you every waking minute? How scared I was that you'd hate me when I told you? How could I hate you....I love you."

"Do you know how hard it's been living here in this little room trying not to watch you?"

"Duh, yes."



"Happy Birthday."



"How about we work on the trust a little bit?"

"A good plan."

"Aaron? How hungry are you?"

"We can hit Mickey D's later."

"Much later."

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