Love Conquers All

by Flaming Matt

Chapter 41

January 2016

"Afternoon Sleepyhead." Ben almost whispers in an amused tone, as he looks down at his fiancé and sees him slowly opening his eyes, he had been asleep for almost an hour and while he loved watching him sleep, he was glad that he had finally woken up.

"How long?" Matt slowly asks in a groggy tone, as he rubs his eyes and tries to wake himself up fully, which was easier said than done as he feels himself yawning almost straight away.

"Jesus, what the hell did you do to his last night Ben?" Wesley quickly decides to ask with a bemused expression, after swimming to the side of the pool and seeing his friend struggling to wake himself up properly and couldn't resist having a little fun.

"Oh shit, I forgot we were out here." Matt then just about manages to say, as he slowly sits up and even though he was comfortable with his head on his fiancé's lap, he was a little too comfortable and he really didn't want to fall asleep again.

"Don't worry about it." Ben quickly says in a soft tone, as he looks at his fiancé with a loving smile. "And fuck off Wesley, just because you aren't getting any, doesn't mean no one else can." He then states with a smirk, after looking over to his friend and deciding to wipe the smirk off his face and while it was a bit of a low blow, it was just a bit of fun and despite his friend pretending to be upset, he could tell that he wasn't really angry.

"Hey!" Wesley quickly protests with a hurt look, but as he stares at his friend, he struggled to not smile and could tell that he saw right through his act, which actually annoyed him more, because he couldn't think of a comeback and knew he had lost before their little bit of banter even began.

"Where did everyone else go?" Matt then asks in a confused tone, after looking around and suddenly realising that no one else was out here with them and quickly looks at his boyfriend in surprise.

"Alex went a little while after you fell asleep, you know what he's been like since Peter went away and he really wasn't having any fun, so I don't really blame him, he just needs more time I guess." Ben responds with a sad smile, as he thinks about their friend and he really did feel sorry for him, they had all been told about what had happened a month ago and they also knew despite all the bad and horrific stuff, their two friends had actually kissed, but since then, Peter had been distant and for the past three weeks, he's been at his grandparents and hasn't called any of them even once.

"He's taken it pretty hard, but it's not just Peter, he lost his mum as well and well I guess only you really know what he's going through there Matt, because we know what she did and it's got to be so hard for him to cope with everything, even if his dad had been pretty amazing and he has us." Wesley then says in a thoughtful tone, as he tries to imagine how their friend felt and despite his own loss recently, it didn't really compare to how his friend must be feeling and none of them really knew how to help him, other than just making sure they kept in touch with him and kept him company, even if he pretended he didn't want it most of the time.

"We've talked a few times and he's doing better, but he just needs more time, but I wish he didn't go, he shouldn't be alone and we know his dad isn't going to be home." Matt then says in a disappointed and slightly worried tone, as he looks from his friend to his fiancé and smiles sadly at him.

"I know, but as much as he needs to be around people, he also needs some time alone and I know we said he wasn't having any fun, but he wasn't upset or sad, he just wasn't in the mood and we both know how that feels Matt." Ben then decides to say with a slightly forced smile, as he thinks about their friend and how down he looked, but he had been through phases where he needed to just be alone and he knew his fiancé had been through that as well, so while he was worried about him, he thought he would be okay.

"I guess so." Matt then says with a slight frown, before looking around again. "Where are the others though?" He then asks in a curious tone, as he wonders where the others were and while it wasn't a big deal, he was a little surprised that no one thought to wake him up, so that he could at least say goodbye.

"Jordan, Tobias, Lily and Ashleigh just left to go on their double date, remember, they said they could only stay for a little while and Jordan's dad actually came round to pick them all up, so they had to go." Ben answers with a more upbeat smile, as he remembers the surprise on their friends face, when his dad actually came around the back and through the garden gate and while it had surprised them all, his friends reaction was just hilarious and he was actually surprised that his fiancé hadn't woken up.

"Oh right and what about Carter, where did he go?" Matt then asks in curiously and while he could accept the others reasons for going, his other friend didn't have anywhere else to go and there was no way he would go without his boyfriend, so he was genuinely curious about where he was, even though if he just turned around, he would see him walking towards them with a tray of drinks.

"Oh, well he's just taking a huge shit, he likes doing it in other peoples toilets because it doesn't matter if he blocks it up." Wesley quickly answers with a straight face, after waiting for his boyfriend to get close enough to hear what he had said and as he hears his friend almost choking in surprise, he couldn't help but smirk at the look on his boyfriends face.

"He's doing what?" Matt then just about manages to ask in a surprised tone, as he stares at his friend, but as he sees a grin appear on his face, he couldn't help but be confused.

"Oh, you're going to regret that Wesley." Ben then states with a massive grin of his own, as he follows his friends gaze and sees his other friend standing behind them and if looks could kill, he was pretty sure Wesley would be in the middle of an agonising death right now.

"Huh?" Matt can't help but ask in a completely confused tone, before turning around to see what his fiancé and friend were looking at. "Oh, hey Carter." He then says with a smile, before seeing the look on his face. "You're so dead Wesley." He then states in an amused tone, after remembering what his friend had just said a few moments ago and despite knowing his friend was probably just play acting, he would definitely be a little worried, if he was Wesley right now.

"Oh er... hey Beautiful, I didn't see you there." Wesley then casually says, as he does his best to act calm and cool, although inside, he was actually a little nervous, he could tell his boyfriend was just putting on a bit of an act for a laugh, but he also knew him well enough to know, that he will pay for what he had said and he wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.

"Don't you 'Beautiful' me you dick, what the hell was that?" Carter quickly asks in an unimpressed tone, as he gives his boyfriend an expectant look and while he had to admit it was pretty funny and he could tell their two friends were enjoying it as well, he was going to get his own back and was already thinking of a few things for when they went back to his boyfriends in a few hours time.

"What? You said you were going to the toilet and Matt was asleep, so I just answered his question." Wesley quickly responds with an innocent smile, which he was struggling to maintain as he sees his boyfriend struggling to not smile himself and with their two friends grinning, it was definitely getting harder and harder not to laugh.

"Fair enough, so how are you Matt?" Carter then asks with an indifferent expression, after deciding to change tactics a little bit and while his boyfriend was pretty intelligent and very good at pushing his buttons, he could hold his own and by his expression, he could tell that his boyfriend wasn't sure how to react.

"Just like that?" Wesley can't help but ask, as he looks at his boyfriend curiously and while he was sure he was playing with him somehow, he couldn't help but play along, even if he did end up looking like an idiot in a few moments time.

"So dead." Ben then mutters under his breath in an amused tone, as he looks between his two friends and while he felt a little sorry for his friend, he had started it and he was pretty sure once they were alone, he would definitely regret what he said.

"Anyway, I'm okay Carter, but I can't believe I fell asleep and for that long." Matt then decides to say with a slight shake of the head towards his fiancé and even if he did find their friends exchange equally amusing, he didn't want to risk getting caught up in it, just in case their friends decide to team up and turn on them for a bit of fun.

"Didn't you sleep well?" Carter quickly asks, as he gives his friend a concerned look and while neither of his friends mentioned any problems, he was actually worried earlier when he had fallen asleep, it had been a while since he did that and wondered if he had had a nightmare or something.

"Honestly, I've been sleeping really well and yeah, I still get nightmares sometimes, but for the last few nights, I've really slept well and I didn't even feel that tired earlier." Matt answers honestly and while he could be worried, he felt okay and if he didn't sleep very well, his fiancé would have told him about it, he always did, so he was more curious about it, than being worried.

"Probably just one of those things, people sometimes fall asleep and you were relaxed and it's pretty warm." Ben then says in a unconcerned tone, as he reaches out and takes his fiancé's hands into his own and while it could be something serious, he didn't think it was and he could tell his fiancé felt the same way, so as far as he was concerned, there was nothing to be worried about.

"Fair enough, I've fallen asleep in Wesley's arms loads of times." Carter then decides to say with a smile, as he thinks about his friends response and while he doubted any of them will not worry about his friend, he had been a lot better over the past few weeks and he looked at lot happier as well, which was definitely a positive thing.

"Oh, by the way, we got a call from Patrick last night, we were meant to tell you all earlier, but we kind of forgot." Ben then says with a smile, as he suddenly remembers their friend calling the night before and couldn't help but feel a bit stupid for forgetting about it, especially since he knew Jordan would have definitely wanted to know how their two friends were doing now.

"Oh cool, how are they doing?" Carter quickly asks with a curious smile, after giving his boyfriend a quick nod of the head and watching him lifting himself out of the pool, he might be planning to get a bit of fun revenge later on, but he wasn't angry with him and he wanted to sit in his lap for a while.

"Yeah, are they settling in okay?" Wesley then asks, as he slightly nervously walks over to his boyfriend and sits down next to him and while he didn't think he was going to do anything, he was aware that he was going to pay for what he had said a little while ago and couldn't help but be a bit cautious.

"Barry is still struggling a little bit, but Patrick said that they've made a couple of new friends and their neighbours are really nice." Ben answers honestly and while he would miss their friends, even if they had already drifted apart a little, he was happy for them and knew they needed to go, well more Barry, but his two friends were always like brothers to each other and it wasn't that much of a surprise to hear both their families were moving together.

"I think it will do Barry good, he couldn't really stay here, not after what he did to Alex and Peter and then what happened at Alex's house, well, I can see why he wouldn't want to be here any more." Matt then says with a slightly forced smile, as he thinks about their friends and while he didn't hate either of them, especially Patrick, he had never been able to fully forgive them for not visiting or even texting him when he was in hospital and after what Barry did to their other two friends, well he found it hard to think of him positively.

"I know what he did was bad, but I feel sorry for Barry, no one should go through that." Carter then says in a slightly hesitant tone, he knew how his friends felt about Barry and even though they didn't hate him, they definitely didn't have much time for him and he couldn't really blame them, he felt almost the same way himself.

"I still can't believe they live right next to each other, I mean yeah, they moved together, but to find two houses next to each other, that couldn't have been easy." Wesley then decides to say, as he changes the subject a little bit after sensing everyone's mood and while he understood how they felt, he wasn't really ever friends with either Barry or Patrick, so he didn't really feel the same kind of betrayal his friends obviously did towards them.

"When my mum and Mike decided we would live together, they originally wanted to buy a house each next to each other, but then they saw this one and after talking to Mitch, they agreed to buy it, so I guess Barry and Patrick's parents did the same kind of thing and Barry's grandparents are quite wealthy, so that probably made it easier, especially since it's near their house as well, so they knew the area." Matt then says with thoughtful smile, as he thinks about what his friend had just said and while it could be seen as lucky or weird, it wasn't really and it would have been more surprising if their friends didn't move into houses next to each other.

"Good point and you're right, I mean to go all that way after making the decision together and not living at least close to each other would have been stranger." Wesley responds with a smile, as he feels his boyfriend shift a little to get more comfortable and while he still felt a little nervous about later, he was happy to have him in his arms and almost instinctively pulls him a little closer to his body and rests his chin on his shoulder.

"You don't mind if I go for a swim for a bit do you?" Matt then decides to ask with a hopeful smile and while he enjoyed just sitting with his friends and talking, he had intended to enjoy the pool earlier and since he had fallen asleep, he kind of missed out a little bit already and it was a nice day, so he wanted to make the most of it for at least a little while.

"Go for it mate and we will probably join you in a little while." Wesley quickly responds with a happy smile and while he didn't mind just talking, it was always good to see his friend being active and every time he went swimming, he could see an improvement and while he will probably never be able to really compete with any of them in races or stuff like that, he was definitely getting fitter and faster, which put a smile on all their faces.

"Yeah, go for it Matt and I will join you after a few laps." Ben then says with a contented smile, before frowning slightly after seeing the look on all their faces. "What? It's not like we do everything together and besides, he's got a lot of catching up to do and he's not the only one who gets to be lazy sometimes." He then states in a slightly defensive tone, although as he notices his fiancé starting to grin, he quickly relaxes and just smiles.

"Fair point." Wesley quickly states with an amused smile, after realising how his friend much have felt and while he had to admit that he was surprised he wasn't going to go with his fiancé, it was just another sign of how much happier and relaxed his two friends seemed to be recently, because just a month or so ago, he definitely didn't think Ben would just be content to watch Matt swim on his own, at least not without being a little concerned.

"Right, don't take too long." Matt then decides to say, as he gets to his feet and pulls his top over his head and while he still couldn't quite get over his scars and showing them, his two friends were different and it had been a long time since he felt shy about himself around either of them and with a smile, he slowly walks to the side of the pool and dives in.

Two Hours Later

"Just humour me Alex, we've only been here a couple of days and it will be our first real meal together, so it's worth making a bit of a deal out of it." Gordon states with a slightly amused smile, as he looks at his sons expression and while he was still worried about him, well very worried, he did seem to be doing a little better everyday, even if he wasn't showing it right now.

"Okay, but why the fancy table stuff and why do I have to get dressed up, it's just going to be us two and it's kind of weird." Alex responds honestly and while it wasn't exactly a big deal, he wasn't in the mood and after leaving his friends house earlier, even though he knew he should have stayed, his mood had just got worse as the day went on.

"Because while you might be going through a lot and feeling down Alex, you aren't the only one and maybe I need to have a special night and maybe you can just give me one night, even if you have to pretend." Gordon then quickly responds in a slightly more intense tone, than he had intended and he could see the look of shock on his sons face straight away and actually felt a little ashamed of himself, but before he can make any attempt to apologise, he hears his son sigh and then to his surprise, actually smile.

"Sorry for being moody all the time Dad and I know it's selfish and it is Dad, you know it is, but it's just hard, what she did and seeing it, it's hard sometimes." Alex decides to say, as he thinks about what his dad had just said and while he thought it was a little harsh, it wasn't completely unfair and he knew he had been acting a little selfishly, even if no one could really blame him for it.

"I know, but hopefully, now that we're here, it will be a little easier and there won't be so many reminders." Gordon then says in a softer tone, as he stands up and walks over to put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, he was proud of his son, immensely proud of him, especially how he had helped him a month ago, that took something special and for him, it was the moment his son became a man in his eyes, even if he wasn't even quite thirteen years old yet.

"I guess so and it's nice, better than the hotel, but it's... Dad, it's not just what happened, it's Peter as well, he just left and he hasn't even called or returned any of my texts." Alex then says with a frustrated sigh, as he decides to try and just be honest about what was really bothering and even though what he had seen happen in his room a month ago still gave him nightmares, it was his friends total rejection of him that hurt the most, well his mum's actions too, but he had distanced himself emotionally from her before she did what she did, so that was slightly easier to for him to deal with.

"He didn't just leave Alex and you know that, but what happened and what had happened before that, his parents wanted to get away and I know it's not ideal, but until they feel comfortable enough to come home, than he will stay at his grandparents, he has no choice and you know that." Gordon quickly responds in an understanding tone and while he knew something his son didn't, this wasn't the time and right now, he just had to try and help his son through everything he was going through as best as he could.

"What about the calls and texts though? I've sent him loads and he hasn't even replied once." Alex then says in a dejected tone and while he knew he was being a little pathetic, he just thought his friend was almost being nasty and sure, in a lot of ways, he couldn't really blame him for wanting nothing to do with him and he really did understand that, but he also remembered the kiss they shared and the fact his friend had initiated it and it wasn't just a kiss, it was a real kiss and an 'I love you' kiss, which just made what was happening now even harder and confusing to understand.

"I can't answer that Alex, but if you want some real advice and I think you're mature enough to be talked to like an adult, than you need to stop sending him texts and trying to call him and before you interrupt, I know you want to show him that you miss him, but if he is ignoring you, than it's for a reason and if that reason is that he just needs time to think about things, than you constantly texting or calling him, isn't going to help, if anything, it will make whatever he is going through, take longer, so while I won't stop you from trying to get in contact, I really hope you at least think about what I've said Alex." Gordon responds in a calm tone, after deciding to try and help his son, while also not giving anything away, because while he could tell him about later, he didn't want to ruin it, even if it would stop his son from feeling the way he was right now.

"But I don't want him to..." Alex then begins to respond, as he thinks about his dads advice and while he had a point, he still wasn't sure he was right, but before he can finish, he can only look at his dad with a slight frown, after he interrupts him.

"I think the hundreds of texts and calls that you've probably already sent, have already let him know how you feel Alex, but like I just said, I can't and won't make you stop, but I do expect you to think about it and not just dismiss it completely." Gordon quickly states in a caring tone and while he knew interrupting his son was rude and it was a little hypocritical of him, he knew what he was going to say and he wanted him to understand what he was saying.

"I just want to know if he is okay, he's important to me, even if he doesn't want to see or speak to me." Alex then says in a frustrated tone, as he decides to continue to just be honest about how he was feeling and while he knew he was probably being childish, he couldn't help how he felt and he knew his dad would understand, he always understood and listened to him and he loved him for it.

"I will make some phone calls tomorrow Alex and see if I can get in contact with his parents and I know it's not the same thing, but if I can find out if he is okay, will you at least consider listening to my advice?" Gordon then decides to ask in a loving tone, as he let's go of his sons shoulder and sits back down and while he wanted to maintain contact, he was hoping his son would sit down and relax a little bit and as he sees him smile at him and move towards the sofa, he smiles to himself.

"Okay Dad, if he's okay, I promise not to send him any more texts or call him, even if I really want to." Alex reluctantly responds with a smile, as he sits down and while he didn't really want to stop trying to call his friend, he knew his dad was right and if he at least knew he was okay, it would help him stop worrying about him all the time.

"Why don't we talk about something else for a while Alex, have you been to visit Ryan recently?" Gordon then asks in a curious tone, as he decides to change the subject and see how the other boy was doing now, it had been almost a week since he was last in hospital and while that was a good sign, he couldn't help but be a little curious about his progress.

"He's doing a lot better, although he's still struggling to hold things and well other things." Alex responds with a slightly surprised expression, although as he thinks about it, he knew his dad had taken a special interest in his former... well he guessed he was his actual friend again now, although after what had happened, he wasn't sure if he could forgive him completely, he wanted to be there for him and when he got better, he would think about where they went from there.

"Other things?" Gordon quickly asks in a curious tone, as he looks at his son and while he could tell that he was conflicted about visiting the other boy, he was proud of him for going through with it and it again showed him what kind of person her was.

"He still has to wear pull ups and I could see how much he hates it, but I don't mention it and well he's doing better at his reading and writing, but it's still not very good." Alex answers in a slightly awkward tone, as he thinks about his friend and even though he was getting better and better every day, it wasn't likely that he would ever be the same boy he once was and he could see how much it hurt him and how lonely he was as well, because none of his other so called friends wanted anything to do with him and with Jarred being dead, he had no one else, which was one of the reasons he visited him, he just felt sorry for him.

"It's to be expected, he's lucky to be alive and I know neither of us like to think about it Alex, but he was shot in the head at close range, he should be dead and I while I don't believe in miracles, I think that's as close to one as I think I will ever see in my life time." Gordon then decides to say and while he might have been exaggerating slightly, the bullet should have killed the boy, because it went into the brain and while it had done damage, a lot of damage, it could have been so much worse and the boy should make close to a full recovery.

"I know and he knows that, but I think it doesn't help that his friends, well who he thought were his friend have completely ignored him and you should hear them at school, they're scumbags Dad and while I don't know how I feel about Ryan, not after what he did to me and Peter, no one should be talked about like that and I'm just glad he doesn't know about it." Alex then states in a slightly angry tone, as he thinks about the other boys at school and while he could respect them not wanting to be friends with him, he was disgusted by the things they were saying and he had struggled to not react to them and a couple of times Wesley or Jordan had had to hold him back and calm him down.

"Have you talked to your friends about visiting him yet?" Gordon then decides to ask, as he thinks about his sons words and while he could say something, he didn't think it would help, although he was definitely going to have a word with some parents about their children's behaviour, because he knew most of the families in town, he was more focused on keeping his son in the right frame of mind, especially today, because hopefully it was going to be a turning point for him and he didn't want him to spend the rest of the day feeling angry and miserable.

"Yeah and Wesley said he will visit him, they did used to be friends a few years ago, but I don't think Carter will and I don't know what Matt thinks, I was going to try and talk to him earlier, but he fell asleep and I figured I would wait a couple of days and ask him and Ben together when I next see them." Alex responds honestly and while he was a little surprised that his dad had changed the subject, he wasn't going to make a big deal out of it and while he wasn't really in the mood to talk at all, he had to admit that he was feeling a little better than he had been feeling.

"I know that you might not end up as friends, but I'm proud of you for being there for him Alex and I mean that, you've grown so much this past year and I don't know if I tell you that enough, but I do, I love you so much and I couldn't have wished for a better son." Gordon then says from the heart, as he looks at his soon with pride and smiles when he sees him standing up and quickly moving towards him.

"I love you too Dad and you're the best dad in the whole world." Alex quickly says in an emotional tone, as he wraps his arms around his dad and hugs him tightly, he loved him with all his heart and he always seemed to know what to say and while he wasn't exactly jumping for joy, he was feeling so much better than he had done just a short time ago and it was all down to his dad and tightens his hold on him even more.

"You want a puppy?" Sarah quickly asks in a surprised tone and while she wasn't sure what the boys were going to say, especially after asking both her and Mike to sit down and she knew neither of them were expecting the boys to ask for a puppy.

"Yeah, the house is big enough and there are loads of us to look after him, so he won't get lonely." Matt quickly responds with a hopeful smile and while it was a little random, he and his fiancé had been talking about it for a couple of weeks and they really did want to have a pet and they both agreed that dogs were the best, although their brother had tried to convince them to get a kitten and had even written a list of why cats are better than dogs, but it hadn't changed their minds.

"But he will be ours and we will look after him and stuff, but Tobias can play with him too and you can as well, but he will be our dog." Ben then quickly decides to add, just to make sure that his dad and Sarah knew that while they could help and play with him, it would be their pet still.

"It's a big responsibility and I know families have pets and dogs, I'm a little worried about the pool, it would be quite dangerous for a puppy." Mike then decides to say in a slightly reluctant tone, because he liked the idea of a dog and had always loved them as a child, but he had to think practically and the pool really was a big concern for him and he wanted to make sure the boys were aware of it.

"Oh, but er... well..." Ben then begins to say in protest, before trailing of and looking at his fiancé with a sad expression, they had talked a lot about it and all the pros and cons, but neither of them had thought about the pool and even though he was trying to think of a way past it, he couldn't and by the look on his fiancé's face, he could tell that he couldn't either.

"I know that it's disappointing boys and believe me, I think a dog would be a very welcome addition to the family, but it wouldn't be fair on it, the pool is just too dangerous and not really suitable for pets and it wouldn't be fair to keep him inside either." Mike then says with a sympathetic smile, as the more he thinks about it, the more he realises that having a pet, especially a puppy, just wasn't practical.

"We could teach it to swim." Matt then decides to suggest, although even as he says it, he knew it was a weak suggestion and he could see it on his fiancé's dads face straight away.

"Even if he could swim and this includes an adult dog, the pool just isn't animal friendly boys and what I mean is, the dog would have no way to get out, they can't pull themselves up like we can or use the steps, so I'm sorry guys, but it's going to have to be a no." Mike then says sympathetically, as he looks at both boys and could see the disappointment on both of their faces and he really did hate to see them like that, especially when they had been so excited a few moments ago and he could tell that they really had thought about asking for a long time, they just hadn't thought about everything, which wasn't either of their faults, they were just too young to think of everything.

"I agree with Mike boys, but while it's a no now, there are some options we can look into, because I think a pet, especially a dog, would be very nice to have around, maybe even a couple, I always think that if you have a pet, you should have at least two." Sarah then decides to say and while she thought about waiting until the boys left to talk about this with her friend, she didn't like seeing them disappointed and she thought they had earned the right to be included in these types of decisions.

"What kind of options?" Matt quickly asks with an hopeful expression, as quickly turning to his attention to his mum, who he had to admit, he wasn't expecting to offer them a bit of hope.

"We will have to talk to people, just to make sure it is suitable, but I was thinking of some kind of fence around the pool, which should keep a puppy safe, but as it grows, it could find a way over it, so we would have to look into some kind of animal friendly steps for the pool, but like I said boys, it's still a no for now, but we will look into it, I promise." Sarah responds with a reassuring smile, as she decides to give them a bit of hope, while at the same time, letting them know that even if they looked into her suggestions, it might still be a no.

"Animal friendly steps?" Ben quickly asks in a somewhat dubious tone, as he gives his fiancé's mum a curious look and while he didn't want to say anything that might stop them having a puppy, he was genuinely confused and wasn't quite sure what it was, even if the name made it sound obvious, he just couldn't picture it in his head.

"They would be similar to what we have already, but wider and at an angle where a dog for example could walk up and get out of the pool, but it could still be too dangerous and we will need to speak to someone to find out if it is an option." Sarah answers are clearly as she could and while she wasn't sure if they could make the pool safe, she knew other families had pets and pools, so there was definitely something they could do, she just had to find out what those options were.

"When will we be able to find out?" Ben then quickly asks in an excited tone and while he knew it could still be a no, he was happy that they still had a chance and he could tell his fiancé was just as happy as he was.

"We will go somewhere tomorrow boys, I think we can ask at a pet store or somewhere that might be able to help us." Mike decides to answer, as he decides to join in the conversation again and while he wasn't exactly sure where they could actually find out the answers to their questions, he knew it was important to at least try and that way, if the answer was still a no, the boys would know they were taking them seriously and not just saying no outright.

"We could look online, there's bound to be loads of people with pools and pets." Matt then states with a hopeful smile, after realising that it would be easier to look online and when he sees his mum smiling at him, he knew he had made a good point and couldn't help but feel a little proud of himself.

"Okay, why don't you two run off and check some things, but remember, it could still be a no and we will talk about it more tomorrow, because we're going out for dinner tonight, so we won't have time." Mike the suggests with a smile, as he sees both boys smiling now and while they could still end up disappointed, he had to admit, that his friends ideas were good and like he already thought, other people had pets and a pool, so there must be a way of safeguarding it.

"Okay and we won't be long and we will text Tobias, just to make sure him and Lily are reading when we pick them up." Ben quickly responds with a happy smile, before getting up and helping his fiancé to his feet and then giving both his dad and fiancé's mum a grateful cuddle, as he fiancé does the same.

"Get going them boys and if we aren't in here when you get back, we will be in the living room." Sarah then says with a grin, as she watches them both standing a little awkwardly, before smiling themselves and heading out of the back door and towards their pool house.

"It will be nice to have a dog around the place, well maybe when it grows a little anyway." Mike then decides to say with a slight, before reaching over and taking his friends hand into his own and giving it a gentle squeeze.

"They grow quickly." Sarah responds with a warm smile, before moving a little closer to her friend. "I hope we can make it work, they seemed really excited and they did seem to have thought it through, even if they didn't think about the pool and how dangerous it could be for a puppy." She then decides to say with a slightly worried expression, before relaxing and smiling again, when she sees the look on her friends face and quickly leans in to kiss him.

"It will be nice to tell them about us, even if they probably suspect it, it will be nice to just get it out in the open." Mike then says with a slight blush, as he feels his friend pulling away and while it was still early, they had grown even closer over the past month and without the worry about their families safety, well they still worried a little bit, it was a lot easier now and they had more time to really get to know each other.

"I know and you're right, even if it is kind of nice to have a secret." Sarah quickly responds with a small grin, before leaning in for another kiss and this times doesn't pull away.

Four Hours Later

"I still think it's a bit stupid." Alex decides to say again and while he kind of understood his dads point and it was kind of nice to get dressed up, it just felt a bit stupid, especially since they weren't going anywhere.

"I know, but like I already told you Alex, just humour me please and don't forget to light the candles." Gordon responds in a slightly distracted tone, as he looks around and makes sure that everything was in place. "and don't give me that look, it might be a little weird, but it's our first official meal in our new home Alex and I don't want it to just be some crappy takeaway meal and you're getting the chance to have some wine, so if I were you, I would just go with it." He then states in an amused tone, as he looks at his son and sees his expression, but he had already known the candles were going to make his son slightly suspicious and had already prepared his response beforehand.

"I don't even like..." Alex then begins to respond, before stopping himself as he looks at his dad for a few moments. "Okay, okay, I get it, no more complaining or asking pointless questions." He then states with a slight shake of the head and while he still felt a little awkward, well more than just a little, at having what was looking more and more like a candlelit dinner with his dad, at least no one else would ever know and it wasn't all bad, he loved his dad and he genuinely liked being around him, so he was going to try his best to enjoy himself, even if it was more for his dads benefit, than for his own.

"See, that wasn't so hard, was it?" Gordon then states with a smug expression, before walking towards the table and then turning back to his son. "Is your phone off?" He then asks with a knowing look and while it didn't really matter, he thought it was a good idea to try and make sure nothing interrupts the night.

"Yeah, but I still don't see why I couldn't just put it on silent." Alex responds with a slight pout, as he stares at his dad for a few moments and while he was thinking about just putting it on silent, he knew that for whatever reason, this meal was important to him and having his phone off for a few hours, wasn't exactly the end of the world, it's not like anyone would be calling him at this time of the day anyway.

"Because I asked you to..." Gordon then begins to say with a grin, before pausing as he hears someone knocking at the door. "Why don't you answer that, while I go and plate up." He then casually suggests, as he sees the surprise on his sons face and while he wanted to see his face when he opened the door, he knew he had to get the food ready and on the table, before leaving them to it.

"Er... okay." Alex responds with a slightly suspicious expression, but as he dad just smiles at him before heading towards the kitchen, he turns and walks towards the front door, just as whoever it was, knocks again and slowly opens the door and wonders if his dad had somehow come up with another way to make the meal feel even more weird.

"Hey." Peter quickly states with a shy smile, after watching the door opening and seeing his friend standing there and despite finding his expression more than a little amusing, he was just happy to see him.

"I still think Rocky is the best name." Tobias decides to say again, as he sits across from his brothers and while he was a little disappointed that he hadn't convinced them to get a cat, he did like dogs and it would be cool to have a pet and maybe if it went well, he could convince his mum to let him buy a kitten.

"It would be pretty good and I like it, but to be honest Tobias, we kind of already chose the name and I don't think we will change our minds." Ben then says with a slightly apologetic smile, as he looks at his brother and while he did actually think Rocky would be a great name for a dog, he and his fiancé had talked about it a lot and had settled on a name that they both loved.

"I guess if Mum lets me get a kitten, I can call him Rocky, but it's not really a cat name and I like Ty better." Tobias then says with a half smile, as he thinks about what name he thought was best. "What?" He then asks in a curious tone, as he looks up to see his brothers giving him a surprised look and he couldn't help but feel a little paranoid.

"You're going to ask Mum for a kitten?" Matt responds in a surprised tone and while there was nothing wrong with it, he wasn't expecting it, even if his brother had been trying to convince them to get a kitten instead of a puppy.

"Yeah, if you're allowed a puppy, than I should be allowed a kitten and loads of people have both and they don't fight each other." Tobias quickly answers slightly defensively, as he looks at his brother and while he knew he was reacting a little over the top, he really did think it was only fair and cats were easier to look after anyway and there was plenty of room.

"He's got a point and it would be nice to have a couple of pets." Ben then says, after quickly thinking about it and he really did think it would be nice and make their home feel even more like a home, well at least in his opinion.

"And Mum did say something about maybe getting more than one puppy, but I guess a puppy and a kitten would be okay too." Matt then says with a smile, which widens when he sees how happy their brother looked now and while he wasn't sure if they would actually be able to even have a pet, he was keeping his fingers crossed and hope for the best.

"This is going to be so cool and Lily really likes cats too and she will love Ty." Tobias then states happily as he grins at the thought of how much his girlfriend will love his kitten and knew she would want to visit him all the time.

"Whoa there Tobias, I know we're talking about it and those sites we found about the pool are really good, but your mum and my dad made it clear that they might still say no, so just calm down a little and don't tell Lily about this, not until we find out if we're even allowed them in the first place." Ben then quickly states in a serious tone and while he was excited, well they all were about getting their own pets, he knew they couldn't get too excited, just in case their parents did said no, even if it did seem unlikely.

"I guess so." Tobias then says in a slightly disheartened tone, as he looks at his brother, but as much as he wanted to argue against him, he knew he had a point and he would be gutted if he got his hopes up and told his girlfriend, only to be told by his mum and uncle, that they couldn't get them.

"How is Lily anyway, we haven't seen her for a few days." Matt then decides to ask with a sincere smile, as he decides to change the subject and both he and his fiancé were genuinely interested in how their brothers girlfriend was, they both really liked her and they hoped she was doing okay and as his brother begins to respond his smile widens when he feels his fiancé giving his hand a squeeze on the table.

"I can't stay for long guys, I'm picking Erica up from her parents and we have a table booked at that sea food restaurant that she really loves." Mitch states with a slightly flustered expression and while he knew this was important, he didn't have much time and he didn't want to be late for the reservation he had made.

"I know and we appreciate you coming here Mitch, but you understand how important this is for us." Sarah then says apologetically as she gives the young man an appreciative smile, she knew how important tonight was for the young couple and she did feel guilty about delaying him.

"I know and I get it, I really do." Mitch quickly responds in a calmer tone, as he sits down and despite still being aware of the time, this really was important and he knew it would take a load of his own mind as well, to get it out of the way with and let him enjoy the evening without having to think about it any more.

"So do we need to worry Mitch or is everything okay?" Sarah then decides to ask and despite feeling a little rude, they were pushed for time and none of them wanted to dwell on this for any longer than they had to, they just wanted to move on and not have to worry about any surprises.

"As far as the police are concerned, it's a pretty open and shut case, it always was, but because Jarred being killed and Ryan being... well we know what happened to him, they had to delve more into it and show that they were taking it completely seriously, it's just taken longer, so there won't be any further investigations, Maggie Gilmar killed Jarred and attempted to kill Ryan and possibly planned to kill everyone, but before being able to finish the job, it's believed that she accidentally activated her cyanide pill and killed herself prematurely." Mitch quickly responds with a grim expression and while he tried not to think about it, it really was like something out of a horror movie and seeing he crime scene photographs, it only reinforced that feeling inside him.

"How can you accidentally activate a cyanide pill?" Mike quickly asks in a confused tone, as he thinks about his eldest sons words and while he was no expert, he'd seen enough films and TV shows to know what his son was referring to, but he couldn't quite picture Maggie accidentally taking one, he may not have liked the woman, but she wasn't an idiot and he didn't think she would make such a mistake.

"Honestly, it's suspicious Dad and there are a few question marks over it, but with Gordon's evidence, it sounds like she had taken some kind of drug and somehow dislodged her cyanide pill, which she would have had somewhere in her mouth, likely behind a tooth and swallowed it." Mitch answers as honestly as he could and while he was a little surprised himself, he didn't doubt Gordon's version of events, the man had no reason to lie and he was a doctor, so he would know what he was seeing and however unlikely, the evidence had backed up his version of events.

"Drugs?" Sarah then finds herself asking in a shocked tone and while she hated the woman and wasn't particularly upset by it, she knew what she was capable of and it really didn't seem like something she would do and she couldn't help but be curious about it.

"Honestly, I think a lot of people were surprised, even though she had obviously just been released from prison, she was clean of any drugs and as far as anyone knows, she has never been a user, but the tests came back and there were a cocktail of them in her system, so I guess she knew what she was doing or at least going to do and knew she couldn't live with herself, that's my guess, because we will never really know for sure." Mitch again answers honestly, before looking at his watch and frowning a little bit and while this was important, very important, he really didn't want to be late and ruin the surprise for his girlfriend.

"Well, I guess it's over now, so that's all that's important and thank you Mitch, at least we can put it out of our minds and move on now." Sarah then says with a sincere smile, before getting up from the sofa and embracing the young man in a warm embrace. "Thank you for everything." She then says lovingly, as she lets him go and steps back with a warm smile, she really did admire and respect him and couldn't think of a better big brother for her two sons, he was just the best role model that she could ever hope for, for her sons to look up to.

"I try, but I really need to get going." Mitch quickly responds with a slight blush, as he stares at them both and while he appreciated the compliment, he always felt a little awkward about it, even if he did enjoy the praise and ego boost.

"Thanks for coming and we will tell the boys you will see them tomorrow." Mike then says with a proud smile, as he gets up and puts a hand on his eldest sons shoulder for a few moments.

"Thanks and see you both tomorrow." Mitch responds with a shy smile, but after turning around and walking towards the door, he quickly turns back to his dad and Sarah. "And relax guys, the boys love you both and they will be happy for you, so stop worrying." He quickly states with a smirk, which softens slightly when he sees the look on both there faces and he could tell that they were still nervous about telling his brothers about their relationship, even though he had told them not to be countless times.

"I hope so, they've been through a lot and the last thing..." Mike then begins to say in response, but quickly finds himself being cut off and looks at his eldest son in surprise.

"Seriously, they've all walked in on you two cuddled up and even kissing once or twice, so they pretty much at the very least suspect something, so stop worrying and just tell them what you told me and they will be fine and happy for you, trust me." Mitch quickly states in a slightly amused tone, as he looks at his dad and could see that he was still worrying about the whole thing and despite wanting to stay longer, he knew he had to leave now.

"Okay, okay Mitch, just get going and we will do our best." Mike then decides to say, after seeing his eldest son looking at his watch again and knew that he really should be going now.

"Seriously Mitch, we will be fine, so get going and don't worry about us, you said it yourself, the boys will be fine." Sarah then decides to say, as she gives the young man a serious look, before smiling as he shakes his head and smiles back at them.

"See you tomorrow." Mitch quickly responds with a smile, before turning back towards the door and walking out of the room and then the house.

"It's a rose." Alex states in a stunned tone, as he takes in his friend and notices the rose in his hand and despite a thousand thoughts running through his mind right now, that was all he seemed to be able to focus on and doesn't even notice the amused look on his friends face.

"It's a bit silly, but I wanted to give you something nice." Peter then says with a shy smile, as he looks at his friend and blushes, he really wasn't sure how his friend was going to react to seeing him again, but while it wasn't exactly the warmest of welcomes so far, it was a lot better than what he had been worrying about and just about managed to relax a little bit more.

"Oh." Alex then says in an awkward and unsure tone, as he continues to just stare at his friend and again, even though he had a million things to say, he just couldn't seem to compose himself and actually say any of them.

"Is it okay if I come in?" Peter then decides to ask in a slightly unsure tone, as he struggles to not just give up, he had talked to his parents about coming here and despite knowing they weren't exactly over the moon about his potential relationship, they had given him a lot of advice and because of that, he was aware that he might have to be a bit more forceful than he is used to and a lot braver as well, because it was obvious this wasn't going to be easy and he couldn't really blame his friend for being a little cold, so he knew he had to just stay strong.

"I don't know." Alex quickly responds in an increasingly confused tone, as he really struggles to process his friends sudden reappearance. "It's just er... I'm kind of having a special dinner with my dad and there isn't enough for three people and er... it's almost ready." He then finds himself saying in an almost robotic tone, as he thinks about the meal and how important it was for his dad and he really wasn't sure how to react right now.

"Oh, well er... I guess if it's important..." Peter then begins to respond with a disappointed expression, but as he looks past his friend, he trails off as he sees his friends dad walking towards them and to his surprise and confusion, winking at him and giving him a weird smile, which instantly makes him remember their conversation the day before and he quickly relaxes again.

"Nonsense Alex, he's your friend and he's always welcome here." Gordon quickly states with a welcoming smile, as he looks at his sons friend. "Come on Peter, get in and make yourself comfortable." He then suggests with the same smile, before gently moving his son to the side, just to give the young boy room to walk inside the door and despite being a little surprised by his sons reaction to his friend being at the door, he just put it down to shock and knew that once he processed it, he would relax and be happy to see him.

"Thank you Sir." Peter quickly responds with a grateful smile, as he walks past them both and stands in the hallway and despite being a little confused by what had happened so far, he was happy that he was in the house and that his friend didn't appear to be angry at him, even if he was being weirdly quiet.

"Seriously Peter, we've been over this, call me Gordon, please." Gordon responds with an appreciative smile and while he did enjoy the boys politeness, he really did prefer to be called by his name, he had enough people calling him 'Sir' at work, so it was definitely nice to get away from that outside of work.

"Oh, sorry Gordon, I guess I'm just a little nervous." Peter quickly responds with a shy smile, while still standing a little awkwardly with the rose still in his hand and wasn't quite sure what to do with himself.

"Why don't you take the rose Alex, because Peter needs to take his coat and shoes off." Gordon then decides to suggest, after seeing his sons friend holding the rose and realising that he didn't seem to want to put it down and after thinking about it, quickly realised that it must be for his son and while he wasn't quite sure why his son hadn't taken it, he put it down to the surprise of the situation and thought he would give him a little nudge in the right direction.

"Oh, okay I guess." Alex responds a little startled as he looks at his dad, he had been staring at his friend and the rose and completely got caught up in his own thoughts, but as he feels his dad giving him a gentle push, he walk over to his friend and holds out his hand.

"I know it's stupid, but I hope you like it." Peter then decides to say with a genuine smile, as he holds out the rose for his friend to take and while he had already said something similar a few minutes ago, he couldn't help but feel a little nervous, especially since his friend was being a little weird.

"No, it's nice, really nice... thank you." Alex slowly responds with a shy smile, as he starts to process everything and as he looks at his friend again, his smile widens a little bit and slowly takes the rose and holds it to his chest. "Why are you all dressed up?" He then asks in surprise, as he watches his friend taking his coat off and he couldn't help but wonder why he seemed to be dressed to go out.

"Because I asked him to Alex, now why don't we let him get his shoes off, while we go to the table and put that rose in a vase." Gordon quickly answers before his sons friend can respond, after quickly noticing the look on his face and knew that he was about to tell the truth and while it didn't really matter, he wasn't quite ready to let his son know what this night was all about, even if he was likely to realise in a few moments time by himself.

"Er... okay, but what about our meal?" Alex then asks in a confused tone, as he lets his dad lead him towards the dining room and sees the food on the table, which he quickly notices still only has two place settings and couldn't quite work out where his friend was going to sit.

"Just sit down Alex and I will sort that out." Gordon responds with a smile, as he does his best to hide his amusement at how dense his son was being right now, because it had to be obvious what was going on and he was sure he would figure it out any minute now.

"So er... is this really okay?" Peter then asks in a nervous tone, as he looks at his friends dad and while he wanted to sit down and talk with his friend about how he felt, he was worried that his friends weird behaviour, was going to make his dad change his mind and just found himself standing awkwardly next to the table.

"It's okay Peter, sit down and relax, you're doing just fine." Gordon responds with a warm smile, he really did like the young boy and even though he had to admit that the gay thing was a little strange to fully accept, he wasn't homophobic and if his son was happy, than that was all he cared about and the young boy made his son happy.

"I don't get it, where are... hey! Why aren't you even dressed up Dad?" Alex then asks in a suspicious tone, after suddenly realising where his friend had just sat and what his dad was wearing, because while they weren't exactly casual clothes, they definitely weren't smart clothes, not like what his dad had made him wear and he couldn't help but wonder what was going on, especially since his friend happened to arrive just as the food was ready and he was actually dressed up.

"And there I was thinking you were a chip of the old block." Gordon quickly says with a grin, before shaking his head at the look on his sons face. "Think about it Alex, but not for too long, because you two have a lot to talk about and I will be back in a few hours." He then states in an amused tone, before reaching for the bottle of wine and pouring each boy a glass.

"Dad?" Alex then quickly asks in a shocked tone, as he continues to struggle to understand what was going on and despite knowing it was probably obvious, especially as he looks at his dads expression, there was just too much going on in his head, to piece it all together.

"Peter, remember what I told you, you have my number and I won't be far, so don't leave the house, okay." Gordon then states in a serious tone, as he looks at the young boy and when he nods in response, he quickly gives him a warm smile. "And that goes to you as well Alex, you're not to leave the house or answer the door and no matter what happens between you both, you don't let Peter leave either, no arguments." He then states firmly, as he turns to his son and despite knowing how confused he was right now, he knew the best thing that he could do, was let he boys talk between themselves and give them a bit of space, even if he was just going to sit in the car around the corner, they didn't have to know that.

"I promise." Alex quickly responds and while he was still completely confused by the situation, his dad was being serious with him and he respected him too much to not listen and pay attention to what he was telling him.

"Enjoy your meals boys and try to listen to each other." Gordon then states, as he walks over to his son and gives him a soft kiss on the forehead, before standing up and heading towards the door. "Call me if you need anything." He then decides to say, after quickly turning back to the boys with a small grin and then turning back the other way and making his way out of the house, after quickly grabbing his coat and checking that the envelope was still inside, the last thing he wanted, was for his son to find it and while he could destroy it, he just couldn't bring himself to do it, not yet anyway.

"The food smells nice, did your dad cook it?" Peter decides to ask in a slightly awkward tone, as he looks across to his friend and while he still looked a bit shocked, he was happy to see that he wasn't angry or anything, which he was a little worried about before knocking on the door.

"I did, but it's getting cold." Alex quickly responds with a forced smile, as he looks at his friend and despite being happy to see him, well more than just happy, he was also to his own surprise, actually angry with him and the fact his dad had set this all up and just left, was annoying him as well and he needed some more time to think.

"Oh, well er... okay, it does look and smell good." Peter then says in a slightly disappointed tone and while it wasn't exactly a great subject to talk about, he was hoping it would at least get them talking, but as he sees his friend starting to eat, it was clear he wasn't ready yet and quickly decides to just do the same and hopefully, once his friend had something to eat, he would want to talk to him. "So er... well er... this is a nice house." Peter then says after almost five minutes of silence and while he had tried to wait for his friend to say something, so far they had just sat in silence and eaten.

"It's okay I guess, we only really moved in earlier in the week, so it's still all new and kind of strange." Alex responds in a quiet tone, after looking up at his friend and despite still not knowing quite how he should react to him being here, it was good to see him and he did look well, even if he couldn't quite shake the feeling of annoyance he was feeling towards him for being away for so long.

"You've been in your old house all this time?" Peter quickly asks in a surprised tone, but as soon as he sees his friends face, he instantly regrets bringing it up and to be honest, as he thinks about it now, he can feel his stomach churn a little bit. "Sorry." He then says in a quiet tone, as he looks down at his plate and just felt like a complete idiot, he had thought about what to say and what not to say and bringing up anything that reminded his friend of what his mum did, was almost number one of the list of things not to do and he had been here for less than fifteen minutes and already made a complete mess of things.

"It's okay, well it's not, but it's okay Peter and well, we've been in a hotel for most of the last month, but I've stayed at Matt and Ben's a lot as well, you know, when my dad works and stuff." Alex then says with a sightly forced smile, after deciding to try and not let the evening end before it's even begun and while he still couldn't quite push the negative thoughts out of his head, he was determined to do his best to at least give his friend a chance to explain where he has been, even if it might take them a while to get to that point.

"Is everyone else okay?" Peter then decides to ask, as he thinks of a way to keep his friend talking and while he knew they would need to get down to the serious stuff eventually, he wasn't sure his friend was in the right frame of mind for that right now and he didn't want to do anything to upset him or at least any more than he appeared to be right now.

"I guess so." Alex quickly answers with a slight sigh, as he looks down at his almost empty plate. "Sorry, they're all doing okay, everyone seems a lot happier these days and more relaxed." He then adds with a forced smile, after looking up and seeing the disappointment on his friends face and despite how he was feeling himself, he really didn't want to upset him, even if he was struggling to confront him about where he has been all this time.

"Your dad said that Ryan is out of hospital now." Peter then asks in a curious tone, as he decides to see if his friends dad was telling him the truth and whether his friend was now friends with Ryan again, because while he wasn't sure how he felt about the other boy, he wasn't so sure if he was happy about them potentially being friends again, not after what had happened.

"Yeah, he's still recovering though and his face is pretty messed up, but I think they can fix that." Alex responds with a slightly suspicious expression, as he looks at his friend and while he wasn't giving much away, he could tell that he wasn't bringing the other boy up because he was worried about him.

"I can't believe he survived though, he got shot in the head." Peter then says in an amazed tone, as he thinks about the other boy and while he knew he was just buying himself a bit more time to build up the nerve to tell his friend why he was really here, he was actually curious about the other boy, even if it did surprise him a little to realise that he actually did care about what had happened to him.

"My dad said that it's pretty much a miracle, but he might be alive Peter, but the bullet went in his brain and he's going to need a lot of time to recover and even then, he might not be able to do a lot of things he used to be able to do." Alex then decides to say and while he still hadn't decided if he would remain friends with the other boy, he couldn't just abandon him and at least until he got a little better, he was going to be there for him, even if he still kind of hated him.

"I still don't like him, but that sucks and I guess it's nice of you to visit him and stuff, although I don't think I could, not after what he did Alex and the same for Barry, I don't want to be his friend or see him either." Peter then decides to say and while he knew it sounded a little cold, especially since Ryan was genuinely hurt and suffered a lot, but they almost killed his friend and could have killed him as well, so he couldn't bring himself to forgive any of them.

"I don't think I can either, but he hasn't got anyone and even Wesley is going to visit him and maybe Matt and Ben as well, but it won't be because we're his friends, it's just, he's a mess Peter and no one should be alone, not even after what he did, well at least until he gets a little better anyway." Alex quickly states and quickly surprises himself by how sincere he sounded and while he kind of knew he felt like that already, it was another thing to actually say it out loud and mean it.

"I guess so, but I still don't want to see him and I know it might be awkward with Barry, because he's friends with everyone, but I..." Peter then begins to say, before looking at his friend in surprise, after he interrupts him and despite being a little annoyed, he decided to just listen and let him speak.

"Barry's gone Peter, they moved about two weeks ago and Patrick's family went with them, I don't know where they went though, but it's quite far away, I think near Patrick's grandparents, wherever that is." Alex decides to say, as he realises what his friend was going to say and deciding to just tell him the truth and maybe get him to stop talking about the others, because he really wanted him to either be quiet for a while or to confront him about not returning his calls or texts, even though he had mixed feelings about both options.

"Oh, well er... wow." Peter eventually responds in a surprised and slightly relieved tone, as he looks at his friend and sees him just staring at him, but before he can think of anything else to say, he sees him picking up his fork and then beginning to eat again and decides to just do the same and even though they had been talking for a while, he could still feel the tension between them and it was starting to get a little more uncomfortable as the minutes ticked by.

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