Kinda Like Getting Cats to Walk in a Parade

by Grasshopper

Okay ... I am, as of now, a prime example of Einstein's definition of insanity:

"Endlessly repeating the same process, hoping for a different result".

Now, I admire Albert no end. He was way into brain stuff ... as a matter of fact, his brain contained 73% more glial cells than mine or yours. Ask me what that means ... go ahead, ask. I can reply for I am now part of the American university system and therefore able to spew out vast quantities of archaic knowledge that no one ever wants and spend vast amounts of money for the privilege of doing so.

Okay, we have nerve cells and glial cells in our brains. The nerve cells we are born with are all we get; we don't get any new ones. The glial cells take care of the nerve cells plus they can make more little glial cells. I have no idea why Einstein had bunches more, but it does make me ponder that if I had more little glial cells would I make better choices? Would my little glials take better care of my nerve cells cause I'm thinking that my nerve cells just aren't running on a full tank of gas lately. My little neurons are sparkin' in all kinds of directions, none to the benefit of well .... Me.

Like, Old Albert, now he was just sitting around shootin' the bull when he realized that Emax=hv-P would work a hella lot better than the plain old E=hv. I mean really, I'd have thought of that, given enough time ... and pizza.

So, Albert of the wild hair and the rather impressive nose and the huge amount of glials ...... you did make me think about one thing you said:

If I keep doin' the same dumb crap over and over hoping that something will change, I'm insane.

Kinda like catching a bunch of cats, organizing a little Cat Pride parade, turning on the music and expecting them to high step it on down the sidewalk. We both know how that would go!

We all do the same weird stuff over and over, hiding behind what is safe and what we know. A person with a secret keeps that secret close, right? It almost gets comfortable, me and my secret. It becomes my best friend and that's where the insanity begins.

It's almost Valentine's Day. I know, it's a totally Hallmark consumer-driven day so suckers will buy candy and stuffed animals with big red satin hearts and especially buy the cards that say I Love U in big fancy letters. I'm just sayin'. And, the thing is, I'm prolly the biggest sucker of all.

I was crossing the Walmart parking lot in Laramie when I saw this tall all arms and legs kid about 17 carrying a really scraggly-fugly stuffed dog with a shiny red heart sewn on his heart, the dog, not the kid. He had a white plastic bag hanging off his wrist and I'll bet you it contained one of those red heart candy boxes and a card. You know the candy box I mean where you taste all the pieces and spit them out cause they're just .... nasty.

The dog was almost as big as the kid and, as we passed, I tried to see his eyes. Well, you know same as me, that at 17, you don't want anyone to see your eyes as you wrangle a stupid Valentine's dog across the WalMart parking lot. It's cheesy, you're dopey and some girl somewhere in Laramie, Wyoming is gonna thank you BIGTIME for all that crap and maybe give it up tonight. Life ... it's one huge Hallmark moment, right?

We've got 2 trains of thought here. Valentine's Day good/ Valentine's Day major suck. Is it cause we don't have a sweet little honey waiting for the dog+candy+card or is it cause it truly is insanity? Why would you have to do this one day out of the year? If you have a sweetie, don't they know it already? Does this make it better? Does this get you in their ponts? In which case, tacky you, St. Valentine will rain curses on your head, but rock on anyway, just rock safely!

So, I've come up with the ultimate plan. I've decided that I have the best boyfriend in the world. I consider Greg Sanders on CSI (the Las Vegas one) my boyfriend. He's totally great cause he never yells at me if I forget stuff and he never gets jealous when I look at other guys. I don't have to buy him cards and candy. He'll never pout or fuss at me. It's all easy and fun and I look forward to seeing him every Thursday night at 9 o'clock. I know he's a character on a TV show, and his real name is Eric something or other, but that's too much to deal with and I might have to buy a real guy something better than a virtual bag of Hershey kisses. I like Greg much better. Is my insanity showing?

Anyway, my point is .......Dang! My point! Okay, it's that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting nothing, receiving nothing in return for that big zero you keep doing, then just chalk it up to the fact that Albert Einstein says you're insane. Enjoy it, you get lots of tickets to Life - just use one! Make a friend. Be a friend. You never know what might happen.

I know you want a Valentine story..... I know how you are.....when will he ever shut up his ranting that doesn't even make sense half the time and write something to make me smile. Well, okay then,

Okay ---

The Tiny Folded Heart

Patrick had only one creative talent, origami, folding pieces of paper into the shapes of little animals. His parents had been really good, offering every kind of lesson and class; Karate, sailing, guitar, tennis .... And Patrick could do them all, kind of, but when his grandmother taught him how to take little squares of paper and fashion swans and giraffes and panthers, Patrick knew where his talent lay.

He didn't tell anyone at school what he liked to do cause he knew it would sound silly. Not exactly the same as football or ice hockey. Not being the most muscular guy at school, the smartest or the cutest, he knew not to call attention to an artsy-fartsy kind of talent. He could just picture the other kids if he said he was gonna major in origami in college or make origami animals in the talent show. The only people who knew were his best friends and, of course, his grandmother.

Patrick walked a fine line, his arms always stretched out, balancing between invisibility and 'you're so gay'. He wanted to just keep the balance even so he didn't totally disappear, and so that no one beat on him for something that was well, just him.

Totally disappearing would mean no friends and he did so love the ones he had; Nellie, with her stripe of pink hair running from forehead to back like a skunk; Jed, so clumsy, always falling down and always laughing as he pulled himself back up. And there was Sammy, his best and longest friend.

He and Sammy went way back. They had met at Miss Grace's Day Care at the age of two and had bonded over stale crackers and warm Kool-aid. Sammy was the only one who knew about the origami and the balancing line. Sammy kept Patrick steady on that wire. They were total opposites, Patrick with his black hair and green eyes and Sammy all freckles, red hair and braces.

It was February 12th. Every year, Patrick began to fidget around as Valentine's Day got closer. Every year, he walked that invisible line recklessly on Valentines. Almost as if he wanted to fall.

It had all started in the third grade. Being Patrick Latham, he had the pleasure of sitting directly behind Kyle Lancaster in Mrs. Allen's class. He had, with much tongue-tied shyness, stared at the gorgeousness that was the back of Kyle's head for the next three years as they moved up from 3rd to 4th and finally 5th grade. No one ever moved to town or changed class to come between 'Lan' and 'Lat'. Patrick watched Kyle suffer through math and agonize during tests. He watched all the girls pass him notes and bat their eyelashes at him. Kyle, with his broad shoulders, flashing white teeth and outrageous dimples, took it all in stride and really didn't seem to care about much except football and race cars.

They had Valentine's Day school parties every year and every year, the children all ran into the room Valentine's morning to stuff their cards into the big decorated boxes the teachers all made. Kyle never dropped any cards into the box, but no one cared. As soon as lunch was over, the teacher would call people, always girls, to deliver the valentines and to hand out cupcakes.

Every teacher made sure every kid had a class list and so Patrick and all the other children always had cards for everyone, but Patrick always heard the girls especially calling out:

"Kyle, I gave you the biggest card."
"See that one, Kyle. It's from me."
"I gave you the one with the race car, Kyle."

Kyle took it all in calmly and made a neat stack of his cards. Funny part always was that kids would write their names on the envelopes and then throw them away and so, never knew who the cards were from later. Patrick always took his cards home and made little multi-colored animals out of them to hang around his room.

Buried among Kyle's bazillion cards was one little envelope with no name. The first time, in 3rd grade, Kyle opened the envelope, ripping the side and part of the wing off a tiny swan. He looked at it for a few seconds and then dropped it into the pile of cards.

In 4th grade, Kyle held the envelope in his strong hand and stared at it, then looked around the room. Opening the envelope, he let a tiny dragon drop to the desktop. His head cocked, he held the little piece of paper in the palm of his hand. Sliding it back in the envelope carefully, he dropped the envelope in the pocket of his shirt.

5th grade, jaded kids, boyfriend/girlfriend, too old for valentine cards, but somehow doing the whole party thing anyway, Patrick watched Kyle sort through his pile of cards quickly, finding the little envelope. Patrick watched as Kyle's shoulders seem to relax as if he'd been holding his breath. The little envelope went, unopened, into Kyle's shirt pocket.

"You gave him another one?" Sammy asked.

"Yeah," Patrick answered.

"He'll beat the crap out of you if he ever finds out, you know."

"Maybe not," Nellie said, always the optimist.

But Patrick knew. He just couldn't help it. He wondered what Kyle did with his valentines.

Junior High, Patrick still sat behind Kyle in homeroom, but with the changing of classes, he lost touch. Only on Valentine's Day did Patrick make another origami animal for Kyle. Kyle was a dream, Patrick knew that, but he was a dream that only gave Patrick pleasure. He wasn't hurting anyone.

So, on the afternoon before Valentine's Day every school year, Patrick would slip an envelope thru the air vents in Kyle's hallway locker. He never knew if Kyle showed them to his friends and laughed or if he just threw them away in the trash. Every year, a different animal, every year a little more complicated, a little more detailed.

Football season senior year:

"Patrick," the guidance counselor called him over to the side of the crowded hallway. "Come by my office at lunch today, please."

"Sure, sure," he nodded, thinking frantically if he'd done something wrong.

Walking into the front office, the first thing he noticed was Kyle Lancaster sitting with his head down in a chair by the door. Frowning, Patrick knocked on the guidance door and went in when Mrs. Snelling called out.

Caught between worrying about why he was in here and why Kyle was out there, Patrick nervously fidgeted by the door. "Come on in, Patrick. You're not in trouble," Mrs. Snelling smiled. "As a matter of fact, I need your help. It seems we have a problem that I'm hoping you can help me with."

"Sure, if I can," Patrick sighed in relief.

"I have a student who is struggling really hard in Algebra and I'm looking for a good solid math student to tutor him."

Patrick knew. Oh, Lord!

It was one thing to have this forever long crush on someone and quite another to have to actually speak to this person and let them see how truly dopey you are.

"If he doesn't pass Algebra, he's out of the next three football games."

Not caring a thing about the football games, but too much about the person in question, Patrick sighed, "Sure, Mrs. Snelling. I don't know what I can do, but I can try."

She walked to the door and called, "Kyle, will you come in a minute?"

Patrick stood fiddling with his hands as Kyle walked through the doorway. They nodded the 'high school guy nod' thing and both stared at the floor.

"Kyle, I think I've found someone to help you with your math."

"Patrick?" Kyle said in surprise, his head jerking up.

'What?' Patrick thought, hurt and mystified. 'I'm not good enough? Well, then, hey! He can just kiss my............................'

Mrs. Snelling interrupted his thought. "Kyle, do you want the help? I think Patrick has been very kind to offer."

Patrick, the now angry and very pissed off Patrick, stood rigid still.

"I'm sorry," Kyle muttered.

Patrick found his voice. "Well, do you want the help or not?"

"Yeah, I want to play ball."

"Well, yeah, there's always that," Patrick replied sarcastically.

Kyle finally raised his eyes, "It's important to me."

Patrick had his opinion, but decided to keep it to himself.

"Well, good, that's all taken care of," the guidance counselor smiled, as if to say, 'Now you two go out and deal with it' which was kinda what she was actually saying. Problem solved !

"I'll see you after school then," Patrick said as they walked out of the front office.

"K, in the library?"

"Yeah, okay fine, whatever."

Patrick watched Kyle walk off across the quad. It was sad feeling a distant dream die. He'd never wanted to really know that Kyle cared more about football than well, anything. He'd never really wanted to know Kyle he realized. Daydreaming about and knowing are two very different things.

As they ate lunch, Patrick told Sammy what he had to do after school.

"You've gotta be kidding me," Sammy groaned. "Try to teach math to a jock? You might as well try to walk cats in a parade. And Kyle Lancaster? Poor you."

Patrick put off going to the library as long as he could, then sighed and bit the bullet.

"Hey," he said, as he sat down in the chair across the table from Kyle.

"Hey," Kyle answered, seemingly at a loss for any words.

"You got your Algebra book? You know what your homework is?"

Kyle pulled the big fat red book out of his backpack, "Yeah, I know the homework. I just don't get how to do it, okay?"

They spent the next forty-five minutes with Patrick realizing that Kyle had no idea what he was talking about.

"Dude?" he finally sighed, "Have you paid attention in class for like the last couple of years?"

"Nevermind!" Kyle blurted out. "Just forget it! Fuck this! I don't need...........," he growled in a strained voice. Slamming his chair into the table, he grabbed his backpack and left.

Patrick sat at the library table, feeling worse by the minute. He wasn't ever mean to anyone. Why the heck had he been ugly to Kyle of all people? This little voice in his head laughed sadly, "Patrick. Patrick. Patrick. You're terrified he will see you, invisible you. You don't want to know him with any faults or chinks in his shining armor. No one's perfect, Patrick. You should know that better than anyone. You were thinking that if he's stupid about math, then you can ignore him."

Patrick felt awful. He'd made his little origami animals for a boy he didn't even know. He'd watched Kyle look for them and carefully put them in his pocket. Kyle Lancaster wasn't a bad person, just a total stranger. Someone who needed Patrick's help.

That night, Patrick made a study sheet for Kyle. He wrote down all the formulas and rules that needed to be memorized and even little rhymes to help. He looked on the internet and found Kyle's homework assignments for the next two weeks and wrote sample problems.

In the hallway before first bell, Patrick walked over to where Kyle was standing with his friends. "Kyle?

"Kyle looked at him with a frown, "Yeah?"

"Are we working together after school?"

"Why?" Everyone had stopped talking to listen. All Kyle's friends were staring at Patrick.

"Well, I need to make sure I understand what you showed me yesterday," Patrick made up, seeing the questions in people's eyes.

He could see Kyle sorting out the words, then, "Okay, sure, after school."

In the library, Patrick sat down just as Kyle came through the door. Sitting down on the other side of the table, Kyle looked at Patrick and a smile softened his eyes. "Thanks for not saying anything, Patrick."

"I want to apologize for how crappy I acted yesterday," Patrick said quickly. "I don't know why I said what I did."

"Well," Kyle sighed, "I don't care what people think about me except that it hurts to be so stupid, you know?" Then he shook his head, "Of course you don't know, you're smart. I need this scholarship. I can't go to college without it."

It was the beginning of a strange friendship. Kyle was overwhelmed by the study sheets and all the work Patrick had done to help him. Patrick was confused as he began to see that Kyle wasn't just some dumb jock, but a really nice person, one worth knowing.

Kyle made it through the next algebra tests to finish the football season and win a scholarship. He laughed to Patrick that he was NOT gonna major in math at the state college.

They spoke in the hallways and Patrick knew that he had been right choosing Kyle as the recipient of his first valentines. He hadn't known him when he made them and now that he did, Patrick felt good. It really pleased him that now Kyle would stop and talk to him, inviting him into his circle of friends.

Two days before Valentine's Day senior year Patrick sat quietly in his room creating a tiny folded heart, its edges lacy and curled. It was made of red tissue paper that was covered with silver sparkles. Somehow, Patrick knew this was the last Valentine origami he would make. He wondered if Kyle had ever tried to figure out who sent them. Patrick figured Kyle always assumed it was one of the many girls that fawned all over him day after day. It was sad in a way because he was going off to college in the fall and this whole bunch of his life was over. He'd daydreamed about Kyle Lancaster for alota years and now it was almost over.

The next day, they studied in the library and as they were walking toward the parking lot, Kyle suddenly said, "Patrick, you ever wonder about things?"

"What things, Kyle?"

"Like secrets people have. That kind of stuff."

Patrick frowned. Was Kyle asking him about secrets like he wanted Patrick to tell him something? Was he falling off his balancing wire?

"Can I tell you something I've never told anyone? I kinda feel like we're friends," Kyle said softly.

"Sure, I'd like that," Patrick answered. But, what he heard next knocked him for a loop.

Unaware, Kyle told him, "For years now, on Valentine's Day, someone has given me the best gift."

"Like candy or something?" Patrick asked, holding his breath.

"Nah, much better. It's that folded paper stuff, you know, where you make the little animals by folding paper. I looked it up. It's called origami. It's real old and the Japanese started it."

Patrick was speechless. All these years, all this time, Kyle had been liking his little folded papers.

"Anyway, someone has been giving me one every year since 3rd grade on Valentine's Day and I save them. I have them all in my room. You should see them, Patrick, a swan, a dragon, a panther......." Kyle's voice was so excited.

It was all Patrick could do not to yell out, "It's me!" But that would be wrong, very very wrong. Kyle wasn't thinking about 'why' someone was giving them to him, just that they were. Patrick could tell him and get the snot beat out of him or just keep his secret a little longer. Let Kyle keep believing that someone cool had been making the little origami animals.

So, on Valentine's Day, Kyle got one more little origami animal, a beautiful multi-colored parrot, so tiny, so delicate and this year, there was a tiny perfect little heart. This year, Patrick dared to stand down the hall and watch as Kyle opened his locker and found the little envelope. He watched him slip it in his pocket and walk out into the quad to sit on a bench alone.

Kyle looked up just as Patrick stepped out the door. "Yo, Patrick. Come see what I was telling you about. This is the totally best one yet."

Patrick sat on the bench and listened to Kyle go on and on about the little parrot. He watched Kyle hold the little heart gently in his big hand. Patrick should have been happy. He should have been so pleased to finally hear what Kyle thought after all these years, but he found that sometimes a secret doesn't make you happy. It just hurts because you have no one to talk to about it and the only person he could talk to about this was sitting right next to him, oblivious.

That night, Nellie brought her world famous red velvet cake, Jed brought the pizza and Sammy kicked in for the Dr. Pepper and Nellie's Diet Coke. Every February 14th, they had a Valentine's party. They'd listen to all the old music and laugh at all the old jokes. These were Patrick's friends. Sure, they all wanted to have a significant other, a bf/gf, whatever fits, but life sometimes gives you friends first and that's cool too.

It was a kinda melancholy night cause they'd all be gone next year, off to college, hopefully celebrating V Day with new people and thinking about old friends. When the doorbell rang, Patrick's mom called out, "Patrick, honey, someone to see you."

Before he could untangle himself from Nellie and the string of red hearts they were cutting from construction paper, his bedroom door opened and Kyle Lancaster stood there, his shoulders taking up all the space, clutching a small package in his hands.

"Hey Patrick, I didn't mean to barge in. I just.........................." he started out saying, but his voice drifted off as his eyes rose upward. Everyone's eyes followed his, and Patrick died. From his ceiling beams hung over a hundred invisible monofilament lines from which dangled over a hundred delicate origami figures, all dancing in the air from the AC.

Kyle seemed trapped in thought. Good thought? Bad thought? Way cool, Patrick, you made me those little animals all these years? Or, Shit, Patrick, what kind of fool you take me for? You're dead meat.

Patrick tried to think of the words that would make this okay. Before he could open his mouth, Kyle wheeled around and walked out, the little package lying forgotten on the floor.

"Well, that was excellent," Nellie sighed. "He must feel like an idiot."

"Hey, I'm the sad one here," Patrick shouted. "He was never supposed to see these. He was never supposed to know."

"You're right," Sammy answered, "But now he does."

"Know what?" Jed stammered, totally lost. "What was Kyle Lancaster doing at your house, Patrick? What does he know?" he jumped up so fast from his perch on the end of the bed that he fell over his own two feet and landed on his butt.

Nellie reached down and picked up the little package Kyle had dropped. It was a little brown parcel paper package done up with a rubber band. "I guess this was for you or something," she said, handing it to Patrick.

Patrick took the little package, turning it over and over in his hands.

"Open it, Patrick," Sammy urged.

"Maybe it isn't for me. Maybe it's for, hell, I don't know, anybody but me."

"Then why did he bring it in your house? Open it."

Patrick pulled off the rubber band, sliding it on his wrist and peeled back the edges of the brown paper. Inside lying on its side, was a small carved mallard duck, its features shown in great detail, its colors painted on with careful strokes. The little duck was only about two inches long from tail to beak and sat right in the palm of Patrick's hand.

Sammy peered into Patrick's hand. "Cool. Neat duck."

Nellie looked closely at the little figure. "Let me look at it a sec, Patrick." She turned it over in her hand and saw the initials KL carved under the duck's neck. "I was right," she smiled sadly, shaking her head, "Kyle made it. You gotta fix this, Patrick."

Patrick thought of all the time and care that went into his little origami animals and how much time and care Kyle must have spent making this little bird. He grabbed his jacket and yelled back over his shoulder, "You guys keep on partying. I've got some explaining to do."

He found Kyle on the bench at school where they had sat to look at Patrick's little parrot. Patrick just stood across the path and waited.

"You gave me all those little origami animals?" Kyle said softly. "You?"

Patrick decided that some things are worth getting pounded for. "Yeah."

"All these years, I wondered, but no one ever said anything to me and it was a secret. It always made me feel special, you know."

"Yeah, I know."

"Why, Patrick?"

There is was. Why? Why, Patrick? There's always an instant in your life when you decide whether to lie some more or tell the truth. The truth is much harder. Lying is simple, and then the whole thing would disappear, just like Patrick had been disappearing all his life.

"I could tell you that it was all a big joke and we can laugh about it, but it wasn't really like that at all." Patrick took a deep breath, "I wanted to give you a valentine you would remember. I just wanted to make you happy."

"But.....?" Kyle scrambled for an answer, then he found one. "Oh.....," he said softly.

"Yeah," Patrick groaned. Now would come the pounding. He just hoped Kyle didn't kill him cause he wasn't even gonna try to fight back. He stared at the ground and waited.

"I made you that little ring-necked mallard," Kyle said, "To thank you for helping me. I knew I was taking a big chance. I knew what you might think."

Patrick opened his eyes. He wasn't getting beaten up. He was in one piece. What was Kyle saying? He was saying that people would think he was weird if they knew he made ducks? What?

Kyle spoke again, "My grandpa taught me how to carve when I was a little guy and used to spend the summers with him in North Carolina. My mom and dad were getting a divorce and I needed something, anything to hold on to. I guess I kinda felt the same way when you helped me keep from failing in math, so I made that to thank you."

Patrick sat down on the bench. "It's real special. Thank you." He didn't know what he was supposed to do now. He couldn't touch Kyle like to pat his shoulder or anything. He knew that Kyle hadn't really assimilated what Patrick had said to him yet. When he did, Patrick wasn't sure which way to run. Then he heard Kyle's voice,

"So, you're gay?"

So, he had gotten it. Patrick clenched his shoulders waiting for what he figured was coming.

"Okay by me."

What? Okay by me? What?

"Aren't you gonna hit me or something?" Patrick stammered. "Just don't kill me, okay?"

Kyle turned his head and looked at Patrick with squinched eyes and a funny look on his face. "You're a real dope, you know that, don't ya?"


"Why would I pound on you for making me a little paper parrot when I just handed you a little carved duck? Think, Patrick."

Patrick thought. Then suddenly, it all made sense. "Oh My God!!!," he said in a soft voice. "You? Not you...Nah!"

Kyle sighed, "Yeah, most definitely me. I just didn't know that you were right in front of me all this time."

"But you, you're well,...... you're Kyle Lancaster."

Kyle snorted and stuck out his hand, "Yeah, Kyle Lancaster. Glad to meet you."

Patrick finally looked into Kyle's soft brown eyes, really looked. He stuck his hand out and felt it enveloped in a larger one. "I feel like an idiot."

"Join the club. I've been trying for months to figure out how to tell you without you hating me."

"Why me?"

"Cause you're the first real friend I've ever had," Kyle said quietly. "When my parents split up, I kinda locked that part of me away and I don't let people in very much, only my grandpa."

"So, you were gonna tell me that you're.......," Patrick stumbled over the word.

"I've never used that word actually to describe myself. I just think of it as kinda different and something I'll figure out better when I go to college," Kyle admitted. "I guess you were doing the same thing, kinda waiting?"

Patrick smiled, "I had this really high standard going. I figured I wouldn't find anyone else to top it around here."

"What was that?" Kyle asked.

"That would be umm..... you."

Kyle's face split into a huge grin and he let out a loud whoop of laughter. "Me? ME??"

"Yeah you, you dork." Patrick shoved him and felt the last of his fears slipping away. "I've kinda had a crush on you since, well.............."

"3rd grade?" Kyle teased. "I didn't see that coming. All I cared about then was football and cars. Still kinda do."

"But," Patrick stuttered out, "What about all the girls?"

"No better way to be invisible than to hide right where people can see you."

Patrick thought about that some. "Soooo, are you saying....? What are you saying?"

"I guess I'm saying that I like you. I was scared when the guidance counselor had you in her office and I had to hide that I thought you were cute. That's why I acted like such a jackass. Sorry."

"Sokay," Patrick grinned. "I'll forgive you this time." Kyle thumped him hard on his head. "Ouch."

Well, awkward on top of awkward. What now? "Wanna go back to my house and have some red velvet cake if my friends haven't finished it off?"

"Yeah, I'd like that. Do they know about......?"

"Well, they know about me, but I have a feeling they're gonna get totally knocked out about you. Oh wait, can I......will you tell them? Its okay if you don't want to. I totally understand. I don't know if I'd want your friends to know about...................."

Kyle shut Patrick up very effectively. "You're cute when you babble," he laughed when Patrick opened his eyes.

"Did you just ....................?"

"Yeah, I just. I liked it too."

"C'mon, if we hurry we can get all the cake eaten and they'll leave."

"But, they're your friends," Kyle laughed.

"Well, yeah, but so are you and right now, I'm thinking that this is still Valentine's Day and I want to spend the rest of it with you."

Funny how everything was the same, but everything was different. Patrick was still Patrick and Kyle was still Kyle, but somehow, knowing each other had made them stronger and dreaming of what was ahead made them happy.

Plus ! 2 tiny bonus paragraphs, just cause ........

Valentine's Day, 2007

Wrightsville Beach

Danny held the daisy in his hand, staring at the long white petals. The sultry night breeze off the Atlantic ruffled his black curls. He whispered, "He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not," as he pulled off the soft petals, and one by one they fluttered to the ground.

"He definitely loves you." Dan felt Jordan's arms come round his waist, Jordan's chest pressed to his back, Jordan's breath warm on his neck. Danny tilted his head and began to smile as he heard the words that completed his world. "I love you, darlin'. I always have, I always will."

Happy St. V's Day everybody - Call your mom or your sister or some girl you know. They love this crap. Hand them the nasty candy and make the world just a little bit happier. Just sayin -

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