by Richard Norway


The wind was blowing my hair all over creation this morning as I got off the bus. New Mexico is renowned for its strong winds off the flat desert. I stepped aside to let the rest of the kids pass me and stood observing the building in front of me, wondering if I was going to fit in. I'm not an outgoing person, and in fact had the label 'nerd' attached to me since middle school. I like to read adventure stories to escape the mundane life around me.

While I is was lost in thought, I was knocked forward by another kid hurrying off the bus….Tyler.

"Why don't you get out of the way, Daniel?" he spat after me. I knew who Tyler was because I went to middle school with him. He never really bullied me, but his teasing was unceasing. My biggest problem with him was that he was the most gorgeous kid that I had ever seen. His hair was jet black, long and parted just to the left of center, falling to his ears. His eyes were dark, almost black, and had a slight up-turning at the outer ends of his eyelids, speaking of some Asian blood in him. He was muscular having played sports in middle school, mostly soccer.

Was I envious of his looks? Damn right I was. Did I like him? Hell no. I hated him. He would take every opportunity to tease me, knocking my books out from under my arm while I walked the hallways, never hesitating to bump into me as he made his way past my desk to his desk in the classroom. Before the teacher arrived, a hail of paper wads assaulted the back of my head; I knew where they came from.

"Why do you let that bastard get away with torturing you like that, Daniel?" I heard from behind me. I turned to see who was speaking; Kelly's face had a severe frown.

"He'll get it someday. I'm about fed up with him. The next time he does something to me, I need to confront him, tell him to leave me alone."

"Be careful you don't get hurt."

"I won't get hurt if I confront him on school property. He's not stupid enough to do anything to me and risk expulsion."

"Are you sure about that? Look at all the childish things he does to you."

"I know, but he's never tried to intentionally hurt me. I'd like to find out why me and no one else."

"I guess that means you need to talk to him," she said to me.

"Yeah, I know."


While heading to my next class, I saw him strutting down the hall with his back turned toward me. This will be a perfect chance to get him to notice me. He's such an easy target. But today he seemed different. He's had a look of confidence in himself as he walked that I hadn't seen before.

I hurried my pace and crept up behind him. When he was within striking distance, I was going to kick his foot to make him fall. But I thought better of that. I didn't want to hurt him when he fell. Instead, I pushed my right hand forward and knocked the books he was carrying out of his hand. The books went flying to the floor in front of him. I started laughing as did the other students in the hall.

But then something I didn't expect happened. Instead of cowering, he turned back to me, grabbed my tee shirt and threw me up against the lockers. He then pressed his hands on both of my shoulders pinning me to the lockers.

What the hell, I thought to myself. This wasn't supposed to happen. He then glared at me with hatred in his eyes and held that gaze for a good thirty seconds. I didn't know what to do. I know I wanted him to notice me, but not this way!


"You son of a bitch. Don't ever do that again," I told him, talking directly into his face. Tyler was about my size, and I was scared that he might actually hit me, but I had to stop his unceasing teasing of me once and for all.

Why was he doing this? I wondered to myself. I've never done anything to him.

I backed off my hold on his shoulders slightly to watch his reaction. His eyebrows lowered slightly as he looked at me; I was thinking his face would turn into a frown, but it didn't. His face looked like he was longing for something; I didn't know what he wanted, but I knew the longing wasn't for me.

After a moment or two of looking at him, I finally dropped my hands to my sides and just walked away, leaving him still standing where he was, his back against the lockers.


Sadly, I watched Daniel walk away from me. My ploy to get him to notice me was obviously not working and probably the stupidest thing that I had ever thought of. I saw it in his eyes; he hated me! I sank to the floor, wrapped my arms around my knees, dropped my head onto my arms, and felt like crying. But this was a high school hallway, and I couldn't. I stayed that way for a few moments until I heard a girl's voice.

"Serves you right."

I forced myself to look up. It was Kelly, Daniel's friend. I knew who she was but had rarely spoken to her.

"I know, Kelly," was the only thing I could think of to say at that moment.

"Why are you so mean to him? He's done nothing to you to deserve this kind of treatment."

"I know." I started to get up off the floor, but she put her hands on my shoulders and pushed me back down. My butt hit the floor hard enough that I felt some pain.

"Answer my question, Tyler, before you turn into a total sleaze ball?"

I looked up at her from the floor.

"I have my reasons. They're really none of your business, Kelly."

I didn't dare tell Kelly about my crush on Daniel.

"He hates you; you know."

"So, what."

I realized more than ever, with her telling me about his hatred, how wrong I'd been in the way I'd gone about trying to get Daniel's attention, but, well, maybe I could still find a way to turn Daniel around. I could still hope so at least.

"Don't do anything to hurt him," she spat at me.

I didn't respond, just looked at her, all the while thinking that hurting him was the last thing on my mind.

After she left, I decided that I would cut my Creative Writing class, and I walked outside. I knew the table area would be empty because most kids would have gone to their next class. I found a table and sat down, resting my elbows on the tabletop and my face in my hands. Here, I could finally allow myself to cry.

I was crying because I had ruined every chance that I had to get close to Daniel; he now hated me! I'd had a crush on him ever since middle school. He was beautiful. His hair was medium length brown parted on his right side with bangs crossing his forehead to the left. The sides were trimmed to behind his ears, and the back was trimmed to his shirt collar. His eyes were a pale blue that sparkled when he laughed. He was trim, not muscular. But the way he walked always caught my eye, especially his backside. And mostly, I guess, it was his timid shyness that attracted him to me.

Why did I ever think that teasing him would get him to notice me? Well, he'd sure noticed me today.


"What are you going to do about Tyler?" Kelly asked me while we were seated at our lunch table. We were alone.

"I'm not going to do anything about him. I just want him to quit teasing me."

"Have you ever thought about just being nice to him?" she said

"What for? He's being an asshole."

"Have you ever thought that there might be a reason behind why he's acting that way?"

"Yeah, I have. It's because he's an asshole."

My phone chirped at me, and I looked to see who it was. Then I said to Kelly, "Hold on a sec. Let me take this call."

"Go ahead. I'll wait."



"What?" I yelled at the cell phone and ended the call.

"What's going on, Dan?"

"That was my mom. Dad's been a car accident, and he's headed to the hospital. Gotta go, Kelly."

"Want me to go with you?" she asked.

"No. Mom's there and I need to be with her."

"Okay but call me when you find out anything."

"I will, but I need to find out how he is first."

When I got to the hospital, I went immediately to the emergency room where I found my mom seated against a window at the side of the waiting room. She saw me enter the room, stood up and rushed to me.

"How's Dad?" I asked with concern in my voice.

"Your dad's going to be okay. Evidently a car ran a red light and hit your dad's car on the left side. The door caved in and broke your dad's leg. They're working on him now."

"Can I see him?"

"Someone will be out to tell us what's going on shortly. We need to wait here." Mom said.

Waiting for someone to tell us what was happening to my dad was the most frightening thing I can imagine. I was scared. I looked around the room and saw many people also waiting, fear in their eyes, many with tears streaming down their cheeks. I now understood what I could only imagine before was what it feels like to have a family member hurt.

"Mrs. Anderson?" a man ln a white asked as she walked up to my mom.

"Yes," Mom said, standing up.

"Mr. Anderson is going to be fine. They're completed repairing his leg, and he's been moved to the ICU to recover from the surgery and anesthesia. You can go up and see him although he's probably still asleep."

"Thank you, thank you," Mom said.

When we got to the ICU and entered his room, I saw my dad lying on the bed, still asleep from the anesthesia. A man in a white smock, whom I suspected was his doctor, was standing over him.

The man looked up as we entered. "You must be Mrs. Anderson and I suspect the young man next to you is your son. I'm Doctor Hanson, the surgeon who performed the surgery," he said to Mom and me.

"Yes, sir. This my son, Daniel," Mon said.

"Good to meet you. Your husband is still under the anesthesia, but he should be wakening any moment. He'll be a little groggy when he wakens. The surgery went well. He had a compound fracture to his left leg."

"What do you mean by compound?" I asked.

"Compound means that a bone had broken the skin and was exposed outside of his leg. That's why surgery was necessary. We had to implant a steel rod in his leg to take the place of the smaller fibula or shin bone."

"He's going to be alright, Isn't he?"

"He's going to be fine, but he'll be laid up for a couple of months," Dr. Hanson said.

"We have good health insurance." Mom said to him. "And surely the car insurance would also help pay for this?"

"Don't you worry about that. The hospital office will work out the details for you."

"But Mom, Dad won't be working while he's laid up. "Isn't that going to be a problem?"

"Not to worry," she said to me. I was worried like hell. It seemed our life was being turned upside down.

"Mom, I'd I'm going to take a walk for a few minutes for some alone time and to get some air."

"I understand, Daniel. Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back."

I was devastated. I walked the halls and found my way outside the hospital to a grassy area with sparsely separated trees and a few benches to sit on. I made my way to the first bench and sat down on it. I lowered my head to my hands as a few tears slipped from my eyes. When, after a time, I slowly I raised my head, I noticed a young boy kneeling before an older woman in a wheelchair under one of the trees. Her head was wrapped in a tan cloth, and she seemed weak. It took me a few minutes to clear the tears from my eyes to recognize) the boy. It was Tyler, he of the beautiful dark black hair. At that moment, for no reason I could understand, my grief seemed to leave me, and somehow, as it left me, so did my hatred of Tyler.

I wondered what he and the woman were doing here. I watched them for a few moments and saw Tyler slowly take her hands in his and speak to her. I couldn't hear what was said, but I saw tears begin flooding down Tyler's cheeks. Why was he crying? I wondered to myself. He hasn't gone through what I'd just gone through. Yet it was obvious that he was in pain.

I slowly rose from the bench and made my way toward them. Tyler looked up at me as I approached, and I could see grief on his face. He didn't speak to me, even when I stopped and stood next to them.

"Hi, Tyler," I was finally able to say.

"What do you want, Daniel?"

"Is this your mom?" I skeptically asked.

"What do you care?"

This wasn't the Tyler that I thought I knew. His anger didn't seem directed at me as much as at the world at large, and through his tears, he still held the beauty that I so much admired.

"I'm here because my dad had a broken leg. He was in a car wreck this morning. But I can see you'd rather be alone here. I won't bother you anymore." As I turned to leave, Tyler grabbed my wrist stopping my departure.

"I'm sorry, Daniel. I'm upset at the moment, and you were convenient to take it out on. I'm sorry. Please don't go."

Something was definitely wrong with Tyler. This was not a tease. This was something new for him, begging for help. Begging me, of all people. I sat down on the ground next to him and put my hand on his shoulder to help comfort him.

Tyler looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, Dan. I hope I can call you Dan. Yeah, this my mom. She's not feeling well at the moment.

"You can call me whatever you want. What's with your mom?"

He ignored my question and instead asked, "How's your dad doing?" I had the impression he was trying to lighten the mood.

"My dad's going to be all right, but he's gonna to be laid up for a few months."

Now I saw something that totally surprised me. Tyler smiled at me. This was definitely not the Tyler that I knew.

"Can I talk to you privately, Dan? Please. It's important"

"Of course." "Let's go over to that bench." He pointed to the bench where I'd been sitting a few minutes ago.

"Mom, I'll be right back. This is a friend of mine from school. His name is Daniel," he said to her, got up, and offered his hand to help me get up. Tyler folded his hands in prayer style, put them to his face and bowed to his mom. When he returned to me, he then grabbed my hand.

"Why did you bow to your mom," I asked him.

"We're from Thailand, Dan. It was a polite sign to honor my mom.'

We walked to the bench, but I noticed something when we arrived. He hadn't let go of my hand. I liked it; felt comforted by it. After all, this was my crush. As we sat on the bench, Tyler let go of my hand.

Tyler sat down first, and I followed, sitting next to him, keeping a respectful and proper distance from him.

He didn't speak for the longest time, just kept his eyes on his mom as he seemed to be gathering his thoughts. I then saw his lips quiver. The quivering got stronger as his face scrunched in pain. Suddenly he leaned toward me and wrapped his arms around me, hugging me with all the strength he could muster. He put his head on my shoulder and began to cry hysterically. I put my hand on the back of his head, drawing him into me while stroking his black hair.

"Whatever it is, Ty, it's going to be all right."

I'd never thought of calling him Ty before, but I sensed he needed that familiarity now.

He moved away from our hug and practically screamed at me. "No, Dan. It's never going to be all right, never."

I pulled back, shocked by his outburst. "What's wrong, Ty?"

He looked into my eyes, having a hard time speaking while his lips continued to quiver.

"My mom has a brain tumor. It's inoperable. She's dying, Dan, and I can't do anything about it. The doctor told me she only has weeks at best."

"Oh, my God," I said and grabbed him and held him close to me again. "I am so sorry, Ty. I don't know what else to say to you other than I'm so sorry."

"Just hold me, please," he said to me. And of course, I held him as tightly as I could.

"Where's your dad?" I asked him finally.

"My dad died last year from cancer. I'm going to have no one. I'll be on my own now."

"This is terrible, Ty. Awful. I can't imagine how you must be feeling. Look, we really don't know each other very well, but I want to help all I can. If nothing else, you can know you have a friend, and I'll be with you and do what I can to help you through this."

Ty looked up at me for the longest moment. "Are you sure, Dan? I've not been nice to you in the past."

"What's past is past, Ty. Let's keep it there."

I saw that smile on his face again.

"Can I ask you for a favor, Dan?"

"Anything, Ty."

"Would it be okay if I stay with you tonight? My home is empty as Mom's staying in the hospital now. I really don't want to be alone."

"Of course, it's okay."

"Thank you. You don't know much I appreciate that."

"It's starting to get late, and my mom will be getting dinner ready shortly. You should probably help your mom inside, and I need to see if my dad's awake and let my mom know you'll be coming."

Ty wheeled his mom inside and I went to the ICU to see my dad. When I got there, I found out that he was awake and had been transferred to room 312. I walked into the room and my mom scowled at me.

"Where have you been, Daniel? I thought you'd want to be here with your dad."

"I'm sorry, Mom. I was consoling a friend whose mother is dying of brain cancer. He's pretty upset. I think you know him. It's Tyler."

"Is he the one who's been teasing you?"

"That's him. But Mom, his dad died last year and with his mom in the hospital, he's got no one at home. I invited him to stay with us tonight. Is that okay?"

"Well, if you're okay with that and want him there, it's all right with me. We do need to get home, though."

I walked over to Dad.

"You look tired, Dad. "You, okay?"

"I'm okay, but yeah, I'm tired." Dad paused for a moment but kept his eyes on me. "I heard your mom say this is the kid who's been teasing you. Are you sure you want to have him over?"

"Dad, in a way, I think he needs someone tonight. He's hurting for his mom right now. It'll be okay. I want to help him."

After I witnessed what was happening to Tyler in the hospital with his mother, I was having trouble keeping my eyes dry in front of my mom and dad. Tyler's pain had gotten to me in a way unimaginable only a brief twenty-four hours ago.


I can't believe what just happened to me. I reached out to the one person that hated everything about me, and he was now taking me to his home. We sat in the rear seat of his parent's Oldsmobile. I was by the left window; Dan was in the middle of the seat next to me. He'd chosen to sit next to me rather than all the way over next to his own window.

The sight of Mom attended to by staff nurses when I left was more than I could take at that moment. I couldn't help wondering if I was ever going to see her alive again.

That thought led my eyes to leak, and I glanced at Dan next to me. He must have seen the tears because he nodded his head in understanding and took my hand in his. I wasn't sure what was happening to me. I was in absolute agonizing grief at the thought of losing my mother and in sheer ecstasy over my crush sitting next to me holding my hand. He looked over at me, and I saw that beautiful smile again.

When we reached his home and we pulled into one of the three driveways, I was surprised to see how large it was. "Come on in, Tyler," Dan said.

Once in the house, Dan's mom faced me. "We've never been introduced, Tyler, but I'm Daniel's mom, Elizabeth. Please call me Beth; it's so much less formal than Mrs. Anderson. You two guys can have a seat in the family room while I get dinner going. I hope you like Mexican food, Tyler."

"I've only had Mexican food before in Mexican restaurants. We normally eat Thai food at home."

"So, you must be Thai, then," my mom said to Tyler.

"Yes, ma'am. We're from Thailand, the Chon Buri District, just south of Bangkok, actually."

"We've always wanted to visit Thailand. We will someday," Beth said.

"Have you and your family been here long?"

"We've been here off and on for the last couple of years. We come here for medical treatments for my mom."

"I was curious because you speak such good English."

"Thank you. All Thai people speak some English. It's required in all high schools and in some universities."

"Daniel, why don't you take Tyler up to your room? He probably needs to relax a little, Mom said."

"Come on, Ty. This way," and Dan led me to a hallway off the family room.

Dan sat on his queen-sized bed and directed me to his desk chair. He looked at me without speaking for a few moments.

The silence got to me, so I spoke. "We're from Thailand, as I just told your mom. In Thailand, my name is Decha. All Thai names have a meaning, and my name means Power; it's a name given to someone who's to become a powerful person. I think they made a mistake when naming me."

I then bowed my head and said, "Sawasdee, krub."

"What's that mean?" Dan asked.

"It can have many meanings in Thai. Right now, to you, it means hello. It could mean good morning, good afternoon or good evening, depending on when you say it. Or it could mean, as you Americans do when greeting someone, just plain, hi. But right now, it means Thank you, Dan. You and your family have made me feel welcome."

Dan's room didn't look much different than mine, except it was larger. The bed was made, which I found unusual for a teenage boy. A side table next to his desk held a computer with a printer set at a ninety-degree angle. His desk was clean except for a notebook labeled Creative Writing with some papers underneath.

"You like to write?" I asked him as I fingered the notebook.

"It's a hobby of mine. I'm not very good at it, but it lets me express what's on my mind."

"Got anything I can read?"

When I asked that, Dan turned to me with a weird expression on his face as if he were a deer caught in headlights. He actually seemed to be afraid of something.

"I don't think you'd like anything I've written, Ty. It's mostly personal stuff."


I can't let him read my stories. I know I'm gay and my stories are about gay teenage boys. These stories let me dream how gay boys handle the difficulties of being gay, but I'm not ready to out myself to my crush just yet, although I dream about it happening. My last short story, titled Mark, is about exactly what is happening to me; my crush is in my home, in my bedroom, and my protagonist, who is Mark, is wrestling with how to come out to his crush. I can't believe how my real life seems to be following my fantasy life.

I know I should be more careful about leaving printed copies of my work on my desk because when I checked my desk, my printed copy of Mark was missing from under my class notebook.


I knew it was wrong, but the temptation to read one of Dan's stories, to find out something about my crush from his writing was just too much for me to ignore. I took the Mark story and slipped it under my tee shirt while he wasn't looking.

"Dan, I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds, but it's been a long and trying day for me. Is it okay if I take a shower before dinner?"

"No problem, Ty," Dan answered. "I have an ensuite bathroom with shower. I'll get you a towel."

Dan's bathroom was large, as was to be expected with the size of his house. There was a counter with dual sinks along one wall. Opposite the sinks was a two-person bathtub with jacuzzi jets, and next to that was a large shower stall with two shower heads facing each other. This shower stall was obviously built for two. I stared at the shower stall with dreams of sharing it with Dan.

I was wakened from my dream by a knock on the bathroom door.

"Are you still dressed, Ty," came the voice of Dan.

"Yeah, I'm still dressed. Come on in."

When Dan entered the bathroom, he was carrying a large bath towel draped over one arm. He put the towel over a rack next to the shower stall. He then laid a new toothbrush on the counter next to a sink.

"This will be for you to use when you want it," he said.

"Dan, you've only got one bed. Where am I sleeping?"

Dan looked at me for a moment; I used the time to dream of what I wanted his answer to be.

"No problem, Ty. I was thinking of putting you in the guest bedroom next to mine but thought of what you've been through today and changed my mind. I think you'd be better off sleeping with me tonight, if that's alright with you. It's a giant bed." That came as the sweetest sounding words ever to enter my ears.

Dinner was served family style where we dished up each of our own portions. Wine glasses were set at the table for the adults. Ice water was present for us teenagers.

The only international food I was used to was Japanese and Korean that was available in restaurants or many street vendors back home.

"What're you studying in school, Ty?" Beth asked me.

"Since I'm a freshman, my courses are the basic ones needed to graduate. I have English, Geometry, Science, Creative Writing and PE."

"Ty's in some of my classes," Dan interjected.

"Which ones?" Beth asked.

"I'm with him for English, Geometry and PE. And I must add that Ty speaks better English than most of the Americans."

I blushed at Dan's comment.

Beth had made one of her specialties, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas. It was the best that I had ever eaten, far superior to the ones I had eaten in Mexican restaurants. Of course, I had to tell her that many times during dinner.

Dan and I left the dining room to go to his bedroom; I was exhausted from my day. After brushing our teeth, we returned to his bedroom. I stared at his queen-sized bed, wondering how to proceed. Having my crush lying next to me was a big deal and something I wasn't sure how to handle.

"Ty, I need to tell you something before we get into bed." Dan said.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Well, no point in beating around the bush. It's this: I sleep naked; I always have since I went through puberty. Look, we're in the same PE class, so we will see each other in the showers anyway. I hope that this doesn't bother you."

I pretended that I was thinking this over, hoping to give him the idea of sleeping in bed with Dan when he was nude was bothering me. Truth is, I couldn't wait to look at him. I finally told him it wouldn't bother me at all, and as it was his bed, he was letting me sleep in, it would be churlish of me to object to anything at all.

I watched Dan remove his clothes, including his boxers, and slip under the sheets on his side of the bed. I waited for a few moments and turned off the lights before I stripped off my clothes and slid in beside him. Was I nervous being naked next to my crush? Damn right I was. Yeah, I'd had thoughts, very graphic thoughts, about fooling around with Dan, but that was just dreaming, not real. This was real, very real, and I had no idea what might happen. The truth was, if Dan wanted to play around, I had no idea what to do. I was in uncharted territory.


I wasn't sure how Ty was going to react, being naked in bed with me. I rolled to my side to look at him. There was enough light in the room that I could see him easily. Once again, I was looking into the dark eyes of the person that I was hoping I could fall in love with. Ty then rolled his head to look into my eyes. We stared at each other for the longest time; I was dreaming of him, and I hoped he was dreaming of me.

"We should get to sleep, Dan," he said, collapsing my daydream.

We fell asleep facing each other. I'd been out for maybe an hour when I was awakened by hearing Ty start to cry. Then I heard him scream and rising onto my elbow, found his body shaking from side to side. The violence of it scared me; what was happening to him? I was about to reach over and try to hold him to stop the shaking when he wrapped his arm around me instead, pulling me tightly into him as he wailed uncontrollably. I wrapped both my arms around him and held him tightly to me.

"What is it, Ty? What's wrong?"

He didn't answer me but continued wailing. I didn't know what to do, so I continued to hold him next to me, continued talking softly in his ear.

He stayed in my arms for another twenty minutes until his wailing slowed to sniffles and tears. Something was happening to Ty that I didn't understand. I wanted to help him with whatever he was dealing with, but I didn't know what it was or how 5to deal with it. I thought that whatever Ty was dealing with probably had something to do with his mother.

Ty opened his eyes suddenly and looked directly at me. His face was pale, so pale he seemed like he was at the point of death. I burst into tears as I looked at him, the almost-dead him.

"Don't go Ty. It's not your time yet," I said, then realized I was screaming at him.

Ty again looked at me, and his voice was soft but strong.

"Dan, my mom died tonight," he said.

"How do you know, Ty?"

"I don't know how I know, Dan, but I know it. I feel it. I can't explain how Mom and I connected in her remaining hours. But we started to know each other in a way we never had before. For the first time in our lives, it was like we were sharing a mind. Dan, she knew that you were with me in the hospital garden today. You didn't see it, but I did. When I mentioned your name introducing you, she turned to you, and she winked at you. She knew you, Dan. She knew something about you."

"This sounds a little creepy to me, Ty."

"Yeah, me too."

I started to roll over to face away from Ty so I could turn off the light next to the bed, but he held me closer, preventing me.

"Don't go away from me, Dan. I need you right now," he said to me.

"I'm not leaving you Ty; just getting the lights"

But I stopped and rolled back to him and looked deeply into his beautiful black eyes. They were filled with pain. I thought of how I would feel if I lost my mother and could totally understand how he was feeling right then. I put my arm over his shoulder and pulled him into me. He put his right arm over me and pulled me even closer to him.

We lay that way for the rest of the night.

Morning came, and the sunlight streaming through my window wakened me. Ty was still attached to me, but I could see his eyes slowly opening.

"Morning, Ty. How are you this morning?" I asked looking into his dark eyes.

"Thank you for being with me, Dan. I'm sorry for being such a baby last night."

"You weren't being a baby. You were being a grieving son."

I felt Ty move his hips slightly, pushing on my leg. It was then that I felt my morning wood solidly against his hip. I realized Ty was rubbing me with his hip.

Ty slowly picked up the comforter and peered under it. He then lowered the comforter, turned his eyes to me and asked, "Did I do that to you, you know, make you hard?"

"No. I get that every morning."

"It's beautiful, you know."

"What? What did you just say?" I was surprised, maybe even a little shocked, but excited, too. I almost giggled, like you do when you aren't sure how to respond. Then I waited to hear his answer.

"Nothing. Don't mind me. I'm still groggy from just waking up."

I quickly rolled away from him to cover myself. Okay, he wasn't doing it on purpose. I had to calm myself down.

"I'm sorry, Dan. I shouldn't have looked."

"It's okay, Ty. I'm sure you get that way in the morning, too." To change the subject, I said, "Why don't you hop in the shower first, and after I shower, we can go get some breakfast."

I watched Ty roll out of bed and walk toward the bathroom. And, yes, he was not flaccid, and he wasn't making any move to hide it. I wondered if he wanted me to join him, but quickly put that thought out of my mind. I was sure the loss of his mother was still playing heavily on his mind. I didn't want to take advantage of him because of his vulnerable mindset.

Before he closed the door, he turned his head to me and smiled.

I lay back on my pillow, looking up at the ceiling. I thought of my past anger at him for teasing me so much. I then thought of the pain he was going through over losing his mother. I couldn't hate him any longer. I just couldn't. It was wrong of me to see his pain and even think about hating him. I felt for him and wanted to hug him all day long, all night long too. I wanted to comfort him, and, well, I wanted to feel him that close to me, too.

Ty returned from the bathroom with a large white towel wrapped around himself and sat on my bed. Slowly he raised his eyes to me.

"Dan, I never thought about this, but I don't have any clean clothes to wear."

"It's okay, Ty. We're about the same size. You can wear my clothes. Underwear, socks, pants and tee shirts are in my dresser, and shirts are hanging in the closet."

"Are you okay with me wearing your clothes?" he sheepishly asked.

"Of course, I am. Look, Ty. We got off on the wrong step in the past. I want to tell you that you're my friend now, if you want it that way."

Ty continued to stare at me for a moment, but then I could see his lips start to quiver followed shortly by tears leaking from his eyes.

"Do you mean that, Dan?" he asked through his sniffles. "Are we friends now?"

"Like I said, Ty. If you'll have me, I want us to be friends now."

Ty got up from the bed and threw his arms around me.

"I've wanted to be your friend ever since I met you back in middle school," he said to me.

I thought about the word friend for a moment knowing that friends could turn into boyfriends, if my dreams had any chance.

In grabbing me, Ty dropped his towel, and it fell to the floor. I looked down, then grinned and said, "You'd better get some clothes on before you parade yourself in front of my mom."

"Yeah, I should," Ty said with the tiniest of wry smiles.

Mom fixed another of her Mexican specialties for us at breakfast, Huevos Rancheros.

Ty had to ask mom what it was. "Last night's enchiladas were fantastic, and this looks wonderful."

"It's a traditional Mexican breakfast called Huevos Rancheros," Mom said to Ty. "I think you'll like it."

"Is it spicy?" he asked.

"It can be, if you want it to be. If you want more spice, just add some more jalapeno peppers to the top."

"I like Thai food that's not too spicy, so I think I'm going to like this," Ty answered.

Ty gobbled the entire plate of Huevos Rancheros leaving not a speck behind.

"Ty," Mom said to him.

"Yes," he answered.

"The hospital called this morning. Ty, they had some bad news. Your mother passed away last night. I'm so sorry."

I looked at Ty, but I didn't see any surprise on his face.

"I know. I knew last night," Ty said.

"How did you know?" Mom asked him.

"I don't know how I knew, but I felt it. I was upset and I cried last night, but Dan was there for me. He held me and let me cry on his shoulder."

Mom turned to me, but I couldn't read the expression on her face. Someone had just passed away, but she was smiling at me.

"Do you feel up to going to school today, Ty?"

"I'm okay, Beth. Can I still call you Beth?"

"You'd better, Ty. I feel like you're part of our family now," Mom answered.


I felt like a crybaby last night. Dan hugged me and let me cry on his shoulder. Then his mom said that I was now part of his family. That thought almost made me cry again. <>/p>

"Ty, I'm sorry to ask, but without family around, would you like to move in with us?" Beth asked me. "It shouldn't be too difficult to arrange. We've had foster boys before, and the County Social Services office would easily renew our license."

I turned around and watched Dan's reaction. The eagerness of his smile was too much for me to handle. I burst into tears right in front of Dan's mom.

"You don't have to do that." I said, but my voice was breaking as I said it. I'm fourteen, and I can take care of myself."

"Unfortunately, the law says differently. You have to be in someone's custody until you're eighteen. Don't be afraid or ashamed, Ty. We'll be more than happy to have you living with us. I know Dan would be happy to have you around," Dan's dad assured me.

"Thank you, Mr. Anderson. That's taking a big load off my mind."

"Not to worry, Tyler. Everything's going to be okay." And call me Earl. I'm not used to mister," Earl said to me.

The next day, we were dropped off in front of Centennial High School at the front entrance. I looked around in awe at the size of the school. My elementary schools back in Thailand couldn't compare to the size of what I was seeing. Even though I'd been here long enough to be used to how different things were here that they were in Thailand, I was still in awe of the size of the HS building. I had been here for a field trip when I was still in middle school, but now I was a part of this giant institution.

Dan took my hand and led me to the entrance. I looked at his hand holding mine and loved the feeling of the closeness to him but quickly let his hand go. He looked at me with a set of puppy dog sorrowful eyes.

"We can't do this here, Dan," I said to him."

"Hey, Daniel. Who's the gook? Your new boyfriend?" we heard from behind us. Dan turned around

double doors and quickly led d to face another boy with bright red hair.

"What's the matter with you, Conner? Nice way to greet a new student! Why don't you go back to beating your meat. That's probably the only thing you're good at," Dan shouted back to him.

I blushed and looked at my feet. Dan ushered me through the front dome down a hallway and pushed me up against the lockers.

"Ty," he said to me. "Keep away from that guy. He's a bully who loves picking on people. He's been trouble ever since middle school. He's already been suspended once."

"I don't even know him. Why's he picking on us?"

"That's just Conner. Like I said, keep away from him and the four others you'll see hanging with him."

After that experience, we made our way to our first class, Geometry. This was my first day in my new school, and I'm glad Dan was in my class. I've always liked Math and the teacher made the subject so interesting that I knew that this was going to be one of my favorite subjects. I'm glad to have it first thing in the morning to set me in the right mood for the rest of the day.

Dan and I had one more class together before the lunch period: English. I guess it was because I looked different from the rest of the students that the teacher, Mr. Osborn, said, "We have a new student joining us this morning." Then he asked me to introduce myself. I stopped walking toward an empty seat next to Dan turned around and walked to the head of the class. I did something then that I knew they didn't expect. I put my hands together in prayer style and raised them to my face.

"Sawasdee, krub," (Hello, in Thai) I said to the class. "That means hello in Thai. My name is Tyler, and I'm originally from Thailand." Then, Mr. Osborn bowed his head to me and said," Sawasdee, Krub, Mr. Tyler." to me. I was flabbergasted that he knew Thai.

"I spent a couple of years in Chiang Mai, Thailand teaching English to high school students, Tyler. To do that, I had to learn Thai," the teacher said.

"Thank you, Mr. Osborn." I gave him a short bow, then turned to the rest of the class.

"I was born in a province called Chon Buri on the Gulf of Thailand. It's about fifty kilometers south of the capitol, Bangkok. I speak Thai, English and a little Korean. My name in Thai is Decha. It means powerful. Many people in Thailand, especially the younger ones, choose a nickname, usually in English. I chose Tyler only because I like the way it sounds. Everyone in high school there is required to learn English."

"Thank you, Tyler. You gave us quite a Thai cultural lesson. You can take the empty seat next to Daniel," Mr. Osborn said.

As I approached my assigned seat, I saw Dan give me a thumbs up.

But then, "Are you sure you're not from Vietnam? You sure look like a gook to me," came from the back of the room.

"That'll be enough, Conner. We practice tolerance in this school. I think you owe Tyler an apology," Mr. Osborn said.

"Okay, sorry gook," Conner said under his breath so, the teacher wouldn't hear.

"Please see me after class, Mr. Briskel," Mr. Osborn said to Conner not too happily.

Dan and I left the class and headed to the school cafeteria. On the way there, we passed many booths lined up in the hallway. They all advertised the various clubs available at the school. 'Advertised' was probably the wrong word. There were many students standing outside of each booth grabbing students passing by and even seeming to almost force some of them to sign up for their club. I would say it was chaotic at best.

We parted way. Dan was interested in the swimming club while I headed to the cooking club booth. I love to cook and wished I could have shown my mom how I had learned to make many Thai dishes. I especially liked Thai desserts and had become quite accomplished at those.

Dan was more the athlete than me and apparently loved to swim. I definitely planned on seeing him compete in the school's swimming pool. We both joined our respective clubs and eventually made it to the cafeteria. It was huge. There must have been tables for over a thousand students. Instead of one serving line, there were multiple lines around the room's edge each serving different food choices, some of them ethnic. Of course, there was the popular Mexican station. One served Italian dishes. Hamburgers and fries were popular, as was the station serving Chinese food. A large salad bar stood in the center of the room and appeared to be quite busy. I headed to the Chinese station as it would most likely resemble Thai food. Dan headed toward the hamburger and fries' station.

I noticed that there were about ten adults arranged around outer edge of the room. I assumed they were there to enforce discipline among the students.

After getting our selections, we searched out a table. Dan noticed a table for four with one place occupied.

"Wanna sit with Kelly? She knows both of us, and she looks all alone," Dan asked me.

"Sure. I'm down with that."

Kelly looked up at us as we approached, and I could see a smile on her face. It was an improvement over the frown she usually presented when she was criticizing me about Dan.

"Mind if we sit with you, Kelly?"

"Not at all, Ty."

She continued to stare at us as we sat down.

"What's up, Kelly? You keep staring at us."

"It's nothing. It's just that…you two together baffles me."

I looked toward Dan, and he had a wicked smile on his face.

"Kelly, Dan put his hatred aside. Some stuff came up that caused him to change his attitude."

"Ty, can I break in for a moment? I know this is hard for you to talk about," Dan interrupted.

I looked at Dan as he put his hand on my forearm and squeezed it slightly. I closed my eyes to him and nodded.

Dan turned his attention toward Kelly. "Kelly, something happened last night. Ty's mom had a brain tumor that was inoperable; she passed away last night. As you can imagine, Ty was very upset, as was I. Ty's dad died a year ago, so he has no one at home for him. Ty stayed at my house last night. It was a difficult night for both of us as sleep was near to impossible. I held him most of the night trying to console him as best I could."

At that point Dan let go of my arm and put it around my shoulder and pulled me into him. Kelly continued to stare at us with a blank expression.

"Kelly, through it all, we put our past behind us. We are friends now."

My eyes were slightly glassing over. I had to say something to change the mood. "Kelly, Dan is not just my friend. At this moment, he's my best friend. Dan, I haven't thanked you enough for staying with me last night and today." I had to wipe my face because there was no way I could be seen crying in a crowded high school cafeteria!

"Oh my God, Tyler." I am so sorry." Kelly said and seemed deeply rattled. She came around the table, put her arms around me and hugged me firmly.


I looked over Ty's head for a moment.

"Don't look now, guys, but that creep Conner and his gang are heading our way."

"Try to ignore them, please. We don't need any confrontations here," Kelly said.

"Well, looky here. It's those two fags with their bitch," Conner spat out.

I got up from my chair ready to tell them what's what. Ty tried to get up, but I pushed him back down.

"This doesn't concern you, Ty."

"Yes, it does," Ty said as he pushed my hands away and stood. "Whatever happens to you, Dan, happens to me, too. Remember, w We do things together now."

I moved so I was between Ty and the four of them. "What's with you guys?" I asked. "You must get off picking on kids who aren't looking for a fight. Well, go ahead. Do something. The school will be a much happier place with your sorry asses gone forever."

"Your presence here in my cafeteria disgusts me. You fags don't belong in my school. Why don't you just get up and leave," Conner said to me as he stepped closed.

Ty was by my side, and I sensed a slight movement from him. He stepped in between Conner and me. I was bumped backwards, and, regaining my balance, I noticed that Ty's right foot was slightly behind his left foot.

"Why don't you all just leave us alone to have our lunch?" Ty said to Conner.

"Is this your lunch, fairy boy?" Conner said as he lifted Ty's tray from the table.

"Yes, "Ty nervously said

Conner flipped and dropped the tray, spilling Ty's lunch out on the floor. Ty then lowered his stance.

"I don't think so. Now it's just garbage," Conner snarled at him.

Things happened so fast at that point I'm not sure if I saw everything that went on. Conner raised his fist to hit Ty, but before he could complete his swing, Ty raised his hand and slapped Conner's fist off to the side, so it missed Ty entirely. Almost instantly Ty's left fist jabbed Conner in the face, a solid blow that sent him stumbling backward. Ty brought his left fist back again and round-housed Conner hitting him square in the nose. Blood flew everywhere. But then I witnessed something unusual. Ty lowered his body spreading his right leg out to the side. He spun around, and I couldn't believe what I just saw, even though it happened right in front of me. He swept his outstretched leg into Conner's legs sending him to the floor.

I couldn't believe what I just saw, if I even saw it.

By the time Mrs. Garcia and three other cafeteria adult monitors had arrived to find out what was happening, it was all over. What was apparent to them was Conner lying on the floor with blood all over his face and clothes. His buddies were staring down at him in disbelief.

"What happened here?" was the first question she asked. "Who is responsible for this?"

Ty stepped forward, raised his hand and said, "I am."

"What's your name," she asked.

"My name is Tyler Decha."

"Well, Mr. Decha, I want you to go to Vice Principal Ramirez's office right now. Tell his receptionist you're there for fighting in the cafeteria. I'll be along in a few minutes."

I followed Ty to the office thinking he was in deep shit for what he did. Surprisingly, Mr. Osborn was following us. When we arrived at the administration office, we were told to have a seat, that Mr. Ramirez would be with us shortly.

Mr. Osborn sat next to Ty and put his hand on his shoulder. Ty turned to him and asked, "I'm in real trouble, aren't I?"

"Don't worry Tyler. I think you're going to be alright," he said back to him. But Tyler, where did you learn to do all that?"

"My gym teacher back in Thailand taught me a few things to do to defend myself. He had only started teaching me when we had to leave for the States for Mom again."

I had to ask him. "But what about that leg thing?"

"Oh, that. If I told you, you'd laugh at me," Ty said.

"I won't laugh."

"Promise?" I asked.

"I promise."

"Well, I never did that before. I saw it in a Karate Kid movie and thought it looked cool."

I could hardly contain myself from laughing.

"Hey, you promised!" Ty barked at me.

Mr. Ramirez came out of his office and approached us in the waiting room.

"Please come into my office. I'll have my secretary bring some more chairs as there's quite a crowd out here," he said. I looked around and found four of the cafeteria monitors had joined us in the admin office.

The four monitors walked into the room first followed by Ty. When I tried to enter, I was stopped by Mr. Ramirez. "This is a private meeting," he said to me.

Mr. Osborn stepped up to the Vice Principal and said, "I've asked Daniel Anderson to join us. He's a witness to what happened and can shed some light on the facts."

"Okay, you may come in," Mr. Ramirez said to me.

There were seven chairs lined up in front of the Vice Principal's desk. The monitors, including Mr. Osborn took the five chairs on the right. Ty and I sat on the remaining two chairs on the left. When we were all seated, Mr. Ramirez took his seat behind his desk and began.

"Ty Decha, you've been accused of a very serious offense, fighting on school property. You caused some very serious injuries to another of your fellow students, Conner, I believe is his name. He's not here now because he's being taken the hospital. I'm going to ask the cafeteria monitors to tell us what they saw."

One of the monitors rose. "We heard a commotion from the center of the room and immediately rushed to see what was happening. When we got there, we saw Conner lying on the floor. It seemed likely that his nose was broken from the amount of blood on his face and clothes. I asked who was responsible for this. Mr. Tyler Decha admitted that he was the responsible person." She then sat down.

"Tyler, so you admit that you caused what happened to Conner."

"Yes, sir. I admit that I caused his injuries," Ty said.

At that moment, Mr. Osborn rose.

"Mr. Ramirez, I'd like to add some very important facts. I was the closest monitor to what happened and was able to see what led up to the altercation."

"Please continue, Mr. Osborn," the Vice Principal said.

"Conner began the confrontation by bullying Tyler. He first used a forbidden word, calling Tyler a faggot. He also called Kelly, a girl seated with Tyler, a bitch. He then threw Tyler's lunch tray on the floor, spilling his lunch of the ground. But the most important fact is that Conner attempted to hit Tyler by throwing the first punch. Tyler at this point defended himself. He used some kind of judo to block Conner's punch. This was clearly a case of self-defense."

Mr. Ramirez looked over at Tyler for a moment.

"But Tyler, why did you have to knock him to the floor? Or was this the entirety of the fight?" The Vice Principal asked.

Tyler then rose to his feet.

"No, sir." Mr. Ramirez, "My gym teacher back in Thailand started to give me some self-defense training. I only had a couple of lessons before we had to move to the States to take care of my mother, who was ill. When I pushed Conner hand away and hit him, he stumbled backward, but he didn't fall down. He came after me again. What my gym teacher taught me was to avoid fighting whenever possible, but if I had to fight, to end it as soon as possible. That's why I had to hit him again and put him on the floor. Once he was down, the fight was over."

Mr. Osborn, who was still standing, gave Ty a thumbs up.

"Mr. Anderson, do you have anything to add?" Mr. Ramirez asked me.

I stood.

"No, sir. Mr. Osborn described everything that happened perfectly."

"From what you saw, is that what took place?'

"Yes, sir."

"It appears that what happened was clearly a case of self-defense. I'm going to dismiss this. You teachers may return to your duties, and you two boys need to get to your next classes."

"What's going to happen to Conner? as it may affect both Tyler and me." Dan asked.

"I'm going to call for an assembly of the entire school to talk about bullying and ways to avoid it from happening. As for Conner, since he's already on probation, he may be facing expulsion.

Word spread through the school like a firestorm. Tyler had become a hero to the student body. Students congratulated him for standing up to a bully, patting him on the back and shaking his hand.

But it didn't go so well in our last class together, Gym.

We were playing soccer as the weather was still accommodating. Ty kept on calling it football as it's known in Thailand. He's an accomplished soccer player but not big sports fan so most of the time kept to himself him out of the way of the other players. Ty was our team's hero. He obviously had played a lot of soccer back home. At one point most of the play was close to the sideline while he stood in the middle of the field. He watched the action and followed it down field and was getting closer and closer to the goal. Suddenly I kicked the ball to him. It appeared that he didn't know what to do and stopped the ball in front of himself with his foot. It looked like he was panicking, seeing both teams racing toward him. I screamed at him to kick the ball, so he kicked it high toward the goal. It flew over the goalie's head and went into the net. The other players stopped and watched the ball score. Ty ran up to me and threw his arms around me as the other players on his team started hugging him in a group hug. We won that game three to two.

When we showered before leaving gym, I was able to get a thorough look at a naked Ty. Ty had a good look at me this morning, but this was the first time I had a good look at him. He was impressive.

Suddenly I was pushed face first up against the tile wall of the shower room and my head bounced off the wall. I knew I was hurt as my blood started to leak into my eyes.

"What are you staring at him for, you pervert?" came from the boy who shoved me. I knew who he was because he was one of Conner's followers. He was about to hit me when Ty, out of nowhere, stopped the blow from hitting me and shoved Jose out from in front of me. Jose fell to the floor.

Jose yelled at Ty from the floor, "Protecting your boyfriend, Tyler?"

"You're damned right I am, you moron," Ty yelled back at him.

Just then, Coach Cogswell came running into the shower room.

"Break it up you two," he yelled as he pushed Ty away. He came over to me and inspected the gash to my forehead. "You need to get dressed Daniel and go to the nurse's station immediately. Jose, get dressed and report to the Vice Principal's office. I saw you shove Daniel into the wall. The rest of you, finish your showers and leave. It's all over."


I helped Daniel dry himself and get dressed. I had to be careful to not touch the gash on his forehead. Other people were watching me as I dried Dan's back and legs. And I heard snide remarks as I did so, but at this point, I didn't care.

The nurse cleaned Dan's forehead and put a bandage over his injury.

"Daniel, that's about all I can do here so I want you to go to the hospital. I want them to check if you might have sustained a concussion and if the cut needs stitches. Head injuries are not to be taken lightly," the nurse told me.

"Do you have transportation for Daniel?" she asked me.

"I can call his mom. She has a car."

"Thanks, Tyler. Tell her to hurry. He needs to be in the hospital soon in case he did suffer a concussion," she said.

I called Mrs. Anderson and explained what happened to Dan. I could hear the panic in her voice and sensed her concern as she disconnected my call almost immediately by ending with, "I'll be right there." She must have been speeding because she was in the school in what seemed like no time. When she entered the nurse's station, she immediately ran to Dan, who was seated in a chair in the nurse's office.

"Are you alright, dear?"

"I feel fine, Mom, but the nurse wants me to go to the hospital to check for a concussion," Dan answered her.

"My car's parked in the drop off lane right outside. We'd better get going."

"I called the hospital, and they're expecting him," the nurse said.

"Come on Tyler. Help me get Daniel to the car"

I tried to help Dan to stand, but he suddenly fell back onto his chair.

"I'm okay, Ty. I'm just a little bit dizzy," Dan explained.

"Take it easy, Dan. I'll help you.

I helped Dan to his feet and, with my arm around his waist, we made it to the car. I put Dan in the back seat and slid in next to him. Mrs. Anderson couldn't see us, so I took Dan's hand and held it all the way to the hospital.

"You're going to be fine, Dan. They have good doctors here."

"I feel a little bit dizzy, and I've got a headache. I hope it's nothing serious," Dan said, looking up at me. He, for some reason, had a pleading quality in his voice.

When we arrived at the hospital emergency room, a nurse was waiting for us at the front door with a wheelchair. I helped Dan into the chair and took the handles of the chair and started pushing Dan into the emergency room. The nurse looked perplexed as I moved Dan into the room up to the reception desk. Mrs. Anderson checked Dan in at the desk.

"I'll have to take him from here," the nurse told me. "You can't go with him past those double doors. You'll have to wait out here," the nurse told us.

"Tyler let's have a seat over by those windows. They'll come get us when they know anything about Dan's condition.

I sat next to Mrs. Anderson, and we remained silent for a few moments when she turned and looked at me.

"Tyler, can I ask you something?" she said to me.

"Yes, anything."

"You're pretty worried about Daniel, aren't you?" she said.

"Yes, I am."

"It's a bit obvious by the way you're reacting around him."

I couldn't help myself as my eyes glassed over and a single tear slid down my cheek.

Mrs. Anderson put her arm around me and held me for a few moments.

"You love him, don't you?" she asked me.

I then broke down from what she just asked and wrapped my arms around her as I started bawling.

"It's okay Tyler. I understand. Have you told him yet?"

I looked up at her and pitifully said, "Not yet. I'm afraid to."

"Why, Tyler? When you were over for dinner, Daniel couldn't keep his eyes off you. I think Daniel has the same feeling for you as you have for him. Give Daniel the chance for him to let his feelings out. I'm sure he's in the same boat as you are."

"But what if he rejects me? I'm terrified that he might."

"Don't be, Tyler. Let your heart speak for you."

I looked up at her with tear-streaked cheeks. "Can I call you Mom?"

"You'd better because I want a son-in-law," she said to me with a broad smile on her face.

Just then the nurse that wheeled Dan away came up to us.

"Mrs. Anderson?"

"Yes," Mom said as she stood.

"Daniel's been transferred to a hospital room. He's sleeping at the moment, but would you like to see him?"

Mom almost ran to the double doors.

"I guess that means yes," the nurse said.

We followed Mom, but the nurse said, "Family members only, please.

Mom looked at me, an obvious Thai boy.

This is Tyler. He's Daniel's cousin," Mom said.

"Okay. Follow me."

"I was going to say, brother, but I didn't think that would fit," Mom said to me with a wink.

When we entered Dan's room, I could see his eyes were open. He was rubbing them as he must have just woken up. I pulled a chair up next to his bed, sat down and immediately grabbed his hand and held it.

"How're you feeling, Dan?"

"Oh, Ty, I'm so glad you're here," he said to me and gripped my hand a little tighter.

Mom stepped up to the bed and looked down at her son.

Before she could speak, a doctor entered the room and walked over to Dan's bed.

"I'm Doctor Sanchez. I've been caring for your son"

"How is he?" Mom asked him.

"He's fine. We performed a scan of his head, and everything looks normal, but I want him to remain here overnight. This just a precaution against the possibility of concussion. If everything's fine tomorrow morning, he should be ready to be released."

"Mom, I want to stay with him tonight, if that's alright with everyone."

Doctor Sanchez said, "There's a sleeper lounge chair in the corner and blankets and pillow in the closet. You should be comfortable tonight."

Mom looked at me and I could see the smile broaden on her face. She knew why I wanted to stay.

"Okay. What time should I be able to pick the boys up?" Mom asked.

"He should be ready to be released by 10:00 tomorrow morning," Dr. Sanchez said.

Mom and Dr. Sanchez left the room while I was still holding Dan's hand.

I looked down at him.

"Dan, I think we need to talk."

"What'd you wanna talk about?" Dan asked.

"I want to talk about you and me."

"I was wondering when you were going to get around to it. Ty, I have some questions for you too."

"Why don't you start."

"Okay. Here goes. Ty, in the gym today when I got pushed, you came up to help me, but you said something to Jose that I can't get out of my mind."

I knew where he was going.

"Jose asked if you were protecting your boyfriend, remember?" Ty asked.

From Dan's question, I knew that I had messed up. The cat was now out of the bag and running straight for me with claws spread. My next move was terrifying me.

"I remember, Dan."

"What did you mean by telling him that yes, you were, Ty?"

Here goes nothing.

"Dan, I've had a crush on you from the day we met. I've had dreams of you being my boyfriend ever since. I'm sorry, but that just slipped out because I was angry at Jose."

"So, you want me as your boyfriend, huh?" Dan asked.

I lowered my head, knowing what he was going to say next, but he didn't say anything. He just rolled over away from me and started laughing. That bastard was laughing at me!

"What are you laughing at me for?"

"I'm not laughing at you, Ty. I'm laughing at myself," he said as he rolled back over and looked up at me.

"I'm a bit confused here, Dan."

"So am I, Ty. Do you know what's happening?" he asked.

"Not entirely. I want to know what's so funny."

"What's so funny is that we're two love struck boys who don't have the courage to tell each other how we feel. Ty, I've also had a crush on you from the day we met."

"But you were so mean to me back then for teasing you."

"Yeah, and you were so mean to me by teasing me. Anyway, I was just responding to that. I had to do that, Ty. Maybe it was my image that I was trying to protect. The truth is, even while hating the teasing, really hating it, I couldn't get over my crush on you. I was stupid back then."

"I only teased you to get your attention, that was all. I never meant to hurt you in any way."

"I'm thankful for that, and I did see it. You never did anything that would hurt me," Dan replied.

"Dan, I want to ask you formally. Will you be my boyfriend?"

I sat back, looking into his eyes waiting for his reaction.

"Only one condition, Ty. Will you also be my boyfriend?"

"Dan, what took us so long to utter those simple words?"

"You haven't answered my question, Ty. Will you be my boyfriend?"

I bent down to give him my answer and placed my lips on his. A shock went through my whole body as if I was struck by lightning. I released my lips from his, but he grabbed me and held me closer. He then proceeded to kiss me deeply.

When we broke from each other, Dan said, "I take that as a yes."

I looked down at him as tears filled my eyes.

"I hope those are happy tears, Ty," as he used his thumb to wipe away my tears.

The knock on the door broke our reverie.

"Dinner is served," a male nurse said as he entered the room pushing a food rolling cart. "Mr. Anderson, you don't get the regular bland food tonight. Thanks to your mom who brought you Big Macs with fries. She even doubled the order for your boyfriend."

"Boyfriend?" we both asked him in surprise.

"Well, that's what she called you both. I think she's a smart lady," he said to us.

After finishing our royal dinner, Dan turned to me.

"Well, boyfriend, I'm tuckered out and probably should get some sleep.

"Dan, I want you to move over. I'm not going to sleep in that chair tonight. I want to sleep with you."

"I thought you'd never ask." Dan said as he moved over to give me room.

I retrieved the extra pillow from the closet and placed it next to his. Then I removed my shoes and socks. I stood and unzipped my pants and removed them. I was only in my tee shirt and boxers when I slipped in beside Dan. I could see the smile on Dan's face as he watched me.

"Ty, I don't have anything on under this hospital gown," he said to me.

"Don't worry. Let's save that for another time, lover boy"

We both turned to face each other. I stared into his dark eyes for a long time.

"Dan, I love you."

"I love you too, Ty," he came back.

We kissed one last time before we started to doze off.

"Good night my boyfriend," he said to me.

"Good night, my boyfriend."

At some time in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by the door opening.

I knew this was the nurse to waken Dan. As a precaution, Dan had to be woken every hour or so to make sure with a concussion, he didn't slip into a coma

"Alice, come here. You need to see this," I heard one of the nurses say.

"What's up?" I heard another nurse say.

"Look at those two boys cuddling each other. If that's not love, I don't know what is."

Then I heard the door softly close.

The End

Please let me know what you thought of Daniel.

Richard Norway

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