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stephanie l danielson

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2,920 Is My Ego Showing?


About stephanie l danielson

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    Beyond writing, I enjoy gaming, cycling, and figure skating. I love the outdoors, time with my family (esp my Dad) and 'raising' two adorable kitties.

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  1. Happy St. Paddy's Day! May ye find the gold at the end 'o de rainbow.


  2. Odd mix of weather today as I stay in and nurse my arm. How's your Friday?

  3. Chapter 7

    I've had guys string me along like this and unlike Billy I say hell no. But he's wide-eyed and too infatuated.
  4. Chapter 9

    Oh bigtime! She is brutally honest and adores Cid. She just wants the best for him.
  5. Chapter 16

    love the Cid whisperer... he knows what it takes to not make this lilac-haired horse run away
  6. Chapter 18

    Kellen is very patient.
  7. Chapter 20

    Agree a million percent!
  8. Chapter 22

    lol no pressure at all! I wanna have them beat him to a pulp but not get expelled.
  9. Chapter 23

    CH 22? After spring break ended and Cid and Kellen returned home to the dorms; Cid knew there was some messy as all hell unfinished business to do. Namely, to get Kurt Whateverthefuckhisnameis off the planet and never allow him to sexually assault anyone else ever again. Cid usually didn’t relish going to the Dean’s office; but this time he had his mission fully in mind. He’d gotten a reply back to come over today and fill out a deposition about his attack, and moreso, the attacker. He wished Kellen was with him; but his history class was just back in session and he couldn’t miss. “Mr. Walker?” “Yessir.” Cid responded in a very unusual, formal tone. “Have a seat.” He did so, sorely hoping this would not be an inquisition of him or how it might have possibly been his fault. “I got your email, and another one here from a Kellen MacPherson? Do you know him?” Cid’s ears perked up. He shouldn’t have been surprised that his new boyfriend/protector would want to raise attention to what happened. “Yessir, he would keep me company during lunch, especially after he saw how Kurt was hasseling me.” “I see.” He shuffled some papers around and scribbled some illegible notes that Cid wished he could decipher. “Now then…you told me that you were being bothered, but Mr. MacPherson mentioned something about an attack?” Cid shifted in his seat. “Aye, sir. A few weeks before spring break.” “Why didn’t you alert campus security?” Here it comes. I’m the one to blame, right? He kicked himself now for not reporting this goon. “I didn’t think it was worth mention of an ass hassling me. I thought if I just let it go, got out of his way, it’d be ok. Kellen protected me and things were fine, until a few weeks ago.” The dean frowned. “I hear this a lot, not usually from guys, but the girls. They are hassled constantly and don’t think anything of it until one of them is assaulted or worse.” Cid wet his lips. “Honestly I didn’t think I’d be taken seriously. I’m a decent-sized guy, but not big enough to fight him off.” He wished he’d been able to do that so much. He was successful in preventing his rape, but not the beating he received. “Dammit. This campus is supposed to be a safe haven. If anyone violates that…” he shook his head. “My apologies on what happened to you. I trust you are pressing charges? Criminal?” Wow, that tone swung quickly! Cid brightened and nodded. “Yessir, very much. I have witnesses as to his hassling me.” “Great! What about the attack?” Shit. “No, not until I’d fought him off at the very end. Kellen found me. Kurt had taken me to a very dark corner closet and no one found us until the end.” “I see. Well, it’ll be your word against his…were there any wounds?” “Oh hell yeah. I’ve got scratches and bruises all over yet.” Cid confirmed. “Has anyone else seen them?” “Besides the one who hit me?” he grumbled. “Sorry. Yessir, Kellen has. He saw them when I had just been attacked and also in classes afterwards.” No need at all to mention their sweet naked encounter on the camping trip. In fact, he didn’t want them to know Kellen was his boyfriend now at all. “Ok. So tell me exactly what happened.” Here we go. Cid gave a grisly account of what happened and led up to the assault. The dean made tons of notes but didn’t say a word. He shook his head, hopefully in complete disbelief. “I’m so sorry that happened to you.” “Thank you, sir.” He cleared his throat. “You may go now, I have what I need at the moment. I’ll file your charges with the police later today.” Relief coursed through Cid’s veins. “Good! I hope they get him for what he did.” “Me too, Mr. Walker.” They stood in tandem and the dean shook Cid’s hand. “We’ll be in touch.” “Thank you again.” “Take care. Oh, and if you do know anyone being hassled or see it, please do report it. If not for your friend Kellen, we might not have known how bad things really were. You be sure to thank him.” “I will, sir.” Oh would he ever! Cid returned to his room and emailed Kellen with what had happened. Now…to wait. * * * * It was nearly dinnertime when Kellen was free again. Cid waited for him just outside his dorm room; being sure to look for that bastard who hurt him. Hopefully he’d been arrested and hauled off to Siberia. A shock of wavy red hair caught his eye and he couldn’t help but smile and welcome his boyfriend into a long embrace. “Hi there, hottie.” Kellen greeted him as he broke the hug and unlocked his dorm. “Come on inside.” They hurried into the room and Cid personally shut and locked the door. He stripped Kellen of his backpack and took the man into his arms and laid a long, deep kiss on his lips. After the kiss broke, Kellen grinned wide. “Well, now that’s what I call a hello.” Cid kept him close. “It’s not near enough for all the stuff you’ve done for me.” He stroked his man’s hair and kissed him again. Kellen cocked a brow. “Done for you? Like be your friend and protector?” “That…and your email to the dean must’ve been something else. They’re going after him.” Cid reported and Kellen smiled. “They are?” “Oh yeah! I gave my deposition and pressed charges against that loser just a bit ago. The dean said if not for your report…they might not have known anything. I should’ve reported it more…” he shook his head and kicked himself internally. “I thought he was just a goon, ya know?” Kellen looked at him straight on. “Cid, listen. Anyone can be a victim. You and I both know that. Size or color, gender, sex, any of it doesn’t matter. Crime is crime. You were bugged to death and he attacked you. Now he’ll get what he deserves.” “I sure hope so.” He sighed. “Now…school done for the day?” “Hell yes, and I’m glad!” Kellen groaned. “History is a killer.” Cid laughed. “Well, I think it’s time we have some food. I’m starved.” “That sounds great to me. What should we order?” “Sandwiches I guess. Damn.” He shook his head. “What is it, hon?” Cid loved hearing terms of endearment for himself; especially from Kellen. “Just…doesn’t it suck? I wanna go out and be open and free, holding hands and all that. Guess I’m kinda afraid to anymore, that’s why I never did it.” Billy crossed his mind briefly and he sighed. “I saw Frank and Billy yesterday on the lawn together. They were having a picnic I guess; but you could tell they’re a couple.” He felt strong arms encircle his waist and a chin rested on his shoulder. “We can go out if you want to, if you’re up to it, baby.” Cid wanted to, more than anything, but his fear held him back. “In time, we will. I wish we could go camping again.” He grinned and remembered their making out. “Oh we’ll totally do that again.” Kellen agreed. “Listen, for now, let’s hang here. Until we know Kurt is gone and you feel completely comfortable. Sound good?” “Yeah, it does. Besides…” he turned in his man’s arms and faced him. “I’m digging this time together that we do get. We can drill through homework, then maybe hang out in bed for a while. Your bed is twice as big as mine.” Kellen kissed him softly. “I’d love it. Lemme order up the grub and we’ll get to work right away on those other parts.” Cid smiled at ‘parts’. He wanted all of Kellen’s parts and to do very intimate things with some of them. “Baby?” he asked aloud as Kellen messed with his phone. “Do…you think you’d come with me if I go apologize to Billy?” “Of course I will, I think it’s a great idea.” “You do?” Cid was pleased. “Hell yeah. The guy seems decent as does Frank. I think we should all support each other anyway, being gay guys.” That certainly made sense. Plus, Kellen had yet to see Cid’s room either. “Do…you wanna see my room? All my paintings?” Kellen nodded and put his phone down to put his arms around Cid again. “Absolutely, my very handsome artist.” Cid relaxed a little and just took in the feel of his boyfriend. He’d always struggled with being close, especially after his last lover ended so badly. But now he had that second chance and like fuck he’d screw it up.
  10. It was nice to see a smidgen of sunshine anyway. Good thing I increased my D3, lol

  11. Chapter 22

    You're welcome! My plan is for Cid to have that chat with Billy for sure
  12. Chapter 22

    Thank you Absolutely, now they can move forward, together.
  13. Chapter 22

    CHAPTER 21 The fire was extra high and Kellen fixed them a large dinner of steaks, carrots, and potatoes. He’d done research on campfire cuisine, and he loved to test it out. He silently admired the cookware that Billy had bought for Cid; it was very nice stuff. Too bad he didn’t get to use it too; but at least it was getting used. Cid had been silent again through lunch and had gone to nap. Kellen kept his vigil up and listened for anything unusual. Luckily, there was nothing. Now, at dinnertime, and with the days light fading, the two men sat around the campfire and ate their food slowly. Cid seemed to just pick at his, while Kellen dove in with gusto. “Starved.” He commented as he tried to urge Cid to eat too. “Aren’t you?” “Meh.” Cid replied. Kellen knew there was a volcano under there just waiting to empty its magma reservoir. He’d done it and he had to use just the right trigger to get Cid to explode. “Can I tell you a story?” Cid narrowed his eyes. “What like a ghost story?” Kellen cocked his head. “Well, almost. It’s about a young man, one that trusted too much and got hurt very badly.” “Dude why would I wanna hear my own story?” “Oh? You trusted Kurt?” Cid’s mouth slammed shut. “What? I…no way! But the other shit happened.” “Well, we’re not talking about you are we? We haven’t talked at all. Nope, this is about another young man.” “I don’t wanna hear it.” Cid rebutted. “Why not?” Kellen pressed. “I’m not exactly up to it ya know.” “Like hell. You need to know you’re not alone, Cid!” “Yes I am.” He mumbled. “No fucking way.” Kellen countered. Cid put his plate down on the seat beside him and rocked back and forth in his seat and tucked his hands inside his pockets. “No one wants damaged goods do they? I can’t….I can’t love anymore. Not ever.” He whispered. “You’re wrong, Cid…” His temper flared up. “Just how the fuck would you know? Mr. Scottish Pride and soccer star and perfect looks and strong….” He shook his head. “You’ll never know.” Kellen tossed down his empty plate on the ground, making a loud clank. “I’m damaged goods too, Cid! The story is about me.” “What?” Cid choked and he stared at his friend. “Listen to me. You are not the only one who’s been through something like this. I went through it two years ago.” Kellen revealed. “I was fucking raped by a guy that I had a serious crush on and he treated me like garbage. You think that was something easy to get over? That I didn’t question ever being able to love or be with a man again?” The memories were still there and Kellen bowed his head for a moment and felt his eyes fill with tears. He slid off his chair and sat on his haunches. After a long minute, he raised his head at last. “Kellen…” that was the first time Cid had spoken his name in what seemed like eons. “Omigod…” he took his hands out of his pockets and held Kellen’s hands to his lips and kissed them. “I’m so sorry. I hope that bastard rots in hell.” He gazed up into Cid’s beautiful eyes. “Thank you, he is I’m sure of it. The point is…just please tell me what happened to you. Both times.” Cid swallowed and his eyes shifted away. “Both?” Kellen nodded. “If not both then one at least. I know it isn’t easy to talk about…but you can talk to me. You’re not alone!” After a deep breath, Cid cleared his throat. “I…you know what happened this last time.” “No I don’t…I saw you after the fucker ran off. What did he do to you, Cid? Please tell me because I wanna kill him for whatever he did.” Cid’s face blushed and he shook his head, just as tears started in his eyes. “He tried to rape me. I fought him like a demon. You saw all the scratches on me? He had double that. I nearly broke my leg to push him off of me. You got there right after I’d kicked him in the nuts and he ran off.” Kellen burst with pride that his man had kicked off his assailant; but he felt horrible for not having been there in the first place. He kept hold of Cid’s hands and wept onto them. “I wasn’t there to protect you. This is all my fault.” “What? No! You were sick! How could you help that? You can’t be there every second, Kellen!” “But I let you down and he hurt you. I’m your protector and your friend…dammit, Cid.” He wanted so much to share how he felt, but he still had to be careful. There was a long pause as Kellen got his emotions and thoughts in order. He got up on his knees and let go of Cid’s hands. “Please…let me see your hair.” It’d been forever since he’d seen the gorgeous lilac locks and he badly wanted to now. “I…I had to hide my hair, in case that monster showed up again. I’ve been hiding everything I can.” Kellen knew that already. “I get it, but please? Let me see?” After a very long minute ticked by, Cid finally gave in and lowered his hood. The lilac locks had grown out just a little, letting the natural black grow in. But it seemed… shorter? No. It was in a very tight ponytail secured at the back of his head. Not cut, but hidden. “He tracked me down by my hair. I was this close to shaving it off.” He held his fingers a ¼ “apart and Kellen gasped. “I’m glad you didn’t!” he reached for Cid’s head slowly and touched the ponytail. It was very touchable, and had a lovely shine to it, even after being hidden for three weeks. “I love your hair.” Kellen admitted softly. “No way, yours is nice too.” Cid complemented back. Wow, was that a compliment from Cid? A real one? Kellen stifled a laugh. “I remember you called it garish when we met.” “Geeez, that’s a long time ago.” Cid replied, his eyes wide. “You remember that?” “Oh hell yes I remember that.” He reclaimed his seat and let out a sigh. They sat in sated silence for a minute and Cid pulled out the elastic from his hair and fluffed it out again. Kellen’s mouth went dry as he longed to touch the strands. “Damn you are a beautiful man.” Kellen spoke wistfully. Cid laughed. “I was.” “No. You are. Present tense. That bastard will rot for what he did. As for the other one, I hope he is too.” Kellen reached for Cid’s face and brushed his fingers along the goatee. “You are a rare man, Cid Walker. We share a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.” “Definitely not.” He leaned in and stroked Kellen’s arm. “I’m sorry for what happened to you.” “Thanks. I finally recuperated enough to live a semi-normal life. I swore off men for a long time…you’re the first I’ve even wanted to get close to in a long time. I know what it’s like to hurt for so long and think you’re not worthy of happiness or love or respect anymore. I know you hate pressure and deadlines and people giving you ultimatums. I didn’t want to do that to you.” Cid nodded. “That’s how…he was. My ex.” He spit out. “All perfect at first then when he lost his job, I became the object of all of his anger because I pushed him.” Kellen cocked his head. “Can you tell me what happened with him?” “I…I need too. I was engaged to him; he considered me his property after a while. I was so blindly in love. He beat me repeatedly but I didn’t leave…I was the needy one, but the night he raped me I finally got the balls to leave him. I stayed with Roxie.” He paused and swiped at his eyes. “I was so needy, just like Billy was with me. I pushed that kid away. He said he loved me and I knew I couldn’t return it. How could that guy handle a guy like me? I’m glad he has Frank now and can know a real love.” Kellen stood and held Cid to him gently. “I’m so sorry that happened to you at all. Ever. You were lucky to escape!” he massaged Cid’s shoulders and kissed the top of his head. “As for Billy, I’m glad too. I’m sure he wanted to try his damndest, but you’re right, a green kid like that wouldn’t understand the pain we’ve been through. Both of us, Cid. I get it, totally. You know one thing though? I know we are both deserving and totally worthy of love and the best relationship we could dream of. No hurting, no pain, just love and all the ups and downs of life as the journey goes along.” “Is that even possible?” Cid snorted. “Who’d want me?” “I want you, you numbskull.” Kellen cupped Cid’s face. “I’ve been chipping away at you every chance I could. Remember the flower I gave you on Valentine’s Day?” Cid nodded. “That meant friendship and that I care. I’ve cared about you every second and I’m going to keep on doing it forever.” “Why? Why do you care about me?” Cid bowed his head and Kellen rolled his eyes and got his friend to look him in the eye again. “Why not? You’re worth it. You’ve been hurt, and so have I. See this scar?” he pointed to a scar on his wrist. “I wanted to end it after I was raped. I know how you feel, Cid. I know you wanted to run off into the woods and kill yourself.” Cid gasped. “Wh…how did you…are you snooping in my bag?” Kellen frowned. “Then I am right. You brought your gun, didn’t you?” “I…” Cid froze and nodded. “Death is the only thing that’ll make it better.” “No it isn’t! Love is the thing that heals all wounds! I guarantee you that. My family and therapist got me through that hell. Their love, their concern.” Cid frowned. “I don’t have a family. My friends are all back home. They don’t even know.” Kellen caught Cid’s hands again. “Listen to me, I offer my love to you, ok?” “What?” Cid looked Kellen up and down. “Are you deaf under that pretty hair? I love you, Cid Walker…and we will go slow until you hopefully feel the same way. I’m not pushing, I’m just telling you how I feel. The day that you were attacked I thought my heart would beat out of my chest. Something told me things were off and I found you.” “Thank goodness you did. You’re my protector.” “I try to be.” Kellen admitted. “Anything else it needs to be mutual. I won’t stop caring about you. You’re in my heart, Cid.” A long pause passed between them before Cid spoke again. “I…I think we need to goto sleep. I’m exhausted.” Kellen nodded. “Sounds good, I’m beat.” He got up and started towards his tent, but Cid stopped him. “Wait…Kell? I…I was hoping you’d stay with me? I didn’t sleep much last night.” A bright smile formed on Kellen’s lips. “I’d love it. I’ll be there as quick as I can.” * * * * Cid didn’t think it was possible, but he’d started to feel a little better. He didn’t want to kill himself anymore; at least not at the moment. Three years ago it took the combined forces of Roxie, Rikki, and everyone else to stop him from pulling the trigger. This time, it was much easier, because Kellen knew and he knew that the redhead cared for him. The oddest thing was that he cared back. Billy had meant something too; but he was too needy, too much. Cid was needy too, so two needy people make a very bad relationship. Kellen was what he needed, and wanted. He couldn’t deny his real attraction and desire for his friend. Oh it was there bigtime. Now to take things at a pace they could both handle. Knowing the Kellen had been attacked too only deepened their bond and he wanted to fight the bastard whomever he was. Plus when they were fishing, knowing that Kellen refused to hurt even a fish, told him how gentle this guy really was. His heart was gold and Cid just had to crack his open or thaw it out just a little more to let that love shine in. “Ok, I’m all set.” Kellen appeared, carrying his pillow. He climbed inside and Cid scooted over and let his friend sit beside him. “Get comfy. We might be up all night again.” Cid warned. “No way, I’m bushed. I’m about as tired as I knew I could get.” He popped up again and exited the tent. “Be right back!” Cid adjusted his pillow. The tent was warm and comfortable with the large air mattress under him. Plus three fleece blankets. He hoped Kellen wouldn’t suffocate due to how hot he could get. “Ah, back again.” Kellen carried in the cooler from the boat. “I figured we might get hungry later on. You never finished your dinner.” “Oh shit…I forgot all about that.” Cid slapped his forehead and remembered the plate he let sit out on the stoop. “I’m sure the ants are loving it by now.” “They’re all over it. I’ll let them have their fill and wash it out in the morning.” Kellen opened up the cooler and reached inside. Cid sat up to see what he was fussing with. “Don’t tell me you’re hungry already.” He teased. “Nope. Not yet.” He turned and faced his friend, holding two roses. “But I wanted to give you these, now that you know how I really feel.” Cid laid his eyes on two gorgeous roses; one was yellow with a red tips to it, and the other was pure red. They both had water vials attached at the stems so they could live a long while. He grinned and reached for them, he wanted to sniff them and touch their petals again. “What do the colors mean this time?” Kellen closed the cooler and sat on the mattress beside Cid and leaned in close enough to hear him breathe. “The red is obvious, love. The yellow with red means friendship but falling in love. I…didn’t plan on telling you just yet but I wanted to.” They both sniffed the flowers and Cid looked Kellen up and down, eyeing his lips most of all. “They’re awesome, and I’m sure, with your help, maybe you can thaw out my heart again.” “I’ll help you all I can. Swear on Scotland.” He crossed his heart in the design of the Scottish flag. Cid smiled, a real genuine one and felt happier than he’d been in a long, long time. He had a genuine guy that would look out for him. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t there, he was sick! But he was there after and picked him up and took him home. “My protector.” Kellen nodded and pulled the blankets over his legs. “As long as you want me to be.” They joined hands and Cid eyed Kellen’s lips again and slowly inched forward. “I…haven’t kissed anyone for three years…” he warned. “We’re both out of practice on that. Let’s see if we remember anything.” He edged closer and cupped Cid’s face and gently pressed their lips together in a soft, sweet kiss. “That was nice.” Cid admitted. “I think we’ll need a lot more practice though.” He put the roses down on the ground next to him and held Kellen’s handsome face in his hands and pulled him down closer and they kissed again. “We’re getting better at this again I think.” Kellen agreed and reached up to stroke Cid’s hair. “Can I stroke your hair?” One of the walls Cid kept up was his hair. He kept the beanie on all the time to discourage people from wanting to; but it was off now and he wanted Kellen to touch his hair, and to be honest, every other part of him too. He knew the man would be gentle and not force himself anywhere. “Yes.” He whispered and looked into Kellen’s green eyes. His touch was soft and gentle and Cid curled into Kellen’s side. He felt safe, and loved for the first time in eons. Could he call this man his boyfriend? “Kell?” “Yeah?” “Are we….what are we now?” “What do you want me to be? I think we’re more than just friends.” Easily they were. Cid kissed Kellen’s wrist and held it close. “Boyfriends?” Kellen grinned. “I’d love it.” Cid nodded. “So would I.” he shuddered a little. “There’s still a lot you don’t know about me…” “So then we learn about each other. I want you to meet my family, when you’re up to it.” Oh wow, the parents and all? Cid felt a shock of nerves. But it was a good shock. “I want you to meet Roxie and her sister and my other friends.” He agreed. “I’ve told them about you a little bit, but we’re on a whole new level now.” “Yeah we are, and it’s the happiest night I’ve had in years.” Kellen said with a grin. “Cid Walker you’ve changed my whole life around and I couldn’t be happier.” They kissed for a while, soft, sweet kisses. Cid loved Kellen’s hair and the feel of him. They were both clothed; but it was becoming obvious that both were aroused as Cid felt Kellen’s cock push against his groin. Cid didn’t want to jump into a sexual relationship just yet; he was too afraid. Plus he was still injured from the Kurt attack. Kellen stopped kissing him and pulled back. “It’s hot in here now.” He commented with a big smile on his lips. “I…usually don’t wear anything when I sleep.” The phrase made Cid’s mouth go dry and his loins burn. “I…” his voice squeaked. “I do too. I mean, I don’t.” he tripped over his words and admonished himself internally. But his new boyfriend laughed and dropped a kiss on his head. “No worries. I love and trust you, Cid Walker. How about a show of good faith?” Kellen began to remove his clothing and Cid watched the whole, tantalizing, all too short show. He wanted Kellen, badly, but just not yet. Kellen got back into bed with him and Cid’s fingers couldn’t resist the exposed flesh. His fingers drank in his new man and they began to kiss again. But it wasn’t long before Cid had to stop too. “Fairness. Always.” He hopped up and stripped off his clothing as well; revealing all of his scratches and scars. Kellen had seen them before, but the bruises were still there. “Total honesty is best.” He said as he climbed back into bed. “Do you still hurt?” Kellen asked quietly. Cid nodded. “Can I just hold you?” That’s exactly what he wanted. “Yes. Please?” Cid said the rarest word in his vocabulary. They scooted together and entangled their limbs. He felt Kellen’s warm body against his and held on while the redhead softly stroked his back and ran his palms over the injured areas. They kissed gently and their breathing synchronized. Soon, Cid found himself falling asleep. He laid his head down on Kellen’s shoulder and drifted off to a blissful slumber for the first time in weeks.
  14. Cold out, but at least the sun is shining! :)

  15. Chapter 21

    CHAPTER 21 It’d been three weeks since the bastard had gotten ahold of him and did what he did…or rather, what he’d tried to do. Cid had taken to wearing hoodies everywhere he went, just to hide his black eye at first, but then to hide his face, his hair, all of it. He didn’t want to be seen or talked to. By anyone. Not Kellen, not even the professors. Every day was a struggle just to get out of bed and his paintings had all gone to black. Death. It seemed a sensible way to end the pain he was in and the horrors of the past, and now the present. He emailed the dean of students about Kurt bothering him; but he didn’t go into much detail. Why did they need to know about a fight? It was just that. Nope. Nothing else going on there. Nothing had color, or beauty, or life to it anymore. Even the yellow rose that Kellen had given him had long since wilted and died away. Cid was going with it. Spring break offered a bit of a reprieve. He grew ill of hearing about beaches and bikinis and orgys and whatever other nonsense these children liked to do on their parent’s dime. He just wanted to run away. Forever. Even the sight of Billy and Frank struck at him; they sat together in the cafeteria, looking sickeningly sweet together. Their eyes were only for each other now; he’d tossed out that affection as soon as he could. As for Kellen? He’d grow tired of waiting soon and be the next name on the list of failed friendship/romances. That’s all his life was now. Failure. Violence. Pain. He wanted to bail from school and go back to his hometown where he could hide out. As the day ended and he ate quietly in his room, there were a knock at the door. “What?” “It’s Kellen. Please, let me in for a minute?” Cid rolled his eyes and let out a huff. He opened the door and allowed Kellen to slip inside. “Hi.” Kellen started, but his cheeriness fell on deaf ears. “What do you want?” Cid grumbled. “I wanted to invite you along on a trip I’m taking. Far from here. Camping, and fishing. Now hear me out…ok?” he hurried along. “Fishing you don’t have to talk, so you can sit there as quiet as you like, ok? I’ll do all the cooking and cleaning and there’s bathrooms on site. You can sit and look at the river all day if you like…but please, Cid. Come with me? You need a change of scenery.” Cid snorted “I’m going home and not coming back.” He reported very matter-of-factly. “I’m done with this school and this life.” Kellen’s eyes widened. “If you’re done then please…grant me one trip with you? Just something that might bring you a nice memory? Anything.” “Aren’t you going home?” Cid countered. “See your family?” “No, I’ll see them in the summertime. Right now I want to take in the springtime and I want to do it with my friend. I like you a lot, Cid. Please…won’t you come with me?” He had to admit, getting away from things would be nice, maybe. If Kellen would leave him alone…which he was sure he would…then maybe he could slip away and do what he needed to do. Cid nodded and rolled his eyes. “Fine. Fine. Whatever. I’ll go fish. I got that camping shit, might as well use it.” Kellen smiled wide. “You will? Awesome! I’ll pick you up at 7 tomorrow?” “Sure. Cool.” Cid replied flatly. “See you tomorrow then.” Kellen made his way to the door. “Yep, you will.” Cid responded. “Bye.” “Bye.” Cid shut and locked the door and let out a sigh. Fuck. Well…what the hell huh? Go out with a bang? * * * * Kellen’s POV The trip was long and they had to stop every couple hours but they made it at last. The sun would set in a few hours, so their tents were pitched and the new cookware was washed out and ready for its first meal. Kellen prided himself on being a great cook; his mother had spent hours showing and tutoring him. His omelets were great, and he hoped the Cid would allow him to make pan-fried steak; a favorite of his. The fire roared and the pans were set up over the hot coals. Kellen paid most of his attention to the fire, but his eyes kept floating to Cid; who sat there merely staring at the flames. His purple eyes were black at night, with only hints of their color showing with the light from the dancing jumps of pyre. His posture was slumped and his head was covered with his hoodie. In fact, Kellen hadn’t seen much of Cid’s hair since the attack. That was the only way to describe it…an attack. He’d written the dean himself and reported it. He knew Cid wouldn’t. He knew it intimately. From the emails they’d exchanged, Kurt would be interrogated over spring break and Cid would need to fill out a deposition. But to get him to do that would be difficult. The night was cool and the stars were visible. After dinner the two sat back and he pointed out a few constellations to his friend. Cid merely mumbled or nodded; he’d barely spoken since it happened. It broke Kellen’s heart to see how he was; but it only confirmed how he felt inside. He loved Cid, and would pound Kurt into dust if he could find him. “We’d better get to sleep. Fishing is an early morning sport.” Kellen washed up everything and packed it away. “Are you tired?” Cid shrugged. “Always.” He answered. Kellen sighed and tried to keep on an even keel. He wished they had one tent, just to keep an eye on his friend. “Better hit the hay then.” He offered. “Hey, Cid?” he brushed the man’s shoulder lightly and was relieved it was allowed this time. “Hmm?” “If you need me at all, I mean anything…I’m just a tent flap away. I’m a light sleeper, so just say my name, ok?” Cid shrugged. “M’kay.” Well, he had to try anyway. He waited for Cid to get to his tent and zip it shut before he went to his own and got ready for bed. The night sounds and worry over Cid made him toss and turn all night. He tried playing word games in his head or writing the code he was learning in school; but nothing worked. He sensed something very dark in Cid; that he was suicidal. That alone made him worry even more. He had to keep it together and remember how he felt after his ‘date’ had gone so horribly wrong two years ago. He swore off men for the longest time and wanted to end his life then too; but his parents, siblings, and excellent counselors all helped. The cops threw the bastard in jail for a very long time. The urge to goto Cid’s tent was overwhelming. He wanted to hold him and not let go; to kiss those lips, and look into those eyes. More, he wanted to just be the balm that held him together, inside and out. * * * * The next morning came at last and Kellen, at 5 am finally gave up on trying to sleep and keep watch on Cid at the same time. At least in the boat they’d be together. Silent, but he couldn’t run away unless he was one hell of a good swimmer too. He dressed and climbed out of his tent. “Cid? You ready to learn fishing?” he tried to be upbeat and cautious with every word he spoke. One push and his rabbit would hop away to the forest to do himself in. Life hell he’d allow that! “Mpf. Early.” Cid whined. Kellen smiled to himself. “Yeah it is, buddy, but the fish are bitin’ this early.” “Tell ‘em to find their own worms.” Was his sense of humor returning? At least the snarkiness. It was a bit of a wait, but Cid finally surfaced and after they both used the bathroom and had something to eat, they headed down to the water. Fishing was something Kellen’s dad had taught him as a young boy and he’d loved it ever since. It was especially helpful when he needed time away to think and get over a loss of any sort, whether it be a test score, or a horrid attack. He truly hoped this would turn the corner with Cid. The water was peaceful and you could see quite a few feet straight down. It was cool and calm, and perfect to tempt the fish with homemade bait that he’d brought along. He baited both lures and after a quick tutorial, basically told Cid to sit back and wait for a tug on his line. “So, I just sit here?” “Yup.” Cid faced the other side of the boat so Kellen couldn’t see his face. Kellen ached to see his friend so broken. “Buddy, if you need to go ashore or feel the need to talk or anything, just say my name, ok?” “Yeah, cool.” Cid answered. Kellen sighed and put his line in the water. And waited, and waited. Finally, he got a bite on his line! “Oooh! I’ve got a big ‘ol bass!” he reeled it in and held the flopping fish and checked it over. “Hey, check ‘im out!” Cid turned and he watched the fish flail and try to free itself. “Nice.” He commented. “Yup. But guess what? I never keep ‘em.” He tossed the unscathed fish back into the water and it swam away rapidly. “Wh…why’d you let it go? Isn’t the whole point to catch fish and keep them?” Kellen shook his head. “No. I learned that early on. I couldn’t keep any of them. Once I saw them struggle to be free I started crying and my dad always put them back. I couldn’t watch them flail around like that. It’s not right.” Cid didn’t say a word but Kellen could tell he was thinking. His mouth would open then shut, and his eyes kept watch between the water and his friend. Finally, he spoke. “No, it isn’t.” He turned around again. “I…I’m ready to go ashore.” “Sounds good to me. I’m starved anyway.” Kellen agreed and he fired up the motor on the small boat and they got back to their campsite.

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