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10,340 I Should Own Stock In This Place

About Aceinthehole

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  1. Aceinthehole


    Chapter 19: Pride I guess it’s easy for me to forget just how new to parenting Adam is. He’s just been such a natural at it so far, it’s hard to imagine him having trouble. But it’s barely been a month! This life that’s started to seem so normal, it’s still just begun! And through it all, Adam’s been my rock, but right now, I can see him doubting himself. One way or another I’m going to dismiss those doubts, I know I will. “So,” Dizzy began with a smirk as he led me away from everyone. “what are we doing tonight?” “I don’t know what you’re doing, but Adam and I are going to spend the night together.” I smiled, seeing surprise fill his face. He let out an overdramatic groan before forcing eye contact. “And after that?” “I’m going to bed.” I shrugged, seeing a smirk beginning to form on his face. “Alone.” “You sure about that?” He asked, letting the smirk take over. “Yup.” I insisted, holding my ground. “You heard Mrs. Mowry, one more late day and we’re both getting detention.” “You can’t actually be mad at me for that?” He complained as his face grew serious. “I mean we got out of it, and besides, I remember this morning’s activities being your idea.” “Says the guy who climbed on me.” I played along, letting my smile grow to show I wasn’t actually upset. “I just need some time with Adam. He’s a little, off today. And I can’t risk him catching on and thinking he’s screwing up.” “Goody two shoes.” Dizzy teased with a roll of his eyes, but I could tell he understood. “So where are you going?” “I don’t know,” I began to think it over. “I guess maybe the Tavern again. That guy he likes might be working tonight.” “Boring!” Dizzy exclaimed, loud enough to draw stares. “You play it too safe, go somewhere new tonight.” “Like where? I want to surprise him again, and I’m not exactly Mr. San Francisco.” I complained, knowing Dizzy had a point. “China Town.” Dizzy shrugged. “It’s far, but not too far and he’ll never see it coming.” “I don’t know how to get there.” I complained, noticing Adam starting to watch us closely. “Just take the twenty-two to the one, you’ll know when you get there.” He explained, but hesitated as he saw confusion grow on my face. “I’ll text you the directions, and worst case you could just use your phone or something.” “I don’t know,” I gulped, feeling my anxiety starting to get the better of me. “what if I get us lost?” “You’ll be with Adam, what are you worried about?” Dizzy asked, freezing me even more. “Besides, getting lost is half the adventure!” “Maybe you should come,” I began instantly drawing a shake of his head. “I’m getting the vibe Adam’s not the only one doubting himself today.” He analyzed, taking a deep look into my eyes. “You’re smart and brave and strong and just,” He caught himself before he started to ramble. He went to say something else, but before he could leaned in and stole a kiss from my lips. “Just relax, you and Adam could use an adventure together.” “This whole month has been an adventure.” I complained, but simply got a shrug from Dizzy. “And how much you’ve grown from when I first met you.” His smile grew as he led me back towards the group. “Ky, what are you up to tonight?” He began, immediately trying to find plans for the night. “I guess nothing,” Ky hesitantly began. “but you’re not sleeping over! My Mom’s already mad enough at me!” “Because you got a B on that computer science test?” Dizzy teased. “No, be-because my Dog keeps having accidents in the house.” Ky corrected, but it was obvious he had come up with it on the spot. “Because you got a B on that test.” Dizzy insisted, glancing back at me. “Good night Artie.” “Good night.” I replied as my smile continued to grow. “And what about me!” Charlotte yelped, noticing she was being left out of their plans. “You can come over too,” Ky shrugged, looking over to her. “and Artie too of course.” “I’m hanging with my Uncle tonight.” I explained, drawing a look from Adam. “You’re leaving me with them?” Charlotte sighed, glancing back to me but as our eyes connected she could tell there was a reason why. “Text me?” “Already sent.” I smiled as the three of them began to walk away. “So,” Adam began as we watched them disappear into the crowd. “what are we doing tonight? You can go hang out with your friends if you want.” “I have a surprise for you.” I explained, as we began the short walk back home. “I just need to shower first.” “Oh thank God.” He exhaled as I shot him a serious look. “What? You smell.” He laughed, trying his hardest to return to his normal self. “Gee, thanks.” I complained, looking straight ahead. “Dizzy kissed you anyway.” He shrugged. “Not that I was watching!” “You’re such a creep.” I couldn’t help but tease. “Maybe don’t be kissing boys in open fields.” Adam shrugged, giving me a light push. “Only the cute ones.” I played along drawing a laugh from him. The rest of the evening I noticed Adam watching me a little bit closer than usual. I could tell he was still thinking everything over, still trying his hardest to figure out how to be the best role model he could. But I don’t think that’s something you intentionally do. I think it’s something that comes from the little things, from your words and your actions. And Adam, well he’s been acing that since I met him. I just need to show him that! -- -- “Alright,” Adam began as we walked out of our front door. “where are we going tonight? The Tavern?” “You’ll see.” I shrugged, leading him to the bus stop. “The Tavern.” He nodded his head, but as we got on an unfamiliar bus I could see him starting to think it over. “Not the Tavern.” He decided, falling into thought. “Do you even know where we’re going?” “Yeah.” I nervously let out. “I, I’ve got this.” “That’s the confidence I wanted to hear.” He teased, but as we passed a big brick building he couldn’t help but excitedly point it out. “Now that!” He exclaimed. “That’s where I have to take you!” “What is it?” I asked, thrown off by his sudden excitement. As I took a closer look I noticed a music store on the ground floor and a big LED screen near the top. Part of the sign read The Fillmore while the flashing LED screen kept changing. “That’s The Fillmore.” He happily explained. “Lindsay took me there like my second or third week here, and just, live music, there’s nothing like it.” He said, barely able to contain his excitement. “I’ve got to take you to your first concert!” “Well maybe that’s the band we should see.” I pointed out as the LED screen focused on a certain band. “Messiah - May 25th, 2018 Get Your Tickets Now!” “I’ve never heard of them, but it sounds like Christian rock.” I shrugged. “That could be a happy middle ground for us.” “Trust me, they’re not Christian rock.” Adam laughed, letting himself fully ease up. “it’s hard rock, so I’m pretty sure that show would kill you. Their singer is around your age and is some kind of gay activist though. He’s got a lot of talent too, just a nasty drug problem that’s already starting to hurt his name.” “How do you fall into drugs that early?” I shook my head as the smile fell from my face. “Guess he had a lot of tough breaks and no one to show him the way.” Adam shrugged, not fully knowing the band’s history. “I guess so.” I nodded my head. “Well, I’m glad I have someone.” I forced out, causing Adam to keep his eyes looking out the window. I could tell my words caught him off-guard because he grew quiet and watched the passing buildings closely. “I think we have to transfer now.” I finally broke the silence as the bus came to a stop. “Onto, the, the one?” I explained, trying my hardest to decipher the directions Dizzy had texted me. “Where are you taking me Arthur Price?” Adam teased as we got off the bus. “I’m not sure.” I nervously laughed as another bus immediately pulled up. “Towards the bridge?” Adam tried to guess. “Because this is a weird way to go about that.” “You’ll see!” I insisted as we both sat down once more. “One of the piers?” He continued to guess but I simply shook my head. “Union Square?” He guessed again, but once more got no answer. “A Giants game?” “Yes Adam.” I began to giggle. “With all my money, I bought us tickets to go see the San Francisco Giants on short notice.” “I don’t know what you do.” Adam shrugged. “Besides, you’ve been a little secretive lately.” “Have not.” I lied, trying to hide a blush that was beginning to grow on my face. Does he know Dizzy’s been sneaking in? Does he know what we’ve been up to in my room? Am I that bad at hiding things?” “There!” I suddenly pointed out, seeing a row of lights in the distance. I went to say something else, but the site froze me where I sat. “China Town.” Adam finally exhaled. “Good surprise Artie.” I nodded my head, but was far too captivated by the sights. Giant signs in foreign languages covered the buildings as stings of paper lamps seemed to crisscross from wall to wall. If you’d have blind folded me and taken me here, well, I would think I was actually in China! “Cool right?” Adam asked, seeing the amazement on my face. “Yeah.” I managed to say. “You know what restaurant you want to go to?” He asked but I simply shook my head. “I’ll take it from here.” “I’ve never even had Chinese food.” I finally spoke. “Well, I’ve had crappy Texas take out Chinese food, but that’s it.” “And let me guess, your Mom barely ordered it because she hates Chinese food.” His smile began to grow. “Yup.” I caught his smile as I looked up at him. “Do you like it?” I nervously asked, realizing I hadn’t even put that much thought into Dizzy’s suggestion. “I freakin’ love it!” He happily nodded, pulling the line above us to get the bus to stop. As we got off and started to roam through the streets I was left in a state of amazement. Crowds of people rushed past us as the glowing lights above us lit up the streets. It’s funny, when I first got here this all would have terrified me, but not anymore. Now this, this is thrilling! And when I do get overwhelmed, well I know I have Adam right here with me. When we had finally had enough site seeing Adam led me to his favorite Chinatown restaurant. The outside didn’t even look like a restaurant, just a door in the middle of a wall with a green cube above it! But as we went inside I started to wonder if we were even dressed nice enough to eat there! “You had no idea what you signed up for when you took me here, did you?” Adam teased, seeing the excitement still covering my face as we sat down. “Nope.” I shook my head. “Dizzy suggested it, and it sounded fun.” “It was a good idea.” Adam happily nodded his head, before starting to fall quiet. I noticed him uncomfortably fidget as he thought over his next few words. “You know I meant it before when I was talking about how proud I am of you, right?” “I know.” I quickly nodded my head. “It was just, it was so amazing getting to watch you play baseball.” He froze as the words started to get caught up in his throat. “I know Sarah would’ve loved it to, and maybe, maybe that’s part of the reason why this conversation is so hard for me.” He explained. “Sure, because of my Dad I’m not too sure how to talk about this stuff, but it’s hard that she’s gone. It’s hard that she’s gone when I know she would’ve loved every second of today.” As I noticed a tear forming in his eyes I had to fight to keep the water out of my own. “If you cry, I’ll cry.” I warned in the strongest voice I could manage. “Sorry,” He shook his head. “I’ve just really been missing her today.” “Why?” I couldn’t help but ask. “I don’t know, maybe it started with seeing you asleep on the couch.” He took a deep breath as he paused to think it over. “You just remind me so much of her, especially in the little things you do. She’d be so proud of everything you’re becoming.” I nodded my head as a smile began to form on my face. “She would’ve been so proud of you too.” I reminded him. “The same way I am.” I forced out. “I-I feel like you’re doubting yourself today and I, I don’t want you to. I want you to know what an amazing job you’re doing.” “Artie,” He tried to interrupt. “No, I’m serious.” I insisted. “I was such a shy kid when I got here and you, you pulled me out of my shell.” “Dizzy pulled you out of your shell.” He tried to argue. “Dizzy helped, but you’re the one who took me here. You’re the one who showed me around on our way home. You’re the one who convinced me to give this life a chance.” I shook my head. “It just, it felt like I was so broken when I first got here, but you, you’re putting it all back together.” “For telling me not to cry, you’re really trying your hardest to make me.” He teased, trying his hardest to ease the moment with a joke. “When you first got here you called us a team, and, I-I wouldn’t want anyone else on my team.” “Me neither.” I happily agreed as she shared a smile before looking back down at our menus. The rest of the night was just as amazing as when we first got there. The food was amazing! And the sights, well they continued to take my breath away! Most importantly, the bond between Adam and I seemed stronger than it ever had. It was like we were just on the same page, like we had finally broken down whatever barrier was left between us. I mean, I thought coming out had done that, but I had no idea just how close we could be, and I get the feeling this is just the start. -- -- When we finally left China Town and got back home Adam made sure to throw on a movie. I couldn’t stay awake for long, between exploring China Town, school and my baseball game I was totally wiped out! For some reason it felt just as peaceful as sleeping on the couch last night did. I just felt, protected. And nothing was a stronger reminder of that then when I heard a crash coming from the kitchen that immediately woke both me and Adam up. “Who’s there?!” Adam shouted before I could even fully wake up. I noticed his silhouette reach down for my bag and grab the bat out of the side. “Who’s there?!” He repeated, taking a few steps towards the kitchen and slamming the lights on. But as soon as I saw the young skinny figure I jumped up from the couch. “Dizzy?” Adam asked, slowly starting to lower the bat. “I-I’ll take this.” I nervously exhaled, taking the weapon from his hand. “What the hell are you doing?” Adam asked in an irritated voice. “How did you even get in?” Dizzy stayed quiet and shrugged as he kept his hood tightly over his head and his eyes down. “Are you okay?” I asked, noticing a few stray pots he had knocked over. “Fine.” He finally forced out in a quiet voice. “Dizzy.” Adam called out in a strong voice. “What the hell are you doing?” Adam repeated, but once more Dizzy stayed quiet. “Are you high, or drunk or,” “No, I-I’m sober.” Dizzy shook his head, but kept his face hidden. Adam glanced to me, as we tried our hardest to silently piece together what was happening. Did he try and sneak in even though I told him no? Did he get thrown out of his house? I know he usually thinks this is a game, but he’s not exactly acting like that right now! “It’s three in the morning, if, if you don’t want me to call the police I need you to start talking.” Adam warned, taking a few steps forward. But as Adam grew closer Dizzy took a few steps back. “Adam!” I warned in a concerned voice. “You’re not calling the police!” “What else am I supposed to do?” Adam asked, looking back towards me. “He broke into our house.” “I didn’t break in.” Dizzy exhaled. “Your spare key just isn’t hard to find.” “Well now it will be.” Adam shook his head. “And I’m serious, you better start talking.” As Dizzy fell quiet once more I noticed the irritation on Adam’s face beginning to grow. “Dizzy! Talk to me!” He shouted in a tone so stern I almost didn’t recognize his voice. The second his words hit the air Dizzy jumped, then moved back even further. “You’re not okay, are you?” I asked, starting to grow closer, until finally I was standing right next to him. At first when I reached out he pulled away, but as I reached out a second time he let me pull his hood away exposing a fresh black eye and bruised lip. “Dizzy.” I exhaled in concern. “What happened?” “I just, I was out tagging and I messed with the wrong guys.” He lied, immediately pulling the hood back over his head. “What kind of guys?” I asked, too worried to see through his words. “Gang members I guess.” He shook his head. “I was hired to do a memorial piece and I guess they didn’t want to pay me, but I tried to force the issue and,” “Stop lying.” Adam interrupted, watching him closely. “I’m not lying.” Dizzy tried to insist. “Just stop.” Adam warned, pulling out a chair at the table. “Sit down.” He instructed. As I led Dizzy to the seat I noticed Adam reach into the freezer and grab an icepack. “Here.” He offered, but Dizzy refused the help. Instead I grabbed it from him and held it to Dizzy’s eye, making sure to pull down the hood once more. “Now what happened?” Adam asked, dragging a chair across from Dizzy and taking a seat. “I was telling the truth.” Dizzy shook his head. “I just can’t go home and have my Mom worrying about me. “Well I, I’m going to have to call your Mom and talk to her no matter what.” Adam threatened. I could tell he had a rough idea of the real story, but wanted to hear it from Dizzy first. “So please, just give me the truth.” “It’s just me and Adam,” I reminded Dizzy. “you can tell us stuff.” Dizzy stayed quiet for a few moments before I noticed water starting to fill his eyes. “I just, I spoke up.” Dizzy shook his head. “And I guess, I don’t know,” he began to unravel. “people always tell me I don’t know when to stop, and I guess I don’t, but I-I had to say something!” “Relax,” Adam tried to comfort as I rested my spare hand on Dizzy’s shoulder. “just start from the beginning.” “I-I got home from Ky’s and, and my Mom’s boyfriend was just on a rampage.” He finally began. “He was just, he was saying so much crap about her.” The tears began to fall faster from his eyes as the truth began to come out. “I-I-I had to do something, right? I just had to.” “And he hit you?” Adam offered, trying to spare him the words. “I just, I stood up for her and he lost it.” Dizzy’s eyes fell back down to the floor. “He just started hitting me and I-I don’t know!” He yelped, but this time I pulled him in close as tears began to fall from my own eyes. Adam let out a heavy breath and let us have a few moments to calm down before he motioned for me to let Dizzy go. Adam slowly inched closer and grabbed Dizzy’s closed hands before he could push away. “Hey,” Adam let out, forcing eye contact with him. “you’re safe here. You’re safe here.” He insisted as Dizzy tried to break free. “I promise you that.” Adam took another second to recollect himself as Dizzy finally began to calm down. “I-I’m so sorry about what happened to you, and you, you can stay here as long as you need.” Adam offered. “You’re such a brave kid.” He tried to comfort. “And you’re right, you don’t know when to stop, but that’s your strength.” “Sticking up for your mom, taking the beating for her, that’s what a man does.” He explained. “And it’s not right, it’s not right at all. But you know what? Your Mom’s boyfriend is scared of you. He’s scared of what you were saying, that’s why he hit you. Small minds, they just can’t handle people like you.” “People who say too much?” Dizzy exhaled as he shook his head. “No,” Adam quickly rejected, finally letting him go. “people who speak the truth. You still have the spare key?” Adam asked, drawing a faint nod from Dizzy. “Good.” Adam remarked as Dizzy offered him the key. “Keep it.” He instructed. “You let yourself in whenever you need to. It should work for the front door too. And we, we’ll talk about this more in the morning.” “Thank you.” Dizzy exhaled in shock. “Thank you.” He repeated, lunging forward and wrapping himself around Adam. When I was proud of Adam before, well, that pride had barely scratched the surface compared to now. Adam easily could’ve called the police and had them deal with it. This isn’t his kid, this isn’t something he has to deal with, yet he is. Before he was trying his hardest to be a good role model, but like I said, it’s something he just knows how to do. I’m scared to tell him about the custody issue, but now I know he’ll have a plan. Now I know he’s strong enough to handle it.
  2. Aceinthehole


    -Part 2- Chapter 18: Surprises As my surprise birthday party carried on I couldn’t help but fall quiet and watch everything unfold. We didn’t need the T.V. or music to entertain us. Instead we sat around my couch, just, talking. Okay fine, shouting, but still, you get the idea! “You alright?” The blond haired teen with crystal blue eyes next to me asked. “You’re getting kind of spacey.” “I’m fine.” I forced a smile and pulled myself back into reality. “Just still a little surprised is all.” “It’s been a good three hours.” Charlotte pointed out with a skeptical look. “I know, but, I’ve never had something like this happen to me before.” I shrugged as a light blush began on my face. “I guess I’m just trying to appreciate it is all.” “Call me crazy, but the best way to do that might be by staying right here in the moment not up in outer space.” Dizzy began to tease. “I’m not up in space.” I hid a smile as our eyes connected. “That doesn’t even make sense!” “Cut him a some slack.” Ky tried to defend. “How would you like it if we all hid in your house?” “Depends on where in my house.” He playfully winked towards Ky. “The kitchen, kind of bored, but now my bedroom,” “Dizzy.” I warned as Adam rolled his eyes from across the couch. “Yes, space cadet?” His smirk grew wider as he turned back to me. I let out a deep breath and looked towards Charlotte for help but only got a shake of her head. “That’s your boyfriend. It’s up to you to control him.” I noticed Ky’s face change as he heard those words. In his world we were still just fooling around with one another, but now, now he knows its official. “I know, but a little help is always nice.” I began before forcing eye contact with Ky. “How’d you put up with him for so long?” “A lot of Advil.” He teased with a fake smile. “But in a way it’s nice, sure, he turns everything into a joke, but at least you know he’s always being genuine. He doesn’t hide much.” “Aside from his art.” I pressured, looking back towards the teen next to me. As our eyes connected he quickly raised his eye brows twice and let his smile turn sincere. “You are my Art.” He let out, drawing a groan from the group. “Get it, because your name is Arthur?” “And with that, I’m out.” Charlotte announced as she rose to her feet. “No!” I whined, I went to stand up but Dizzy grabbed me and held me before I could. “It’s a school night.” She reminded me. “And don’t you have your first baseball game tomorrow?” “Maybe.” I mumbled, looking over to Ky who had now joined Charlotte in standing. “You can’t leave too!” I protested. “Sorry, but she’s got a point.” He shrugged. “Don’t worry Art, I’m still here.” Dizzy continued to joke. “Don’t call me that.” I warned as I tried to manage a serious look. “Sorry, I know you prefer space cadet.” He giggled as I pulled away from him and stood up. “You guys are leaving me with this.” I pointed out as I hugged Charlotte and Ky goodbye. “Didn’t make you date him!” Charlotte playfully yelped as they quickly made their escape and I fell back down into my seat. “Adam,” Dizzy began, shifting his attention to the only other person left in the room. “If you want to sleep over, you can sleep on the couch.” Adam cut off, not even bothering to hear what else Dizzy had to say. “And I’m only making an exception because it’s Artie’s birthday.” “Really?” I excitedly asked, nearly jumping right back out of my seat. “Yes, but this is one time only.” He warned as he stood up. “But what if the couch gets lonely?” Dizzy whined drawing a strict look from Adam. “Don’t push it!” I scolded Dizzy, turning back towards my Uncle. “Thank you!” “Thanks.” Dizzy echoed as their eyes locked. “Don’t even think about sneaking up to his room either.” He continued in the strictest voice he could manage. “I get up before the sun, so I’ll know who’s sleeping where.” “Alright, alright, message received.” Dizzy sighed as Adam headed towards the stairs. “Good night boys, I’ll see you at your game Artie.” Adam forced a tired smile. “Thank you.” I accepted, mirroring the smile on his face. “Happy Birthday buddy.” He forced out once more before disappearing up the stairs. “I thought he’d never leave!” Dizzy teased in a loud voice. “It’s just us. You can drop the act now.” I offered, more for my sake than his. “Sure thing Art.” His smile grew as he rose to his feet. “I’m serious, don’t call me that.” I exhaled, watching him walk around the couch and to his backpack. “Sorry, I know, I know, its space cadet.” He continued, digging deep into his bag. “That joke’s overplayed now, and it wasn’t even that funny in the first place, Ryan.” I played along, as he let out an exaggerated breath at my words. “Ouch.” He let out. “You hit hard Artie Price, I don’t even know if I want to give this to you now.” He shrugged, showing off a gift wrapped rectangle in his hands. “I warned you.” I smiled once more as he took his seat. “I understand if you want to break up with me.” “You’re not getting rid of me that easy.” He giggled, but hesitated as he went to hand me his gift. “You actually don’t want to give it to me!” I shouted, figuring he was turning the joke into a game. “No, I, it’s not like that.” He began to stutter, still not handing it over. “Then what’s it like?” I provoked in a flirtatious voice. “It’s like, you’ve never seen any of my real art and maybe, maybe I am ready to show you it.” He exhaled, finally handing it over and lightly kissing me on the cheek. “Happy Birthday Artie.” I took a deep breath, but as I went to open the gift I was surprised to feel Dizzy’s nerves spread to me. “I didn’t have long to work on it,” He suddenly began to defend, before I could even see it. “and I usually only work with spray paint. Pencil drawings, they’re just something I do for fun. I don’t even show them to people, let alone give them as gifts.” As I finally began to pull at the paper he quickly leaned over once again. “Plus, I didn’t have any references. I had to work completely off memory. I, you can even ask Charlotte, that’s not an easy thing to do.” He continued to ramble. “Not that I’m trying to pat myself on the back or anything here, just, just trying to explain why it’s not that good.” As I finally ripped the paper away I found a black picture frame that held a drawing which froze my heart. Dizzy continued to speak, “That sounds like an excuse, well, I guess it is an excuse. Maybe I’m not that good is what I’m trying to say. I guess.” “Stop talking.” I finally forced out, unable to remove my eyes from a drawing of my mother hugging me. My head was laying on her shoulder as she was pulling me in close. “I’m sorry,” He anxiously began as he saw the first tear drop fall from my eyes. “I was worried it’d be too soon, and maybe, maybe I didn’t know you well enough to draw that. But I could tell how much she meant to you and I figured you didn’t have enough pictures with her.” He gulped. “Plus I meant it when I said she was beautiful, and I like drawing beautiful people. I actually have a few sketches of you from the bridge when we first met, maybe that sounds creepy. I-I’ll stop talking now.” “Dizzy,” I finally managed, trying my hardest to stop my tears. “this, this is the most meaningful gifts anyone’s ever given me. “You don’t have to be nice.” He sighed, staring down at his feet. “I’m not, I just,” I paused before reaching out and forcing his head up. “I need you to stop doubting yourself for a second, and just, Thank you!” I exhaled, putting the picture down and pulling him in close. “Of course.” He replied, caught off guard by my reaction. “And for the record, you’re a great artist.” I encouraged. “I’d love to see those other sketches of me one of these days.” As he heard those words I felt him pull me in even tighter. There wasn’t much more that needed to be said that night. We just enjoyed each other’s company, until finally we both passed out on the couch. -- -- “Come on,” I heard a tired voice sigh as I was shaken awake. “you don’t have to wake up, you just have to get to your bed.” “What?” I groaned as I finally began to open my eyes. “You guys fell asleep on the couch I guess,” Adam sighed, taking another look at both me and Dizzy. “but I get the feeling you’d be a lot more comfortable in your bed.” “What time is it?” I complained, forcing myself up to my feet and grabbing the picture off the coffee table. “A little after five, you still have a couple more hours to sleep.” He explained, helping lead me up to my room. “In an actual bed this time, your body will thank you.” “You couldn’t’ve just let me sleep?” I whined. “You never said I couldn’t spend the night on the couch.” “If I don’t start enforcing rules now, your boyfriend will never take them seriously.” Adam warned as we finally reached my room. “Fine.” I accepted, knowing he had a point. Adam watched closely as I placed the frame on my nightstand before crawling into bed. “Where’d you get that?” He asked, taking a long look at it. “Dizzy drew it for my birthday.” I forced out in a tired breath. “It, it’s really nice.” Adam began to smile. “Dizzy, he, well, you’ve found a good one.” “Then maybe next time you can just let us sleep in a bed!” I protested, too tired to watch my words. “We’ll talk about that when you turn eighteen.” He laughed, before starting to shut the door. “Now go back to sleep, I’ll see you after school.” “Yeah, yeah.” I muttered before closing my eyes and letting myself slowly fade back into unconsciousness. -- -- This time when I was woken up it was because Dizzy had jumped into my bed. “Good morning!” He shouted, already awake and ready to go. I let out a long groan before feeling him crawl on top of me. “Adam woke me up at like five and forced me to come upstairs.” “Was he pissed?” Dizzy asked, pulling back until he got his answer. “Not really.” I swayed my head. “I think he just wanted to make a point.” “Well that’s stupid.” Dizzy teased before starting to shake the mattress around me. “Either way it’s time to wake up!” “Stop.” I complained as he began to laugh. “How do you have this much energy already?” “Cocaine.” He shrugged with a smile. “Not funny.” I rolled my eyes. “But, maybe we should put that energy to good use.” “Yeah?” His smile began to grow. “Yeah, otherwise you won’t be able to pay attention in class.” I continued to provoke him. “Can’t argue with that.” He giggled, and just like that our morning took a more, excited, turn. I never imagine this would’ve been me, staying in bed late to mess around with the person I was dating. But I’ve grown a lot this past month! For better or for worse, this is me now. I bend some rules and try to have some fun, is that such a crime? That is, until I realized we were going to be late for school! Dizzy tried his hardest to calm me down, but I could tell he kind of enjoyed watching me freak out. It was his chance to take care of me, to show me he’s got my back. When we got to school the back doors were locked, but he texted Ky and just like that we were in the building. “Mr. Iwata,” Mrs. Mowry began as she shot us a skeptical look. “you went to the bathroom and found Mr. Price and Mr. Armstrong there?” “Well Dizzy fell in and Artie was just trying to help him out, thank God I came along to help.” Ky joked, drawing laughter from the class. “Ky!” Mrs. Mowry scolded, shocked at his joke. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.” Ky sighed. “This is your second time in two weeks being late.” Mrs. Mowry began. “It’s my fault, Dizzy came to pick me up this morning, but I accidently slept past my alarms.” I suddenly interrupted. “He was just being a good friend.” Mrs. Mowry watching me closely as I tried my hardest to match my words with the expression on my face. She took a breath before quietly nodding her head. “I’ll let it go this time for your honesty, but next time it’s detentions for all three of you, understood?.” “Yes Ma’am.” I quickly accepted. “Thank you.” “Thank you.” Dizzy and Ky echoed. “I totally had it taken care of.” Dizzy whispered as we took our seats. “Then why didn’t you say something?” I teased. “Wanted to see what would happen.” He shrugged. “Sure.” Ky rolled his eyes. “You’re lucky Artie spoke up, or I totally would’ve kicked your ass.” Dizzy nodded his head and glanced over to me. “You’ve become quite the trouble maker, haven’t you?” “I’m just full of surprises.” I shrugged before Charlotte shot us all a serious look. “Would you three shut up before you get in even more trouble!” She scolded. “It’s like you’re trying to get detention!” “Sorry.” We all mumbled as she forced us back in line. The rest of the day we made sure to keep our heads down the best we could. I don’t know if it was our early morning activities, or the fact that I was the one that saved us from detention, but Dizzy seemed a lot more into me than usual. Not that I’m complaining! It’s nice to have his attention. The guy who amuses everyone, all to myself. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. He likes to put on a show and well, I like to watch. But when school ended we found ourselves in two opposite roles. He was in the bleachers, eagerly waiting for the game to start while me, I was in the dugout, trying my hardest to keep my lunch down. “Don’t look so nervous Artie.” One of the guys tried to comfort. “You’ve been practicing with us for weeks. You’re ready for the season.” “I know.” I forced a nod. “Then show us.” Jose spoke up from the other side of the dugout. “Like we keep telling you, this is all for fun. We’re usually the worst team in the High School league anyway, so just enjoy getting to play.” “I-I kind of want to win though.” I nervously spoke up. “Then lead us there.” Jose encouraged, waiving the rest of the team to take the field. I followed his instructions and found my spot between second and third base. I could feel my heart racing in my chest the whole half inning but did my best to make the plays I could. I was even able to manage an assist on one of the outs. “Alright kid, you lead off.” Jose began as we changed innings. “Just have fun with it. You’re a smart player. Use that to your advantage. No one’s expecting Babe Ruth to show up at the plate.” I forced a smile and grabbed my bat and helmet before heading towards the plate. It took everything in me to keep a straight face as I heard my name over the loudspeaker followed by a country song the team had picked out for my walk up. Once more my heart began to race in my chest, but I did everything I could to stay focused. I wouldn’t call my first at bat good by any means, but before I knew it I found myself in a full count. I tried my hardest to focus, but as a breaking ball came in, I panicked and took an errant swing. Yet before the Ump could even make a call I noticed the ball bounce down into the dirt before the catcher’s glove and started to run. Everyone watched me in confusion until finally the pitcher started to scream at his catcher, causing him to bobble the dropped ball even more! It was still close, but I made it! Leaving some of the crowd confused at the play. “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” The first base coach laughed as I tried to catch my breath. “I knew you were a grinder Artie.” “I shouldn’t’ve swung at that.” I shook my head. “Forget about that.” Coach dismissed. “The important thing is you hustled your ass off after making a mistake. You made a smart hardworking play. Exactly what I would expect from a Texas baseball player.” He encouraged drawing a proud smile from my face. “I wouldn’t want any other at bat to start the season. Keep setting the bar like that and you’re going to go far kid.” I nodded and let my smile fade as I began to focus on the next at bat. Every now and again I would look over to Adam, Artie, Ky and Charlotte for support, but for the most part I tried to keep my eyes on the game. I wouldn’t say it was the best game I’d ever played, but I made sure to work my ass off every chance I could. I want to make a name for myself on this team. I want everyone to look at me the way our first base coach did when I got there. For everyone to know I don’t let up until the game is over. We wound up losing by a run, but I could tell the attitude in the dugout was changing. I could tell things were taking a more serious turn. “You weren’t kidding when you said you wanted to win.” Jose began as we threw our bags over our shoulders. “Nope.” I shook my head as he took a long look at my dirt stained uniform. “Good,” He nodded his head. “we’ve needed that attitude around here. Your hard work keeps everyone accountable. “I don’t know about that.” I nervously laughed. “I just…” I paused, not knowing what to say. “You just don’t quit all game. It’s annoying.” He teased. “But as long as you don’t take any breaks, no one else will.” “Oh,” I exhaled, trying to hide another proud smile. “well I wouldn’t expect any breaks soon.” “I don’t.” He laughed as I noticed my group of friends starting to approach. “You’ve got a good attitude Artie. You’re going to be one hell of a leader one day.” “I um, I don’t know…” I began but he kept walking as my friends stopped me in my tracks. “That was amazing!” Charlotte shouted as she gave me a quick hug. “You were so good!” “My little baseball player.” Dizzy teased, quickly swapping places with her as she let me go. “Ew! You’re all dirty and sweaty!” “Good game man.” Ky encouraged, ignoring Dizzy’s words. I nodded and let them keep talking about the game, but noticed Adam keeping his distance from the group. “Excuse me.” I slipped away as their conversation drifted from baseball. “What’d you think?” I nervously asked as I walked up to Adam. “Good, really good.” Adam nodded his head. “You okay?” I pried, noticing how odd he was acting. “Yeah.” He answered, falling distant once more. “You don’t have to come to games if you don’t want to.” I forced out, not knowing how to take his behavior. “It’s not that.” He shook his head. “Oh.” I exhaled. “Then um, what is it?” He shrugged his shoulders but forced himself to look into my eyes. “I, I’m proud of you. I know Sarah would be too, you have her spirit, you know that?” “Oh.” I repeated. “I just played the way she raised me to.” “It showed.” He tried to encourage but as he fell quiet once more I shot him a strange look. “I’m being weird, aren’t I?” “Oh yeah.” I finally began to smile. “I’m sorry, I just, I’m so proud of the way you played today Artie.” He shook his head. “And I, I’m trying to find the right words to make you understand that. But my Dad, he, I just never had a good example of how to show that I guess.” “I think I understand.” I nodded. “I really really hope you do.” Adam forced out. “Because I, I’ve never been so proud of anything in my life. Not even my own business! You just, you kicked ass! It’s like every day you find a new way to surprise me. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m so lucky to have you living with me.” “I’m so lucky you took me in.” I let out, before forcing a hug. At first he wasn’t sure about the public affection, but gave in and hugged me back. I really do understand what he was trying to say. It’s hard enough for us to show affection inside the privacy of our own home, let alone in public! His Dad never told him he was proud, kissed him goodnight, or gave him hugs. But Adam, he wants to be different than that, he just doesn’t fully know how. But even then, he’s doing a great job. His lack of words, well that told me all I needed to know about what he was thinking. The conversation about Sadie’s call can wait until tomorrow. Tonight, well I want to help Adam understand I hear him loud and clear.
  3. Aceinthehole


    Chapter 17: Family I once read that if you change how you look at the world, the world around you will change. Honestly, when I first read it I rolled my eyes. It just makes change sound so easy. But the reality is change isn’t easy, and we all know that. These past few weeks, they’ve been fun, but it took everything in me to survive them. It took everything to get through the nights I cried myself to sleep, but I stuck with it and now, well now I’m falling asleep with Dizzy in my arms. When I woke up the next morning I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Sure, last night was a big night for me. But todays a big day for me too! It’s my birthday! It’s not like I expect a big celebration or anything, but I don’t know, I guess I’m just turning sixteen in style! “Good morning.” Dizzy forced a smile as he woke up in my arms. “How are you feeling?” “Amazing.” I smirked, holding him tightly. “I wonder why that could be.” He provoked, falling quiet and letting me hold him for a little bit longer. “Today’s just a special day I guess.” I finally spoke, breaking the temporary silence. “Then let’s start it right.” He teased, breaking from my grasp and turning back over. Just like last night our bond seemed to strengthen as we lay together. This time there was no nervousness or hesitations. We’ve crossed the last barrier between us, and now we’re closer than I ever could’ve hoped. When we finally made it downstairs I couldn’t help but let out a sigh as I saw a note on the kitchen table. I knew he was going to go to work today, but I don’t know, it would’ve been nice to have him around. “You know the drill. Have a good Saturday and text me if you go out. I’ll be home later. - Adam “ That’s it? That’s all he wrote? I guess he doesn’t know what today is. I mean, why would he? He just took me in. Plus he has a lot going on, between work and Bradley, I guess he’s focusing on getting himself back on track. “What’s wrong?” Dizzy asked as he noticed the look on my face. “Nothing.” I forced a smile. “Just zoned out for a second there.” “Weirdo.” He teased, before jumping on the couch and turning on the X-box. “Game of Thrones?” “Set it up!” I encouraged in a loud voice before sitting close to him. “You sure you’re alright?” He checked as he pulled me onto him. “Just fine.” I answered with a forced smile. “You can talk to me if somethings bothering you.” He offered as our eyes met. “I know,” I nodded my head. “but nothing’s wrong.” “You’re such a bad liar.” He groaned, but started the episode anyway. We spent the whole morning and afternoon just watching T.V. and talking. It really is interesting to see what he has to say. It’s like his mind works so different from anyone I’ve ever met. He doesn’t wonder about things the way I do, he just takes action. Yet no matter how much we talked, I never told him about my birthday. I just don’t want it to become this whole big thing. Besides, I can give up one birthday. The world doesn’t revolve around me! “Alright,” Dizzy finally stood up as the afternoon began to tick away. “I better get home before my Mom starts freaking out.” “She worries?” I asked in a curious voice. “Every minute of the day,” He complained, leaning in and planting a kiss on my lips. “but she’ll be happy to hear I was just with you.” “She likes me?” I pried, nervous what his answer would be. “I think so.” He happily nodded. “But it could just be because you brought her donuts.” “That’s alright. I think that’s why you like me too.” I teased as he raised his eyebrows. “It’s just an added bonus.” He smirked, making sure to slow his pace as he approached the front door. “She really does like you though.” “Good.” I felt my smile grow. “So then I get to see her again soon?” “We’ll see.” He swayed his head. “We’ll see?” I repeated in a laugh. “That’s my Momma you’re talking about.” He warned, not putting too much thought into his words. “You know where I’m coming from.” “I guess,” I shrugged. “you just take protective to a whole ‘nother level.” “She’s had enough people hurt her in her life.” He explained in a serious voice. “She doesn’t need anymore.” “Is that why you don’t like her boyfriend?” I dared to asked but got a blank stare back. “I’ll see you tomorrow Artie.” He forced a smile as he pulled the door open. “Not tonight?” I teased. “Maybe tonight.” He admitted in a sigh before shutting the door behind him. I sat in silence for a few moments before finally pulling out my phone and texting ‘S.O.S.’ to Charlotte. I made sure to tell her it wasn’t a real emergency, but she insisted on coming by as soon as possible anyway! Before I knew it a fast paced knocking sounded out from the front door. “What’s going on?” She demanded as I pulled the door open. “Are you okay?” “I’m great.” I shrugged as I led her to the couch. “Then what’s S.O.S.?” She asked in a concerned voice. “I told you it’s nothing bad.” I couldn’t help but giggle as I saw the intense look on her face. “You’ve been spending too much time with Dizzy!” She whined. “This is just cruel!” “Alright, Alright.” I tried to comfort. “I, I slept with Dizzy last night.” “Slept like, sex?!” She exclaimed in a loud voice. “Yeah.” I felt a blush overtake my face. “Is he as crazy as everyone says?!” She asked, nearly jumping on top of me in excitement. “I don’t know,” My blush grew. “I don’t kiss and tell.” “Well you just told!” She shouted. “So you better explain!” “He’s a little crazy,” I admitted in a giggle. “but he took it slow.” “How did you feel about it?” She prodded, knowing there was no barrier to how much I would share with her. “It was good, but this morning was better.” I teased, causing her to jump in the air. “That’s my best friend!” She encouraged as I began to open up. I tried my hardest not to share too much, but deep down we all knew I would tell her, Dizzy included! She was just as supportive as I hoped she would be. She even told me about her first time with a guy! It was a few months ago with an ex-boyfriend that goes to another high school, or so she says! Yet as Adam walked into the front door our conversation immediately stopped. He gave us a weird look but didn’t say anything. “Charlotte, right?” He finally spoke, breaking the silence. “Yup.” She forced a quick smile. “It’s nice to actually meet you Mr. Price.” “You can just call me Adam.” He dismissed, walking over to the stairs and dropping his bag. “Dizzy’s not here?” “Believe it or not, I don’t spend all of my time with him.” I defended, looking back at him. “Sure you don’t.” Adam played along. “So you won’t be hanging out with him tonight.” “Probably not.” I shrugged, not knowing what the night held. “Actually,” Charlotte began. “I was going to ask if you wanted to sleep over at my house tonight.” “Can I?” I excitedly asked, looking back to Adam for permission. “I don’t know,” He hesitated. “it’s nothing personal, I’ve just never met your parents and I don’t know where you live or,” “Come on Adam.” I began to pressure. “It’s just Charlotte, it’s not like I’m straight!” “Yeah, but, I don’t know.” He stuttered, trying his hardest to think it over. “I live right over in the Lower Pacific Heights, it’s just like, ten minutes away.” Charlotte began to work him over. “My Dad’s a financial advisor and my Mom’s a therapist. I can call them if you really want me to.” “No, I, its fine.” He finally caved. “You can sleep over.” “Yeah?” I asked with a wide smile. “Yeah.” He exhaled. “Go pack your backpack or whatever you want.” “I’ll tell my Mom we’ll be home in time for dinner!” Charlotte exclaimed as I jumped to my feet. “Mind if we leave soon?” She asked looking over to Adam. “Go for it.” He tried to encourage, but I could tell it was bothering him. I’ve slept over at few friends’ houses before, but never with a friend as close as Charlotte, and never with a girl! But considering how I spent last night, well, a sleepover with Charlotte is probably something Adam should be rooting for! When I finally packed my bag and headed downstairs I couldn’t help but feel my heart begin to beat faster. “Alright, I, I’ll be home tomorrow morning I guess.” I forced out as Adam locked eyes with me. “Okay, text me if anything changes, or if you forgot anything,” Adam began to ramble. “or if you just want to come home. I don’t care what time it is, just, text me if you need something.” “I will.” I nervously accepted. “I, if you want me to come home tonight, you can text me too.” I offered as he nodded his head. “But you should maybe have Lindsay over for some drinks, or just go out and maybe, maybe invite Mason.” “Maybe.” He repeated before falling quiet and just staring into my eyes. “Behave, remember your manners,” he finally began once more. “and don’t stay up too late.” “I won’t.” I forced a smile as I finally began to walk towards the door. “I love you Artie.” He forced out, surprising both of us. “I love you too.” I replied, trying to fight off a wide smile. I noticed Charlotte watching me closely as we left the house and made our way to the bus stop. “I didn’t realize you two were so close.” She finally said. “We’ve just spend a lot of time together since he took me in.” I admitted, staring straight ahead. “I don’t know, it might be kind of hard not to be with him tonight.” “It’s alright,” She tried to comfort. “you’ll be with me, and I guess, if you do get homesick I can have my brother drive you home.” “Thank you Charlotte.” I forced a smile as the bus pulled up. It didn’t take long to get to Charlotte’s house, but when we pulled up I was surprised to find a house very different from Dizzy’s. It was a similar style to my own, but a bit wider and sat on top of a large garage. As she led me up the stairs I felt nerves sweep over my body. How much has Charlotte told her family that they’re okay with me sleeping over? I mean sure, I’m gay, but they don’t know that’s the truth! For all they know I’m lying to spend the night with Char! “Mom!” Charlotte called out as we walked through the front door. “Artie and I are home.” “Okay,” A female voice responded. “go wash up, dinner should be ready soon!” We did as instructed and before I knew it I was entering the dining room of Charlotte’s home. It all really was like my own. The only difference is that they seem to have a lot more space! I couldn’t help but gulp hard as two men nearly half a foot taller than me walked by. “Artie, this is my Dad and brother Jamaal.” Charlotte happily introduced us as they turned to look at me. “Good to meet you sir.” I greeted as we shook hands. “Nice to meet you too,” He reciprocated. “especially after hearing about you nearly every day for weeks.” “It’s almost like you’re more than friends.” Jamaal couldn’t help but tease, taking the chance to push his sister’s buttons. “Don’t be stupid.” Charlotte warned with a serious look. “We’re just friends.” I tried to defend. “Trust me, I-I’m not into girls.” Mr. Charles nodded his head, but I could tell he had some suspicions of his own. “Leave him be.” A woman who looked like an older version of Charlotte warned. “He doesn’t have to defend himself to you Jamaal.” “Mom, this is Artie.” Charlotte happily began once more as her Mom entered the room. “He is cute.” She remarked as our eyes connected. “No wonder Dizzy’s crazy over him.” “Mom!” Charlotte hushed, as I began to see just how much she shared with her mom. “Woh, woh,” Mr. Charles began. “you’re dating little Ryan Armstrong?” “You know he hates that name.” Charlotte warned in a serious look. “It’s his God given name.” The man shrugged. “He’s sixteen years old, I think it’s time to leave silly nicknames behind.” “it’s more than a nickname.” She continued to argue. “It’s fine.” I forced a smile. “Dizzy’s my boyfriend.” I confirmed. “Then God bless you.” The man remarked. “He’s a sweet guy.” I shrugged, trying my hardest to fight off a blush. “Yes, he is.” Mrs. Charles agreed. “Well I know his wild side.” Mr. Charles complained. “Because there’s no way Charlotte got a few detentions from her own actions.” Jamaal rolled his eyes. “No, there’s not.” Mr. Charles warned. “She was covering for Ryan. I know she was.” “She’s been covering for that boy since they could walk, and so has Ky.” Mrs. Charles dismissed. “That’s what you do for family.” “Preach Mama.” Charlotte encouraged, leading me to the dinner table and pulling out a chair for me. “Besides, Artie’s changing Dizzy. He’s actually starting to calm down for a change.” “I’ll believe that when I see it.” Jamaal chuckled, making sure to look me up and down once more. “Me too.” Mr. Charles agreed, taking a seat at the head of the table. “Enough about Ryan.” Mrs. Charles tried to dismiss. “I hear you’re an athlete Artie.” “Yes ma’am.” I nodded, happy with the change in conversation. “I’m on the school baseball team.” “You know Jose?” Jamaal quickly asked, drawing another nod from me. “That’s my boy right there.” “He’s really cool.” I agreed as a smile began on my face. “Jamaal played baseball growing up, but moved onto basketball when he entered High School.” Mr. Charles explained as his wife left the room to retrieve dinner. “A real man’s sport.” Jamaal couldn’t help but tease. “Don’t be a jerk.” Charlotte warned. “I’m just playing around.” Jamaal defended with a smirk. “I’ll tell Jose to look out for you.” “How about you look out for him?” Charlotte pressured with a serious look. “I will.” Jamaal nodded. “I see you guys around school from time to time.” “I, uh, why do I need people to look out for me?” I nervously asked. “Just good to have people in your corner.” Charlotte forced a smile. “Plus you’re an athlete now, so it’s like a stupid guy thing to root one another on.” “It’s not stupid.” Mr. Charles cautioned as he shot his daughter a serious look. “They’re building a team across all sports.” “We get the picture.” Mrs. Charles silenced as she reentered the room with a tray of what looked like pork ribs. “Now Artie, I hope you like barbeque. My husband has spent all afternoon grilling these up.” “Nice and slow.” He proudly bragged. “I love barbeque.” I confessed with a smile. “I’m from Texas.” “Well I don’t mean to toot my own horn,” Mr. Charles began. “He does.” Charlotte interrupted. “but I’m a pretty good cook.” He continued, staring down his daughter once more. “You’ll have to let me know how it compares to Texas barbeque.” “Gladly.” I accepted as Mrs. Charles passed around some ribs. “You a religious man?” Mr. Charles asked me once we all received our food. “Yes sir.” I answered with a proud nod. “Well then why don’t you lead us in prayer.” He offered as everyone around me began to connect hands. I nodded once more and held their hands as I began to pray the way my Mom had taught me. For the first time since I left, it felt like I was right back at home. Like God was with us as we prayed. “You know Artie,” Mr. Charles began. “If you’d like you can join us in church tomorrow morning.” “You don’t have to do that.” Charlotte tried to offer me a way out. “I want to.” I quickly accepted. “Thank you sir.” “Of course.” The first real smile all evening began on his face. “You’re welcome to join us every Sunday.” “I might just have to take you up on that.” I teased, surprising Charlotte even more. The rest of the night went a lot easier than the start. Sure, Mr. Charles and Jamaal still gave me a hard time every now and again, but it was only because they cared about Charlotte. They wanted what’s best for her, and I really can’t blame them for that. After we helped them clean up Charlotte’s parents let us go hang out in her room for a while. It was a lot girlier than I initially expected, but flashes of who Charlotte really was proudly showed along her walls in the form of her artwork. Just like at my house we spoke about everything and anything until finally I fell quiet for a little while. “Alright,” Charlotte sighed, sick of my one word answers. “What’s going on? Do you want to go home?” “No.” I shot down with a quick shake of my head. “Okay, then what’s wrong?” She asked with a serious look. “Nothing.” I lied as the weight of the day began to hit me. I know I said it’s not a big deal, I know I said I could pass on one birthday, but I don’t know. I guess I did want to celebrate it a little bit. It would’ve been nice to have cake with Adam and my friends. I don’t even want presents! I just want, well, to be a normal kid again. “Artie,” She pressured as she moved closer to me. “do you want Jamaal to drive you home?” “No.” I tried to reject. “I’m good here.” “Then tell me what’s on your mind.” She insisted. “So help me God I’ll text Dizzy.” “It’s my birthday.” I finally confessed in a sigh. “What?” She asked as shocked filled her face. “It’s my birthday.” I dejectedly repeated. “Why didn’t you tell me?!” She exclaimed, reaching over and grabbing my hand. “Is that why Adam didn’t want you sleeping over?” “He didn’t know.” I shook my head. “No one did.” “I’m so sorry Artie.” She apologized as our eyes met. “I, let’s do something tomorrow. You, me and Ky.” “No.” I tried to reject. “It’s fine, I, I’d rather leave it be.” “Artie,” She began once more. “I’m serious.” I insisted. “Besides, I am doing something for my birthday, I’m hanging out with you.” “And you got some birthday sex this morning.” She tried to encourage. “And I got some birthday sex.” I began to smile. “Happy Birthday Artie.” She reached out and hugged me. Something about that embrace just helped the night to go on a lot easier. It reminded me just how close the two of us were. That she was more than just a friend. That she had become family. The next morning I got a strong reminder of that as I sat next to the Charles’ in mass, they even took me to lunch after! Mr. Charles is strict and disciplined, but behind it all was a big heart for his family. He wanted what was best for his kids, and for the friends they hung out with. In a lot of ways he reminds me of the country men I grew up around. Just a lot more, friendly. There was something special about that morning and afternoon. Something about renewing my faith with my best friend. Somehow I swear it pulled us even closer. It was as though it was what God had wanted for me. Whether I believe that or not, well, it was a powerful thing. “Alright Artie,” Mr. Charles began as we pulled up to my house. “I’ll see you next Sunday for mass?” “Yes sir.” I happily agreed. “It was nice having you last night.” Mrs. Charles encouraged. “You’re welcome over whenever you’d like.” “Thank you for having me.” I smiled as I slowly got out of the car. “I’ll be home later.” Charlotte suddenly explained as she followed me. “It’s a school night,” Mr. Charles began to warn. “Let her go.” Mrs. Charles argued with a smile. “The years almost done.” “Be home early.” Mr. Charles warned as she joined me on the curb. “Are coming in?” I asked as she shut the car door behind her. “I just need to talk to you about something.” Charlotte shrugged, happily following me up the stairs to my house. “We’ve been non-stop talking since yesterday.” I began to laugh. “Well I think a lot.” She dismissed, but as we reached the front door I heard some hushed talking from the other side. “I know they’re here!” I heard Adam quietly shout. “No stop before they hear us.” “I’m not the one talking!” that sounded like Dizzy arguing back. “What’s going on?” I skeptically asked as I forced my keys into the door. “Nothing’s going on.” She smirked as I finally got the door open. “Surprise!” A group of Adam, Ky and Dizzy shouted as I turned the lights on. “Happy Birthday!” Dizzy shouted out as our eyes connected. “I, what,” I paused, looking over to Charlotte. “What’d you do?” “I just texted Dizzy that maybe we missed your birthday yesterday.” She shrugged. “He took care of the rest.” “I knew something was bothering you.” Dizzy teased as he walked over and pulled me in close. “Happy Birthday babe.” “Thank you.” I exhaled holding him close. As I pulled away from him I felt Adam pull me in close. “Happy Birthday Artie.” He began. “I am so sorry I forgot.” “It’s alright.” I quickly tried to comfort him before he could feel too bad. “It’s not.” He rejected. “You deserve better than that. I need to be better for you.” “Don’t say that.” I insisted in a strong voice. “I promise you’re doing an amazing job.” “Well just in case I’m not,” He let me go and reached behind the couch. “Happy Birthday!!” As he pulled out a baseball bat and glove I couldn’t believe my eyes. “This is what you wanted, right?” He asked as I stood there speechless. “I saw you looking at a few on your phone, and Dizzy said he did too.” “I, they, they’re perfect.” I finally let out, taking a long look at the glove as he handed it over to me. Without warning I reached out and pulled him in for another big hug. It’s not that I wanted presents. It’s not that I was looking to get anything. It’s that Adam cares enough to remember the little things. That with a day’s notice he could remember what I was looking at on my phone screen and try his hardest to track it down. Now I know he didn’t forget my birthday, he just never really knew it. And that, well it’s something he’ll never do again. I just know it. -- -- My little party was full of playing around and laughter. Just like at the Charles’, I felt nothing but love. Adam tried to give us as much privacy as possible, but would come down and spend time with us every now and then. Dizzy tried his hardest to make Adam feel welcome, but I could tell a group of sixteen year olds wasn’t exactly Adam’s scene. Finally I received a phone call that pulled me away from the party for a little while. “Sadie?” I asked as the call connected and I slipped up to my room. “Happy late birthday Artie!” She shouted from the other end of the phone. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get through to you yesterday.” “Thank you, it’s alright, I was sleeping over at my friend’s house.” I explained but paused as a few different thoughts raced in my head. “Did you have time to think about what I said to you the other day?” “Yes.” She responded in a sigh. “If it means I get to keep my relationship with you, I, I’ll accept Adam, but that doesn’t meant I’ll like him.” “Why not? He’s a good guy.” I insisted in a whine. “He was a jerk when we were kids! He ripped the head off of one of his sister’s dolls on Halloween!” She explained, trying her hardest to hold back a laugh. “That does sound like Adam.” I giggled. “Well that aside,” She began once more. “I dug up more photos of you and Sarah. I shipped them a few days ago so keep your eyes open, okay?” “I will, I, thank you Sadie.” I let out, trying my hardest to keep away my emotions. “It’s no problem, if I find any more I’ll send them.” She cheerfully let out, but suddenly I could feel her breathing turn serious. “There’s uhm, something else.” “What?” I asked in a nervous voice. “I heard that your grandparents, they’re, well they might be pursuing a lawyer for custody.” She began, drawing a small gasp from me. “But don’t worry. I’m doing what I can to discourage it.” “But how can they do that?” I asked as my voice began to tremble. “I don’t know, something about what the hospital told them.” She tried to recall. “But that doesn’t mean they’re right. Her will said you belong with Adam, and if that’s what you want there’s no way they’ll take you from him.” “It is what I want.” I answered without hesitation. “Then I promise you, you have nothing to worry about.” She tried to comfort. “Just make sure you let Adam know, okay?” “I will.” I accepted. “Thank you Sadie.” “Of course,” She replied. “I’ll keep you updated the best I can. I love you Arthur.” “ I love you too.” I let out before the call disconnected. My Grandparents can try whatever they want, I’m not going anywhere. This is where my Mother wanted me. This is where I want to be. No one will take me away. No matter what anyone does. No one will take me away.
  4. Aceinthehole

    Tips for flirting with someone still in the closet

    That's good advice. Unfortunately he's not at work this week, so I'll have to try next week. Fingers crossed I don't accidentally cross a line!
  5. This is a bit of an odd topic but hear me out. Recently I made a new friend at work. Based off some subtle moments of catching each other staring and prolonged conversations, I'm pretty sure he's interested in something more. However, I'm very sure he's still closeted (we live in a religious area, and both grew up going to catholic schools). I'm only 22, but I haven't flirted with a closeted guy since High School. To be honest I've lost the art of subtle flirting and could use some tips to get me back on track! Any advice is welcome!
  6. Aceinthehole

    Out of Love

    Chapter 16: Out of Love That night things finally started to feel normal again. Sure, Adam was slightly off, but for the most part he was his goofy self! He even finally agreed to another movie night! Maybe this means things will finally calm down again. I don’t know how many more crazy days I can handle! “So,” Adam began as yet another Harry Potter movie came to an end. “You’re going to Dizzy’s Friday night?” “Yup.” I nodded, shooting him a cautious look. “Are you nervous?” He asked as a smile began on his face. “Why would I be nervous?” I defensively replied. “It’s like two days away anyway.” “I don’t know.” He shrugged. “I feel like going to meet his parents is a big deal.” “Gee, thanks Adam.” I groaned as I began to tap my fingers against the couch. “You said you weren’t nervous!” He tried to hide the laughter in his voice. “I wasn’t!” I yelped. “But now you’ve made me nervous!” “I was just playing around, you’ll be fine.” He began to comfort. “Just be yourself and I’m sure they’ll love you. Besides, I doubt Dizzy is letting you go anytime soon.” “I guess.” I exhaled a deep breath. “It’s just his Mom though, and I guess maybe her boyfriend, but I don’t think Dizzy likes him.” “I understand.” Adam nodded. “Well how about I bring home a box of donuts for you to take with you? That way you’re not going empty handed.” “Yes! Please!” I exclaimed as his smile grew. “See, I have everything covered.” He flashed me a wink before getting to his feet. “Now go get ready for bed, I’m not letting you skip another day.” “You sure?” I couldn’t help but press my luck. “Positive.” He confidently answered. The next day and a half I found myself fighting off the nerves Adam had accidentally stirred up. I mean, I was probably going to get nervous anyway, but I didn’t need his help speeding up the process! Yet, spending time with Dizzy seemed to help relax me. Every joke, every kiss, every silent moment, it all just reminded me how close we had grown. How no matter what happens Friday night, nothing’s going to get in our way. -- -- “So,” Dizzy began to walk me home. “I could go home then come back to pick you up later or…” He led, waiting for me to take the hint. “Or you could come over until then.” I rolled my eyes. “Fine,” I sighed as though it was an inconvenience. “I guess you could come over.” “Why? Got big plans before dinner?” He giggled as we made our way through the park. “Just programming homework and a shower.” I shrugged. “But I guess you could help with both.” “Both?” He excitedly repeated. “I uh, yeah, I think I can manage that.” We both fell quiet as our eyes connected, except this time bashful grins covered our faces. “You kind of smell,” He finally began as we climbed the stairs to my house. “We should probably shower first.” “Hey!” I giggled, but as I opened the door and found Adam on the couch I knew our plans were ruined. “Guess it’ll just be helping with programming today.” I shrugged. “You don’t know that!” Dizzy cried in a whine. “Hey Adam!” He began as we stepped inside. “Got any big plans tonight? It is day drink season you know.” “Nope.” Adam shook his head. “Just going to hang here all night.” “It’s a Friday.” Dizzy tried to encourage. “Why not go out to the bars? Live a little! I hear the cutest guys go out around now!” “Artie and I just went out the other night, and I woke up at four in the morning. My only plan is this couch and Xbox.” Adam insisted, not even bothering to look over at us. “Why?” “Just thought you could use a push.” Dizzy sighed quickly looking over to me as I started to climb the stairs. “Where are you going?” “Shower.” I shrugged. “You said I smell, remember?” I couldn’t help but tease. “I think I hate you.” Dizzy shot back walking over to the couch and taking a seat near Adam. “The whole couch and you have to sit this close to me?” Adam began to complain. “Why? I don’t have cooties.” Dizzy smirked, poking Adam’s buttons every chance he could. “No, but you smell too!” Adam shouted as their voices began to grow faint. “Then maybe I should go join Artie!” Dizzy cackled in a loud voice. “No!” Adam shouted, drawing an even louder laugh from Dizzy. “Why would you even say that to me? You can be so stupid sometimes!” Pretty soon I was able to drown out their bickering and focus on a nice calming shower. I’m actually kind of glad Adam was home to put a stop to us. I could use some time alone with my own thoughts. Plus, I love when Dizzy annoys him! He always knows how to push Adam’s buttons in the funniest ways! When I finally got dried off and dressed I walked down the stairs to find them both calm and playing video games together. “Guy to your right.” Dizzy called out, clearly focused on the T.V. “Got him.” Adam replied. “You have any extra ammo?” “Right here.” Dizzy instructed as they fell into their virtual world. “Hey.” I smiled as I joined them on the couch. “Shhhh!” They both hushed in unison. “Just give us a few minutes.” Dizzy dismissed, keeping his eyes on the T.V. “Alright.” I shrugged, taking my book off of the coffee table and falling into a world of my own. To none of our surprise a few minutes turned into a good hour and a half of them playing together. Of course, I really didn’t mind. It was kind of nice seeing them get along so well. Sure, Dizzy loves to annoy Adam, but Dizzy also loves to spend time with him. They make a good team when they’re both being serious too! I didn’t really understand what was going on, but it seemed like they were winning. “Alright,” Dizzy stood up as they both put down their controllers. “Ready to go Artie?” “Oh, I can speak now?” I teased with a raised eyebrow. “Don’t take it like that.” Dizzy groaned as our eyes connected. “I’ll make it up to you.” “I’m just goofing around.” I shrugged, but played it off as though I was still annoyed to see how Dizzy would react. “Yeah? Well how about I teach you how to play with us one of these days.” He offered. “That way you can talk all you want.” “Alright.” I happily accepted as Adam made his way into the kitchen before walking out with a white box. “Here.” Adam handed the box to me. “And I’ll be the one to teach you. I’m better after all.” “You wish.” Dizzy rolled his eyes. “I carried you all afternoon.” “No you didn’t.” Adam began to bicker. “You slowed me down.” “Stick to making donuts.” Dizzy dismissed as we headed towards the door. Adam shot him one last fed up look before glancing over to me. “Be good tonight. Text me if you need anything. I can even come there to guide you home if you want.” “I’ll get him home.” Dizzy shrugged. “You sure?” Adam asked in a concerned voice. “That means you’d come all the way here just to go home again.” “I mean, I could spend the night here.” Dizzy tempted, but we both knew it didn’t matter what Adam said. “No.” Adam shot down. “Fine.” Dizzy groaned. “I’m still going to get him home though.” “Whatever.” Adam shook his head. “Be home by midnight Artie.” “I have a curfew now?” I whined. “Yup.” Adam grinned. “Time for me to start setting rules around here!” “First rule,” Dizzy began, pulling open the door for me. “There are no rules!” He shouted, letting me walk past him and slamming the door behind us. “One of these days you’re going to get on his bad side.” I warned with a serious look. “He doesn’t have a bad side.” Dizzy rolled his eyes. “And if he does, well, he loves me anyway.” “Sure he does.” I provoked as we headed towards the nearby bus stop. “We listen to similar music, play the same games, both eat like crap,” He teased with a smirk “and your Uncle was totally a punk growing up. We’re too similar for him to hate me.” “Whatever you say.” I shrugged as we quickened our pace to catch the bus stopped a block away. It took some effort but when we both caught the bus and sat down Dizzy handed me his spare earbud the way he always did. Just like usual fast paced punk rock music played in my ear as me and Dizzy fell into our own world. It didn’t take long to get to his place, maybe a little over ten minutes. Yet when we got there I found myself studying the house closely. It was almost like a miniature version of my own. It sat on a busy street and seemed a bit, cramped, but knowing Dizzy, well he could make it work! “Momma!” Dizzy shouted as he pushed the front door open. “We’re home!” “Alright,” An older voice yelled back. “Just leave your shoes at the door.” “Since when do we do that?” Dizzy complained, but followed directions anyway. “Since today.” She replied as we walked through a small hallway. To our left was a doorway that opened up to a living room while straight ahead sat the room his mother’s voice was coming from. “You getting all bougey on me woman?” Dizzy teased as we entered into a rundown kitchen. A woman around our height stood at the counter with her back towards us. “That’s exactly what’s happening.” She sarcastically replied, turning around to face us. She looked like Dizzy, just a lot more tired and beaten by the week. The smell of cigarettes radiated off of her as she watched me closely. “Mom,” Dizzy began. “this is Artie. Artie this is my Mom.” “It’s nice to finally meet you.” She forced a smile. “It’s nice to meet you too Mrs. Armstrong.” I replied, unsure what else to say. “I brought these for you.” I let out, extending the white box towards her. “Thank you.” She accepted, taking the box and pulling it open. “How’d you get these at this time of night?” “His Uncle owns the shop.” Dizzy proudly bragged. “Out of everything you told me, you left that out!” Mrs. Armstrong yelped, reaching out and swatting at Dizzy. “Told you I grew up eating them.” Dizzy turned to me with a smirk. He went to grab one but once more his mother swatted his hand. “Take a seat.” She instructed, putting the box on the counter and turning back towards the stove. “Dinner will be ready soon.” “Watcha makin’?” Dizzy began once more, making sure to annoy his mother at every chance he could. “Dinner.” She replied without thinking twice. “You’re not a picky eater, are you Artie?” “No ma’am.” I replied with a quick shake of my head. “I’ll eat anything.” “She’s probably making chili, that’s one of the few good things she makes.” He teased with a smirk. “Z, we’ve already got a T.V., we don’t need you to put on a show.” She warned, turning back slightly to stare at him. I couldn’t help but lightly giggle at her words. “You can use that one sometime Artie.” “Gladly.” I quickly nodded. “Has he always been this, crazy?” “Yup.” She exhaled a deep breath. “He’s an artist. He loves to amaze people, no matter how much trouble it gets him in.” “Me? Trouble?” Dizzy asked with a smirk. “It’s your middle name.” She rolled her eyes, opening a cabinet and reaching for a bowl. “I’ve got it.” He quickly jumped to his feet to help her. He watched her closely as she poured the chili into a bowl. “I can carry it!” She argued as he grabbed the bowl. “It’s like a step away!” “We have this conversation once a day.” He complained. “Just take a seat.” “He’s got a hard head.” She said to me as she took her seat at the end of the table. “Tell me about it.” I agreed as Dizzy sat down. “So how’d you wind up with him anyway?” She asked, as we all began to plate our dinner. “Ky was my guide on my first day, and we all just became friends.” I explained with a smile. “But what made you say you want to date him?” She pried with curious eyes. “Mom.” Dizzy groaned in a quiet voice. “He’s exciting,” I began, but could tell she didn’t like that answer. “and, I don’t know. He’s really sweet when he wants to be.” “Like when?” He began to proudly smirk. “Like my first day on the way to the bridge.” I shrugged. “You gave me this whole made up tour, then just, I don’t know,” I hesitated as a blush began on my face. “some of the stuff you said, it just hit me hard.” “We’re talking about the same Dizzy right?” His mother teased, drawing a nod from me. “You know I’m sweet.” He provoked as he looked over at her. “Depends on your mood.” She shook her head. “Depends on whether Trevor is here or not.” He muttered to himself. “Well he won’t be here tonight.” She answered as they both dropped the topic. “Sorry.” She apologized as she looked over to me. “It’s fine ma’am.” I forced a smile. “I, I grew up with a single Mom so I get it.” “That’s right,” She suddenly recalled. “Dizzy told me about that. Single mothers are some of the strongest people on the planet.” She proudly explained. “Sure, go ahead and toot your own horn.” Dizzy’s smile grew. “When’s your statue getting here?” “I better be getting more than a statue for raising you.” She shook her head. “Artie should probably get something for putting up with you too.” “He loves it.” Dizzy dismissed. “It does make things fun.” I shrugged as she looked back over to me. “It’s all fun and games until you get into trouble with him.” She warned. “I’ve been staying out of trouble lately!” He defended, starting to play with his food. “I only had one detention this week.” “Guess you want a statue too then?” She teased. It’s funny how similar their personalities are. They give each other crap, but I can see how much she loves him by the look in her eyes. This little back and forth between them, well I think it’s their way of saying ‘I love you’. “If that’s not too much to ask for.” Dizzy played along. “I’ll get right on that for you Z.” She remarked before looking back over to me. “You the reason he’s been behaving this week?” “I don’t think so.” I shook my head. “I think he’s just been doing a good job of not getting caught.” “He’s got you pegged pretty well.” She looked back to Dizzy. “Told you I finally found a good one.” He proudly bragged. “I’m the sails, he’s the anchor.” “Is that why I actually got to meet him?” She asked, starting to turn serious. “Maybe.” Dizzy replied, trying his hardest not to answer the question. “You’re the first person he’s dating that I get to meet.” She echoed Charlotte’s words from the other day. “Ma!” Dizzy cried out. “I’m glad.” I forced a smile. “Now I see where he gets his personality from.” “He is like me, isn’t he?” She sighed as their eyes locked, drawing a proud smile from Dizzy. “Just a lot louder.” Before anyone could say anything else I saw something out of the corner of my eye pounce on the nearby counter. Dizzy couldn’t help but laugh as he saw me slightly jump in my seat. “Catniss.” He called out as I turned to see a bright orange cat standing near the sink. “Catniss come here.” He continued. “Stop, we’re eating.” Mrs. Armstrong warned. “I don’t want her trying to climb on the table, or on those countertops for that matter.” “Fine.” Dizzy exhaled but before he could say something else the cat jumped onto the floor. “You got scared of a cat.” Dizzy instantly began to tease. “I didn’t know it was a cat.” I shrugged as a blush began on my face. “She’s harmless.” Mrs. Armstrong tried to comfort. “I would know, because Dizzy never helps with her.” “I do too.” He argued. “She sleeps in my room, doesn’t she?” “What a great contribution.” Mrs. Armstrong sarcastically replied as we watched the cat walk past me and sit under Dizzy’s chair. “You’ve got any pets?” She asked, turning back to me. “No ma’am.” I shook my head. “Maybe at some point we’ll get one.” “It’ll probably be a chicken.” Dizzy smirked. “He loves those things.” “I don’t love them,” I tried to defend. “I just worked a lot with chickens back in Texas.” “Farmer?” Mrs. Armstrong asked, drawing a nod from me. “You miss Texas?” “Sometimes ma’am.” I swayed my head. “But I’m a lot happier here.” “Makes sense, here you don’t have people cramming bibles down your throat.” She remarked, not putting too much thought in her words. “Mom.” Dizzy scolded in a serious voice. “She’s not wrong.” I forced a smile. “Are you religious at all?” “Me?” She asked, caught off guard by the question. “Not at all. I lost God in a bar bathroom.” Dizzy made a disgusted face as he heard those words. “So much for you getting bougey on me.” “Sorry to disappoint.” She teased as we wrapped up our meal. “Now contrary to what Dizzy will tell you, you’re always welcome here.” She said as we helped her clean off the table. “Thank you ma’am.” I felt my smile turn genuine as I heard those words. “You can also drop the ma’ams.” She instructed, glancing back to her son. “I hope you’re this respectful when you go to his house.” “I’m practically his Uncle’s best friend.” Dizzy shrugged. “That poor man.” She sighed. “You boys can go hang out if you want.” “Sure you don’t need help?” Dizzy asked but the woman simply shook her head. “Thank you.” His smile grew as he wrapped around her from behind. “Yeah, yeah.” She dismissed, clearly enjoying the attention from him. “You gonna sleep here tonight?” “Probably not.” He replied, still holding onto her. “Alright.” She exhaled. It was clear she was disappointed by his answer, but for some reason didn’t push him on it. “Now go, shoo.” “Come on,” Dizzy led as he let go of his mom. “I’ll show you my room.” “No funny business!” Mrs. Armstrong yelled from the kitchen. “Only serious business!” Dizzy mocked as we started to climb rickety steps up to another tight hallway. “Here it is.” He proudly announced pushing one of the doors open. His room was a similar size to mine, and yet so different. Drawings and pictures covered every wall except the one behind his bed. Instead, beautiful bright colors covered it with a tornado in the middle. “Like it?” He proudly asked. “Yeah.” I slowly nodded. “I spray painted it myself.” He explained, taking a long look at it. “It’s amazing.” I remarked, before looking around the rest of his room. Pictures of him and his mom from over the years took up most of the space, while spray paint cans and different snack wrappers filled the rest. That is, except for his desk which held three big computer screens. “That’s my set up,” He began to explain, walking over and turning it on. Just like that all three screens jumped to life. The screen to the left broadcasted a programing box just like the one we used at school, the one to the right showed video games from his Xbox, and the middle one had different doodles in a paint software. “Pretty cool, right?” He checked, looking back at me. “Yeah.” I nodded, amazed by the machine. I had never seen a computer like that! I didn’t even know you could hook up screens to connect like that! He turned off the two outside ones before pulling up Netflix on the middle one. He quickly picked a show before leading me to his bed. “Come lay down for a while.” He encouraged, making plenty of room for me. “Alright.” I accepted, happily laying in his arms. “Your room smells like cats and cheap body spray.” I couldn’t help but tease. “Better than smelling like paint.” He shrugged with a smile. “Speaking of that, when are you going to take me to see your art?” I asked, looking back towards the wall behind us. “You are my Art.” He teased as I rolled my eyes. “Get it? Because your name is Arthur.” “I got that.” I tried to fight off a giggle at his words. “But really, when?” “Sometime soon.” He nodded. “But for now, let’s just relax.” I rested my head against his body as we both peacefully laid back and watched whatever show he had picked. At some point his cat even joined us! I’m not a big cat person, but seeing how gentle he was with it, it just went a long way with me! I mean, I thought he was caring and sweet with me, but that cat got a whole other level of Dizzy! I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous! -- -- When it was finally time to leave Mrs. Armstrong gave me a strong hug goodbye. I’m not fully sure, but I think she’s accepted me! Either way it’s clear they’re both very careful about one another. Dizzy doesn’t want anyone hurting her, and vice versa. “Sorry my house wasn’t all that nice.” Dizzy apologized as we hopped onto the bus. “It’s nice.” I tried to encourage. “You don’t have to lie.” Dizzy said as he grew serious. “It’s falling apart on itself.” “I don’t care.” I leaned against him. “I grew up in a trailer.” “No you didn’t.” Dizzy let out, trying to figure out how serious I was being. “Yeah.” I nodded my head. “My Mom could only afford so much, you know?” “Far too well.” He agreed giving me a headphone as we both grew quiet. After the first ten minutes passed I shot Dizzy a confused look. “This isn’t the way to my house.” “Nope.” He smirked, still looking out of his window. “I thought you would’ve noticed a lot sooner.” “I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I’m still learning the area, and I trust you to get me home.” “I’ll get you home,” He comforted. “we’re just making a pit stop first.” Once more we both fell quietly into our own peaceful world. We had to transfer busses but for the most part the ride was smooth. As I saw giant arches in the distance I immediately recognized where Dizzy was taking me. “The Bridge?” I asked as the bus came to a stop. He stayed quiet and grabbed my hand as we both stood up. “What are we doing here?” I pressured, but once more only got silence back. I held his hand tightly as he quietly led me out to the middle of the bridge. “Arthur Price.” He finally spoke as we overlooked the bay. “This is where I was when I started to fall for you.” He explained. “And tonight, at dinner, when you brought up the bridge, well I knew I needed to take you back here.” “Yeah?” I felt a wide smile spread on my face. “Yeah,” He confidently repeated. “because I have something important to ask you. I know we’ve been doing this dating thing the past few weeks, and it’s been fun, but you not officially being my boyfriend, it’s killing me!” He paused and turned to face me. “So what do you say, will you be my boyfriend?” “Yes.” I quickly answered. “Yes.” I repeated as he pulled me in close and landed a deep kiss on my lips. “Even after meeting my Mom?” He teased as we broke away and held one another. “Even after meeting your Mom.” I confirmed, looking back out towards the bay. Last time I was here I was so incredibly different. I was scared of my feelings for other guys, scared to try living a life of my own. But now everything’s different. Now he’s changed everything for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We spent a little while just standing there, staring off and talking about life. It didn’t matter what the topic was, it felt like we could’ve stood there and spoke forever. Yet when it turned eleven Dizzy made sure to take me back to the bus so we wouldn’t miss my curfew. Once more the ride was filled with a peaceful silence. There was nothing that needed to be said, nothing either of us wanted to say! And when we got to my house Dizzy gave me one more kiss before sneaking around back and waiting for the coast to be clear. “Hey.” Adam called out as I walked through the front door. “Pushing your curfew a little bit, aren’t you?” “I’ still have ten minutes.” I replied as our eyes met. “Curfew being at midnight doesn’t mean you have to stay out until midnight.” He warned with a serious look. “I just wanted to spend some time with my boyfriend, is that such a crime?” I asked, trying to match his tone. “I guess not.” He sighed. “And boyfriend? So you guys are making it official?” “We just did tonight.” I proudly nodded my head. “Congratulations.” He stood up and headed towards the stairs, trying his hardest to hide the exhaustion on his face. “You didn’t have to wait up for me.” I said as I started to feel guilt drip into my mind. “I know.” He nodded his head. “But I wasn’t going to fall asleep until you got back anyway.” “Oh, sorry.” I apologized, not realizing how heavily Adam had embraced his role as a parent. “It’s fine.” He dismissed. “Just something to get used to. Turn off all the lights when you go to bed.” “I will.” I accepted, taking a seat and waiting patiently to make sure he had fallen asleep. I give it an extra ten minutes, but when I was finally sure he was gone I snuck to the sliding glass doors and slowly pulled them open. The second the door opened Dizzy slipped inside and shut it behind him. We both stayed quiet as we turned everything off and silently made our way to my room. “I thought you were never going to let me in.” Dizzy teased as we both began to get changed. “I did debate it in my head for a while.” I smiled. As soon as I kicked off my jeans I walked over and laid back on my bed. “Whatcha doin?” Dizzy asked with a grin. “Nothing, I’m just ready for bed.” I shrugged as he followed my example. “It’s more comfortable this way.” “You’re such a tease.” He giggled, pulling me in close. “Am I?” I asked, crawling under the covers. “Yup.” He nodded as I reached down and took off the last barrier between us. “Would a tease do this?” I asked, pulling my hands out and holding my boxer briefs for him to see. He let out a laugh as a big bashful grin covered my face. “Yes!” He shouted, crawling under the covers himself. He winked at me and before I knew it he was throwing his own pair of boxers on the floor. He began to bite on his lip as our eyes connected but suddenly I saw something flicker in his eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” He checked as his rational side pulled him back in. “I think so.” I forced a nod. “The bridge tonight, it, it was perfect Dizzy Armstrong. I want to get even closer to you and I, I think this is the only thing left keeping us apart.” He broke eye contact as he heard those words and exhaled a deep breath. “Out of all the people I’ve slept with, you’re the first to want sex out of love, not lust.” “I’m sorry.” I apologized, reaching out and forcing his head back up. “You shouldn’t be.” He began to smile once more. “You’re the one fixing everything.” I nodded but watched quietly as the look in his eyes changed. Just like the fox’s he loves so much, well, now he’s on the prowl. “I like you a lot Artie.” He said as he grew closer. “I want you to see that.” He moved slowly but precisely and suddenly he was laying on me as our bodies began to intertwine. “I just, this is my first time.” I nervously let out. “Can we take it slow?” “Of course.” He exhaled as our lips met. The deeper we began to kiss the more rowdy we seemed to get, until finally I pushed the sheets off of us. This time we saw each other fully and completely. There were no more secrets between us. Nothing to hide or try and cover up. Sure, a small part of me was nervous, but the more I looked into his eyes, the more I felt okay with everything that was happening. “When you said first time,” He began to speak before we could truly get started. “Did you mean with any of this? Like, like even with yourself?” “Yeah.” I sheepishly admitted. “We, were taught it’s all a sin.” “Well we can ask for forgiveness tomorrow.” He teased, but hesitated to make a move. Before he could say anything else I reached out with a curious hand and connected with his most private area. “No, this, this isn’t a sin.” I decided. “This, this is me showing how much I care about you. I don’t need anyone’s permission or forgiveness for that.” “Amen.” He agreed as he reached out and connecting with mine. From that point on there was no more talking. Pretty soon my exploration turned into action as I followed his example. Just like with everything else he was patient with me. He didn’t complain or order me to do anything. Instead he just enjoyed the experience and did everything he could to make sure I did too. There were even moments where he did things I wasn’t comfortable replicating, but didn’t seem to mind at all that I kept things a bit more basic. When we got towards the climax, well, it was a feeling I’ll never forget. It wasn’t just about the pleasure we were both feeling. It was the bond that had started to strengthen from it, and for me, the freedom of my North Texas shackles finally breaking off. He slowly moved in and made sure to plant another kiss on my lips as we both calmed down. “You alright?” “Better than alright.” I nodded as a smile began on my face. “Yeah?” He giggled as pride entered his eyes. “Yeah.” I felt my smile grow. “How, how did I do?” “So good I can’t believe it’s your first time.” He teased with a smile of his own. “Just, next time, I, well, you’re not milking a cow.” “Oh, sorry.” A heavy blush began on my face. “It’s fine.” He laughed as he pulled me in close. “I’ve never felt this close to a person in my life.” He exhaled in a powerful breath. “Me neither.” I agreed as I rested my head against his chest. “You mean a lot to me Dizzy.” “You mean a lot to me too.” He echoed without hesitation. I don’t remember what time we went to bed, I only remember us holding one another close. A few days ago I didn’t know if my feelings for Dizzy could go any deeper, but now I see we have so much more to explore. Now I see we’re really just beginning. Bring on whatever obstacles are in our way. We’re not going anywhere.
  7. Hey Ace, my sister's family found a stray kitten with one of his eyes infected from who knows what, well, they adopted him and named him Cy. Boy, does that sound familiar, lol.

    1. Aceinthehole


      That's amazing! I hope the kitten is doing well. I'm sure it's happy to have found it's family! You'll have to keep me updated on Cy every now and again. 

  8. Aceinthehole

    The Pity Party

    Chapter 15: The Pity Party It’s odd, you’d think I would know how to comfort someone after a break up by now. I mean, I’ve seen my Mom go through a couple, but even then, I just couldn’t find the right words. Yet she never seemed to mind. She just wanted me close to her. She just needed to be reminded we were all each other needed. But Adam’s different. I can tell by the look on his face that he wants a boyfriend. I can tell he wants someone other than me to come home to. I don’t blame him for that. How can help him when I have Dizzy upstairs waiting for me? “You’ll be alright.” I tried to comfort as we both finally started to head to bed. “It, it’ll just take some time.” “I know.” He slowly nodded, but I could tell he was barely listening. “Don’t worry about school tomorrow, I’ll tell them you’re sick or something.” “Are you sure?” I asked, making sure to guard my bedroom door as we stood in the hall. “Yeah.” He forced out, now a cross between heartbroken and exhausted. “It’s like, one in the morning. I’m not going to do that to you.” “Oh, thank you.” I accepted, trying to get a good look at his face. “You shouldn’t go to work tomorrow either.” “It’s not that simple.” He complained, forcing his door open and taking a step inside. “Lindsay said it operates fine without you.” I reminded him. “If you go, if you go I’m calling Lindsay and telling her to send you home.” “You do that.” He grumbled before slamming the door behind him. I took a deep breath before turning towards my own room and walking inside. I felt all the mixed emotions in my body start to fade as I saw a figure taking up half of the mattress. “Bout time.” He forced out as I crawled into bed. “You’re still up?” I whispered, laying down and pulling him in close. “Barely.” He yawned, holding onto my arm as it wrapped around him then letting it go. “I saw the picture on your nightstand.” “What picture?” I asked, trying to look over him to the nearby table. “The one of you as a kid with your mom.” He replied, instantly silencing me. “Oh.” I finally exhaled as it clicked in my head. “You were a cute kid,” He teased. “and your Mom. She’s beautiful. I mean that.” “Thank you.” I felt a smile cross my face as I held him closer. “So, when do I get to meet your mom?” “You don’t want to meet her.” He tried to dismiss. “I think I do.” I encouraged. “Maybe she’ll even tell me your real name.” He grew quiet for a few moments before starting to intertwine his hand with mine. “You want to know my real name?” He asked, surprised by my words. “Well yeah,” I started to pressure. “you don’t get asked that a lot?” “People never really care enough to ask.” He shrugged. I guess it’s easy for me to forget, but people don’t see Dizzy the way I do. They see him as a clown, just someone to make them laugh for a little bit before moving on with the rest of their day. But that’s not me. I see him as so much more. “Then what is it?” I continued to provoke. “Ask Ky or Charlotte.” He began to fidget. “I don’t want to hear it from Ky or Charlotte.” I said as he broke free of my grasp and turned to face me. “It’s not actually my real name though.” He shrugged but as our eyes connected I could tell there was a part of him holding back from me. “What do you mean it’s not your real name?” I began to smile, figuring he was just goofing around. “It’s not my real name.” He repeated without putting much thought into it. “Because you prefer to go by Dizzy?” I asked in a confused voice. “No, I just,” He began but hesitated. “I just don’t like to be called it.” “and not because you like Dizzy better?” I pressured, trying my hardest to make him crack. “Yeah.” He confessed as his eyes began to drop. “You don’t want to tell me?” I asked but he grew quiet once more. “It’s not that easy.” He finally exhaled. “You can tell me.” I encouraged, placing my hand on his side. “I’ve let you in, haven’t I?” “Yeah, but it’s late and you’ve been helping Adam.” He reminded me. “You don’t need my baggage.” As I heard those words I couldn’t help but think of what Bradley had said to Adam. Of how much it had hurt Adam. “Part of being in a relationship is taking one another’s baggage.” I suddenly said, surprising even myself. “Not that I think you have baggage. It’s just, you should be able to confide in me the way I confide in you.” “You’re not going to let this go, are you?” He asked, the most serious I had ever seen him. “No.” I shook my head. “I’ll stay up all night annoying you about it if I have to.” He grew silent once more before taking a long look into my eyes. “I was named after my Dad.” He finally confessed. “So when he left, well, that’s when I started to go by Dizzy. I don’t really remember him or anything, but I don’t want to, and I don’t need my name being a reminder of that.” “Oh.” I exhaled as it all started to make sense. “You don’t have to tell me.” “I-I think I should.” He acknowledged as his secrets began to unravel. “My name’s Ryan.” “Ryan Armstrong.” I nodded my head. “I think I like Dizzy better.” I teased, knowing how much it would mean to him. “I do too.” A smile finally began to spread on his face. “Adam’s lucky to have you, I’m sure you’ll have him all fixed up in no time.” “I don’t know about that.” I sighed in a heavy breath. “I couldn’t think of anything to say to him, and anything I did say was just, just, cliché.” “Sometimes you don’t need to say anything.” Dizzy shrugged. “You were there for him. That means more than any words you could’ve said.” “I hope so.” I let out as my mind began to wander. “Mr. Jacobs is going to kill us when we both fall asleep in class tomorrow.” Dizzy suddenly changed the topic, noticing how it was starting to bother me. “I’m not going to school tomorrow.” I began to smile once more. “Adam said he’ll tell them I’m sick.” “That’s bullshit!” He protested in a whine. “You’ll survive.” I shrugged. “Unless, of course, you want to skip too.” “Does Adam want to call me in sick too?” He asked as I shook my head no. “Then I can’t. My Mom would kick my ass if I skipped school again.” “Where does she think you are right now anyway?” I couldn’t help but wonder. “Probably in my own bed.” He guessed as he started to think about it. “If not, then she probably assumed I’m at Ky’s. Like she says, I always turn back up.” “I don’t like that.” I shook my head. “I always want to know where you’re sleeping.” “Then you and my Mom can work on that when you come over for dinner on Friday.” He shrugged before turning back around like it was no big deal. “Whoa, what?” I pressured as he began to back into me. “You wanted to come over and meet her, didn’t you?” He asked, starting to get comfortable. “And you said you wanted me to confide in you more.” “Alright, I, that works.” I agreed, amazed by how quickly his wall had crumbled. “Good.” He exhaled as he finally laid still. “Good night.” “Night.” I smiled before laying a kiss on the back of his head. When we both finally fell asleep morning seemed to be right around the corner. We spoke for a little bit, but he let me stay in bed as he got ready for school. With a quick goodbye and a kiss on the lips he was off for another day in his crazy life, and me, well I went back to sleep! I’m not really one to sleep in late, but Dizzy and I didn’t fall asleep until like two! I think I’ve earned the right to some extra sleep! -- -- When I finally woke up and went downstairs I was relieved to see Adam sitting on the couch playing video games. “How are you feeling?” I asked as I sat down near him. “Fine.” He answered in a low voice. “I’m glad you stayed home from work.” I offered but got nothing back. “Do you want to watch Harry Potter?” “Not right now.” He dismissed, refusing to look away from the T.V. I nodded but stayed quiet as I looked down to the book in my hands. Every now and again I would glance up to see how he was doing, but for the most part we just stayed quiet Any conversation I tried to start was immediately shot down with a one word response. I know it wasn’t anything personal, but that doesn’t make it feel any better! “Lindsay,” I exhaled into my phone as I was finally able to sneak up to my room. “I think Adam needs you.” “Why?” She asked in a concerned voice. “Did his fever get worse?” “Fever?” I repeated in a confused voice. “Yeah,” She hesitated. “he called in sick this morning, said you brought home something from school.” “That’s not what happened.” I rejected, unsure how much I should share. “Look, just, just get here when you can.” “Why?” She repeated starting to grow more panicked. “Is everything okay?” “Yeah, I, everything’s fine.” I managed out, trying my hardest to sound confident. “Arthur. You need to tell me what’s going on.” She pressured in a strong voice. “I get it, you don’t want to break his trust, but if it’s this bad you need to tell me.” “He brought Bradley home last night and they got into a fight.” I suddenly opened up. “They broke up and now he’s being all, weird.” “Weird how?” She asked, but I stayed quiet. “Weird like, only giving one word answers?” “Yeah.” I confirmed in a nervous voice. “So can you come over soon?” “As soon as we close.” She replied. “He’ll be alright, I promise.” “Okay, just hurry!” I encouraged as we both disconnected the call. The next few hours passed just as slow as the first few. You’d think staying home all day reading would be my dream, but for some reason it got boring fast! I just want to watch something with Adam. It doesn’t even have to be good! Maybe I’d even play a video game with him! I don’t care, I just want my Uncle back to normal! As a pounding began on the door I felt a sigh of relief escape my lips. “Hey!” I excitedly smiled as I pulled the door open but felt disappointment hit me as I saw Charlotte standing there. “I know, I’m not Dizzy.” She rolled her eyes. “But you don’t have to look so let down.” “That’s not why I look let down.” I defended. “I just, never mind.” “Alright ya weirdo.” She remarked before pushing a stack of papers and books forward. “Here’s your homework.” “Did you really have to bring that to me?” I complained before taking a step back to let her in. “Yup.” She happily teased. “That’s what you get for playing hooky.” “It’s been a crazy day.” I shrugged as I noticed Adam get up from the couch. “You don’t have to go anywhere.” I quickly looked over to him. “Me and Charlotte can go hang out in my room.” “It’s fine.” He mumbled as he reached the base of the stairs. “Wait, uh,” I paused looking from him to Charlotte. “Charlotte this is my Uncle Adam, Adam this is my best friend Charlotte.” “Nice to meet you.” He forced a small wave before climbing the stairs. “I thought you and Dizzy said he was funny.” Charlotte whispered as he disappeared up the stairs. “He is, well, normally.” I defended, leading her over to the couch. “He broke up with his boyfriend after the guy called me baggage.” “Your uncles gay too?” She asked in a puzzled voice. “And you didn’t tell me sooner!” “Sorry. I don’t know, we had a whole thing, I cried, he cried, it was great but that was like, days ago.” I began to speak a mile a minute. “We’re onto the next thing.” “Geez you blink once around the Price family and you miss a whole life event!” She teased with a friendly smile. “But it sounds like he’s better off without that dickhead.” “I know that, and I think he does too, but that doesn’t make him feel any better.” I whined in an upset voice. “Yeah.” She slowly nodded her head. “He probably just needs time to start feeling better, maybe you can do something with him.” “Maybe.” I agreed as I carefully thought it over. “Anyway,” She began to stand up. “I have homework of my own to worry about.” “What?” I asked, reaching out and barely missing her arm. “You can’t leave!” I protested in another whine. “I’ve been sooo bored all day! Plus, I don’t know, I want to talk to you about stuff.” “What kind of stuff?” She asked as her smile turned into a smirk. “Lots of stuff.” I nodded my head. “Like Ryan spending the night type of stuff.” As soon as she heard that name she sat right back down. “Artie, I, when’d he tell you his name?” “Last night.” My smile began to grow as I spoke. “I kind of pressured him about it and out it came!” “You know how private that is to him?” She asked as I shrugged my shoulders. “In third grade he beat up some kid because he wouldn’t stop calling him Ryan.” “No he didn’t.” I skeptically replied. “Cross my heart and hope to die.” She swore. “It’s just a sensitive subject to him.” “Because it’s his Dad’s name?” I continued to pry, drawing another surprised face from her. “What don’t you know about Dizzy?” She asked with a serious look. “I don’t know.” I answered, starting to fidget in my seat. “I’m going to his house for dinner Friday to meet his Mom.” “Oh my.” She remarked with a straight face. “What’s oh my?” I asked, trying my hardest to imitate her. “He’s never brought any boyfriend or girlfriend home to his Mom.” Charlotte shook her head. “Ky and I barely even see his Mom!” “Why? Is she like, crazy or something?” I gulped as my mind began to race. “Not at all.” She quickly dismissed. “Dizzy’s just very very very very protective of her.” She made sure to emphasize. “I get that.” I nodded my head, not needing any explanation. “I was the same way with my Mom.” “Alright.” She accepted, not daring to push anymore. “But you do know what this means for you right?” “That he trusts me?” I guessed, unsure what her actual answer would be. “More than anyone I’ve met, well, besides Ky.” She shrugged. “He wouldn’t pull you in this close if he doesn’t think the world of you.” “Well good.” My smile grew as a blush began on my face. “Why?” She asked, seeing the trouble in my eyes. “No reason.” I lied as my smile grew even wider. “Artie Price, you better spill!” She pressured in a strong voice. “I just, maybe, maybe last night we were close to having sex.” I shrugged as she caught my smile. “Details! Now!” She excitedly ordered. “Okay, so long story short we were getting changed and I don’t know, we just started slow dancing in our boxers.” I confessed. It’s odd. I’d be too embarrassed to share this with anyone else, but not with Charlotte! “Yesss Artie!” She encouraged in a loud voice. “But then Adam and Bradley got home and started fighting so that kind of killed our mood.” I exhaled. “But I don’t know, I told him to pump the brakes and that we weren’t doing anything but he was totally the right sentence or two away from getting what he wanted.” “But was it what you wanted?” She asked, forcing a deep look into my eyes. “Yeah.” I confessed as my blush grew and she burst into laughter. “Come on! Look at him! I’m only human! I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t in this for the sex first!” “Well now I know he’s not.” She confirmed as she caught my smile. “Me too.” I happily nodded. “But he can’t know any of this!” “Of course not.” She agreed. “Don’t give up the pants Artie. You control this relationship not him.” “I do?” I nervously asked. “Oh yeah.” She laughed. “You’ve got him wrapped around your finger.” “Do not.” I rejected, but knew I was lying to myself. Before either of us could say anything else more knocking began on the door. “Speak of the devil.” Charlotte teased as I rose to my feet. “I don’t think so.” I rejected as I pulled it open to find a nervous Lindsay. “Finally!” I exhaled. “Look, there was a lot of traffic.” She explained, forcing her way inside. “Where is he?” “His bedroom.” I shrugged as she walked towards the stairs. “Adam!” She shouted but got nothing back. “Adam I know you didn’t lie to me then ignore me!” “I’m coming!” A muffled voice shouted back. “Hello there.” Lindsay quickly transitioned as she noticed Charlotte watching from the couch. “Lindsay this is my best friend Charlotte.” I quickly introduced. “Charlotte this is Adam’s best friend Lindsay.” “Hi.” Charlotte forced a smile. “You two gossiping about boys?” Lindsay pried. I went to shake my head no but Charlotte quickly nodded her head. “What do you think of Artie’s boyfriend? I’m not too sure on him yet.” “He’s a sweet guy.” Charlotte defended. “Plus he’s really crazy for Artie.” “He better be.” Lindsay nodded her head. “Adam, would you hurry up!” She shouted as she turned back towards the stairs. “Alright, I think I’m going to head out.” Charlotte rose to her feet. “No, no, please, stay.” I tried to insist, but could tell there was no convincing her. “We could use the support.” Lindsay nodded her head. “I’ve got my hands full with Artie as it is.” Charlotte shrugged. “I understand.” Lindsay sighed, reaching out and opening the door for her. “Text me?” I called out as she reached the exit. “Already sent.” She replied, shutting the door behind her. “She’s cute.” Lindsay remarked as we finally heard a door open and shut from the top of the stairs. “Yeah.” I agreed with a smile. Yet as I saw Adam finally walking down the stairs my grin faded. “You really had to get her?” Adam sighed as our eyes connected. “What else was I supposed to do?” I shrugged, but got no response. “So what happened?” Lindsay ordered as Adam took a seat on the couch. “Nothing. I’m sure you know it anyway.” He grumbled, staring at the coffee table in front of him. “I don’t actually.” She lied. “Artie wouldn’t tell me anything.” “Good.” He nodded his head. “So go on.” She encouraged, wanting to hear it from him. “No.” He refused, growing quiet once more. “You tell her or I will.” I threatened, playing along with Lindsay’s plan. “Judas.” He remarked, finally looking up to me then to her. “Nothing, Bradley and I just got into a drunken fight after the bar last night. We broke up. That’s it.” “I’m sorry.” Lindsay offered, taking a seat close to him. “What was the fight about?” “Nothing.” He lied once more. “Adam.” I pressured, keeping my eyes on him. “Bradley didn’t like that I took Artie in.” He grumbled in a low voice. “He didn’t want a boyfriend with a kid I guess.” “Oh.” Lindsay exhaled as the real truth of the argument hit her. “Artie, why don’t you go hang out upstairs?” “I overheard the whole argument.” I explained, refusing to leave. “It’s nothing I haven’t heard.” “Alright.” She sighed, trying to figure out what to say. “So this is it right Adam?” She suddenly provoked. “What?” He asked in an irritated voice. “This is it for Artie, right?” She continued to pressure. “You’re just going to ship him back to Texas now, right?” I couldn’t help but gulp at her question. “Why would you ask something that dumb when he’s sitting right here?” He asked as the anger in his voice grew. “Because that’s how you’re acting.” She pointed out. “You seem awfully upset you had to pick Artie over Bradley.” “That’s not why I’m upset.” He began to raise his voice. “I’m upset because I liked Bradley.” “You barely knew Bradley.” She said, continuing to point out the hard truths. “You dated for like four weeks, and he turned out to be an asshole.” “Alright.” He rolled his eyes. “Seriously,” She refused to let up. “you’re going to sit here and cry because you learned he’s not right for you? Seems to me like you saved yourself a lot of time and effort.” “You can be a real bitch, you know that?” He complained, looking back down. “I know.” She began to smile. “But that’s what you need sometimes.” “Yeah.” He agreed in a sigh. “But what am I supposed to do here Linds? This sucks.” “Eh, pack it all up and save it for a rainy day.” She suggested, quoting a familiar song. “Besides, I’ve seen you get your heart broken then find another guy within the week.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I saw Adam shoot her an angry look. “I thought guys didn’t fight over my Uncle.” “They don’t,” She swayed her head. “but he still finds a way to flag them down.” “And you guys call me a heartbreaker.” I couldn’t help but tease, finally drawing his stare. “You better get that homework done.” He warned in a strict voice. “I’m not calling you in sick again tomorrow.” “You called in sick for him too?!” Lindsay exclaimed as she overheard our conversation. “Adam!” “We stayed up late.” He shrugged before turning back to me. “Run before she starts yelling at you!” He warned in a quiet voice. “Whatever.” She gave in. “You two want to be stupid, you can be stupid together.” “We will be.” I decided in a confident voice. That night we wound up ordering a pizza and just hanging out. Before I knew it Adam’s mood seemed to turn around as he finally began to smile again! As the night went on I tried my hardest to keep his mood up but pretty soon he had mellowed out and grew quiet again. Lindsay assured me he would be better in the morning but I still couldn’t help but worry. That night before bed I told him not to eat much when he got home from work. I finally had a plan of my own to cheer him up! And it’s going to work, I swear! -- -- The next evening couldn’t come fast enough. Friends, class, it was fun, but I just needed the day to be over with! Dizzy and Ky kept teasing me about how fast I was moving, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to put my plan into action already! “Where are we going?” Adam protested, as he realized my plan meant leaving the house. “You’ll see.” I whined, dragging him out of the house and towards the bus stop. “Are you going to get us lost?” He asked in a serious voice. “Maybe.” I shrugged, trying my hardest to remember the directions. Yet as we stepped on the bus and began our journey it didn’t take him long to figure out where we were headed. “The Tavern?” He asked in a sigh. “I don’t know Artie.” “Yes, the Tavern.” I answered, refusing to hear anymore. “You told me to save the change from the other night and take Dizzy out to dinner, but I want to spend time with you.” He fought off a smile as he heard those words and looked out of the bus window. “Alright.” He accepted without another word. This time when we reached the Twin Peaks Tavern we found it a bit more crowded than that Sunday afternoon! It took some time to get a table but when we finally did I couldn’t help but feel my smile grow as Adam began to relax. “Stop it with the smug grin.” He groaned, staring down at his menu. “You’re glad you came.” I teased as he nodded his head. “Hello boys,” A waiter began as he reached our table. “My name is Mason, and I’ll be your waiter tonight. What can I get this little cutie?” He teased drawing a blush from me. “Uh, water.” I quickly recovered. “And for the big cutie?” He continued, looking over to Adam. As their eyes met Adam hesitated for a second before looking over to the bar. “Whatever beer on tap is best.” “I’ll make sure I get you the best we have.” The waiter smirked as he left the table. “Hmmm.” I let out, starting to stare Adam down. “Stop.” He warned, refusing to look back up. “Our waiters flirting with you.” I provoked with a growing smile. “He’s just trying to get a bigger tip.” Adam dismissed. “You’re such a liar.” I called out. “Whatever beer on tap is best.” I mimicked. “What kind of order is that anyway? You like him back.” “This isn’t high school, it’s not that simple.” Adam shook his head, yet as dinner went on I could tell his words were hollow. Mason made sure to visit our table as many times as he could without being over bearing or creepy, and of course, they always seemed to have a flirty exchange. “I’m going to the bathroom, please don’t do anything stupid.” Adam warned, seeing trouble in my eyes. “Me? Do something stupid? Never.” I teased with a growing smile. After a few moments passed I noticed Mason linger near the table before moving in to clear some plates. “You and your Dad need a check, or you think you’ll hang out a little longer?” “I don’t know.” I shrugged. “But he’s my Uncle not my Dad.” “Oh, sorry about that.” Mason offered, but I could tell he was happy with my answer. “And you guys left your Aunt behind today?” “He’s not married.” I answered. “Plus he’s gay anyway, and kind of looking for a boyfriend.” I hinted as my heart began to race. “Kind of?” Mason repeated, grabbing the last plate. “It’s complicated.” I tried to explain. “I think he just needs a little push.” “Well hopefully he gets one soon.” Mason played along. “Like real soon.” I tried to encourage. “You seem to know him well.” Mason said, trying to get as much information he could without appearing too nosy. “I live with him.” I nodded, knowing I would be the biggest obstacle for his next boyfriend. “He took me in, he’s kind of like, my hero.” “Well he seems very sweet.” Mason’s smile grew. “Trust me,” I called out as Mason began to walk away. “he is!” As Adam walked back to the table he signaled for the check and took a seat. “What are you up to?” “Nothing.” I shrugged, trying my hardest to keep my smile contained. “Alright boys, I hope you both have a very good night.” Mason offered, handing Adam the check with another piece of paper attached to it. “I’ll be paying that.” I teased, reaching out for it. “No, I’ve got it covered.” He waved off. “Save your money for Dizzy.” “Technically it’s your money.” I provoked trying to grab it, but Adam was too quick for me. “Aren’t you like a varsity baseball player or something?” He couldn’t help but laugh at my attempt. “The season hasn’t begun yet!” I yelped, taking another swing at it. This time I got the loose piece of paper behind the check. “Artie!” He scolded. “Hope you come back to visit real soon! And if you can’t, I hope you can give me a call sometime!” Below was Mason’s signature and phone number. My smile grew as I quickly handed it back to Adam who shoved it into his pocket “Ohhhh.” I teased as Adam slapped down some cash and stood up. “Bye Mason.” I offered as we passed by him on our way to the door. “Bye boys.” He called out with a friendly smile. “So you gonna text him?” I asked in a snooping voice. “I’m going to Dizzy’s house for dinner Friday night, maybe you can have Mason over.” “Stop.” He warned in a strict voice. “Come on.” I pressured, giving him a light bump. “I know you’re trying to help,” He sighed. “but I just got out of a relationship.” “And just like that you were flirting with our waiter.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Funny how that worked out.” “Arthur.” He groaned. “Adam.” I pushed back. “Maybe, maybe, I’ll text him to grab dinner some time.” He finally caved. “But that doesn’t mean anything.” “Not at all.” I teased, finally laying off as I saw a hint of excitement in his eyes. During the ride home I made sure to change the topic so he wouldn’t feel too pressured into anything. I can tell deep down he wants to call Mason, he just needs to come to that decision on his own first! “Artie,” Adam began as we reached home. “I, I know I was kind of a dick yesterday, so I’m sorry.” He began to apologize. “I didn’t mean any of it directed at you.” “I know.” I nodded as our eyes connected. “I really am happy I took you in.” He reassured, taking a deep look into my eyes. “I’ll never let any guy get in the way of that.” “Promise?” I couldn’t help but ask. “Promise.” He repeated, pulling me in for a hug. It may not always be perfect, but we’ll always have each other’s backs. From coming out of the closet to bad boyfriends, and everything in between, he’ll always be there for me and I’ll always be there for him.
  9. Aceinthehole

    Mr. Misunderstood

    Thank you all for understanding my situation!
  10. Aceinthehole

    Holding Back

    Couldn't have said it better myself 😉 Great analysis. I think you hit a good point in helping Adam with all of this will help Artie's own relationship grow.
  11. Aceinthehole

    Which do you prefer in your romance?

    As a writer I prefer M/M, although as a reader I would read anything so long as it works. The reason why I prefer M/M as a writer is because my writing needs to reflect me. As fun as a M/M/M sounds to me, it's just not something I would take emotionally well.
  12. Aceinthehole

    Holding Back

    Chapter 14: Holding Back That night was perhaps my favorite night so far in San Francisco, hell, maybe even my favorite night of my life! I was surrounded by friends and good music, what more could I ask for? They don’t even like this type of music! Yet here they are, without a single complaint. But everything that goes up must come down, and as another slow song came on I found myself starting to zone out. “I’m going to go get a soda.” I lied, slipping away from them before anyone could follow me. Before I knew it I found myself sitting on the curb outside, thinking everything over while trying my hardest to stay on top of my emotions. “There you are!” Ky shouted in a sigh of relief. “You had us all worried man.” “Oh, sorry.” I apologized but didn’t look back. “Have I been gone that long?” “Long enough.” He shrugged, walking up and taking a seat next to me. “What’s the matter? Do you want me to go get Dizzy?” “No, I just needed a minute of quiet.” I lied once more. “Let’s go back inside.” I encouraged as I rose to my feet. “Artie,” Ky began reaching up and lightly grabbing my arm. “It’s okay not to be, well, okay.” “I’m fine.” I insisted. “Man, Dizzy’s right, you are a terrible liar.” Ky teased. “Just tell me, I promise I won’t tell anyone.” I took a deep breath before sitting back down. “One of the songs they were playing, it was, well it was a song my Mom used to sing to me all the time.” “Oh,” Ky exhaled, seemingly picking up on what I was trying to say. “you don’t see her much anymore, do you?” “She passed away a couple weeks ago.” I confessed, staring out at the road in front of us. “I am so sorry Artie.” Ky offered, looking over to me. “My Grandfather always used to tell me the proverb, duty is heavy as a mountain, but death is lighter than a feather.” He said it in a nervous breath. “I guess it’s kind of a fancy way to say she’s in a better place where nothing can hurt her. I know that may not help you too much, but she’s at peace. I can promise you that.” “Thank you, that does help.” I exhaled, finally looking over at him. “Anytime.” He forced a smile. “You’re a lot stronger than I thought. I don’t know how you do it.” “Everyone says that.” I nodded my head. “But I honestly don’t think I’m strong or anything. I just, I needed some type of normal back in my life. If my mom was still alive, well, I’d be going to school every day. So that’s what I’m doing.” “What’s going on?” Dizzy ran out of the club before Ky could say anything else. “Nothing.” I dismissed, as he took a seat on my other side. “One of the songs they played was a song Artie’s Mom would always sing him.” Ky replied, instantly breaking his promise. “Dude!” I shouted, shooting him a stern look. “You promised it would stay between us.” “No, I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone,” Ky shrugged. “and Dizzy’s not anyone.” “Thank you Ky.” Dizzy nodded, before throwing his arm over my shoulder. “You alright?” “I’m fine.” I lied, looking straight forward once more. “You want to go home?” He asked in a serious voice. “I don’t think so,” I shook my head. “but I, I don’t know if I’m ready to go back inside either.” Dizzy grew quiet for a few seconds before rising to his feet and reaching out his hand. “Come on.” He encouraged. I hesitated at first but followed along as I placed my trust in his words. “we’ll bring inside out here.” He smiled, pulling headphones out of his pocket. “I’ll go find Charlotte and let her know everything’s okay.” Ky offered, heading back towards the entrance to the club. “Ky,” I began as he looked back and our eyes connected. “Thank you. I, I really needed that.” “Anytime.” He repeated with a forced smile before darting inside. “We need to find him a boyfriend.” Dizzy announced as Ky slipped inside. “Why? You worried?” I teased, trying my hardest to lighten the mood. “No,” He quickly shot down. “he just deserves someone. Don’t you agree?” “Yeah,” I nodded. “he’ll be an amazing boyfriend to someone.” I noticed Dizzy’s stare grow a bit more concerned as he heard those words. “But not the one I want. He’s smart and kind, but too, too, passive. I need someone to take me by the hand and show me the way.” “Then allow me.” He decided, placing an ear-bud in my ear and extending a hand. I nodded without a word as music began to play in my one ear. Soon we had our own club going outside of the real one. Just Dizzy and I as the world passed around us, and that, it’s exactly what I needed. No matter how fast life moves, I’m starting to think I’ll always have him to pick me back up. “You alright?” Charlotte asked as they came out of the club, causing me and Dizzy to separate only after a couple of songs. “Yeah.” I forced a smile. “I’m fine.” “Good.” She forced a smile. “Are you boys ready to go home now? It’s like eleven!” “Uh oh guys, its past Char’s bed time!” Dizzy teased but only got a shake of the head from me. “Oh come on, it is!” He insisted with a smile. “So much so that you two can go on, and I’ll take Artie home.” “Smooth.” Ky nodded in approval. “I can take Artie home.” She complained, starting to stare down Dizzy. “No, that’s okay.” I dismissed, looking back to Dizzy. “He’s got it covered.” “But Artie,” She began before Ky could grab her hand. “He’s got it covered.” I shrugged. “Fine.” She gave in as our eyes connected. She took a few steps forward and pulled me in for a hug. “I want to know everything that happens tonight.” She whispered. I nodded as she let me go. I instantly grabbed back onto Dizzy’s hand. “What’s going to happen tonight?” Dizzy asked with a wicked smile. “I don’t know.” I playfully shrugged as we headed to the opposite bus stop from them. “But I guess you’re staying over.” “I was banking on it.” His smirk grew. It didn’t take us long to get home from there. Sure, the bus ran a bit slower than normal, but there wasn’t much traffic to contend with. When we got back to my home we tried to be as quiet as possible as we snuck up to my bedroom. “Alright, you know the drill by now.” I began as I started to pull pajamas out of my dresser. “I’ll go get changed and be right back.” I instructed but as I went to turn around noticed Dizzy in only his boxers. “Dizzy!” I yelped before looking right down. “What?” He giggled. “I was just getting changed. I don’t think you have to go all the way down the hall for that.” “Oh, I, yeah.” I began to stutter as a blush overtook my face. “That’d just be more noise that risks waking up Adam, isn’t it?” He teased as his mind began to find whatever excuse it could. “I, yeah.” I gulped, starting to take off my shirt. My hands begin to lightly tremble as I tried my hardest to get changed. It’s funny, I’ve gotten changed a bunch of times in front of other guys. I mean you have to do it every gym class! And sure, I guess in a way Dizzy and I have gotten changed in front of each other before because of gym class! But this, it just feels, different. “So I uh,” I froze as I looked back up and noticed him still in his boxers. “You said you were getting changed!” I whined. “I did. Maybe this is just my pajamas.” He shrugged with a smirk. “Dizzy!” I quietly yelped. “I’m just playing around.” He giggled as he pulled shorts out of his bag. I nodded, but as I started to pull my jeans down I noticed him look away. He’s giving me privacy? Didn’t he start this just to see me in my underwear? What’s he playing at? I gave him a few more seconds, but he kept his eyes away in an effort to give me as much space as possible. “Dizzy.” I began in a shaky voice. “Maybe, maybe we can have one more dance tonight?” “Yeah?” He asked, finally looking back at me. He tried to hide his surprise as he saw me still standing in my boxer briefs. “Yeah.” I extended my hand as he dropped the shorts that were in his hand. He took my hand and pulled me in close. “You don’t have to do this.” He offered. “I want to.” I forced a smile as our bodies met. “Dizzy.” I gulped as he began to kiss my neck and his hands lowered from my waist to my bottom. “I, remember we said we weren’t going to start our relationship on this?” “Sorry.” He sighed, but kept his head resting on me. “You’re just so hot it’s hard to keep pressing the brakes here.” “Then maybe we should stop.” I teased with a smile. “No, I’ll behave.” He exhaled but as he raised his hands back to my hips I let out a sigh. “Maybe you don’t have to behave that much.” I teased, causing his hands to instantly drop back down. “You like me.” He provoked with a giggle. “Yeah.” I shrugged with a smile. “But we’re going to do this right.” “I know.” He groaned. “And for the record, I, I think you’re hot too.” I forced out. “I know.” He teased as his smile grew. Maybe this seems weird to him. Maybe dancing in our underwear is weird! But this is my limit right now. This is as far as I’m comfortable going. I guess I want to be close to him, but I’m just not ready for sex yet. Call me old school, but I need our emotional base first. I need to know I can completely and fully trust him. I need to know that no matter what, he’s not going anywhere. That this isn’t just for the sex. Without warning we suddenly heard the front door open then shut, sending us both flying back from one another. “Who’s that?” Dizzy asked with wide eyes. “I don’t know.” I shook my head. “Maybe it’s Adam, maybe he wasn’t home yet. He was out with Bradley.” “What if he comes to check on you?” Dizzy panicked as he grabbed his shorts off the ground. “He wont.” I dismissed, walking over and locking the door. “You’re way too calm right now!” Dizzy yelped, throwing me my shorts. “It’s Adam.” I shrugged, starting to put them on. “He’s cool.” “Sure, he’s easy going, but I don’t think he’ll be very cool about us dancing nearly naked!” Dizzy continued to slightly freak out. “I can already hear it! I told you to take it easy Dizzy!” He began in the best impression he could manage. “Not dance nude with him!” “We weren’t dancing nude.” I defended as I looked over to him in surprise. “It was going that way!” He insisted. “No it wasn’t.” I laughed with the shake of my head. “You just said you’d pump the brakes.” “Oh the brakes fell off the second I felt your boner poking mine and you know it!” He teased, now exaggerating his panic to make me laugh. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I shrugged, throwing on a shirt and starting to play dumb. “Wait,” I hushed before he could make another joke. “who’s that voice?” I asked as I realized Adam was talking to someone. “What voice?” Dizzy asked as I quietly snuck towards the door and pulled it open. “Is that Bradley?” Dizzy excitedly asked. “I think it is!” I yelped, starting to slide out of the door. “Where are you going?” Dizzy whispered. “To see what I can see.” I shrugged with a smirk. “No! Artie! No!” Dizzy tried to stop me. “Never thought I’d see the day you were scared.” I teased, knowing how to get under his skin. “No wonder I didn’t really feel any balls.” Dizzy froze as he heard that joke and stared at me. “Friendly fire.” He shook his head. “Come on, that was a good one.” I lightly laughed to myself. “That was a mean one.” He corrected as his smile finally started to grow again. “God damn Artie, we’re on the same side!” “Then come on! Before he leaves!” I encouraged as we both finally slipped out of the room and down towards the stairs. We stayed quiet as we hugged the wall, close enough to the stairs where Adam couldn’t see us but we could hear them. “So you had fun tonight?” I heard an unfamiliar voice come from about where the couch was. “I did,” Adam replied in a flirty voice. “but the nights not over yet.” I felt disgust cover my face as I turned towards Dizzy. “You happy now?” He whispered. “You really wanted to know that they’re going to bang tonight?!” “That, that doesn’t mean that!” I tried to defend as my mind tried to already force the memory out of my head. “You’re so naive.” He rolled his eyes. “Just, shhhh.” I hushed him. “You’re a wild one Adam Price.” The other man played along. “Alright, I know where this is going!” Dizzy started to stand back up. “I just need to know,” The other man began, freezing us both. “what are with those boots?” “What boots?” Adam asked as nerves started to enter his voice. “Those boots.” The man continued. “There’s no way those things fit you! What are they a size eight?” “I have small feet.” Adam defended, drawing a curious stare from Dizzy. “No you don’t.” The man shot down. “You go to Texas, go kind of quiet on me, come back with small boots. What’s going on with you?” “It’s nothing Brad.” Adam dismissed, trying his hardest to change the conversation. “And who’s backpack is that?” The man continued as he started to snoop around the room. “Someone’s staying here with you.” “It’s no one.” Adam tried to shut down. “Alright.” Dizzy whispered once more. “Really, this is enough now. “Stop,” I warned, looking back to him. “I want to hear this.” “It’s clearly not.” Bradley insisted as his voice began to grow serious. “Fine, have a seat.” Adam groaned, forced to open up. “When I went to Texas, well, I wound up bringing back my Nephew.” “Bringing back?” Bradley repeated. “As in, well, taking him in.” Adam exhaled. “For how long?” Bradley asked as I heard the excitement fade from his voice. “For as long as he wants.” Adam replied, clearly nervous about his confession. “He can stay here until he’s thirty if he really wants.” “Jesus Christ Adam, how old is he now?” The man pressured, almost sounding annoyed. “Fifteen.” Adam answered. “What do you mean Jesus Christ?” “I mean you’re only thirty one.” Bradley began. “Taking in a fifteen year old, that’s a big commitment. You can’t be a father right now, that, that’s a lot of luggage.” “I’m not trying to be a father.” Adam warned as he grew irritated. “And please don’t call my nephew luggage.” “What else am I supposed to call him?” Bradley asked. “You want my honest opinion? Send him back, or only take him in until he’s eighteen.” “Excuse me?” Adam let out in shock. “Come on Adam, I know you know what I’m saying.” Bradley replied. “How many men are going to be thrilled that you have a kid?” “I really don’t care if they’re thrilled or not, it’s not their place to say.” Adam sternly let out. “Don’t get like that,” Bradley warned. “it’s nothing personal, it’s just, maybe taking him in wasn’t the best thing for you. He’s going to hold you back.” “Get out.” Adam demanded as I heard agitation turn to anger. “Oh please,” “Get. Out.” Adam repeated in a much more intense voice. “Throw me out now and we’re through.” Bradley threatened. Dizzy and I moved back as we heard their voices head towards the door. “Oh we’re already through.” Adam let out a pissed off laugh. “How dare you tell me how I should handle my family.” “You’re making a huge mistake.” Bradley said, clearly taking his time. “Oh please, you’re breath smells like shit.” Adam dismissed. “You’re an ugly person on the inside, you know that?” Bradley began to take shots. “I guess that’s why you never let anyone in.” “Maybe you just never gave me a good reason to let you in. I mean where the fuck where you? My sister died.” Adam emphasized. “I wasn’t visiting home when I went back. I was going to her wake and funeral, and you knew that.” “You said you didn’t want me to come.” Bradley argued. “And you kept me an arm’s length away after.” “You didn’t have to come to be a good boyfriend. You never tried to even talk to me about it, or comfort me, or anything!” Adam began to shout in an angry voice. “It’s like you didn’t fucking care, and when you find out about my nephew you tell me to get rid of him? You’re a real piece of shit.” “Oh grow up.” Bradley shot back before I heard the door slam in his face. As me and Dizzy looked at one another I could tell neither of us knew what to say. It was as though I could feel what Adam was feeling. Like I could feel that punch to the gut. It was quiet for a while after we heard Adam plop down onto the couch. Every now and again I swear you could hear a sniffle, but for the most part it seemed like he was just sitting there thinking. “Well go ahead.” Dizzy gave me a push. “I-I don’t know what to say.” I gulped. “I, can’t you go?” “I’m not supposed to be here!” He whispered in a stern voice. “Now go!” “What am I supposed to do?” I asked but could tell he didn’t know either. “He changed his whole life just to take me in. I’ve cost him money, and time and now his boyfriend!” “You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.” Dizzy encouraged giving me one last shove. Adam stayed staring forward as he heard me start to come down the stairs. “Hey.” I forced out, unsure where to start. “Sorry, did I wake you?” Adam asked, still looking forward. “No, I’ve been up.” I forced out, slowly getting closer. “You have fun at that club tonight?” He asked in a quiet voice. “Yeah, I uh, I have your change upstairs.” I said, taking a seat in my normal spot. “Keep it.” He shook his head. “Use it to take Dizzy to dinner or something.” “Oh, uh, thank you.” I replied, glancing at him then away. “Are you, are you okay?” “I’m fine.” He dismissed. “I just went out for a few drinks with Lindsay and Bradley. I’m trying to sober up before bed. Sorry if I’m acting a bit weird. I’m just tired.” “Oh okay.” I nodded my head but as I began to shift in my seat felt something start to rise in me. “You don’t have to lie to me, it’s okay not to be okay.” I suddenly quoted Ky, shocking even myself. “I, I heard what was happening.” “It was just a drunken argument.” Adam shook his head. “No, it wasn’t.” I called him out before he could feed me any lies. “You chose me.” “I didn’t choose anyone.” Adam tried to reject. “Stop.” I instructed, slowly moving closer to him. “I’m sorry Adam. I’m sorry that I’ve cost you a boyfriend. You don’t’ deserve that.” “You didn’t cost me anything.” He assured, looking up at me for the first time all night. “Get that out of your head right now. I never want to hear you say it again. You’re not an inconvenience. You’re not something that’s costing me things. You’re just a kid who keeps getting pulled into shitty situations.” “But I, I don’t want to hold you back.” I confessed, as Bradley’s words bounced around in my head. “You’re not holding me back.” Adam insisted. “These past two weeks, they’re the most I’ve grown in a long time. So just, stop overthinking.” “Sorry.” I exhaled, trying my hardest to think of something to say. “I uh, you’re better off without him.” I forced out, not knowing what else to do. “I know.” He slowly nodded. “Why don’t you go to bed, it’s getting late.” “No.” I shook my head. “I, I’m not leaving you. I don’t know what to say, but I’m not going anywhere.” “Alright.” He accepted as the room grew quiet once more. Even though Adam didn’t say anything I could tell it meant a lot that I was there with him. He doesn’t have to go through this alone, not while I’m around. I may not know much about break ups but the least I could do is be there when he needs it. I’ll make this up to you Adam. I swear to God I will.
  13. Aceinthehole

    Mr. Misunderstood

    Haha trust me, it kills me not to be able to write whenever I want! Especially when an idea hits me out of nowhere! The notes app on my phone has never gotten so much use. However I need to start saving up to move out soon. I don't know how much longer I can handle living with my parents!
  14. Aceinthehole

    Mr. Misunderstood

    Chapter 13: Mr. Misunderstood There was just something special about rolling around on my couch kissing Dizzy. Maybe it was the threat that Adam could come down at any second, or the fact that I’m finally open with my sexuality, but god damn did we have sparks flying! Eventually we wore ourselves out enough to put on Game of Thrones and cuddle. “So that doesn’t turn you on at all?” Dizzy asked as a shirtless women walked across the screen. “No.” I laughed, looking at the teen on my shoulder. “I think that’s what the whole being gay thing means.” “But boobs are so soft.” He argued glancing up at me. “Then maybe you should go date a girl.” I shrugged, trying my hardest to fake disappointment. “I didn’t mean it like that.” He quickly tried to recover. “I mean, besides, you have something better.” He teased, placing his hand on my thigh. “Don’t even think about it.” I dismissed, waiving his hand off my leg. “Damn, I was close that time.” He smirked, keeping his eyes on mine. “I’m sure you were.” I nodded before looking back to the T.V. “Boys,” Adam groaned as he walked down the stairs. “didn’t I tell you to make room for Jesus?” “We did.” I defended, pausing the show before it could be interrupted again. “and what happened?” He asked, approaching the door. “He never showed.” I shrugged. “Ha!” Dizzy yelped as Adam rolled his eyes. “Good right?” I asked as he looked back up at me. “Really good.” Dizzy approved. “Just say it with a little more confidence next time.” “Oh okay, Adam ask me again.” I teased, looking back as he pulled the door open. “What?” He asked, glancing over to us. “No! What’s the matter with you two?” “We were raised by electronics.” Dizzy shrugged. “We hardly know how to talk to people, it’s a real shame.” “That’s not what I meant.” He groaned, slightly leaning out of the door. “Lindsay hurry up! They’re driving me insane!” “They?” I heard Lindsay shout from outside of the house. “Who is they?” As I felt my heart begin to beat faster I pushed Dizzy off of me and sat up straight. “Okay,” He grunted, letting himself fall back onto the couch. “there was a nicer way to do that.” “Gee, you take one day off with the kid and you’re already flying the pride flag.” Lindsay remarked as she finally reached the doorway. “I take it you two had a pretty big heart to heart.” “You could say that.” Adam nodded, looking back over to me. “How you doing heartbreaker?” Lindsay smiled as our eyes connected. “Heartbreaker?” Dizzy repeated. “He’s not a heartbreaker, he’s a flatliner!” “Dizzy!” I yelped, looking right back ay him. “Shh.” He threw his hands up and kept his lips shut but as he saw Adam begin to chuckle, he made sure to flash him a wink. “And who is this um, loud, child?” She asked, looking over to Dizzy. I looked up at Adam but he simply took a step back and waited for me to explain. “Well.” I began as I noticed Dizzy inching closer for support. “I uh, I spoke with Adam last night and he told me he was gay.” I gulped as my heart began to race even faster. “And I realized some stuff. Like that I, I’m gay too.” I finally forced out through my nervousness. She nodded her head as her smile grew. “Didn’t see that coming.” She exhaled as she studied me closer. “You really are a mini Adam.” “He is, isn’t he?” Dizzy asked, looking over and staring at Adam. “What’s that look?” Adam asked, taking a big step away from the couch. “It’s creeping me out.” “I’m fine with that.” Dizzy nodded with a smirk. “With creeping me out?” Adam inquired, but I could tell he knew what Dizzy meant. “Sure.” Dizzy shrugged, enjoying the chaos he had caused. “Lindsay this, this is my friend Dizzy and we uh, we’re dating.” I continued to explain as a blush coated my face. “So those girls you were talking about?” Lindsay began looking over to Adam. “They were guys.” Adam confirmed for me. “Huh.” She let out, looking back to Dizzy. “When you said the person you were dating is adventurous, I didn’t expect this.” “You called me adventurous?” Dizzy asked with a growing smile. “I called you annoying and she misheard.” I teased, matching his smile. “So then has Artie met Bradley?” Lindsay asked, immediately drawing my attention. “Who’s Bradley?” I immediately turned back towards Adam as my smile turned devious. “Lindsay.” Adam grunted with a stern look. “Ooooo.” Dizzy began. “I bet he’s hot.” “He is.” Lindsay quickly nodded her head. “Lindsay!” Adam repeated in a louder voice. “Sorry.” She shrugged. “It was going to come out eventually.” “Who is he?” I insisted in a louder voice. “We started seeing each other a week or two before you moved in.” Adam sighed as he was forced to open up further. “He’s never even been over, it’s really nothing serious.” “Wait, but I’ve never seen you go out.” I pressured, trying my hardest to connect the pieces. “You’re not home very much,” Adam pointed out. “and I get out of work earlier than you get out of school.” “So when do I get to meet him?” I instigated, knowing Lindsay would force him to be honest. “When things get a little bit more serious.” Adam defended, starting to close himself up again. “You’ve met Dizzy.” I whined as Dizzy moved even closer to me. “Yeah.” He supported, throwing his arm around me. “You met me.” “And I’m so glad I did.” Adam sarcastically replied. “Didn’t I tell you two to make room between one another?” “Oh please Adam.” Lindsay rolled her eyes as she took a seat on the couch near us, making sure to hold a white box in her hands tightly. “When we were teenagers my Dad practically had to pull you and your boyfriends apart.” “Boyfriends?” I asked, making sure to emphasize the S. “Yes, I happened to be very good looking as a teenager.” Adam proudly bragged, finally joining us on the couch. “I believe it.” Dizzy smirked, looking back over atß me. “Again, creeping me out.” Adam complained, staring at the box in Lindsay’s hands. “What do you have?” “What do you think I have?” She sighed, pulling it open and flashing us the half a dozen donuts that laid inside before slamming it shut. “Woh!” Dizzy yelped. “I don’t know who you are, but I like you.” “I’m Adam’s best friend,” She proudly announced. “and you boys eat a good dinner and you can each have one.” “Wait,” Adam began before anyone could get too excited. “did something go wrong with the donations?” “Nothing went wrong.” Lindsay sighed as she shot Adam a serious look. “The bakery operates just fine when you take off. I just thought Artie would appreciate some donuts.” “Alright, sorry.” Adam backed off. “What do you mean donations?” I asked, looking over to him. “It’s nothing.” He dismissed. “I was just being stupid.” “You could say that again.” Lindsay smiled. “We donate the leftover donuts to local soup kitchens and whatever shelters will take them.” “That’s why so many homeless people in San Francisco have no teeth!” Dizzy teased, making sure to show off his personality. “So this is the one you went with?” Lindsay teased as she looked over to me. “Nice. Real nice.” “He’s fun.” I shrugged with a blush. “I’m more than fun.” Dizzy defended as he thought it over. “I’m, well, adventurous!” “Yeah, you’re a regular Indiana Jones.” Adam rolled his eyes. “Glad you think so.” Dizzy smirked, making sure to flash him a wink as the room grew quiet. “I know you think it’s funny to flirt with me,” Adam groaned, shooting him a serious look. “but I’m willing to bet Artie doesn’t feel the same way.” “I don’t know.” I swayed my head. “It’s kinda funny that it flusters you.” “It does not fluster me, it just, it,” Adam stuttered as his face began to turn red. “it creeps me out.” “He’s totally flustered.” Lindsay remarked with a growing smile. “Lindsay!” He yelped in a loud voice. “Oh don’t be a baby.” She dismissed as she rose to her feet. “Now are you boys going to help me cook, or just sit there like a group of bums?” “Cook.” Adam answered, making sure to keep his eyes on me and Dizzy. “I can stay for dinner?” Dizzy asked with a growing smile. “If you help.” Adam answered, joining Lindsay as she headed to the kitchen. “Then thank God I always pay attention in Mr. Jacobs’ class.” Dizzy teased as we both stood up. “Yeah? What did we cook on my first day?” I provoked, as he gave me a light push forward. “Fish.” He confidently replied. “I remember everything about that day.” “Like how you crawled through the window?” I giggled as we slowly walked towards the kitchen. “I prefer the world climbed.” He corrected. “Are you two going to help, or are you just going to flirt all night?” Adam pressured as he glanced over at us. “Uh oh.” Dizzy began. “Someone’s getting jealous.” “Lindsay, you take him and I’ll take Artie.” Adam rolled his eyes. “Why can’t we just work together?” I protested causing Lindsay to shake her head. “Because I’d like dinner to be done tonight.” She shot down without missing a beat. “Plus I need to get to know the kid who’s spending so much time around my two favorite people.” “I’m one of your favorite people?” I smiled, joining Adam at the counter. “You’re number one.” She nodded. “Hey!” Adam yelped, looking back at her and drawing a laugh from everyone. I tried my hardest to focus on what I was doing, but it seemed like Dizzy was working just as hard to distract me! Lindsay tried her hardest to keep him on track, but at the end of the day she was no match. Eventually she had to tap out and switch with me just to keep him quiet! Yet even then I could tell she was starting to like him. Just like with Adam, Dizzy was growing on her. The new family I was building was finally coming together, and I don’t know of anything that could make me happier! The rest of our night was loud, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. -- -- When both Lindsay and Dizzy finally left Adam and I took our normal spots on the couch. Just like every night before he picked up his Xbox controller and I found my nose in another book. “You have fun today?” Adam suddenly asked, glancing over to me. “Yeah.” I nodded, looking up from the book and into his eyes. “Maybe we can try to do something like this every weekend,” He nervously began. “like try and spend a day together or something.” “Wouldn’t that be a little hard with work, especially if I start working for you soon?” I asked, shooting him a confused look. “You think too much.” He complained. “We could always just go out to dinner after we both get off of work.” “I’d like that.” I smiled as he put down the controller and started to dig through the pile of mail on the table. “So,” He began, pulling a white envelope out of the pile. “I, I got this letter for you a day or two ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to give it to you.” “Who’s it from?” I asked, feeling my heart beginning to beat faster. “Sadie.” He replied in a serious look. “You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.” “I want to.” I nodded as he extended the letter to me. With a slightly trembling hand I ripped open the envelope and pulled out the letter. Before I could even unfold it a photograph dropped from the now empty envelope. Adam motioned for me to focus on the letter as he bent down and picked the picture up from the ground. “Wow.” He remarked as he took a long look at it. “That, you were a cute kid.” He teased, turning it around and showing off a picture of eight year old me leaning against my mother. “I’ll go find you a frame for it.” He decided as I stayed quiet. I eagerly unfolded the letter as he disappeared down the basement stairs. “ Arthur, I pray that this letter finds you well. You have been in my thoughts and prayers every single night since you left. I found this picture of you and Sarah a few days ago, and figured you would want it. I know these past two weeks probably haven’t been easy for you, but you’re a strong kid, I bet you’ve even made some new friends! I’ve never been to California before, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful there. Don’t be afraid to put down whatever book you’re reading and explore the city. It’s what your mother would’ve wanted. Please don’t let yourself become a stranger Arthur. I know you’re hours away, but you know my number. I’d love to hear how you’re doing. I’d love to hear about San Francisco. Most importantly hold onto your faith tightly. It’s the greatest gift your mother could’ve given to you. It’ll keep you on the right path, no matter who you’re around over there. Stay safe and may God be with you. Love always, Sadie Barnes “ I took a deep breath as I read the letter over and over again, before finally taking out my cell phone and staring at her contact on my phone. In a brave motion I tapped her number and raised the phone to my ear as it began to ring. “Arthur!” She excitedly yelped as she picked up on the other end. “I’m so glad you called! I take it you got my letter!” “I just read it.” I confirmed in a shaky voice. “Thanks for sending the picture, I, do you have any more?” “Maybe.” She answered as she began to think it over. “I’ll look in the morning and send whatever I can find.” “How, how did you find our new address?” I asked, worried about who else from Texas could try and find us if they wished. “Just spoke to the right people.” She side stepped the question. “Enough about that though. How’s San Francisco? Are you leaving your room?” “It’s beautiful.” I quickly answered. “I-I’m hardly home. I’ve seen so much of it already, and I have so much left to see.” “Have you seen the Golden Gate Bridge yet?” She asked, trying to sound as excited for me as she could. “I went there my first full day here.” I answered as Adam emerged from the basement. “Found one!” He exclaimed, showing off a small black frame. “Who are you talking to?” “Sadie.” I answered, watching as he managed the photograph into the frame. “Yes?” She asked, confused as to why I had suddenly said her name. “No, I was talking to Adam, he asked who I was on the phone with.” I over explained, but froze as I heard a sigh escape her lips. “Hi Sadie.” He shouted towards the phone, knowing it would get under her skin. “I’ll go put this up in your room.” He offered, climbing the stairs to give me some privacy. “I still don’t understand why you hate him.” I announced in a strong voice. “He’s just not like us Arthur.” She dismissed, trying to side step yet another question. “He’s more like me than you know.” I warned, silencing her. “Look, if you want to keep talking to me, you’ll have to accept him.” “I can’t do that,” She rejected. “and I’m not sure that’s really fair. I want a relationship with you, not him.” “Because he’s gay?” I asked, but got no reply. “Like that even matters. Who cares?” “He’s a sinner.” She finally began again. “No, he’s not.” I insisted. “He took me in when no one else would. He’s fed me, housed me, and been there for me every time I needed it. He pays for me to go out with my friends, and tries to leave me lunch money every morning. He paid like a hundred and fifty dollars so I could be on the summer baseball team and didn’t even complain!” “It’s not that simple.” She tried to argue. “I think it is.” I insisted in a yelp. “My commandment is this,” I began to quote the Bible. “love each other as I have loved you. Isn’t that what Jesus said? Isn’t that how we’re supposed to live?” “Two weeks out there and you sound just like him.” She groaned, clearly not impressed by my tone. “Good.” I continued in a loud voice. “I’m proud to. He’s my Uncle, and he’s’ been there for me every step of the way so far. If you actually want a relationship with me, you’ll learn to bury the past. If you can’t accept Adam, you can’t accept me.” “Arthur this is all a bit dramatic.” She tried to argue. “Well maybe that’s what happens when you keep a teenager in the dark his whole life.” I warned, unable to bring my voice down. “Don’t call or write me again unless you accept Adam for everything he is.” I warned, before ending the call and letting out a deep breath. “That was, intense.” Adam exhaled as he climbed down the stairs. “You were eavesdropping?” I groaned, looking back at him. “You were yelling.” He shrugged, taking a long look at me. “Thank you Artie.” “Can we not talk about it?” I asked, putting my phone away and picking my book back up. “Why? You don’t want to talk about how much you love me?” He teased with a smirk. “I just don’t want to talk about Texas.” I grumbled, forcing my eyes into my book. “You’re that angry about it?” He pressured, trying his hardest to understand what I was thinking. “It’s just a bunch of, a bunch of, bullshit!” I finally let out. “Sadie acts like she cares about me, but she doesn’t! I bet she sent that letter out of guilt!” “Why do you say that?” He asked, trying his hardest to force eye contact. “Because she wasn’t even willing to take me in.” I explained in an angry voice. “She kept saying she’d always be there for me, but she never actually wanted to take that step.” “Artie, that’s a lot to ask of a person.” Adam swayed his head. “You did it.” I argued. “I know, but I, I almost didn’t, remember? You practically had to beg me.” He recalled. “And yes, I’m so glad I did. But it was a scary decision. I mean, I’m still trying to learn how to be an adult myself! Bringing a kid into the mix wasn’t easy.” “So you’re going to defend her?” I asked, glancing up then right back down. “Not defend.” He tried to clarify. “I get what you’re saying, it’s just, taking someone in isn’t a small step you know?” “I guess.” I sighed, starting to fall back into my own head. “That’s not all, is it?” He pried in a concerned voice. “No, maybe, I don’t know.” I stuttered. “I just, I miss it too, alright?” “You miss it?” Adam repeated in surprise. “Yes. I miss Texas.” I confessed. “I miss sitting on the dock fishing in the lake. I miss riding bikes down dirt roads. I miss farming. I miss waking up to watch the sun rise. I miss hanging out with people in fields. I know that sounds stupid, but I just do.” “It doesn’t sound stupid.” Adam tried his hardest to comfort. “You’re homesick, I understand.” “Do you?” I asked, finally looking back at him. “Yeah.” He forced a nod. “Believe it or not, well, I still miss Texas from time to time. I know I said I don’t but it can be hard not to. The food, the sights, the quiet, I don’t know, it can be nice. Okay, maybe I don’t miss our home town in particular, but I’m not going to let those fanatics ruin the whole state.” “Me neither.” I agreed with a nod. We spent the rest of the night reminiscing about our home state. At first I didn’t believe him about being homesick, but the more we spoke, the more I could see just how much it meant to him. I guess what I said really was true. I’m more like Adam than Sadie knows. Actually, I’m more like him than I know! Just like the days before Adam was able to calm me down enough to give me a good night’s rest. This is why I’m so glad he took me in. This is why I won’t talk to Sadie again unless she accepts him. Sure, maybe it has a little bit to do with my sexuality, but it’s much more than that. Adam’s an amazing guy. He deserves so much more than to be thrown away like yesterday’s news! -- -- When the school week finally began I noticed Dizzy watching me a little closer than usual. It was as though he knew something was up, as though Adam told him! I really need to pay more attention when they talk through their video games! Ky hung around us but was quiet. He was trying his hardest to adjust back into the group, but I could tell it was hard for him. We all tried our hardest to make sure he felt welcome, but there was still some tension that needed to be resolved before everything could fully go back to normal! Yet Tuesday night when I got home from baseball practice I found some of my clothes neatly laid out on my bed. Blue jeans with a belt laid on it sat at the bottom as a nice button up plaid shirt sat above it. “Went out with Bradley. Get showered and changed and have a good night with your friends. -Adam “ A note above it with forty dollars next to it read. I eagerly followed directions and jumped in the shower. What in the world could Adam mean? It’s a Tuesday night after all! What does he mean have a good night with your friends?! After I got dressed I anxiously sat on the couch and read, excitedly waiting for the next hint at what my night held. I must’ve texted Dizzy and Charlotte fifty times each but got no response from either of them, until finally I heard a knocking begin at my front door. “Hello?” I nervously asked as I pulled it open to find Dizzy, Ky and Charlotte all standing there. I froze for a second as I realized how nicely they were all dressed. I mean it was nothing fancy or anything, but it was clear we were going somewhere special! “Well, come on.” Dizzy encouraged with a wide smile. “We’ve got a bus to catch.” “What’s happening?” I skeptically asked, looking around the group. “You’ll see.” Charlotte insisted. “Just come on!” “Alright, alright.” I giggled, following them down the street to the bus stop. The ride to our mystery destination was full of laughter and goofing around. Even Ky was playing along with most of the jokes and smiling! For the first time since I got here things felt, well, normal again! “Here we are!” Dizzy proudly announced. “The Make Out Room?” I asked, reading the large sign sticking out from the front of the building. “Look, it’s one of the best clubs in San Francisco.” Dizzy tried to explain. “Every now and again they have teenage nights where they turn it into a club for teens.” “And tonight,” Charlotte excitedly began. “is country night!” “No it’s not!” I shouted as my heart began to race. “Yup.” Dizzy nodded as both our smiles grew wide. “I uh, well, Ky found out about it.” “No,” Ky quickly began. “it was totally Dizzy’s idea. He wanted all of us to do something to help you feel less homesick.” “But you found this.” Dizzy insisted. “We were both searching for things. You would’ve found it eventually.” He humbly tried to step back. “Thank you Ky.” I smiled as our eyes connected. “Maybe we’ll find you a guy inside.” “I, uh,” He let out as a blush filled his face. “We’re totally finding him a guy inside.” Dizzy agreed as we got on the long line. It took some time for us to get inside, but no one really seemed to mind. We were all having too much fun to complain! I don’t think it even mattered if we got in or not! We tried our hardest to scout out guys in line for Ky, but I could tell he was a little reluctant. Maybe he still needs a little bit more time before he’s ready for that, but that’s not going to stop Dizzy from trying to give him a push! When we finally got inside I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw a giant crowd of people in the long dance hall. Country music blasted over the speakers as a bunch of kids around my age were dancing close together. I would’ve thought a teen club would be a bit, well, lame, but it seems like everyone here is having a lot of fun! “Arthur, may I have this dance.” Dizzy began with an outreached hand. “You wish!” Charlotte yelped grabbing my hand and pulling me away from them. Just like that we were dancing along to songs I had grown up loving! She tried her hardest to pull me out of my shell more and more as our dancing grew more animated. A few times I glanced over to Dizzy who was watching on with wide eyes. When a slow song finally came on I let Charlotte go and swapped her out for Dizzy. “Hey there.” He teased as he pulled me in close. “I thought you only listen to Christian rock?” “You’d be surprised at how much the two overlap.” I smiled as I rested my head against his shoulder. “I don’t think I would be.” He giggled as his hands lowered to my hips. “I’m sorry you miss home.” He suddenly exhaled. “Don’t be.” I replied, holding him closer than before. “It is what it is. That’s something that’s going to happen from time to time I guess.” “Well every time it does let me know. I’m going to make sure I always cure your homesickness.” He explained as we both grew quiet and swayed to the music. The more we got lost in the music the more we seemed to forget where we were, until finally our lips connected. I pulled away at first, but it seemed as though our lips kept finding one another, until finally the slow song ended and a much faster song took its place. “This is my song.” I nodded with a wide smile. “This is your song?” Dizzy repeated with a roll of his eyes. “It’s Luke Bryan.” I shouted loud enough for him to hear me. “Me and My Mom loved him.” “Let’s see it.” Dizzy shrugged as our dancing turned more excited. I don’t know what came over me as our movements seemed to escalate more and more. It’s not like we were doing anything shocking, or anything to draw attention towards us. Hell, every other couple was just as bad ass as us! But still, I never imagined myself cutting loose this much, especially not with another guy! “You’ve got good rhythm. Dizzy smirked as the song ended. “We’re going to have fun together.” “Oh yeah?” I flirtatiously let out, but instantly dropped it as Ky and Charlotte made their way over. “Alright, didn’t Adam tell you not to take it too far?” Charlotte warned Dizzy. “Maybe.” He shrugged as he tried to hide his blush. “You spoke to my Uncle?” I asked, looking over to her. “No, but I got the run down.” She explained. “And I’m personally offended I haven’t met him yet.” “You can come over this week. You all can.” I decided as we started to dance as a group instead of in pairs. Dancing with Dizzy was fun, but there was something special about being a group. About being all together the way it should be. If only Sadie could see the man I’m becoming now. She would never talk to me again! Yet deep down, well, I’m starting to believe that’s a good thing!
  15. I briefly unpublished both stories to take out the lyrics that had been quoted. I was informed that songs lyrics after 1935 aren't covered under fair trade, so I had to take them out or risk having my pants sued off if a label ever found this for some reason.

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