All the guys were getting ready for shooting their best for the game. The visitors were gonna be beaten up badly while they would take the winning trophy. It was what they aimed for today.
Joe was alone in the locker room getting his jersey on. He was anxious, but at the same time, he was excited for the game. It was going to be his last game for the school after all. And being a teammate brought more responsibilities. He had to prove himself. It would be a shame if they lost this game.
He stood up to leave, but noticed his shoelaces were untied, so he bent down to tie them . As he was busy fastening them, he felt someone’s presence in the room and looked up.
There stood Gust, uncomfortably fidgeting with his fingers. Joe put on a hard face watching him, despite the fact that his heart warmed up by seeing the handsome guy in front of him on such an important day. He finished tying his laces and stood up to face him.
Gust put his hands to his side and took a step closer. He managed to say a soft “Hi” as he gave him a slight smile.
“What are you doing here?” Joe asked.
“I just wanted to wish you good luck in the game, and I thought you could do with some back-up... I will be rooting for you in the crowd.” He grinned with pride.
“I don’t need your wishes or backup. I am great on my own.” Joe snapped making Gust to lose his smile. “Why don’t you just leave me alone? Each time you come in front of me and I am reminded of your betrayal... I just beg of you to stop, alright?”
“Okay... okay... you want me to leave? I will go ...” Gust tried to calm him down. He went to touch him, but Joe shrugged off his arm. It was painful the way Joe was reacting but he understood him. “... but please don’t ruin your mood. The game is more important; I want you to concentrate on it.”
“I don’t need you to tell me what I should do and what I shouldn’t.” Joe hissed looking sharply at him, “Just go, ok?”
“Ok.” Gust down-heartedly mumbled and began to leave.
At the same time he was exiting the room, someone entered bumping into Gust. Joe looked at both of them as they began to apologize, but stopped when they saw each other.
“Gust?!” The guy who had entered the locker room exclaimed in utter surprise.
Even Gust was pleased to see the familiar face and he beamed. “Oh my God! Jeremy?!!” They both hugged each other, holding the other close. “It’s been so long, man!”
“Ahh yeah ... I missed the feeling of your body close to me.” Jeremy moaned enjoying the warmth he was getting. “Some things never change.”
Gust slapped his back and let him go. Jeremy would never change, he knew that. “Yeah... like you – still an asshole.” He shook his head laughing. “Could you ever get tired flirting with me?”
Jeremy was a close friend of Gust and Luke. The trio had been together since they were five, and they were kind of inseparable during their childhood. But then, they went to different schools, and they began to all drift apart with the school and activities keeping them busy.
Albeit, they would meet up on each one’s birthday without fail, and would cherish their moments together. Gust had always known Jeremy as a flirtatious guy. He was gay, and wouldn’t miss a single opportunity to flirt with Gust, like now. He knew it was never serious.
However, someone was going green over their banter. It lit a blaze of jealousy in Joe’s heart watching them. It was like he had now gone invisible for Gust.
Jeremy clicked his tongue. “Neva! And hell, it’s safe now that you are out of closet as well.” Gust looked confused, so he clarified, “Luke told me... he knows how to keep in touch, you know?”
“I am sorry J!” Gust scrunched his nose feeling guilty. “But life keeps getting busier.”
“Don’t worry.” Jeremy waved the tension off. “I am as culpable, so don’t feel shitty about it.”
Joe was feeling worse by the way Jeremy was being touchy with Gust. It burnt his eyes seeing Jeremy palming Gust’s shoulder. He grabbed a bottle of water and began to drink from it in his agitation.
“Anyway, what are you doing here?” Gust asked Jeremy.
“I don’t know ... I was just praying to God to get me a perfect guy, and the next thing I know I was here in front of you.” He replied, blinking his eyes innocently.
Joe choked on the water that he was drinking and began to cough, gaining Gust and Jeremy’s attention. He kept coughing while beating his chest trying to breathe normal.
“You okay dude?” Jeremy worriedly asked. Gust watched him in concern as well.
Joe nodded and smirked. “Yeah sure, but don’t let this interrupt you.” He said and turned away from them.
Gust frowned at his harsh behaviour, but Jeremy just had a smug look on his face. “Aren’t you Joe Brannan?” He snorted. “WOW! I imagined you to be somewhat beefy, but you are so um... skinny!”
Joe turned and gave him a harsh look. “Yes, Mr. Jeremy Wilson, I am Joe Brannan. And don’t go over my looks; I am here to give you losers nightmares for the nights to come.” He came face to face with him.
“Wait! Jeremy?” Gust was confused, “You’re from the visitor’s side?”
“Don’t act like you didn’t know.” Jeremy smiled lopsidedly at him. “You can cheer for us... you know?”
“Sorry!” Gust held his hands up. “I am not giving up on my school team. But well, good luck to you.”
Jeremy shrugged. “I can do with that. And hey, if we win ... I will be seeking out a winning kiss.” He winked at him, getting an eye roll from Gust.
“Dream on, dude.” Joe said. “Winning kisses are not for losers.” He looked intently at Gust while saying this. They stared for a moment before Joe stormed away passing them on his way out to the court.
In the midst of the basketball game, Joe was standing behind the 3-point line, dribbling the ball between his legs as two defenders stood before him. Soon, he shot the 3-pointer and the ball went through the basket easily.
The whole crowd cheered for him. Gust had a big smile on his face watching the game while he clapped and whooped. The addition to the already twenty-four points was worth it. The visitors weren’t far behind with their score of nineteen, and Jeremy was a damn good player.
However, losing the game was driving Jeremy insane. Coming up with an idea, Jeremy drove his way and dunked himself over the opposing team, drawing a foul. The center yelled in disgust, while Jeremy just sneered.
“Fucker!” Joe mumbled, holding back one of his teammates who was ready to pounce on Jeremy in anger.
While the ball was with Jeremy, he attempted a mid-range shot, which bounced off the rim. He jumped up, catching the rebound with one hand, and slam dunked it in the net.
Much to their luck, the visitors somehow made it to equalizing their scores with their opponents. The tension filled up in the basketball court. There was just a minute remaining for the game to end, and the ball was with Jeremy. It looked like he was going to be easily making another basket and winning the game.
Looking at Jeremy, Joe was reminded of what he had said to Gust “And hey, if we win ... I will be seeking out a winning kiss.” He shut his eyes tight. The horrifying thought of Jeremy and Gust kissing crept in his mind, and his jaws clenched. With a sudden rush of anger, Joe ran towards Jeremy.
Joe managed to seize the ball from him and the crowd cheered loud. He took the ball, dribbling it away towards their basket and caught it in his hand when his gaze fell on the timer as it counted back ... 7 ... 6 ... 5…
He was too far from the basket, still but he had to take the chance. He spun around his defender and tossed up a one-handed shot that went crashing onto the floor as the ball went through.
Each eye expectedly watched the way the ball went, didn’t bother to blink once. Every person present in the court paused, and the time kept ticking by ... 4 ... 3 ... 2…
As the ball reached the basket, it rolled around the edges, before it entered it, at the same time as the timer buzzed.
The crowd went crazy, as Oakdale High was declared the winner. The opponents were disheartened and embarrassedly began walking out. The audience dispersed all over the court, congratulating the winners. People carried Joe on their arms and did three cheers for the team and school.
Joe was overjoyed with the win and Gust felt a relief to see that happiness on his face after such a long time.
Joe spotted Jeremy at a distance and approached him through the crowds. “Hey!” He called for his attention. Jeremy smiled at him politely, and sincerely congratulated him. “Thanks man! Finally you know who is better, huh?”
Jeremy smirked. “Well, this was just one game, Brannan. And luck was with you today.”
“You are mistaken, Jeremy.” Joe saw Gust walking towards them.
“Hey guys. That was one great game!” Gust exclaimed, totally keyed up.
“Yes.” Jeremy said pulling a sad face and put his hand around Gust’s waist, much to Joe’s dislike. “But we lost, and damn did I miss the opportunity for a winning kiss from you?”
Joe tried to be calm and uttered, “Didn’t I tell you winning kisses are NOT for losers? Guess you get it only after hearing it for the second time... and maybe this will emphasize it for you?” He possessively grasped Gust’s hand and pulled him nearer; their faces just inches apart.
Gust felt his heart beating erratically. He had missed this and now being so close to Joe, he yearned for it. Maybe this would make things alright between them...He enjoyed feeling Joe, his breath over his lips, his warm touch and his piercing green eyes. He was ready to be kissed now, after what had seemed like ages since they last kissed.
Two guys came strolling towards them excitedly. “God! Joe, you were fabulous today.” One of the guys started talking animatedly, caring less of what he was interrupting, “How can you be so hot and talented at the same time? That skilful last shot just made me ...”
At that moment, Joe pushed Gust away and grabbed that talkative guy, holding him in a long forceful kiss. When they broke apart, the guy who was kissed was still in shock. “Hey Mike, I have been meaning to ask you this .... would you accompany me to the party tonight? Joe asked.
Gust was offended and Jeremy could see that. It hit him now what was going on between these two, and shook his head finding it all funny.
“You want to go with me to the party? Oh my God!!!” Mike couldn’t believe, “It’s definitely a YES!” He screeched.
“Heyyy.” The other guy that was with him made his presence known between them, as he asked Mike, “I thought you were going with me...”
“Who are you?” Mike blatantly snapped him, and said to Joe. “Let’s get out of here so we could go somewhere and be alone.”
“Sure babe!” Joe put his arm around Mike and led him outside. Gust looked over his shoulders with a lot of annoyance. The way Joe was acting was truly getting on his nerves now. Now he wanted to be there at the party at any cost, so that he could make sure Mike keeps his distance from HIS guy!
The loud music was now starting to irritate Noah. He made his way out of the room and came out to the lobby. The music could still be heard but it wasn’t pricking his ears now. He discarded the damn mask and rubbed his face, wondering how he got himself into this.
Chris came out looking for him and cuddled him from the back, “Hey babe, what are you doing out here? Everyone’s asking for you inside.”
Noah shrugged his body to get Chris off it, and turned to face him. An expression of hurt showed up on Chris’ face at Noah’s austerity. “Why are we here Chris?”
“Because the school won a big game today, and we are all here to celebrate and have fun.” Chris scowled at him. “Why can’t you be polite enough to at least act as if you are happy for them?”
“You literally dragged me into coming here Chris!” Noah accused.
Chris had a look of disbelief on his face when he said, “I thought I’d do you a favour bringing you here since you are always so grumpy. You keep being rude to me all the time. We go out, have sex, and do everything a couple does, but still you’re always so distant with me... why Noah? You were never like this before. What changed?”
Noah pursed his lips before he said, “You don’t want me to answer that ... you damn well know what changed, and who changed it.” He looked Chris up and down and walked around him to get back inside. He had made up his mind that he would go in, say bye to his other colleagues, and get out of there. He couldn’t act normal and happy, when he actually wasn’t.
When he entered, he almost bumped into another person. The guy was dressed in a black tuxedo and had a mask, and he was holding a drink in his hand which thankfully didn’t spill.
“I am so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was go...” The guy looked up at Noah and lost his voice.
Noah recognised the voice and looking closer, he could clearly see the familiar brown eyes looking at him through the mask. “Luke?”
Luke quickly turned away from Noah knowing he was caught. “No I am not Luke ... I am ... I am Kyle. Yo... um ...I gotta go.” He feigned a heavy voice and began to run away, but Noah caught him making him swing around to face him.
“Luke, I know it’s you.” Noah said and reached out to remove the mask. Luke’s innocent face came into view, confirming his suspicion, and he raised his brow waiting for an explanation. However, Luke just timidly stood there, so he asked, “What are you doing here? Sophomores aren’t allowed in this party, you know?”
“Um ... I came here with a senior, as his date.” He lied but Noah could see through it.
“You can’t even lie properly, Luke. I know ...”
“Luke!” Someone yelled from a distance and Noah was bowled. “Come fast.” He looked over his shoulders and saw a guy standing a bit away from them, who was signalling Luke to hurry up. ‘Did that mean Luke was on a date here?’
“Coming!” Luke breathed a sigh of relief and smiled, “See? I wasn’t lying. So now if you could please excuse me, I have to go be with my date.”
He said that and left, leaving Noah in a state of shock. Thankfully, Gust had saved his ass at the right time. He walked towards his friend and handed him the drink. “Phew! That was close.”
“Yeah... thank God I saw you at the right time, and called for you.” Gust said taking a sip of his drink.
Luke nodded drifting into own thoughts. He couldn’t get his mind to stabilize over the sight of Noah in an expensive suit, looking oh-so handsome. They kept stealing glances at each other, even though they stood far away from the other.
“So, what’s your plan?” Gust enquired after awhile.
“Huh?” Luke was pulled out of his trance by that question. “Oh ... the plan, yes. Where’s Joe, did you see him?”
“Yes.” Gust sulked, and pointed over the dance floor, where Joe and Mike danced closely. “Over there. That son of a bitch is using every chance to touch my Joe’s butt. Slutty bitch.”
Luke chuckled. “Well, then it’s time you get to claim your hot property, buddy.” He said patting his shoulder.
“But how?” Gust gave him a questioning look.
Luke neared Gust’s ear and whispered into it. The exchange was, however, witnessed by someone else standing across them, and from the looks, it didn’t seem he liked it much. A pang of envy went through Noah as he saw Luke so near to that guy. He swallowed hard when he saw a naughty smile spreading over that guy’s face from whatever Luke had told him, and Noah feared the worst.
Was he about to lose Luke to someone else? He didn’t know, but the thought itself broke him apart.
“Matt? Candes?” Gust was surprised to see them at the party. He scowled watching the two dancing together, talking and giggling.
When they both saw Gust, they looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Stammering while trying to explain this, Matt said, “Hey bro, we are just...” but trailed off. He looked at Candes for help.
“What are you two up to?” He looked at them suspiciously.
Candes rolled her eyes and said, “I am one of the Cheerios if you forgot... so I was invited, unlike you.”
“Shh ...” Gust freaked out, looking around if anyone heard her. “I am here for Joe. But what is Matt doing here? He doesn’t even go to this school.” He wasn’t looking at Matt at all for obvious reasons. He was angry with him, and he hadn’t talked to him for a week now. Even when they would gather around the table to eat, he would plainly avoid his brother’s presence.
“He is with me.” Candes stated holding Matt’s hand for confirmation. Both Rivera brothers were shocked by her sudden confession... while Gust was plainly surprised, Matt blushed at her touch.
“Okayyy...” Gust looked funny, “So you team up together to break me up with my boyfriend, and start your own love life, huh?” He spat looking at Matt with hatred.
Candes protectively stood in front of Matt, speaking for him, “Look, I know what we did to you was wrong and we are sorry for that. From the day Matt realized this, he has been nothing but feeling guilty all the time and so do I... and now we have accepted you the way you are, Gust. I know you never loved me romantically, and thinking about it now, I feel silly fighting for a lost battle.”
Matt took the opportunity to continue where she left, “And about this ... we just happened to click. You must know it was not planned at all. But I guess we were destined to be this way.”
Gust looked between the two with a serious face. He could see the way Matt was looking at her, was nothing but affection for her. But Candes carried his child ... would he be able to accept her with that fact?
He eyed Matt while contemplating the issues. Gust had always known him as the best brother in the world, and also a good guy. He was loving and caring, and he knew for a fact that he would keep Candes happy. And thinking about the baby issue, he could see that Matt had already accepted that because he already knew about her pregnancy; although, he thought he would have to have a word with him over it when they got home.
He gave them a small approving smile, deleting all the tension between them. “Well, I am happy for you two.” He said but added with seriousness in his voice, “But that doesn’t mean I forgive you for what you did. Things are still complex between Joe and I, and it’s all because of you.”
“Bro, if you want, we can speak to him for you.” Matt offered.
“No, no ... please stay away from this. You have already done enough damage to us, no more.” Gust snapped at him in anger. He didn’t mean to get angry, but the wounds he had given were still fresh in his mind.
“I just want to help.”
Gust calmed himself and said gently, “I know, I’m sorry ... but let me handle this on my own. I will see you around. Later.”
Matt nodded before Gust left.
Joe sipped on his drink watching the party. People around him were having fun, but he couldn’t. He missed a certain blond who, he knew, would bring the absent bliss in his life back. But he couldn’t get his mind to forget all of the feeling he got when he had seen Gust’s name on Candes’ pregnancy report. He knew it was not Gust’s fault at all, but keeping it all a secret from him made him feel like he was not important at all.
He looked down at his glass and found it empty. He called the server and got himself another drink. While he sipped on his new refreshing drink, he saw Mike nearing him from the corner of his eyes and cringed inwardly. He couldn’t bear that irritating guy anymore.
Mike came hopping over to him and said, “Hey Joe, come, let’s dance.”
“We already did.” He said disinterestedly.
“But you haven’t kissed me yet.”
“What?” Joe almost spilled his drink. Mike was coming out to be a huge despo and he wasn’t liking him at all. ‘I mean showing up at my place, three hours before the party started is way too despo thing and now this?’
“Uhm ... we can go to your car and make out.” He slyly smiled at Joe.
Joe scowled. “Get the hell away from me, dude. You are starting to freak me out.” He took a step away when he saw Mike nearing him.
“Oh come on. I know you want me, so why are we stopping ourselves?” Mike asked in a sensual voice, trailing his finger down Joe’s face.
“No way, dude! Get off of me.” He pushed him and sprinted from there. He began to push through the dancing crowd when a hand held him and he froze thinking it was Mike. “Look I don’t like you, okay? I don’t know what gives you the idea ...” Joe began to speak over the music as he turned ,only to find it was someone else.
Gust removed his mask and showed his face. “Joe? Why do you look so ... pale?” He asked keeping his face unaffected.
“Gust!” Joe sighed in relief and held on him for protection. “Thank God you’re here! Please save me ... that Mike wants to kiss me.”
An amused laugh left Gust’s mouth before he said, “Weren’t you the one who initiated the first kiss between you two? You should be happy that he wants to kiss you again.” He teased.
“It’s not funny, Gust.” Joe said looking all around, watching out for Mike. “He is seriously getting on my nerves.” He saw Mike breaking through the crowd and coming towards them. He was crazily yelling his name. “Oh man! He’s coming right here.” He pushed Gust in front of him and securely held onto his shoulders.
“Joe, you are mine and I will have you at any cost.” Mike sang the same old song, making Joe feel like puking.
Gust stopped the crazy guy in his way and said with all his seriousness, “He is taken, kid. You can get another toy for yourself.”
Mike feigned anger, “He is mine, and I can fight you for him.” He brought his fists up as if ready to punch Gust.
However, that made Gust chuckle. He patted Mike’s weak shoulders and reminded him, “Yeah right... did you forget the summertime when I beat you up when you spilled your drink on me?”
That somewhat discouraged Mike and he dropped his hands to his sides. “Um ... hehe” He nervously laughed, “I was kidding, Gust. You are my friend, how can I fight with you? Joe is all yours ... um ... bye!” Saying that, he sprinted, vanishing into the throng of other teens.
Both Gust and Joe chuckled. “You saved my ass today.” Joe said smiling, watching the way where Mike disappeared.
Gust stared at him with a smile for a moment before he said softly, “I can save you every time you are in trouble, if you let me.”
Joe turned to him and the green eyes met the brown ones. For what seemed like eternity, they stood there in middle of the dance floor getting lost in their own world.
Luke, who stood at one corner, watched them in awe. It made him feel happy that things had taken off to be alright between his friends, and he now hoped that they would both talk to each other to clear all the differences between them.
“Hope I did a great job.” A voice interrupted his thoughts and he looked at his friend Mike with a grin.
“Of course” Luke appreciatively said, “You are a great actor, I must say.”
They both giggled, “Well, being in drama club does have its pros.” Mike was proud of himself. “And I am glad that this actually helped the two of them.”
Luke looked at Gust and Joe again and nodded, “I can’t thank you enough, Mike. You are a doll.” He said and kissed his cheek.
“Woah! See that’s why I love helping people.” He said talking about the kiss and Luke laughed. “Two kisses in a day from the two hottest guys in school ... way to go, Mike!” He cheered for himself. “Although I didn’t expect that kiss from Joe, but I must say I got lucky.” He winked.
“Better not remind Gust of that, or he will make sure you have a broken arm or leg.” Luke teased, and they shared a good laugh over it.
Luke felt eyes on him and turned his gaze to find Noah watching both of them in disgust. He gave him an eye-roll and continued chatting with Mike some more.
After a few minutes, the lights dimmed, and the announcer requested each one to pair up with their partners for a dance. Everyone got their masks on before reaching the dance floor. Chris took Noah’s hand and led him to join the others, much to his dismay.
He tripped over something but balanced himself. The light was too dim and he couldn’t see properly. In the process, he and Chris got separated in the multitude of people, and he was left alone in between all the couples. He searched around looking for Chris, but couldn’t find him.
A warm hand gently engulfed his, making him turn. Noah found himself hypnotized as he was held by the person who had started to dance with him. The Kelly Clarkson song – ‘A Moment Like this’ – played in the background, and everyone, including Noah, swayed with their partners.
“Luke? Is that you?” Noah asked gently. He saw the kissable lips tremble before finally uttering out a simple “Yeah” to him as a reply.
Luke hesitatingly toed up and reached for Noah’s lips. They engaged in a brief kiss before Noah broke apart. “Why are you doing this Luke, when you should actually hate me...” He said in a melancholy voice as they kept swaying with the music.
Luke looked into the blue eyes peeking out of the mask and saw they were troubled. “Why do you want me to hate you, Noah? You know I can’t live without you ...”
“But you have to.” Noah snapped at him, although, in a gentle way. He was tired of acting like he didn’t care that he hurt Luke badly, because he actually did. It broke his heart into a million pieces when he would see Luke breaking down because of him. “I am not right for you, Luke. You deserve much better than me, and you will be much happier without me!”
“What gives you that idea?” Luke was annoyed now. “Do I look happy to you right now? Look, why don’t you just tell me what the real reason behind this is.”
The penetrating blue eyes now looked everywhere but on Luke when Noah lied, “What reason? There’s no other reason for this. I just don’t feel like we belong with each other.”
“You belong to me Noah, and I belong to you. No sham threat could break us apart.” Luke said, and Noah looked horrified at him.
“What threat? What are you talking about?” He asked in a fearful voice.
“About what Chris threatened you into doing ... I know it all.”
“Wait! Who told you?” Noah was flabbergasted. Luke already knew??
Luke smiled to himself, “You told me, Noah.” When he saw Noah was confused, he cleared, “Of course you don’t remember it. You were drunk after all. The night when I was at your apartment, you blurted out everything to me after what we did that night.”
“You gotta be kidding me!! How can I not remember it when I do remember ... the former part of that night?”
“Maybe because you were half knocked out when you told me all of it.” Luke explained, “And I thought we would talk when we woke up in the morning, but you kicked me out then, and it was left hanging until now. I kept waiting and waiting for you to just tell me, but you wouldn’t. You kept hurting me and yourself for that matter, but wouldn’t say a word. I just don’t know why. We could have dealt with this together...”
“Stop it... just stop ...” Luke finally noticed the blue eyes getting glassy and he didn’t know what to say.
“I ... ah!” He left Luke’s hand and stepped back. “I have to go.” He said and left the room in a hurry, as Luke watched him go with sadness.
Noah quickly went to the restroom, removing his mask off and turned the tap on. He splashed the water over his face twice and ran his hands down his red, depressed face. He looked in the mirror and observed his reflection. All he could see was a failure standing there.
Luke always loved him so much, yet he always proved to be a disappointment. And now he had messed it all up. He didn’t even know how he could settle it all.
At that time, the door clicked open and someone entered. Noah thought it was Luke who had followed him but that wasn’t him. He saw Chris standing behind him in the mirror and turned swiftly.
“Chris...” Noah took this opportunity to talk to him. “I need to talk to you ... about the deal.”
Chris nodded in comprehension watching Noah. He looked as if he was crying and it made him feel guilty. “About that, yes ... we need to talk.” He agreed. “I saw you and Luke dancing together. It was him right?”
Noah nodded looking for an expression of anger on Chris’ face but there wasn’t any, much to his surprise. “Are you angry about that?”
“Well, I should be but ...” He sighed, “I am not. I have always liked you Noah, and I must say, you’re great in bed, but I was seeking the kindness you showed me on our first date, and when we first met, which I never got after we started off with this deal.”
“Chris, I ...”
“Please let me do the talking today.” Chris said cutting him off and continued, “You have been mean, edgy, insulting and rough towards me for all this time. But I guess, that’s what you get when you force someone into doing something.” He shook his head. “Right now when you danced with Luke, that intimacy ... it just burnt me in my envy for him... all the love you had on your face, when you looked at him – that’s what I yearned to get.”
Noah couldn’t find words. He didn’t know what to say except, “I am sorry, but I love Luke ... not you.”
“I realize that now. And I feel horrible keeping two lovers away from each other.” Chris admitted.
Noah felt hopeful. “Do you mean ...?”
Chris said with a hard heart, “Yes... you are free of this deal from my side.” Noah just hugged him in a moment of ecstasy and held him tight, thanking him repeatedly. “Now go, get your boy before I change my mind.” He said letting go of Noah.
Noah was grinning wide and left hurriedly to search for Luke, not before thanking Chris once again.
Luke was in the backyard as rightly guessed by Noah. When he got there, he found Luke busy observing the night sky as he stood by the tree. This was the place where they first saw each other, and it held many memories of them together.
“Luke?” Noah called out.
Luke was startled by his presence and turned to face him. He hadn’t expected Noah to come here looking for him, and wondered why he was here.
“First, I think I should apologize to you for all the spiteful things I said to you. You should know I didn’t mean any of the things I said, and that it was just out of anger I said them.” He clarified.
Noah took another wary step looking at Luke, who stood a bit away from him, crossing his arms over his chest. He didn’t utter a word but kept staring with an unaffected face.
“I always kept pushing you away, but the fact is that, I never really could. The more you were distanced from me, the more I found myself craving you. When you weren’t in front of me, you were in my thoughts. So to say, you never left me.”
Luke lowered his head as Noah got nearer. The blue eyed man wondered what Luke was thinking. Was he amused by my confession? Did he find it funny and silly?
But then he saw the glimpse of the bright red over his cheek and guessed Luke was blushing, maybe smiling? It gave him content and encouraged him to go on. “I have always said this, that what we have between us, is wrong... but however wrong it felt inside my head, it always felt right ... over here.” He held his hand over his heart. “... in my heart.”
Luke’s gaze travelled up to eyeing him in an intense glare. Still, he didn’t say a thing. He opted for silence.
“Luke, I love you, I have some deep undeniable feelings for you, and I can’t stop them from flowing out for you now.” He confessed in one breath.
Luke’s face lit up. Never had Noah said that he had loved Luke ever. He would always say it was attraction that he felt, but today he poured his heart to him. He was so happy. “I love you, too.” That’s all Luke whispered and he jumped right into his arms claiming Noah’s lips.
They kissed each other feverishly, like never before. When the need for air got the best of them, they had to break apart. But they stayed in each other’s arms enjoying the love.
Soft music fell on their ears coming from inside the school and they smiled. “Can I have this dance, Mr. Snyder?”
“Why yes, Mr. Mayer!” Luke mimicked the way Noah asked and giggled.
Soon, they joined hands, getting chest to chest, and began to slowly move with the music. Luke enjoyed just being with Noah, and he felt it was a beautiful dream he never wanted to end. He rested his head over Noah’s shoulder and kissed the nape of his neck, feeling all the happiness in that man’s arms.
However, a camera flash went unnoticed by them, that lit up in the darkness from somewhere, going out in fraction of a second.