After dressing in a pair of tan slacks, a lacrosse polo, braided belt, and tan slides I was out the back door. I had combed my hair and brushed my teeth and thrown on some lotion and cologne just in case he was ok I wanted to look better than I felt. I hopped in the car and Bernard was heading out of our gated community. The only place I could remember where Irish used to go when nervous was the book store on Architect way and seventh.

The drive was painfully long although I know it only look fifteen minutes at the longest. I had Bernard park down the road and walked back up towards the book store. I was too afraid to head right for it, so I took a detour across the street to a local coffee shot to order a double caramel macchiato frapp with extra drizzle and little foam; my usual coffee anywhere I go. I received my beverage and headed outside. My fear caught me again and I hurled myself into the nearest chair and sipped on my drink as I hurried to stop my shaking hands. What if he wasn't there, what if the people in the store didn't know him anymore, and even worse what if they did know him and hadn't seen him since before Friday? Worry consumed my entire soul.

Irish's point of view

I can't believe Cage is dead. Juan lost control that night, I'm glad I got Aiden and that girl out of there when I did. As the night wore on Juan became increasingly more frustrated that he let those two go, he was horny and drug crazed and all he could focus on was the ass that got away despite there being enough ample and eager young adults at the party to satisfy even the most hedonistic of men. Juan was mad at me, but he was furious with Cage that if Cage had done his job he could have worked things differently and possibly talked one of them if not both into sex, but no Cage had to mess everything up. I could hear him yelling through the floor now that the music was dead and the place had been cleaned out so no one would ever know that there was a party there. They walked up the stairs and into hallway which opened to the left of the blue room and straight towards the main area. In a rage Juan pulled out his gun and just shot him point blank in the hallway leading out of the building, I saw it all happen from the blue room; I saw the gun, the fear and pleading in Cages eyes. I saw his mouth open to say something and then I heard the shot and watched as Cage's body feel lifeless in what seemed like slow motion. I quickly swung myself around a corner and prayed he didn't notice me still there. I heard footsteps quickly running away. When I came back around the corner Cage was laying in the floor blood pooling around his body. I grabbed my back pack from the table and ran like hell for one of the side exits so I could get away without having to see Juan and risk me sharing the same fate.

I laid low for a few days, waiting for Juan and his crew to leave town and onto the next party location. It had been 30 hours since the event, 30 hours wondering if Aiden was ok or if Juan had found him, 30 hours of wanting drugs but to scared to leave my house, 30 hours to endure my Fathers abuse on his day off. My father hated having me around, his failure kid, on his off days. By Sunday morning I knew I was safe. Juan was always in the next town by Sunday to attend Mass, it was his good luck ritual. I decided that I wanted to be sober, well I didn't want to be sober, but if word of me "interrupting" Juan's play time with Aiden and that girl had gotten around, none of the local dealers would sell to me, and frankly the drug I wanted most, meth, couldn't be found around here so Juan always hooked me up with enough to last me until he came back into town of the surrounding area, but that didn't happen. So here I stand now, walking out of my favorite book store with a self help book about staying clean. I had gotten clean about 5 times in four years, but never stayed clean. I've tried to get clean more times than I can count. I knew that today was my clairvoyant day; the sober calm before the withdrawal storm, so today was a good day to get some sun and get the book before I was puking my guts out and sweating shaking on the bathroom floor at home. I looked up from reading the back of my book thinking I'd grab a coffee, maybe something more than my black with extra sugar, maybe a carm... Aiden.

At the sight of him my mind goes crazy, I can suddenly feel him holding my hand again and a smile breaks across my face. I'm so happy to see him that I run across the street slowing down only enough to not appear like a crazy person. His head is down as he sips his coffee through his straw, so I take the opportunity to sit down across from him.

"Look buddy I'm not in the mood for..."

He stops his rant the moment he sees me. He looks at me and his face turns red, but he isn't excited to see me, he isn't happy to know I'm alive and ok. Shit what was I thinking, like he would be happy to see me. I'm such an idiot. I feel as if I'm gonna cry, like this was realization was too much, I'll brave Horn st and hope that one of the bangers will sell me something. I stand up to leave and then...

Aidens Point of View

I had been deep in thought when some guy thinks it's wise to sit down. I can tell he's staring at me and I'm not in the mood.

"Look buddy I'm not in the mood for..."

It's Irish, my god he's so handsome. His skin is pale and clear, but he has two new cuts on his face. His eyes are bluer than the last two times I saw him. He has on a skull cap with a rim that makes his hair lay flat under it and causes his bangs to hand lightly over his eyes. His square jaw is lifted by the smile turning across his bright pink lips. His old jeans hug his hips and the blue long sleeved shirt clings to his muscles, paired with the black boots and silver chain he looks like a bad ass. God I'm getting hard looking at him. I begin to blush and I look down in the hopes he can't see the reaction he has on me. Two deep breathes later I look back up, but Irish looks so different suddenly. His eyes are dark again and haunted, the smile is gone and his jaw is set hard like stone. His fists are clenched and I swear if the wind had blown too hard he would have fallen apart. He shoves his chair back abruptly as if to leave as quickly as he came. I can't let him go again, he's all I could think about aside from the horrible pain I felt from throwing up.

"Irish wait... please..."

I think my request must have caught him by surprise because when he looks back and down at me I can see hope and fear written on his face, as if he was hoping I'd ask him to stay, but didn't think I really was.

"Cage is dead... you saved my life..."

I couldn't even finish what I was going to say as tears started to well up my eyes and my voice catches. I'm not usually a crier, but when your mortality hits you like a pound of bricks and you realize that the person who saved you is also the person who you've carried feelings for your whole life; well let's just say that it was all a little too much for my seventeen plus year old mind and heart. Irish moved over to my side and crouched down, touching my arm he asks me if I wanna go for a walk, which I quickly accepted, not wanting to fall apart in public. We began walking away from where the car was, but I didn't care. I sipped my coffee as we walked in silence for a while, just looking around and occasionally smiling at each other and looking away. It felt good. It felt right.

Soon we came to an ally way between two buildings and he headed down it. The ally reminded me a bit of the hallway, but being there with Irish calmed me. At the end of the ally was a tall stone wall which Irish made little of climbing; he rested with one leg on each side of the wall and reached down for me. I did not do things like climbing walls; Chamber's did not do anything that would have been looked down upon. But... looking up into those blue eyes so full of hope that I'd take his hand, I did and he pulled me up. We jumped down from the ledge and when I got control of my still upset stomach I realized we were in a backyard. The grass was tall and it felt very humid despite the chilly January day. There were plants everywhere: flowers, tiny trees, shrubs.

"This is where I come to hide. I found it one night when these guys jumped me 2 years back for my stash and beat me pretty bad. I managed to get away and ran like hell and climbed over this wall into this garden. The owner found me and tended my wounds well enough for me to get back home before dad showed back up."

He told me this story turned away from me, and I could hear the pain in his voice when he said it. I walked up to him and put my arm around his shoulder and told him it was great and that I wouldn't tell a soul about it. He breathed out a sigh of relief and his eyes light up a little more, turning my heart to mush. Common sense ruined the moment when I realized we were trespassing and I asked if the owner would mind us being here. Before he could answer me we heard rustling coming from behind a very tall shrub, if you could call it a shrub at its size.

A woman's sweet southern accent drifted through my ears. "Now is that my Irish I hear?" She appeared from the plant and looked a bit startled at seeing me as well with my arm over Irish's shoulder. I removed my arm and we both blushed. But why was he blushing? "Oh and I see your brought us some company." Gesturing that the 'us' were he plants. She was an attractive African American woman of late forties early fifties. She introduced herself as Naomi and said that Irish had never brought anyone here and she was glad he finally did. As she motioned us to follow her she also mentioned she wished he'd use the door instead of climbing over the ten foot stone wall, such things were not natural. Sounded almost like something a Chamber's would say. We chatted and strolled as she showed me around, the place was huge. After awhile, a glass of sweet tea which was the best I had ever had and a white macadamia nut cookie also the best I had ever had, Naomi took her leave saying she had to run some errands and if we were gone when she returned to not be stranger, adding on the ya hear with a hug. Irish seemed to smile that we took to each other, he seemed so nervous for the first thirty or so minutes as if this was very important to him. Once Naomi had left Irish sat in the dirt and rested his back against a little stone wall.

He tilted his head up and let the sun fall on it. "I'm really happy you and Naomi liked each other... I need to tell you something and I'm sitting down because I don't think I can say it and stand up and look you in the eye."

He just froze there and I to was to afraid to move. I had the feeling that he wanted or needed me to stay right where I was.

"I have feelings for you. I have ever since we were in seventh grade. When we got to high school I thought we'd rule the school together, but we didn't even make it past the first semester. It was sad when you didn't show up to my wrestling try-out freshman year, it hurt when I didn't get a happy birthday sophomore year... But how could you not be there for my mom's funeral?! How could you abandon me completely?! I lost my mother and my best friend that day. Life has been Hell! And you traded me in for shiny toys and drunken parties. I tried to hate you, but I couldn't. I tried to put things behind me and be happy, but I couldn't. And I know come Monday morning today will never have happened."

He drew his knees up and placed head between them and cried. As he did this I looked down and saw a large purple bruise along his back. The pain of vomiting for over a day was nothing compared to the pain I felt now. I had no words, I stood there speechless. I had been selfish, assuming that Irish could manage on his own, ignoring the rumors to be about someone else, never knowing that he needed me. No, deep inside I always knew he needed me. Grief threatened to overwhelm me, grief over our fallen friendship and what could have been, over the feelings he felt for me and how they had burdened him, grief that I wasn't there for him when his mother died, and grief that I had missed her funeral a woman who had always been nice to me and never judged me for having money. I did the only thing I could think of, and I knew this decision would impact the rest of our friendship. I slowly walked over and crouched down onto my knees in front of him. I gingerly took his face in my shaking hands, my mind screaming what was I about to do and begging me to not make a fool of myself. I looked him in the eyes and they grew large looking into my steel grey ones. I couldn't delay or I would miss my chance and my fear would grip me; I plunged my lips onto his and began to kiss him. I could taste the salt from his tears in our first kiss, he didn't respond at first and I was about to pull away when he lurched forward and wrapped his arms around me opening his mouth to the kiss. God the moment he became an active participant in this kiss, I prayed that this not be our last. My heart was on fire; my body tingled as he had one hand on the small of my back and the other behind my head. My hands drew imaginary lines on his jaw as his tongue cautiously begged entrance into my mouth which I quickly allowed meeting his own tongue with mine. I was surprised to find that he had a small tongue ring, a small square ball.

The kiss seemed to last forever and I couldn't get enough of his chest pressed against mine. I don't know how long I've been hard, but my slacks are doing nothing to hide it as it's pressed into Irish's thigh. I can feel his own erection even bigger than my own trying to rip itself free of its denim confines. I know I'm leaking precum. I press my body into his pushing my hard cock harder into his thigh and dragging his hard cock across my abs. A low moan followed by a quick shudder emits from Irish's mouth. He leans further into me trying desperately for more contact more pressure to relieve his throbbing twitching monster. We lose touch of everything around us; all there is is each other and this moment. Then suddenly my left leg slips from under me and we fall backwards, Irish landing on top of me both of us groaning. He rolls on his side and we both look at each other and begin to laugh. God he is sexy when he laughs the laugh lines in his face light up his eyes and for a second I'm looking into the eyes of the boy I once knew from eighth grade.

"So I take it you like me to?"

It's a question that shouldn't need an answer, but his voice cracks. He needs to hear me say it, to know this isn't a cruel joke.

"I think I've always liked you Irish and just didn't know how to deal with it." I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. "I'm so sorry Irish, I let you down. I love you man and I let you down." I'm crying full on now. My heart aches at what I've done to him. Irish rolls closer to me, leans over and kisses the tears from my face. He rests his head on chest. I place my chin on his head and wrap my arms around him.

"Please... please don't leave me again. I swear I'll do better. Just don't give up on me ok?"

My Irish sounded broken. I knew what he meant by do better. He knew how against drugs I am, despite my recreational use. I didn't trust addicts, but I knew he would try, and he wouldn't go through this alone. I wasn't going to leave him ever again. I squeezed my arms around the bigger boy and kissed the top of his head.

"I'm not leaving you again, I swear."

I looked down at him and he was asleep, so I shifted my weight around a little bit and found a comfortable position in the grass and feel asleep myself. With a smile on my face, and the boy I always wanted in my arms. Things were going to be different this time around. I swear it.



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