'Raymond, it's mom, are you out? Well, I was just calling to see how you were doing and to tell you that we're coming home a week before Christmas...' The moment I heard this, I felt my water jettison back up my throat, and I cough and sputter, gagging as dropped the glass and wretched over the sink. '... And we will be staying until after New Year's. Call back when you can, will you? Alright, I love you,' and then it clicked off

I came back up, gasping for air and stared wide eyed at the machine. Excuse me? Did that really just happen? I rushed over and punched the button the on machine, and the voice came up again.

'Oh god...' I breathed out, and took a step back when all of the sudden a sharp pain shot through my foot. I sucked in some air, and turned around to the sight of shattered glass on the tile.

'Shit!!!' I shouted, and turned in another direction only to run into a wall. I stumbled out of the kitchen, and bumped against a chair and then tripped over my own feet.

'Come on...' I hissed to myself, and picked myself back up and grabbed a broom from the closet. When I returned I quickly swept it up and dumped it into the bin before placing the set in the corner, and returned to my main problem. A week before Christmas? Good god when was that? I ran over to the refrigerator, and saw that it was a week away.

'You gotta be kidding me,' I mutter, and then flew in the direction of the phone and picked it up with the intention of calling Ray. However, I just realized something. Ray never gave me his number. I let out a growl of frustration and tugged at my hair. Seriously? The one night Ray's gone and already things are going to hell. I ran upstairs and tripped on a step. God I really needed to calm down! I stood up, and then slowly walked up the stairs and once I was in Ray's room, I sat on the bed and placed my fingertips to my temples.

'Ok, calm down, get your shit together. It's not that bad, a week right?' I said and stared into my hands.

'Thing's aren't fine. They're his parent's they won't approve of you.' Hissed a malicious voice in my head. I felt myself glare, and I stood up while walking towards his desk.

'Shut up...' I muttered and opened a drawer. No number.

'You know it's true. Just look at you!' it said again I slammed the drawer and opened another.

'Be quiet,' I said to myself again. My feet led me towards the bathroom and my hand automatically flicked on the light, where my reflection came into view. I stared at it, and I unknowingly took a step forward. I saw myself, glaring at my own reflection as I placed a hand on the counter top. I heard it again. Letting its vile words pool in its mouth and drip out from the corners of its lips as it extended its disgusting tongue and curl back its lips to reveal its many rows of sharp, pointy teeth.

'See? You know it. Look at you! Not the most stunning person on earth you know,' it cackled. I felt my fingers tense on the countertop as I resisted from punching my reflection.

'He loves me...' I said through my teeth. I could see it all. Me being a prisoner in my own mind as my reflection began morphing, twisting into some distorted black beast. The room began to darken and warped as it came closer and closer, backing me against the walls of my cage, reaching out, threatening to touch me with its claw of madness. Don't let it get to you; don't let it come any closer.

'Oh like that'll do anything. What does this love have to do anything with his parent's accepting you? Face it Levi, they'll be staring down at you the moment they lay eyes on your filthy body,' It hissed, eyes glowing menacingly. I clenched my teeth, and then turned my head. What if what it was saying was true? What if they're not going to accept me? They were hard enough on Ray, imagine how hard they would be on me.

'Starting to see it my way...' it breathed out. Its sickening breath flowed into my nostrils and I clapped my hand against my mouth, trying not to gag at the putrid odor.

'It's just his parents...it's just his parent's,' I said over and over again, seeing it come closer and closer.

'It's just not his parents.' It said, and leaned in inches from my face.

'Shut up...' I said wither a shakily.

'It's everyone. You're not good enough for people. You're not worth anyone's time! You're not good enough for his parents, and you're definitely not good enough for R-'

'SHUT UP!!!' I screamed and I felt my fist shoot forward and collide with it's cold face. As soon as my fist made contact with it, the room returned to normal. I saw myself; wild eyes and beads of sweat had formed on my brow as I stared back at my reflection, my fist against the mirror. I stood there for minutes, staring, breathing, calming. I leaned back, and quickly turned on the sink and splashed the cold water on my face, taking in deep breaths after every splash. I reached out and immediately pressed a towel against my face and blindly turned off the sink. I took a deep breath and placed the towel on the counter before dragging out a sigh and running my fingers through my hair.

'Calm down Levi...' I said softly to myself, and hung up the towel before exiting the bathroom. I sat down at the edge of the bed and allowed myself to fall back while dangling my feet off the edge. I really had to think this over. In about a week's time, give or take a few days, Ray's parents are going to be home. At this point I'm going to have to meet them. However, I don't know how they're going to react to me. Maybe I'll do well. I make good grades, I don't drink or do drugs, I'm polite, or at least I think I am. I sat back up and gazed at the digital clock mounted on his desk. I blew out a sigh when I realized that it was only 7:21. Time seemed to pass by so slow when Ray wasn't home. I hopped off the bed and padded out the door with the intention of taking a walk...inside the house. As I slowly walked around on the second floor, I realized something. Since I was here, I never really went anywhere besides the kitchen, the living room, Ray's room, his bathroom, the laundry room, and occasionally the gym. I marveled at the elegant decorations that had been placed around the house, each having their own rightful place. I passed through many doors, all of them closed, and I began wondering something. Why such a large house for such a small family? As far as I knew it was only Ray and his parents, and even his parents weren't around the majority of the time. I came to a stop at a window, and pulled back the curtain and peered outside into the night. In the distance I could see the faint glow of the city lights in the night sky, causing the stars to fade rather than shine. What was Ray doing right now? Dancing? Talking? God knows what people do at parties. I allowed the curtain to slip away from my fingers, and I turned around and walked back towards Ray's room. What are his parents's like? I took slows steps down the stairs, deep in thought. I didn't even know what they looked like; there were virtually no pictures around this house! Paintings, pottery, furniture, but it was missing that warm and loving touch of a united family. Once I reached the bottom of the stairs, I placed my hand on the cold wall and just observed, seeing if I could find that little hint that a family lives here. I couldn't though. Without Ray I noticed that even though it was beautiful on the surface, there was no beauty when one took notice of how emotionally empty the house was. Surely there must be some pictures tucked away somewhere. I made a little note to ask Ray later whether or not he had any pictures.

After a few more minutes of just drifting around and admiring the house, I finally went into the kitchen and poured myself a bowl of cereal to satisfy my hunger. I wasn't in the mood for anything hot; I just wanted something simple and quick. I ate standing up, letting my thoughts float freely as I slowly chewed and swallowed. I glanced at the little digital clock on the microwave, and exhaled through my nose as I saw it was only 8:30. God it felt so lonely without him here, boring as well! This proved how much my life circulated around Ray. I glanced down at my bowl, swallowed, and placed it on the counter. This was new to me in a way. I've been so use to being independent. From the moment I was able to take care of myself till I moved in with Ray my whole life was filled with me just being alone and just simply trying to survive and allow the days to pass unharmed. Years and years of learning how to take care of myself was still there, but that feeling of independence was gone. I stared at the stove in front of me. A chilling question crept into my mind, and I squinted my eyes shut and shuddered as it echoed in my head. What would happen if Ray were to disappear from my life?...

After I finished eating, I walked over and sat on the sectional, taking a blanket next to me and draping it over my body. I took the remote off from the glass coffee table and pressed the button and flipped through the channels mindlessly. I just wanted to pass the time as fast as possible. A feeling of loneliness had set in while eating the meager bowl of cereal. I also realized another thing. This was the first time I had ever eaten alone here. I breathed out a sigh and sunk back into the cushion of the plush leather. I wonder if he's thinking of me. I shifted my focus back on the TV and tried my best to watch, but it just couldn't hold my attention. After maybe fifteen minutes, I let out a growl of irritation and angrily pushed the button and clicked it off. I laid down on my side and stared at the glossy, black screen of the massive technology. I began thinking of the many time we sat down on and cuddled here. I laughed softly to myself when I remembered how one time I sat down and Ray accidently sat on top of me and nearly crushed the life out of me. It hasn't even been three hours, yet I was missing him like I haven't seen him in three years! I spent more than that length of time away from him at school, but being at home changed a lot of things. I was so use to him being around at this time, and it just felt plain odd that he wasn't. I pulled the fleece blanket up to my lips and closed my eyes, and dozed off with hopes that he would be home by the time I woke up.

I felt my eyes flutter open and sat up quickly, expecting that Ray was home by now. I looked around the room and frowned when I realized that he wasn't. I stood up and rubbed my eyes and walked towards the kitchen for a drink of water. I gave the clock minimal acknowledgement until I read the time. It was almost one in the morning! I felt my mouth gaped open while I stared at the time. What in the world are they doing over there?! I waved it away and just grabbed a glass and filled it with water. This is normal right? Ray's popular, so of course it would go well onto the night. I gulped down the water and set the glass back into the sink and went to go sit down at the table, not sure of what to do so late at night. I stared at the door and began drumming my fingers randomly across the edges of the table, hoping that Ray would walk through the door any moment. That didn't happen though, and I just rested my head on my hand and stared off into space, becoming lost in my thoughts.

I was brought out of the forest in my mind as the sound of the door unlocking seemed to crash into my mind. Within moments, Ray came into view and stepped inside, closing and locking the door behind him before turning around and smiling at me. As he walked towards me, I examined his appearance. He seemed a bit tired, and his hair was disheveled and his shirt wrinkled. I stood up from my chair and I kept myself from bolting into his arms. Instead, I took rapid steps towards him, staring at his face, watching while his jaws worked on a piece of chewing gum. This puzzled me a bit, but it was a petty thing that didn't matter. I closed my eyes and buried myself into Ray's chest, and his arms encircled my body.

'You missed me babe?' he mumbled, and pulled me closer. I nodded, and kissed his chin.

'More than you can imagine...' I said quietly. God how wonderful it felt to be in his arms again. The moment he walked in the house seemed to regain its livelihood and soothing warmth, and the eerie silence was silenced itself. He chuckled, took my face in his hands pressed his lips against mine. I felt myself smile a little when little tickles of excitement rose in my stomach, and I pressed my hands against his chest and kissed back. He parted his lips slightly, and I could smell the aroma of mint that came from his gum. But something was off. I continued to kiss him but my mind took the scent inside and analyzed it. Something about it didn't seemed right. I processed it and allowed his tongue to slip inside, allowing some more of his breath to drift out, which I took in and observed. It was masking something, some scent that bothered me. It was something familiar, a smell that I encountered many times in my life, too many to count. I pulled away, and allowed my lips to linger millimeters away from his.

'Tequila...' I muttered, and pushed myself away from him. I turned around and closed my eyes as a wave of nausea replaced the tickles, and I tried to control my breath as images came back once more. I placed a hand over my mouth, and stood still, trying to take deep breaths and fighting back thoughts and the urge to scream and vomit.

'What?' he asked, surprised.

'You've been drinking...' I breathed, removing my hand from my mouth while keeping my eyes closed.

'How did you know?' He said in a low, shameful voice.

'How do you think?' I snapped, and clapped my hand over my mouth as another urge to vomit rose. I gazed towards the ground and closed my eyes once more, taking a few steps back.

'Levi... I'm sorry,' he said rushing over and taking me into his arms. The smell seemed to surround him like a thick cloud of plague. My mouth went dry as it filled every single sense of mine. I could see the angry, dark figure holding a bottle with a slightly colored liquid sloshing around inside it. I could hear the bottle breaking and the raging roars that would echo throughout the house. I could smell its pungent odor. I could feel the flecks of liquid that would splash on me. I could taste its acrid bitterness as some would get in my mouth. I pushed him away and stumbled back, removing my hand from my mouth and taking a deep breath and sitting down. I placed my elbow on the table and pressed my hand against my forehead.


'Just go brush your teeth,' I commanded softly. He immediately obliged, and the moment I heard the sink upstairs. I rushed over to the sink, coughing before I began to dry heave into the sink. I gasped for air as I fought to keep the contents of my stomach down and eliminated the toxic aroma from my body. I wanted no trace of it, nothing, not even the sight to remain in my body. It continued to linger though, as if it was a parasite feeding off of the oxygen in my body. I took short and quick breaths and turned on the sink and splashed my face with water, thinking somehow I could magically wash my past away. It didn't work though, the smell, the memories, it all continued remain and make its presence known. I turned off the sink and slammed my hand down on the counter in irritation. I angrily grabbed a towel and roughly dried my face with it before throwing it to the side and stomping out of the kitchen and onto the sectional. I sat down, and leaned forward, letting my head hang down. I just had to calm myself. I held my breath for a few seconds, and then exhaled and constantly did that while clenching and releasing my jaw. It was bound to happen right? It's not like he's drunk, he just had a few shots or so! I pursed my lips and leaned back against the cushions. I grabbed a pillow and placed it on my lap, acknowledging the silence of the sink. I sat there, and waited as Ray's footsteps neared. I turned my head towards the direction of the stairs, and he walked slowly towards me. I stared at him, then sat up and motioned towards the spot next to me.

'Let's talk about this,' I said softly. He nodded and sank into the sectional, the leather groaning from underneath him.

'I overreacted,' I stated, and placed a hand on his leg, keeping my eyes on the ceiling.

'No no, you didn't. I can understand.' He said and shook his head. 'I shouldn't have tried to cover it up though. It's just I knew that you wouldn't like it and I was hoping you wouldn't notice so then I could get rid of it later.' He explained. I nodded and allowed Ray's hand to cover mine.

'Your senses turned out to be sharper than I expected. Then again, I should have expected it.' He said glumly.

'Yeah...you don't go through something like that without recognizing danger,' I laughed softly, and stared at Ray's hand. 'How much did you drink?' I questioned.

'2 shots. That's it,' he answered, and moved closer to me.

'Why were you home late?' I asked. I thought I knew the answer, but who knows, there could be another part to it.

'Well the party didn't end until 12:30, but I had to go drop off some friends. They were too drunk to drive and I didn't want them to get hurt.'

I couldn't help but smile at this. Even to his friends he was sweet and caring. I turned my hand over and slipped finger fingers in between his.

'That's sweet of you,' I complimented. He curled his fingers around mine, and stared at me.

'Not as sweet as you,' he said gently, then flashed a smile. I smiled back, fixed my gaze on him.

'You know, I'm not mad at you. It's just a bit of a surprise and all. I wasn't really prepared for it.'

'But it's ok if you are. Remember? Express all of your emotions,' he reminded me. I opened my mouth and closed it. He had me there. But I really didn't feel anger; it was more of frustration from the lack of control over myself that zipped through my system right now. This was one of the things I was constantly worried about. The scent triggered and gave power to the shadows and allowed the dormant things in my mind that I tried so hard to lock up to escape and wreak havoc. Not only that, but I was feeling guilty for snapping at Ray.

'Sorry I snapped at you,' I apologized, and rested my head on his shoulder. He twisted around and pulled me onto his lap.

'Levi, that was nothing compared to earlier.' And placed his hand on the back of my head while I pressed my face into his chest.

'How about we just forget all this and move forward. Things happen, right?' I said, my voice muffled by his chest. He rested his chin on top of my head, and dragged out a breath.

'...alright then...' he said. I curled up and he encircled his other arm around me. I felt so safe and secure when Ray had his arms around me. I didn't feel invincible of course, but it made my mind calm and safe enough to let it drift around freely once more. Now that the disgusting scent was gone, another one drifted in my nostrils, and it was not all that pleasant.

'You smell like a teenager...' I told him with my face into his chest. His hand slid from the back of my head and onto my shoulder.

'And what smell is that?' he said grinning and leaning back.

'Hormones and sweat,' He hooked his finger at the collar of my shirt and tugged me close.

'You better get use to that babe,' and he slid his hand into my pants. I laugheded a little, and then sighed. I guess I was going to have to learn how to live with the occasional encounters of alcohol. I would be able to tolerate it as long as Ray stayed sober and sweet. I jumped when I heard the washer go off to signalize that the load of laundry I had put in earlier was done.

'One second...' I said, and jumped off his lap and placed the wet clothes into the dryer. I bounded out of the laundry room and crawled back into Ray's lap and fingered a button on his shirt.

'Join me in bed?' I said, giving him a tempting look. He grinned and took hold of my wrist.

'Join me in the shower?' he asked.

'Again?' I groaned.

'You enjoy it though,' he reminded me. I sat there for a few seconds, and found I couldn't argue with that. Sure I could have probably developed aquatic lungs by now, but it was all worth it. I felt a small smile teasing the corners of my lips as I resisted to smile.

'Let's go,' I said and slid off his lap, making sure to rub against his crotch in the process. Ray stood up with his hand still on my wrist, and lurched me back and kissed me.

'Does that finally answer my question?' he asked, looking down on me.

'Huh?' I said in a slight fog.

'Whether you like me clothed or nude,' he chuckled and rubbed my hand against his chest.

'I think you know the answer to that.' I said devilishly, and reached up with my other hand and popped a button. He bit his lower lip and took my other wrist in his hand and raised them above my head before sinking his tongue deep in my mouth. I let out a moan of surprise at how much more bold and rough he seemed to be tonight.

'Such a tempting boy you are...' he said and bit down on my neck. I bit down on my lower lip in response and slid my leg in between his and nudged at his crotch.

'I prefer it if you used something else,' he grunted, and moved my hands down and pressed it against his strained jeans. I looked away and blushed as he kissed up my neck and kissed around my lips, but never quite touching it.

'I wouldn't mind...' I said, putting on my best seductive face and pressing my fingers against his bulge. He smirked, and released one my wrists and practically dragged me upstairs and into the bathroom, where he closed the door and constantly kissed me till we went to sleep.

I followed Ray downstairs that morning, dreading another day of school. As we walked into the kitchen, my eye flicked to the answering machine, and it all came back to me. Ray's mom was coming home, and Ray didn't even know about it! He passed by it without a moment of interest, and immediately went to the fridge and pulled out the contents. I took notice of how tired he seem, and I walked over and took the milk jug from his hands.

'Thank babe.' He yawned. I placed it on the counter, and turned around.

'Are you sure you can go to school? You can skip a few periods, right?' I asked. He stretched and yawned again before grabbing a box from the cupboard.

'Naw it's fine. Don't worry about it; this isn't the first time you know. It's just been a while,' he said with a slow shrug, and grabbed a bowl for him and I. I took some spoons from the drawer and poured the milk in while he poured in the cereal.

'That's my point. It's been a while and it looks like you can barely stand!' I said taking the bowl. We walked to the table and sat down, facing each other. I stared at him while he ate, and saw that he was nodding off a little.


'Yeah,' he said attempting to sit up straight.

'Just go back to bed.'

'What about you? I'm not letting you walk out there, it's freezing!' he said pointing his thumb behind him.

'It isn't the first time you know. It's just been a while' I replied. There were so many things that he said that could be used against him.

' We're going to school, and I will stay awake,' Ray said firmly, and yawned. I laughed softly and shook my head.

'How about we just compromise?'

'How? You drive?' Ray chuckled, allowed the milk to drip down from his spoon. I had the small mental image of me gripping the steering wheel and screaming my head off while plowing through a nursing home, and decided immediately that this wasn't the greatest idea.

'If I do that people will die,' I said waving my spoon around. Come to think of it, I'm 18 and I still don't know how to drive. I better get that done soon.

'Exactly, so what compromise? You carry me there?' Once against the image of me struggling to breathe under Ray's dead weight appeared, and I laughed.

'No! Ray, I may be different in some ways, but I can guarantee you that my view of school has changed! I don't want to go to school anymore.' I said, grinning.

'You mean you wanted to go before?' he asked, widening his eyes a little. All of the sudden his surprised expression changed into one of pain.

'Oh yeah....of course you did,' he mumbled. I nodded, and finished off the cereal and pushed it to the side while standing up.

'Come on, back to bed,' I said tugging on his shoulder. He groaned and laid his head on the table and allowed his body to go limp.

'Ray, I would've thought that you would love to stay home for a bit,'

'But my grades...' he mumbled.

'What about there?' I asked, wrapping my arms around his neck.

'They're not the best,'

'Oh what's a few classes.' I said and kissed him lightly on the neck. He sat up and leaned back in the chair.

'A few classes can do a lot,' he moaned and pressed a finger to his temple.

'We can talk about this later. If you need help, I'll be happy to. Just ask me when you need me to,' He stood up and wobbled a little until he had to support himself using the table.

'Ok, I can't take this. Let's go back to sleep,' he said groggily, and stumbled forward with me trying to steady him a little. We made it up the stairs with some difficulty, and as soon as the bed was in range, Ray fell into it and blew out a breath of satisfaction. I slid in next to him and rest my arm across his chest. I saw a little smile form on his face, and in a matter of seconds he was snoring loudly. Not the most elegant, but hey, I liked it. I laid there facing him, my eyes continuing to scan his serene face over and over. He was beautiful all the time, even when he was just laying there.

After I made sure he was in a deep sleep, I sat up at the edge of the bed and took a glance back at him. Why me, I'll never entirely know. I stood up and walked around the bedroom, touching the posters, running my fingers across the desk, brushing my arm against the smooth TV Screen, and stopping at his books. It wasn't quite full, and when I looked closely, none of them had titles. Each book was bound in leather and was extremely thick, and when I leaned in close enough I could inhale the rich aroma. I reached up and traced the golden lines on the spine of the book in front of me, and then I ran my fingers along all the edges on that row. I gazed up and saw a peculiar book, one that was definitely out of place. It was the very first on a shelf that was located just a little above me head. I stood on my tip toes and looked at it. It was bound in leather, but it was thin and black. I slowly took it from the shelf, and rested my heels back on the floor. It was a simple, little black book that seemed as light as it looked. I shifted my eyes to Ray, and saw that he was still sleeping. Why were all of these books without titles? Was he a fan of classics? I focused my attention back on the book my hands, opened the cover and turned to the first page, and began reading the first line scrawled in black ink.

'This is my book. These are my words. These are my memories, my secrets, my feelings, my dreams. This is my first friend. This is my journal...'

The word journal seemed slap me right in the face and I gasped and dropped the book. The pages rustled, and it landed on the carpeted floor with a soft thud. I took a quick look at Ray, who seemed undisturbed. I stared down at the book and reached down to pick it up. I held it open, but I did not continue to read any of it. It was Ray's journal. I wasn't so sure what to do with it, and my curiosity was raging mad. I gently closed it shut and turned it over a few times in my hands. I increased my height for a moment, and pushed it back into the shelf and stepped back. I never thought Ray would be the type to keep a journal. I must say though, the opening to it was good. I continued to stare in the direction of the journal up at the shelf, and pursed my lips. I wonder how long he's had that. Does he still keep it up to date, or was it one of those journals that you start but never actually keep up with it. I didn't dare venture to see what those other books were, even if they were most likely just books. I twisted my body around and stared at Ray's dreaming face. His mouth was hanging open slightly, and his breathing was slow and even. I leaned in, and kissed his forehead, leaving my lips on his soothing skin before pulling away and smiling warmly at him. I didn't want to invade his privacy, treat others like you want them to treat you. In addition to that, I had hope that Ray would confide in me enough one day, and I would be his journal.

I pretty much stayed in Ray's room for the rest of the morning. I originally intended for him to sleep only an hour or two, but I couldn't bear to wake him up, so I allowed him to sleep as long as he liked. This turned out to be most of the school day, and around the time the bell should be ringing to signalize our release, I was sitting outside on the balcony, wrapped in a blanket, book in hand. The sun was shining high in the sky and casted its glaring rays on the balcony and across the book in my lap. I shivered at a slight breeze that blew by, and wrapped the blanket tighter around my body. Yes it was a bit of a pain to sit out in the cold like this, but I enjoyed when the sun was like this. It just gave this world a new kind of light. It gave it more color and brilliance, and it made my surroundings crisp, and clean. I looked up from my book when I heard the rustling of covers and Ray's loud yawn. His footsteps neared until he appeared at the open glass door, still in his briefs and hugging himself.

'Babe...' he said with squinted eyes. I smiled and stood up, sliding the blanket off my shoulders and wrapping it around his body.

'What are you doing out here?' he said groggily, and brought me into the blanket with him. I turned around, and looked off at the many trees and the massive plot of land that stretched out in front of us with mansions in the distance.

'It's nice weather...I wanted to enjoy it.' I said wistfully. This place was beautiful, especially with the trees and the body of water off in the distance. It gave it such a natural and cozy feeling while still maintaining its prestigious look, which still amazed me.

'Yeah...it is nice.' Ray said in a low voice and rested his chin on top of my head. I turned around, and nudged him inside and slid the door shut. I could still admire the scene in the comfort of my own home, the almost the entire wall was made of squeaky clean glass. A large gust of wind blew by, which made me thank myself for going inside in time to avoid it.

'What time is it?' Ray said walking over to the nightstand and picking up his phone. I glanced at the clock, and then back at him. He had this look of disbelief, and then he cut his eyes to me.

'Levi...you said only a few hours...' I stared back, tilting my head down slightly and looking as innocent as possible.

'You just looked so relaxed; I didn't want to wake you!' I said with a sheepish smile. He stared at me with an adoring smile, and then he fell back into bed. I joined him and cuddled up against his chest while he wrapped his arms around me and planted his lips on my neck.

'I wouldn't have minded at all Levi,' he said soothingly and reached up to brush a lock of hair away from my face. 'I'm always happy to wake up to this beautiful face,' I laughed softly and held his face in my hands while I tenderly connected my lips with his. Sweet as the moment was, in the back of my mind banged the reminder that Ray's parents were coming home in about a week's time. I drew myself closer to Ray, and touched the tip of his tongue with my own.

'I still have to get rid of this morning wood,' he said seductively in my ear. I grinned and reached down to play with it a bit.

'You got bigger things to worry about,' I told him with fear rising in my chest and into my mind. He widened his eyes, and did a fake gasp.

'There are bigger things than me?' We both laughed and smiled, but mine lasted only a few seconds before it quickly descended into a frown. Ray's laughter trailed to a stop when he noticed something was wrong.

'What's wrong?' he asked. I crawled out from under his arms and sat cross legged. He propped himself up on his elbow, fixing his eyes on me, waiting for my explanation. I opened my mouth, then closed it again. I tried multiple times to begin the simple statement of his parents returning home, but it just seemed so hard at the time! I finally blew out a quick sigh, and words dashed out of my mouth to the point that they were hardly English.

'Yourparentsarecominghomeinaboutaweek,' I said quickly. He stared at me, and rose up and cocked an eyebrow.

'What?' he said narrowing his eyes a little. I paused, and then reiterated what I said, this time slower and in a language that we knew.

'Your parents...are coming home...' I breathed out. I saw a huge smile spread across his face, and he bolted up and grabbed my shoulders.

'Really? When?!' he asked, excitement building up in his words. I laughed nervously and shifted in my seat. Glad to know he was excited while this made me into a nervous wreck.

'A week?'

'You're shitting me,'

'Would I joke about this?' I said giving him a look. He laughed and placed his hands on top of his head.

'God I can't believe this, it's been months since I last saw them!' He shouted and fell back into the pillows. I bit my lower lip and thought of how the it would be to meet his parents for the first time. Jumping off the top of the Bunker Hill Monument had more appeal.

'Plu-us,' He added, sat up, and pulled me into a bone crushing hug.

'I finally get to introduce them to you,' he said softly, and buried his nose into my hair. Wow a few months and I was already meeting his parents. So much for moving slow in that department. I wanted to raise a word of protest but he seemed so happy, I didn't want to spoil it with my worries. I knew his parents meant a lot to him so the news was like a shot of adrenaline to him. He leapt out of bed with me in his arms, and bounded downstairs effortlessly while I bounced around and clung to his chest. He then swung me around and planted a huge smooch on my lips and let out a woop of joy.

'Fuck this is exciting, let's go out!' he said spreading his arms and flexing his muscles.

'Pardon?' I said leaning forward. Did I hear correctly?'

'You heard, lets go out tonight, I'm in the mood to,' he said and winked at me. I stared at him, and bit down on my lower lip. I never actually thought about ever going out on a date like that with Ray again. I mean, what if this was just a spur of the moment thing? Night was still only a few hours away, and I was afraid that his high would end and that he might be paranoid. Of course, my paranoia level was already high up there, but Ray seemed pretty pumped about the idea.

'What do you say Levi? Come on, it's been a while since we ate out,' he said with a nostalgic twinkle in his eye. I felt myself smile warmly as I remembered out first, amazing date. God, how fantastic that night was. I watched as he stepped forward, and cupped my face in his hands and rubbed his thumbs against my cheeks and down to my chin.

'Remember that wonderful night?' he said softly, and closed the space in between us. I attempted to nod, but his hands held my face still in his hands.

'Promise me that there'll be more nights like that...' he said, his voice gentle and soothing and he kissed me tenderly. It was deep, it was gentle, but it was a different kind of passion. Instead of a huge roaring fire, it was a soft candlelight that brought a feeling of warmth into your heart rather than your skin. He released my lips, and stared at me. We both said it simultaneously, for the moment just felt right.

'I love you,' we both said, and I hopped up and pressed my lips back on his. I really did have high hopes that we would last long enough to have those nights for years to come.

Soon enough, nightfall came and I could feel my mind buzzing with fear and paranoia that something was going to come down. I stared at the clock, sensing trouble looming in the horizon, biding its time before it would float in and cover our evening with darkness.

'Babe, what's wrong?' He said stepping out of the closet, his hair still wet with a towel around his waist. I on the other hand, was wrapped in a towel from my chest to my knees. I twiddled my thumbs and stood up.

'Nothing,' I said mumbled, and walked into the closet. He turned around and paused for a moment, and then walked over to me.

'This is cute...' He chuckled and tugged on my towel. I gave him a questioning look.

'What is?' I asked.

'The way you have your towel around you,' He answered and tugged at it.

'Your point being?' and with a flashed he unwrapped the towel and quickly secured it around my thin waist like his.

'I prefer you being nude, but at least I get a glimpse at your sexy body, nipples included,' he said in a low, smooth voice. I blushed, and quickly turned away and looked for something to wear. Ray did the same, except he had a large collection to choose from. I gazed at my small collection compared to his. I really had to go shopping. I had some savings, but most of it was dedicated towards a miniscule college fund. I selected a navy blue v neck sweater that stopped short of a long scar running from my shoulder to the left side of my chest. I adjusted it and slipped into some slim fitting, black jeans, felt Ray hug me from behind.

'I like what you're wearing,' he said softly in my ear. I smiled and placed my hand on his arms wrapped around my chest.

'I like what you're not wearing,' I said pressing back against his groin. He was still in his towel, and his intoxicating scent smelled so fresh.

'Nu uh babe, don't wanna get the clothes dirty,' he growled, and thrusted his pelvis forward. I lurched forward, and smiled mischievously.

'Guess I'll have to contain it,' I said licking my lips. one of his arms slid off from my chest, and all of the sudden I felt a hand grip my hair and his pulled it back a bit roughly and sunk his tongue into my mouth. I moaned in surprise, and allowed myself to sink into his mind boggling kiss. This was pretty new. I moved my lips against his thrashed my tongue soundly around. He pulled away slightly to nip my lower lip and jerk my head just a little before crushing his lips back on mind. I felt myself reached back and run my fingers through his moist hair.

'Always wanted to do that,' he panted, still holding my hair. I smiled up at him, and pushed his head a little down so I could kiss his chin.

'I like it,' I quipped. He bent his head down and bit down on the soft shell of my ear.

'Does Little Levi like it rough?' he hissed, and tugged a little more at the same time he bit down. I shuddered and felt my jeans straining under my massive erection. Ray's however was confined by the pressure of my back.

'I'll explore that some more later,' he chuckled and released me. He slapped my ass and returned to picking out clothes. I took a few playful glances at him, which he acknowledged it with a warning look and a throb from his dick. I laughed softly to myself and stepped out of the closet. While I slipped on some socks, I watched Ray slip on a brown crew neck sweater and grabbed his white jacket on his way out of the closet.

'Let's get going,' he said dragged a finger from my exposed bit of chest and up my neck. I followed him out the door, and down the stairs. During that short interval of time, I felt my paranoia hike up once more, I hesitantly walked towards the door and reluctantly slid my shoes on. I stood back up and stood there while Ray unlocked the door. He turned around, and looked at me for a few beats.

'Seriously Levi, what's wrong??'

'I'm just a bit scared...' I said and stared down at my feet. He closed the door and walked towards me with outstretched arms.

'About what babe?

'Just someone will see us...' He hugged my waist and looked down on me. I loved how his arms and well...his whole body was so broad! His size, strength, and words just made me feel so safe and reassured, like I could make all my decisions without even second guessing myself.

'No one will,' he said kissing the top of my head. 'If they do, then I'll get us out of it. Don't worry about it, Ok babe?' and he stepped back to take my hands into his.

'You're always safe with me,' he assured gently. I nodded and allowed him to pull me out to the car with the veil of the night masking our secret love.

I sat there with hand in his while he drove with the other. I kept my eyes on the road and watched while the streetlights flew by, and the light in the sky grew brighter and brighter while the stars grew dimmer and dimmer. When the first signs of the city began to show, I tensed up. At a stop light, Ray glanced over and squeezed my hand. His windows were tinted; no one passing by could see our hands locked together.

'Don't be so nervous babe,' he said, and looked over at me. I glanced in his direction, and watched the people pass by.

'I can't help it...you're familiar with society...' I said in a low voice, almost a whisper. I heard him blow out a puff of hair, and pressed down on the gas.

'You know it...but hey,' he said and turned a corner 'Who said two guys can't go and have dinner together?' he said and turned toward me with a smile.

'Eyes on the road,' I said quickly, and tilted my lips into a slight smile.

'Thanks. Anyway, I'm right, right?' My smile turned into a frown.

'People who find it odd when a famous guy like you has dinner with an invisible guy like me,' I said and stared into my lap. I heard him take a sharp breath before going into a screeching halt, making a U turn, and speeding off somewhere. I leaned back in my seat and gazed wide eyed at the road and within seconds, we drove to a side of a building where the shadow swallowed up the car and covered us in darkness. I heard Ray unbuckling his seatbelt and the he pushed mine open before taking my face in his hands and taking me into a deep kiss. He pulled away, and stared into my eyes in the midst of the darkness.

'You were never invisible to me...' He whispered, and brushed another kiss. I wrapped my arms around his neck, held his stare.

'Really?' I said timidly. I must've been invisible to him at one point.

'Never Levi. I could barely keep my eyes off of you when I saw you. I wanted to talk to you, to touch you, I wanted to get to know you....' And he paused and titled his head down for a few seconds.

'I wanted you,' he said looking back up at me. 'I always saw you...' I felt an urge to cry rise along with the butterflies, but I quickly suppressed that and inhaled deeply.

'And that's how I want it to stay. As long as you can see me, I'm happy...' I breathed out, and pressed my lips back on his. In my case, when I was this close with him everyone but him seemed invisible.

We were once again back to driving, and it wasn't long before Ray pulled in front of an unfamiliar restaurant.

'I'm in the mood for pizza,' he said, and pulled the brakes on the car. I gave smirked at him, and laughed softly.

'Hey, just because I'm rich doesn't mean I can't enjoy,' he said and tousled my hair.

'No no, it's just I never ate pizza before!' I laughed and fixed my hair in the mirror.

'Really?!' Ray said with surprise. I stopped fixing my hair and looked at his direction.

'Well...yeah. I haven't experience much in my life...' I said lightly, trying to keep the happy mood alive. I felt the flutters in the air beginning to flop rather than swoop around, and Ray began frowning.

'But That means I get to experience more with you,' I said quickly, and threw in little devilish smile.

'A lot more,' and I discreetly brushed my hand across his thigh. His smile returned with a hint of trouble in it.

'And you'll get a lot more,' he said, and rubbed his crotch before opening the door. I sat there momentarily trying to cool down my face, and then I took a deep breath before reaching over to open my own door. I stepped outside into the freezing cold air, and followed Ray through the door and the warm air circled around my body. It sold pizza, but it wasn't at all grungy or like any pizza place I've seen on the television. It was dimly lit with dark wooden tables and plush leather booths. The floor was clean, the air smelled purely of food unlike some other places, which they smelled like food mixed with sweat, dirt, and other odors that were unidentifiable. I trailed behind Ray, and jumped when a potted plant in the shadows brushed against my hand. Ray glanced over his shoulder, shook his head with a smile, and stopped for a moment to place his hand on my back to push me in front of him. Ray nudged me to the farthest booth in the corner, and we slid into opposite seats facing each other. I gazed around at the slightly high walls of the booths, and then took some time to touch everything around me.

'Such a fancy place for pizza...' I mumbled while rubbing the smooth fabric of the curtain between my fingers, 'Enjoying little things huh?' I said, and smiled a little. Ray leaned back and sprawled his arms out.

'With style Levi,' he said with a cocky grin. I allowed the curtain to slip from my fingers, and I placed my hands in my lap. My eyes darted everywhere, scanning for people that could possibly be from our school.

'Levi you gotta stop worrying so much.' He said and leaned across the table. 'I'll handle things if something goes down, ok? Just relax, make your first experiences enjoyable!' and with that he leaned back with a gleam in his eye. I knew exactly what he was thinking, and licked my lips. I heard footsteps approaching us, and immediately I swiveled my head expecting someone from school to be greeting Ray, but all I saw was a waitress with her little notepad walking towards us. I had her aimed at her early twenties, average body, nice shoulder length brunette hair with blond highlights. She had a heavy tan, no doubt the works of a tanning booth, and the only make up she wore was some lipstick and mascara.

'What'll it be?' she said in a high pitched voice.

'Supreme,' Ray said casually.

'How many slices?' Ray glanced in my direction, and began to smile.

'A whole pizza please, and some coke' Ray requested, his smile getting wider by the second. I felt my jaw drop and she cocked an eyebrow.

'You guy's are going to kill yourselves,' she said and blew out a sigh. 'Better not make this little one eat too much,' she said pointing her pen at me, and then walked away.

'A whole pizza?!' I whispered shrilly. He laughed and the patted the table.

'Ba-er Levi, I want you to have as much as you can eat! No doubt this thing is good, and maybe it'll activate some monstrous appetite that you have hidden somewhere,' and then he eyed me up and down.

'Who knows, you might actually gain a pound...' he joked. I pouted, and then took a napkin and began folding it.

'At this rate I'll lose instead,' I muttered, and took a glance to my left. My awareness level was still way up there, and it wasn't coming down anytime soon. Ray sighed, and nudged my foot under the table.

'Don't worry about it Levi, it'll be fine, you'll eat your first pizza, it'll be fun!' he said lightly. I gazed up from my pile, and gave him a small smile.

'I'll try.' I said, and sat up in my seat and tried to relax a little. Things will be ok right? I'm sure this isn't the first time he's snuck around with a guy. Then again, I didn't even know what the previous boy was like. What was he like? Was he small like me or was he tall and buff like Ray? Was he nice? Handsome? What was his status in society?

Within about fifteen minutes, an enormous, piping hot pizza was set on our table, and all I could do was stare at it with wide eyes. Ray licked his lips and rubbed his hands together.

'What do you think?' He said eyeing it with delight. I shifted my view from him, and then to the pizza. It smelled delicious, but this thing was...overwhelming! Ray took a slice and placed it on his plate, and then stared at me, waiting for me to take a slice of my own.

'Levi, it's not going to disappear by itself,' Ray chuckled, and the nudged the tray towards me. I backed up a little and fixed my eyes on Ray.

'That's right, you're going to make it disappear!' He bellowed out a hearty laugh.

'Even I can't handle it. I can eat most of it, but not all!' He said with a broad smile and placed a slice onto my plate. I gave it a curious poke with my finger, and the squeezed the warm, cheese filled crust.

'Everything in there is dead,' Ray laughed again. I smiled and then tentatively lifted it off of its plate, and inhaled its aroma. I could feel the heat nearing my lips as my mouth began to water from such a tasteful smell. I took a quick glance at Ray, and saw him staring at me.

'What?' I said lowering it a little.

'Nothing! I just wanna see your face on the first bite!' he said with a grin.

'I won't if you keep staring!'

'Live with it Ba-uh Levi!' I sighed, and then took a mouthful of it. I inhaled deeply when I tasted the warm, rich taste of my very first pizza. I placed it back on my plate, and pressed the napkin against my lip while I chewed. This pizza was fantastic!

'I'm glad you like it,' Ray said with a mouthful. He swallowed and flashed a smile, which I returned, and took another bite.

We spent a good amount of time waging war against the pizza, which we lost. By the time we were done there were two slices left, and I felt as though I was pregnant with quintuplets. Ray leaned back into his side of the booth, and belted out a groan that was a mixture of satisfaction and pain.

'Remind me,' and I let out a small burp, '...why you ordered the whole freaking thing?!' I moaned, and rested my head against the wall.

'Like I said...this stuff is good,' Ray exhaled. I think he had trouble breathing. I slid out from the booth, and stood up.

'I'm going to the restroom for a bit,' I stated and walked, well more like waddled, towards the sign that pointed towards the location. I stepped inside and was not surprised when I was not hit with the disgusting stench of those filthy public bathrooms. Management here was pretty good! I washed my hands and did a quick mirror check to make sure nothing was stuck to the corner of my mouth. I walked out of the bathroom and walked into Ray, who immediately pushed me back into the bathroom with urgency that alarmed me. It can't be.

'Put this on,' he said firmly, and handed me his jacket. It suddenly registered. My suspicions came true, and there was someone here that we knew. I quickly slid my arms into the oversize jacket, and Ray roughly zipped it up and yanked the hood over my head. He knelt down and tugged at it, making sure that it concealed my face. During this small amount of time, I felt like a brute, a convict that was trying to escape from the law. How ironic is it not? I'm trying to live my own life, while they're the one that seemed to terrorize me. Yet somehow, I end up feeling like I'm the one convicted of the brutal attacks.

'I got you babe...' Ray whispered. He then opened the door, and walked out first, and I followed close at his heels. His jacket felt like I had dead bodies hanging off of me, weighing me down behind it's shadow and the impending feeling of doom. I kept my eyes to the ground, and followed Ray's feet. I knew we were going to be spotted, for Ray was definitely not hard to miss. He always stood magically out of a bustling crowd, no matter where he was.

'Ray!' I heard a deep voice call. I recognized it. The image of his face came into my memory. His twisted, distorted face warped into a sickening smile of glee as he threw punch after punch.

'Hey, Tommy what's up?' Ray said as though he was happy to see him. So this was the guy that Ray went to last night. I gritted my teeth, resisting the urge to spit in his face and tear the flesh from his bones. They made some small talk for a bit, and then Tommy turned his attention to me.

'Who's this guy?' I heard Tommy say. I allowed my hood to drop a few centimeters lower, trying my hardest not to be recognized. The jacket was bulky, probably seven times my size or so, not to mention the hood was fairly large. This was meant to fit Ray, not me, so it should do. It should hide my identity long enough for Ray to get me to safety. I heard Ray lower his voice, but I could catch a few words in the stream of the other conversations occurring around us when I focused hard enough.

'He's...cousin...fire....scarred....' was what I heard. Ray lowered his voice a little more, and that was when I couldn't hear. I stood there for a few minutes with my head and arms dangling down, swaying a little from the invisible weight that was being placed my body. After what seemed like hours, Ray finally began saying bye. There was a pause, and a hand stuck out in front of my shadowed face.

'Hey. Goodluck,' I heard Tommy say. I was tempted to look up at him. It shocked me that he was capable of kindness to a random stranger. Years of torment had always made me have this mental mindset that he was a drunken, arrogant, oaf that did nothing. I hesitated for a moment, and raised my covered hand and shook it. Ray said bye, and nudged me in front of him towards the exit. He quickly led me to the car and navigated me into my seat. I didn't take off the jacket until we were a ways from the restaurant.

'What did you tell him?' I asked. I wanted to make sure what sort of clever lie Ray made up this time to cover me.

'I told him you were in a fire when you were young, and you were badly scarred, hence why you wore such a huge jacket and kept hood up.' He said, and blew out a sigh. I shivered a bit from the cold, and Ray turned the heater up. There was a moment of silence, during which I pondered whether or not to walk over to dangerous turf.

'Have...you ever snuck around...with him?' I asked hesitantly. Every muscle in his body tensed up, and I saw the muscles in his jaw begin to work. He shifted his eyes to me, and then back to the road.

'Yeah...' he answered flatly. That was it. I retreated back to more friendly grounds. Things fell silent for a bit, and I felt regret for allowing myself to feed my curiosity with such forbidden fruit. I didn't know where we were going, but it became evident when more trees came into sight, and colorful metal shined under the many lamps placed around the vicinity of the park. Ray drove in, parked, and then turned off the ignition.

'I'm hoping you've at least been to a park in your lifetime,' he said softly, and looked at me. I pursed my lips and nodded. Did I really miss that much in my life? We stepped out of the car, and immediately the cold stabbed and planted itself onto my skin and sucked the warmth from my body. I shivered, and Ray walked close to me. The streets around us were silent, but my eyes were still scanning the darkness for the smallest of movements that could be that of a person.

'What are we doing here?' I said, and stopped. Ray took a few more steps, and turned around.

'I just felt like taking you here, that's all.' Ray said taking a step towards me. 'I thought you might be pretty flustered, plus I always wanted to do something,' Ray said gazing towards the colorful shapes.

'And what is that?' I asked, and walked up next to him.

'You'll see,' he said, and began walking. I followed him, and we stopped at a swing set.

'Sit down...' Ray said motioning towards a swing. I sat down, and watched him sit down on the one next to me. He gazed over at me and inhaled.

'Hold your hand out,'

I did as he said, and held my hand out. He reached out with his own, and grasped it firmly. I felt myself smiling, and I laughed a little.

'This is what you wanted to try?' I asked. Ray laughed softly, switching his gaze from his lap to me. He laced our fingers together, intertwining them into one.

'Not quite,' he said, and the jerked me forward and kissed me. My eyes remained open from surprised, but I found myself melting and letting out a long exhale as he tilted his head, squeezing my hand and planting two more kisses before pulling away.

'That's what I always wanted to try,' he said gently, and flashed his perfect teeth. I felt myself going red, and then I pulled his hand and tilted my head so I could kiss him again. It was such a simple thing, but it was just so adorable and romantic. I allowed my lips to linger on his as an attempt to satisfy my cravings to kiss him.

'See? There are things I haven't tried either...' he mumbled, and brushed my lips lightly. Our hands were still together. I increased my grip on his.

'True...it's not like we experienced everything in the short amount of time we've been on this earth...' I said and lowered my eyes to the ground beneath us. The cold began to sting my ears, but I ignored it.

'Yeah,' Ray agreed. I heard the movement of the chains and then I felt his fingertips at the bottom of my face when he turned my gaze towards him.

'I haven't experienced love...' He said, his eyes glistening in the lamplight. 'Not like this...' he whispered, shaking his head. I felt tears beginning to spring at the corners of my eyes and I stared at him. He seemed more emotional tonight, and it was infectious. Then again I was always emotional. I blinked the tears away and before I could say anything Ray crushed his lips against mine and was breathing in and out deeply. His lips were desperate when they moved against mine. Within moments, I released my control on my urges, and kissed back with what felt like the same amount of urgency, if not, more. I moved my head so I could feel closer to him, and parted my lips in order for him to hungrily sink his tongue into my mouth. We explored each other's mouths, touching and rubbing tongues as a greeting first before wandering around each other's domain. Ray's hand went to the back of my head and pushed me closer. I couldn't stand the small amount of distance between us. I quickly pulled away, stood up, and slid my legs around his body and sat on his lap. Our chests touched, and even then the miniscule space between our hearts seemed so vast and gut wrenching. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed my lips back on his while his arms encircled my waist. My hands went to his face, and I rubbed my thumb against his stubble.

'Please love me...' Ray whispered, almost begging. I stared and saw a tear beginning to fall, and I wiped it away with my thumb. What was going on?

'I already do,' I said with a warm smile, 'No matter what,' and with that I returned my lips back to their rightful place.

Later that night, my eyes fluttered open in the darkness. Ray was sleeping soundly, our naked bodies pressed tightly against each other. I attempted to pry myself loose, but Ray shifted and hugged me even tighter. I gave up and just laid there, my mind once more working to interpret the events that happened earlier. It kept bothering how different Ray was that night. Maybe it was because I asked about his past relationship. Was it that bad? God what the hell happened during that year? I inhaled deeply and snuggled against his chest, letting smooth skin brush my chin. Everyone has their past, but how do you help a person move passed it when you don't even know anything about it?

It was after dinner a day or two later, and I was in the middle of dishes when Ray walked beside me and bumped me to the side with his hip.

'Move!' He said playfully, and stuck his hands in the sink and began to wash the soap off the dishes. I glared, and tried to push back, but he held his ground.

'Babe,' he said with a grin, and placed it on top of a towel I laid out on the counter. 'You're not gonna make me move with that little body of yours,'

'Oh, you got a problem with that?' I scoffed, pretending to be insulted. He placed another one the towel, and shifted his gaze to me. It didn't take long for me to begin smiling and cursing myself.

'Not at all, I love it,' he chuckled, and pecked me on the lips. I blushed, and moved the sponge across the plate. Usually we didn't have a lot, but I neglected them last night so there was quite a bit when you threw in the utensils I used to cook.

'You like the big guy little guy thing don't you?' I said softly, keeping my eyes on the dishes. Ray dried his hand and brought the top of my head to his lips.

'Of course I do...I' he began gently, but was cut off by his mundane ring tone. He swore, and rushed over to the table and picked it up. I glanced at him, and saw a large grin dancing around on his face.. I cocked my head, and he brought the phone to his ear.

'Hey mom!'



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