Deception 3

As I laid my head down on my pillow, reeling from the roller coaster of emotions I slid through over the course of the last few hours, something occurred to me. As humans, we are always trying to keep order of the chaos of our lives. To the point where we have roles and expectations for the people we choose to keep around us. When something is off, we identify it and try to cope with it, or fix it. When you really think about it, it’s fucked up. I mean seriously, I have enough trouble trying to control my own life, yet I try to control how someone else acts, to best satisfy the role that “I” need them to fulfill. 
So I can feel comfortable and happy. Not me. Never again. From this point on, I’m only gonna worry about me. Live and let live….yeah, we’ll see how that goes hehe. 

It seems to be in the wee hours that I get philosophical. Maybe it’s to do with running out of other things to think about. Adam had interrupted my sleep, but now my head was awake and I couldn’t make myself get tired. Mark was stirring, as if he was in a dark place in his head, lost in some kind of nightmare. So I reached to him, drew him in my arms, and he seemed to calm down a bit.  I felt very fortunate to be sleeping next to him like this. We had a rough stretch but came through the other side closer than ever. Maybe I had made a subconscious choice to change the role he played in my life and quit trying to make him be somebody he was not. Maybe it was that acceptance that helped bring us closer together.  You never can know for sure what someone else is thinking, but he seemed to reach a point of acceptance of who I am too. Maybe it’s part of growing up. Accepting the differences in one another. Cherishing those differences even. I think the entire world needs a lesson in acceptance and tolerance. I imagine we would have great potential if people would open their eyes and their hearts. 

Mark went into another cycle of shifting and rotating, until his body found comfort with using me as a full length pillow. It was exactly what I needed too. The closeness and warmth brought with it a return to sleep. 

Morning came too soon, as usual, but Mark and I both woke with a shared spike of energy and anticipation. We had a matinee grudge match with the hated Bears of White Bear Lake. Our biggest rival. These games always are a little more intense. A little bit cheaper and dirtier, and generally crazy. Full penalty boxes and angry parents, screaming obscenities at the refs, the players, and each other. It’s hard not to get up for a game against the Bears. 

We showered and ate and patiently waited for Mark’s mom to say it was time to load up and drive into enemy territory. Adam and his buddy came down and everything seemed back to normal there. Last night really did happen and there didn’t seem to be any backlash. Shortly after breakfast, Adam’s friend had to leave.  I asked Adam, “are you coming to our game?”

“Shit yeah. I’m not gonna miss a White Bear game. You guys have to slaughter them punks.”

“Yeah. We’ll try.”

“I want to see them go out in stretchers.”

Adam took his familiar place up close to me on the couch, while we digested our toast and cereal. I was glowing on the inside, and maybe the outside, too. 

“Looks like you weirdos kissed and made up,” Mark observed. 

“You could say that,” I responded, as Adam nudged me, worried I might say too much. 

I was feeling a little cocky and maybe a little weird, so I called over to Mark “why don’t you come hug it out with us ya’ big dummy. You seem jealous or something.”

Without a single word, Mark dove on top of us and a full on battle began. It was all belly laughs and idle threats, like three puppies clawing their way through the litter to establish a pecking order. Somehow, the brothers ganged up on me and I was a goner. Until Mark’s mom bailed me out, admonishing us for messing up her nice pillows. She also announced it was time to load up for the game. 

The game went off as predicted, offering excitement and energy for the fans. We took a big lead into the third and two of their players ended up getting ejected because of the severity of their cheap shots. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a kid from White Bear.

After the game we went to Jimmy John’s for celebratory sandwiches, and Mark’s mom said she needed to talk to us about something. I don’t know why, but I took it to mean trouble. 

“Now boys. Hear me out before you go jumping down my throat.  Landon, you know, from your team. Well, I was talking to his mother during the game and she told me about a bit of a problem she has. It seems she bought a set of tickets for Waterpark of America, but a family emergency has made it so she can’t go. So she offered them to me free of charge. They are all access passes with hotel accommodations. Worth a lot of money. Now I know you boys are getting up there in…”

“HELL YEAH,!” Screamed Adam. Interrupting him mom mid sentence. “I mean..umm…that could be cool, I guess…maybe.”  He scanned back and forth between me and Mark, nervously looking for us to join in his obvious excitement of what he expected his mom to say next. It was like Mark and I had been in on the joke together, as we both sat there blank-faced, trying our hardest to look uninterested. I know inside, I was doing backflips at the prospect of taking my first trip to the behemoth water park. 

“I take it you boys aren’t interested then?  Like your little brother?  I just thought maybe it’d be nice for you guys to do something different. Well, I’ll call her and tell her to find someone else.”

Mark waited for her to dig her phone out of her purse, until he yelled “STOP!  Of course we want to go!  That place is epic. I’ve always wanted to go there. So…we’re going. Right Daniel?”

“Umm…yeah sure. I’d go. Sounds like fun.”

“And of course you’d get to invite a friend too, Adam.  It’s a suite, so it’s like two rooms. I’ll have one room with my Bo, and you boys would have your own room.  Who would you like to bring honey?  You’d need to call them pretty soon.”

“Ahh…I invite Daniel.”

“But he’s already going dear. Don’t you want to invite someone else?”

“Nope. Just Daniel.”

“Ok then. Why don’t we get home and pack up. Oh Daniel. Do we need to go by your place so you can get some things?”

“Nah. I got stuff he can wear,” Mark offered. So we went back to their house and got ourselves ready. A quick call home and we were back in the car, heading for Bloomington. 

Mark’s description was pretty accurate. The place was epic. A huge twisted mass of tubes jutting out from all angles in different bright colors. Filled with the sounds of surging water and happy screams and laughter. It was summer 365 days a year in this humid, indoor jungle. We impatiently rode the elevator up to our room to get changed into our trunks and head back to the waterpark madness.

The room was amazing too. A pair of queen sized beds, adorned with a mountain of pillows. A full size couch. Mini fridge and a flat screen tv. Our own bathroom and a door to shut us off from the main suite. It was probably the nicest hotel room I’d ever stayed in. Mark and Adam were both completely naked, rifling through their bags, before I had even taken the room in. The next thing I knew, a pair of red swim trunks slapped across my face. 

“Come on twinkle toes. Let’s get going.”

I glanced over just as the last of Mark’s nakedness disappeared behind his black shorts. Adam was standing ready as well in his yellow trunks. I shyly turned away and took off my jeans and boxers. 

“Would you look at that sweet ass,” Mark joked. 

“Mmm…mmm. Sweet as candy,” Adam responded. 

I felt my cheeks blush from their ribbing. Both sets. Is it possible for your butt cheeks to blush?  I’m pretty sure mine did. I drew up the drawstring and noticed these shorts were too big for me. “Umm…Mark?  These shorts are too loose on me.”

“Yeah, I know. They’re too big for me too. That’s why I gave them to you.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep them up.”

“Ahh…you’ll be fine.”

“Yeah right. Half my ass is hanging out.”

“Yup. Looks good,” Adam added. Not wanting to be left out of the fun. 

“Just tie em’ up a lot. You’ll be good. Anyway, your dick should hold the front up.”

They both got a good laugh out of Mark’s last comment. Not wanting to be a downer, I said “whatevs. Guess I’ll just show all these strangers my ass all night.”

“Don’t worry about it. Everybody will love it.”

We went down to the maze of slides and spent the next three hours having a blast. It was like being seven again. Running, sliding, splashing, shouting. I had minimal problems with the oversized trunks. I did tie them up over and over, but it seemed to work pretty good. When we got tired and hungry, we went back to the room and laid on the beds watching tv and eating room service pizza. After our stomachs settled, we went back for another round of water sports. 

Usually I hate swimming.  Chlorine has never been to kind to me. My eyes swell up and itch for days, and my nose plugs up for a week.  This was different for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that you’re only in the water for short spells, but I wasn’t getting my usual reaction. We stayed in the waterpark until curfew, when they made us leave and only the drunk adults could use the slides. Something about that combination seems like a bad idea, but they can do what they want. 

When we got back to the room the place was all ours. We took turns showering and when no one was looking, I slipped out and went to the snack shop I saw in the hotel lobby. I picked up some treats and brought them back to the room. We piled on one of the beds and ordered a pay-per-view. It was getting late and we were tired, waterlogged boys, so the two brothers dropped off fairly quickly. Being the one who’s always the last one awake, I stayed on and finished the movie. About the time I was going to knock off, Mark’s mom came back.  From what I could tell, they had a good time. Constant giggling and slurred talking told me so. 

The two boys had all but taken away the one bed with sprawled limbs and the hijacked pillows, so I decided to occupy the other bed. At least then I’d be able to stretch out and have a pillow of my own.  I was happily surprised to wake up later with someone snuggled in tight behind me, with a comforting arm thrown over my chest. I didn’t want to disturb him by moving, but I was putting my money on it being Adam. 

The next morning I confirmed it. Adam was the one who switched beds to sleep with me. In the unfairness of my life, I was the first one awake, after being the last one asleep. I just operate on less sleep than most people I guess.  We were treated to a really nice breakfast buffet before heading back home. It was an awesome surprise weekend outing, but the drop off back home was a reminder that the next day started another week of school. Time to start the countdown to the next weekend. 

The week flew by pretty fast as the days continued to get longer and warmer. We’d made plans for Mark to stay at my house on Friday. I was temped to try and get Adam over, but it never got past the idea stage.  The idea never even left my head, for that matter. 

We had a hockey practice Friday night and then Mark came home with me. We quickly retreated to my room and pretty much stayed in there for the rest of the night. 

As the night started winding down and we both started to yawn a lot, Mark announced “I’m going to the bathroom to get ready for bed.”

In reverse to his house, he went first and I followed. I came back to find him under the covers with his hands behind his head. I crawled in bed and put out the light. We laid in silence for a while, as our eyes adjusted to absence of light. Little did I know that I was about to have one of the most important conversations I’d ever had with Mark. 

“Hey Daniel?”


“Can I ask you something?”


“It’s kind of a big deal so promise you’ll be honest.”

“What the?  Dude…I don’t know.”

“Come on. It’s not that huge. Just promise, ok?”

“Uhh…ok.  What is it?”

“Do you and Adam mess around?”

I was stunned. It was not what I was expecting Mark to ask me at all. I didn’t know how to answer him. I said I’d promise to be honest, but now I wasn’t so sure. He’d really put me in the corner. 

“Well?  I won’t be mad if you do. I’m just curious. Adam told me he has a special friend and I think it might be you. You guys are always touching and stuff, soooo…is it you?”

“Umm…damn dude. You really caught me off guard. Umm…we’ve…umm…messed around a few times, but nothing like hardcore or anything.”

“Aha!  I knew it. I knew it was you. Haha.”

“I’m sorry Mark. It just…kind of happened. We don’t need to anymore.”

“Dude!  Chill out. I don’t care. He was just bragging about it and I kind of figured it was you. He didn’t want to tell me who it was.”

“He called me a special friend?”

“Yeah. So last year when we were still living in California, he walked in on me and a friend when we were doing stuff and of course he asked me about it. I explained there are friends and special friends. You know, friends that are more than friends.”

“You had a special friend in California?”


“A boy?”


“I never would have guessed that.”


“You are the most girl crazy guy I know.”

“Nah. Just horny. Like ridiculously horny all the time.”

“I know the feeling.”

“You and Adam don’t need to stop or anything. At least you’re getting some action.”

The conversation pretty much ended there. I was still in disbelief that he had figured me and Adam out, and was actually okay with it. I was also stunned that he had messed around with a boy, too. 

Just when I didn’t think things could get more insane, Mark dropped this bomb. “I wonder if it’d be too weird if we became special friends?”


“You and me.”

I wanted to say something, but I was at a total loss for words. This can’t be real. 

Mark filled the silence with, “I’ve thought about it for a while, but I didn’t know how you’d react, so I never asked, but now with you and Adam…I don’t know…maybe.”

Again, I was too afraid to respond. All I could do was lay there on my back with my heart trying to beat itself out of my chest and a giant lump in my throat.  I was stunned paralyzed. The one thing I’ve been thinking about more than anything else for the last six months. Here he is asking me what I think about us getting together, and I clam up. 

“G’nite,” Mark finally said, rolling onto his side, away from me. 

It took me about five minutes to find my voice, but I finally did manage to squeak out, “ye…yeah… I…I’ve thought about that too.”  My voice shaky and soft.  It didn’t elicit a response from Mark. I don’t know if he was already asleep, or if I said it too quiet, or if he suddenly didn’t know what to say. I waited a few more minutes, not moving a muscle. All I could think was that I just lost my chance. He opened that door and now it was shut. He won’t bring it up again, and I was probably to chicken to ever approach the subject. I sadly laid there, comatose, until sleep finally took me. 


Savior 16

I was roughly shaken awake, by a stranger, in what felt like a strange place. I’ve always needed a few minutes upon waking, to take inventory and collect my marbles. I wasn’t going to get that few minutes this time, as an unfamiliar voice kept telling me to ‘get my stuff’ and ‘hurry up.’  I swung my legs to the floor and pulled back the blanket, noticing that I was completely naked. As luck would have it, this annoying stranger noticed, too. Her teenage bugged out eyes were transfixed on my exposed junk. I quickly jumped up and turned away from her, giving her my ass to look at instead. I glanced over my shoulder only to see her eyes, unmoving. Her demeanor went from being so anxious and impatient, to content and happy. Great, I just couldn’t win. I spotted my underwear, well Timmy’s underwear, and drew them up my legs. I found the rest of my clothes scattered around, and got myself dressed and ready to go. 

I saw Timmy laying next to the spot I just vacated. Looking so peaceful and comfortable. Why couldn’t I just crawl back into bed and snuggle up with him?  This all seemed so unfair. I looked over my shoulder and saw the random girl was thumbing through some magazine, now that my naked show was over. Having lost her undivided attention, I leaned over and kissed Timmy on his cheek. I was shocked at how cold he felt so I ran the blankets to just under his chin. One of his hands was flung outside the blanket and I could see there was something clutched inside his fingers. It was a string, maybe about four inches long, with alternating beads strung on it, black orange and white. Kim made it for me a few years ago, as a gift. Once in a conversation, I revealed that Halloween was my favorite holiday. That was all Kim needed, to make me this token of friendship. She modeled it after my love of Halloween. It’s been attached to the zipper of my backpack since the day she gave it to me. 

Seeing it in Timmy’s hand, was a reminder of the amazing night I had just spent with him. I smiled to myself as the events replayed in my mind. I knew full well he was lying in a state of undress as well, below those blankets. We learned a lot about each other, but left some doors closed. Perhaps for future exploration. My heart and body ached for those future days.  He was everything and more than I could ever have wanted. I feel like the luckiest boy alive. 

Right before passing out, Timmy asked for a token, something of mine to keep near, until our next meeting. I gave him my beaded string. 

I was rushed along by this rude girl who was obviously put out by having to take care of me. Once we were in her car, she relaxed a bit and explained that she had somewhere to be, so her time was short. She worked at the same coffee shop as Jasmine, and was like me, human. Once she started to talk, she wouldn’t quit. I just stared out the window, looking at parts of Chicago I never knew existed. Ugly parts. Parts I don’t want to visit again, if I can avoid it. When we finally got back to my neighborhood, I had her pull up a block away from my house. She told me to come see her anytime. Free coffee, and she coyly added, maybe we could hang out, if like, I wanted to. No thanks honey. You’re not my type. You’re a girl. 

Once out of the car, I went immediately to the spot where Timmy and Skyler had their battle. Jasmine did do a good job of cleaning up the scene, but she didn’t cover the trail that led off through the yards and alleyways. I didn’t much feel like going home, or going to school, so I set off to follow the tracks and blood that trailed through the bright snow. 

Timmy took a very jagged, confusing path of escape. It looked like he leaped over chainlink fences and soared over cars. Pretty remarkable stuff, really. About a mile from my house, I saw where a larger pool of blood had settled. There was also a spray of blood a few feet away. Like a cough or spit. Timmy’s tracks seemed to continue at a running pace off into the distance, but Skyler’s turned, and dragged toward an apartment complex. They stopped near a fire escape that was dangling down about ten feet off the ground. This is where the trail ends. He had to have gotten up that fire escape. It’s the only thing that makes sense. 

I took some time to look around and think about what to do next.  If I found Skyler up there, then what?  Am I supposed to fight a vampire toe to toe?  Not likely. However, it is daytime and that gives me an advantage. I read through that book Kim got me cover to cover. I know a lot about vampires. I know what to do. Skyler plans to kill the boy I love. He plans to kill me. He’d never expect me to hunt him. I can do this. I can end Skyler, and get Timmy back. I can save us all. 

I struggled to push an old dumpster just below the ladder. The wheels kept getting stuck in the snow and ice. It was very frustrating, and I spent about all the energy I had.  I half thought to scrap this crazy idea, but as soon as those ideas crept into my head, an image of Timmy would form. This was all the motivation I needed to press on. It must have been adrenaline that forced me to jump up and grab the bar, and then pull my body up to the third rung until I could get my feet on the bottom rung to lessen the burden. I climbed up to the top of the building and was rewarded with a new trail of blood leading toward some kind of roof access door at the center of the building. 

I slowly edged toward the door, my heart pounding like a kettle drum. With my shaky hand, I reached for the handle of the cold, steel utility door. Locked!  Now what?  Except for a few air conditioning boxes, and giant fans, this rooftop was empty. Just a vast expanse of pea gravel and tar. I walked around the access room a few times. Looking for any sign of weakness or damage. Nothing. I stepped back a few steps and saw it. The roof. It didn’t look like it was fitting right. One corner was slightly askew. As if on cue, a gust of wind swept through causing the sheet metal corner of the roof to flap. The roofline sloped down slightly from front to back, but I couldn’t pull myself up enough to swing my legs on top. Too short and too weak. 

I walked to the edge of the building and ran full speed toward the back of the entrance. I leapt with all I had and planted my hands on the roof. I timed my spring just right and almost overshot the entire structure. My right arm caught on the peeled back sheet metal, scraping through my jacket and carving a painful gash in my forearm. It stung like a bitch, but I put the pain in the back of my mind. I was about to do the stupidest and most dangerous thing I’ve ever done. I had to calm myself down or risk making a mistake, and getting myself killed. 

I got myself reorganized and sat on top of the roof bringing my breathing back and corralling my emotions. I started to notice the pain in my arm again. When I looked down, I could see the entire sleeve was saturated with blood. My navy jacket looked black. I needed to act fast, as I didn’t know how long I could go without getting the bleeding to stop on my arm. 

I noticed some of my blood had pooled up on the bent metal roof and was dripping into the small enclosure. I positioned myself behind the torn corner and placed both of my hands on the jagged edge. I started to pull, happy to see that I was able to bend it back enough to pop out the old, rusty nails that were holding it in place. After I curled back a good size opening, I peered over the edge to get my first look inside. 

Right as I came over the top, my throat was viciously grabbed and squeezed by a pasty, dead looking hand. Luckily, I was able to fall back, freeing myself from its clutches. A few sharp claws did pierce my skin and I could feel a little blood seeping from my burning neck. The hand came out again, joined by another, and then an ugly face emerged. Red eyed and fanged. Fresh blood dripping from its forehead to its lips. Even in this ugly, demented state, I recognized this face. It’s the vampire who I saw in that alley with Timmy all those months ago. I had found Skyler, and he looked pissed off and hungry.  The giant gash on his cheek seemed to really take its toll on him. He was dying, and my blood had given him hope. A chance at survival. 

He brought his clawed hands out further, trying to get a grip on me. But he quickly retracted, as the sunlight was burning his flesh, causing wisps of smoke to spiral into the air. This meant that my plan should work. All I had wanted to do was drag him into sunlight. I quickly got myself back behind the damaged roof and started tugging furiously. Slowly the roof was peeling back like a can of sardines. I pried and pulled. My grunts mixing with his growls and screams. He was about to die, and he knew it. He was running out of shadow to hide behind. 

I watched as more and more smoke started billowing out of the small shed. I could now see him furiously clawing at the locked floor entrance below his feet. His back caught fire as more and more sunlight poured into the small room. Then the fire spread to his arms and legs. No longer screaming, he collapsed onto his stomach, as the flames consumed him completely. 

I jumped off of the building, as the metal was getting too hot for me to touch. The stench of his rotten soul was getting worse, too. I ran a distance away and puked from the smell and the fact that I just extinguished a life, sort of. I sat there with a confusing round of emotions, not sure how things would be in the end. I waited a good half hour, until finally all the smoke had cleared. Skyler’s life was all but gone. Burned out on the top of some random apartment building. No one knew, and no one cared. 

I went back to the shed and climbed up the back. I needed confirmation, and I got it. Ash. Nothing more. 

I was feeling woozy. Most likely from the blood loss, combined with the use of all my energy. I needed to get my arm fixed, so I made my way down the fire escape and started out to find a hospital. 

I must have looked quite the sight when I arrived at the emergency room. Luckily, the nurse seemed to buy my story that I was messing around and slipped on some ice and met the wrong side of a guardrail. Fifteen stitches and a call to my mom later, and I was on my way home. My mom had gotten a cab and she sat silently next to me as we rode home. I know I will get a lot of questions, and some serious punishment, when she is through with me. Sneaking out and not coming home, again. Skipping school. This is not gonna be pretty. 

As soon as we got inside the door it started. 


Although I knew it was coming, I made a big production out of it with a long sigh, like she was really putting me out. 

“What in the world is going on with you Tyler?”


“Nothing?  Really?  You’re getting in fights. Staying out all night. Skipping school. Are you…are you on drugs?”

“God mom!  No.  It’s just been…kind of weird lately.”

“I see, and so…what am I supposed to think about all this?  What am I supposed to do?  I don’t even know you anymore and the person you’re becoming scares me. What happened to MY Tyler?  Where has he gone?”

“Mom. I’m still me. It’s just complicated. You…you wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me. Give me a reason not to ground you for a month. I’m listening.”

I thought real hard and real long. I’m not gonna get out of this without revealing something. It was compromise time. I had to give her something.

“Wellll…I…I kind of met somebody.”

Her face actually lit up for a moment, until she remembered what she was supposed to be doing. 

“Ok. So, tell me more. Is this why you’ve been staying out all night?  To be with this person?”


“Ok. So what’s her name?  Will I get to meet her?”

She was fighting to remain strict, but it wasn’t working. She was slipping into that gossipy, girl mode.  I sat silent, worried how she’s react if I told her the truth about this person I met. Not the vampire part, but the boy part. I looked at the carpet between my feet to hide my shame. I just couldn’t look her in the eye. I started to cry a little bit, which caught my mothers protective attention. 

“Tyler?  What’s wrong honey?  You can tell me.”

“M…m…mom. It’s not a girl.”

“Oh…OH!  I…I umm…ok. So you, you met a boy?”

I found a bit of courage and picked my head up to answer her question. She was trying to smile, but I could see the struggle on her face. “Yes. It’s a boy.”

“Ok. Well that will take some getting used to. Umm…when do I get to meet him?  I’m not convinced I’ll like him. He’s been a bad influence on you with sneaking out and missing school.”

“You will never meet him. He’s gone. And it was me who snuck out and skipped school. Not him. He’s not a bad person.”

“Ok. Ok. I’m sorry. Why is he gone Tyler?  Where did he go?”

I started to cry harder now thinking of the possibility of never seeing Timmy again. “I don’t know mom. I don’t know.”

My mom set aside any prejudices she might have to console me. She wrapped me in her loving embrace and assured me everything will be ok. When things settled down, she promised me she’d keep this secret from my dad. He wouldn’t be nearly as understanding as she is. 

In the end, I was given a final warning. No more staying out all night, and no more missing school. There would be real consequences if I did not abide. I spent the rest of the day in my room. I didn’t dare go out again tonight, to look for Timmy, and tell him the news about Skyler. I did think of a way to maybe get the message to him that wouldn’t require covert actions. I could give that annoying girl at the coffee shop a message to pass along to Jasmine, and still be home before curfew. 

I managed to catch my mom right as she was getting ready to leave for work. “Mom?  Can I go to the library tonight with Kim?  I promise I’ll be home before ten.”

She thought about my proposal and countered with, nine, and not a minute later. I’ll be calling here, so you’d be wise to be here.”

“Ok. No problem.”

She left and I went back upstairs, waiting for evening to arrive. It got dark outside and I stood in my doorway wearing my coat, with my backpack slung over my shoulder. Waiting for my dad to make a move downstairs, so I could make my escape. He went into the bathroom downstairs, so I scooted by, like so many times before. 

I walked into the coffee house, and she was working. She spotted me and looked at me with a cocky smile. 

“Well, look who’s here. I didn’t think I’d see you this quickly. How’s it hanging? Hehe.”

Great…a dick joke. I didn’t want to be here at all, but she was my only connection. I just needed to play it cool. 

“Ahh…hey. How are you?”

She came from behind the counter and gave me a hug, like we were long lost friends. I’m sure it was more of a show for her friends who were piled around the counter, than anything else. I played along, for the sake of the plan. 

“What can I get ya’ babe?”

“Just…just a coffee is cool.”

“Nonsense. You look like you could use a mocha. How about it?”

“Yeah. Great. I’d love a mocha.”

“I knew it. I’ll get one ready. Make yourself comfy.”

I went and sat at my usual table. After I got settled, I heard giggling from near the counter. I turned to look, and saw the annoying girl and four other girls, all staring at me, covering their smiles. This should be great fun. 

A few minutes later, she walked up with my mocha. “Here ya’ go. So what are you working on?”

“Thanks. Oh, just some homework.”

I couldn’t help myself from glancing back at the collection of giggling girls, while she stood by me. 

“Oh, don’t worry about them. I kind of told them about how we met.”


“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad. It was kind of…funny, don’t ya’ think?”


She set her arm in my shoulder and leaned in closer. “Anyway, you don’t have anything to be shy about, at all. Enjoy your coffee.”

She bound off just as I picked up my face. Did she just…?  I umm…wow.

I decided the next time she stopped by that I would pass on the message to Jasmine. In a discreet way, of course. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. 

“Umm…so you know Jasmine pretty good, right?”

“Yeah. I mean I work with her. We’re friends. Why?”

“I was…I was wondering if you could pass on a message to her, like next time you see her.”

“Yeah. Sure. What is it?”

“Tell her I took care of everything. Everything is better now. Oh, and I’m Tyler.”

“Hello?  I know your name. Umm…why don’t you just tell Jazzy that yourself?  Don’t you have her number?”

“Ahh…no, I don’t.”

She grabbed my pen off the table and wrote on a page from my notebook. “There you go. I, umm put mine in there, too. I close this place on Fridays. Alone. Maybe you could come up and hang out and do whatever. Or just give me a call if you want to hook-up.”

She walked away, looking over her shoulder with a big, confident smile, swinging her narrow hips in that girl way. I blushed a smile back at her, acknowledging my understanding of her offer. Knowing full well I wouldn’t visiting her again, or calling for a hook-up. I looked down at the paper and saw Jasmine’s number, and another number with the name Trisha and a smily face next to it. 

I hung around for a while longer, so she wouldn’t think I only came to pass on that information. She made frequent glances my way and smiled or waved. Chicks are odd beings. Mindful of my curfew, I left with a good cushion of time to spare. Once outside I dug out my phone and called Jasmine. I was excited to tell her how I took care of the Skyler problem, but I was also nervous about how she might react. When the call connected it went immediately to a recorded message that said the number was no longer in service. I tried a few more times to make sure I got it right. I got the same message every time.  I hope Trisha gave me the right number. I dreaded the idea of visiting her again, but I might have to. I’ll make sure to wait a few days. I don’t want to give her the wrong idea. 

I got home a half hour before my curfew and made it past my dad with minimal incident. A few cheap shots and nothing more. I preferred him in this disinterested, lazy mood, over his sometimes seething, hate-filled mode. 

I spent the next few hours laying in bed with my eyes open, just staring at the ceiling. I was thinking about the events of the last few nights. Hell, the last few weeks, and how completely insane it’s been. My mind never drifted too far from Timmy. That magical night. His curves. His perfect proportions. His gentle touch. Just thinking about him made me ache for him. With everything straightened out, he should return to me soon. He can’t get here soon enough. 

As I grew tired, my mind kept drifting back to my confrontation with Skyler. I tried to put it out of my mind, but something wasn’t sitting right with me. Then it hit me. I left blood there!  They could trace it back to me!  I started to panic as I played out all these scenarios, all with bad conclusions. Would they even be able to find blood in the burned up mess that was left behind?  I decided that tomorrow, after school, I’d go back there and see what I come up with. It’s probably nothing to worry about, but you can’t be too careful. I did murder someone after all.  

Deception 2

I did make it to Friday. Boarding Mark’s bus home after school was proof. I was filled with so much excitement and anticipation that I couldn’t keep my legs from tapping on the floor below.

“Do you need to pee?”

“Nope. Just in a good mood.”

“Alright there spazzy. I didn’t realize my house was sooo awesome.”

“It’s not your house. It’s YOU!”

“Ummm okay…freak.”

That comment earned Mark a monkey bump on his forearm. He rubbed it off, pouting, and tried to give me one back. I was too quick, throwing up a sweet deflection. However, I wasn’t ready for the elbow to thigh counterattack. He got me good. It stung.


“Sorry. Sorry. I got a little too much on it.”

“A little?  I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk. Prolly end up in the hospital.”

“It wasn’t that hard, pussy.”

“Pussy?  You better watch your back tough guy. I know where you live.”

We went back and forth like this for most of the ride home. I always had a lot of fun hanging out with Mark. He’s so worry free and quick with a joke or something sarcastic to say. We got to his house and immediately went for the kitchen. It’s funny how every kid has their own after school ritual. In reality, most of us do the same things. Eat. Watch cartoon. Take out the dog. Pretty much anything but do homework. Mark’s process is a lot like mine. Only difference is he eats Froot Loops, which would never be found on the shelf at my house.

Mark hooked us up with a heaping bowl and spoon, and we took to the couches in the living room to click on the TV. He chose Sponge Bob, which I can’t stand, but I’m not gonna protest. I can deal with the annoying little sponge for a while.

I did feel a little guilty about my covert plans with Adam set for the wee hours. I didn’t like being sneaky around Mark. Maybe someday, if Adam and I become something, we’ll tell people instead of hiding it away.  I realize I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m really crazy about the boy, and ever hopeful.

A little while later, the front door flew open and in walked Adam with his coat unzipped, and his backpack dangling off his shoulder. So cool. I smiled broadly in his direction, as his coat and pack gently fell in a heap, just inside the door, like he asked them to. He stepped on his heals to get out of his shoes, and walked to the staircase to go up.

He said, “what’s up dicks,?” as he disappeared into the upper floor, while peeling his phone from his jeans pocket.

He’ll be down in a minute, I told myself. Probably needs to make an important phone call, poop, or something. Still, it was kind of weird that he didn’t even smile or say hi. A half hour passed and Adam still hadn’t come downstairs.  I was starting to get a little worried. I replayed his arrival over and over in my mind. Looking for clues. I thought back to all the other greetings from him in the recent past. This was definitely out of character. Normally he comes right up to me, smiling. I usually get a hug, too. What in the Hell is going on?  Is he pissed off for some reason?  Did I do something wrong?  I started to feel my good mood fade away. Replaced with a dreaded, heart-sick sadness.

Then the doorbell rang, and Adam bound down the steps like a heard of elephants. “Got it!” he shouted, as he reached the bottom. He ran to the door and swung it open. In walked a boy with a big duffel bag hanging from his hand. I recognized this kid. Adam brought him to my house a few months back when we had a hockey day. I couldn’t remember his name, but it was definitely him.

They fist bumped and Adam instructed him to follow him upstairs. Again, he completely ignored us. My mood sank even lower. Something was going on for sure. Adam knew I was staying overnight, and he invited another friend to stay. Not to mention that he ignored that I was even here. What happened?  Just two nights ago, we were working out our plan to be alone together. He seemed so excited that I was coming over.

A few minutes later, Adam and his buddy came down to where Mark and I were. I was scared to even look at him, for fear of the cold reception I would get. If I even got acknowledged at all. They sat next to each other on the couch where Mark was, leaving me all alone. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Adam is supposed to sit by me. Real close with our bodies touching. My heart sank even further. Much more of this, and it’ll fall out the bottom.

After a minute passed, Adam stood up and said, “I’ll grab us some chips or something,” to his buddy. He crossed right in front of me and flashed me a ‘I know what you’re thinking’ smile. Something had changed in the last few days. I just didn’t know what it was. I desperately need to get him alone to talk, but I don’t have a clue how to make that happen.  It’d look pretty suspicious if I dragged him away from his brother and friend.

The three of them talked a lot about some Halo mission they had planned for later.  I know what Halo is, but I’ve never played it. I’m not really into video games at all. I felt very alienated by the whole situation. So far, this sleepover wasn’t going very well. I kind of wished I wasn’t there. I’d look over at Adam, and I could see their legs touching. They were sitting very close. Adam was getting that contact that he seems to need. That contact he normally gets from me.

I got up and went to the bathroom. I just needed to be away. I would have liked to just go home, but that wouldn’t be fair to Mark. I just needed to act normal, and hide how tore up my heart felt.

When I got back, Mark jumped up and dove over the top of me. He wrapped his arms around my neck and sat in my lap, like I was Santa Claus.



“Will you play Halo with us later?  A four man clan is stronger than three. It’ll be epic.”

“I’ve never played.”

“It won’t matter. I’ll teach you. Pleeeaassse?”


“Cool!  I love you!”

Mark leaned in and gave me a disgusting, sloppy kiss on the cheek.  I had to wipe it off on my sleeve. Mark stayed on my lap, with his head leaned into the corner of the couch. I don’t know if he sensed something going on with me, but his gesture was actually raising my spirit. Maybe, like Adam, I need that contact. That reassuring touch. I reached with my arm that was pinned under him, and set it on his thigh. Maybe it’d get him to stay longer, if he knew that I liked it. Gravity did kind of force him to slide off of me, wedging him in the corner of the couch. He did however, leave his legs draped over me. Very Adam-like. This new arrangement put my hand on his narrow waist, so I held him just above his hip. Mark probably didn’t know how much his touch meant to me, but I loved him even more for it. It took my mind off the weirdness with Adam.

They got up and went back to Adam’s room unannounced. I did catch an angry scowl from Adam as he trudged up the stairs. He was mad about something. Wtf?

With them gone, Mark asked, “something wrong dude?”

“Nah. I’m cool.”

“Okie dokie. You were like an excited little girl earlier, and now you’re all mellow and quiet.”

“Yah. I think I blew my load earlier. Had to dial it back.”

“Ah haha. Premature ejaculation.”

“Something like that. Hey Mark, can I ask you something?”


“Does you mom still have some of that, you know, in her room?”

Mark got a huge grin on his face at my inquiry. “Oh yeah she does. You wanna smoke again tonight?”

“Yeah. If it’d be cool.”

“Shit yeah. She’ll be gone and we’ll just not tell the little dickheads what we’re doing. Sweet!  This will be fun.”

It wasn’t something I had planned on. It was just one of those impulse ideas. I remembered back to the first time we smoked together, and how much fun it was. I figured with the way things had gone so far, I needed a little pick-me-up. In my ignorance of the cause and effect of drugs, I found out later that marijuana isn’t an instant good mood drug. If anything, it’s a mood enhancer. If you’re low, it can make you feel lower. If you’re introspective, it can make you think yourself crazy.

Mark’s mom came home with chips, a tub of ice cream, a twelve pack of soda, and some cash for pizza. You’d think she knew what we were planning on doing later, and was helping us out. An hour later, she was picked up by her man, her parting words were, “don’t burn the house down and don’t wait up for me. I’ll be late.”

Mark in his infinite wisdom, turned to Adam and said, “Adam. Dude. Why don’t you set up downstairs and find a nice clan to battle with. We’re gonna order the pizza. We’ll be down in a minute.”

Adam and his buddy dutifully did as asked, so Mark and I went into his moms bedroom and smoked some weed. When we started to head back downstairs, Adam’s buddy came out of Adam’s room right as we walked by.

We caught each other by surprise, causing us all to stop dead in our tracks.

“Woah!  What’s that smell?  What are you guys doing?”

“Nothing,” Mark said unconvincingly.

The kid sniffed again, and smiled broadly. He brought his fingers up to his mouth in the international smoking a joint gesture, looking into our eyes for confirmation.

“Nope,” was all Mark said in response.

“Bullshit!  My brother smokes it all the time. I know that smell. You guys are stoned!”

“Ok. Busted. Do NOT tell Adam, ok?  I don’t want him slipping to my mom. Cool?”

“Let me smoke some.”

“No way!”

“Come on. Please?”

“Maybe later, ok?  We should go back down before Adam comes up looking for us.”

It was agreed that later, Mark would bring the kid back up for a little smoke out later on. In the meantime, we went to the basement to feel the buzz come on and wait for the pizza dude to deliver our hot, melty goodness.

We devoured the pizza and gulped down our sodas. I was feeling pretty high and really nice. The Halo wars was about to begin. Mark walked me through the basics, but with so many buttons and joysticks, I found the whole thing very complicated and discouraging. I reluctantly agreed to participate in the online clan battles, but I didn’t want to screw things up for these elite players sitting all around me. I found it very difficult to keep up, as they swerved around these complicated landscapes and battlefields. It was all loud flurries of bullets and explosions. I couldn’t tell what was going on. I was too scared to fire my weapon, fearing that I’d shoot one of my own guys.

They all had a good laugh at my expense. A highlight was when I blew myself up with a bazooka. In fact, it was the only time that Adam actually acknowledged that I was there, saying “worst fucking gamer ever. Hands down.”

That stung pretty hard. Not the truth in what he said, because he probably was right. What hurt was the obvious disgust and hatred in his tone. I only lasted a couple more battles, before I said “fuck this,” and threw the controller aside. I went up to the kitchen and grabbed another soda. I wanted to go downstairs and tell them all to get fucked. Especially Adam, for being such a jerk. But I knew I wouldn’t do it. I get being the butt of a joke, and you got to respect that it happens to everyone. Take it if you’re gonna give it and all that. Guy code or whatever. I took a deep breath and went back down to the battle zone. I sat on the corner and tried to not look too gloomy.

After I don’t know how long, Mark called for an intermission. He ran upstairs, bringing Adam’s friend with him. He said they were going to get some ice cream for us all. This left me and Adam alone for the first time all night. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. After about thirty seconds of silence, Adam got up and went to the bathroom. He stayed in there until they came back downstairs. A good five minutes.

They did have four bowls filled with vanilla ice cream, topped with cross-crossing swirls of chocolate and caramel sauce. It looked phenomenal. I couldn’t tell if Mark made good on his deal about letting the kid smoke. I really hoped he didn’t. When we were all done, Mark had me help him bring all the dirty dishes back to the kitchen. He pulled the pipe out of his front pocket and led me out the sliding door, into the backyard. We smoked a little, even though I didn’t want to. I was getting tired of being a constant disappointment since I got here, so I just went along with him.

When we went back down, this buzz wasn’t as comfortable. My senses became acutely aware of every little detail about the world inside my head. Shit got crazy, and I sunk lower into the depths. It was not a fun place to be at all. The mystery of what was going on with Adam really upset me and I didn’t even try to hide it anymore. You win Adam. I hope you got what you wanted.

Suddenly, an Xbox controller came to land on my lap. I looked up and saw Mark smiling at me. “You ready to go another round captain?”

To my left, I heard “ppfff…great.”

I know when I’m not wanted. I tossed the controller back to Mark and said, “nah. I’m gonna go chill in your room.”

I stood up and glanced at Adam as I walked past. He wouldn’t meet my eyes. He just sat there like some kind of unfeeling robot. I was crushed.

I shut the door to Mark’s room and laid down on the far side of the bed. My side, I guess. Even with the door shut, I could hear Mark lay into Adam, loud and clear.

“Dude!  Adam!  What the fuck!?  Why are you being such a dick to Daniel?  He’s always been so cool to you. So nice. You’re lucky he’s not out here beating the shit out of you. Dude!  It’s fucking Daniel?!  What the fuck is wrong with you?”

I couldn’t tell if Adam said anything back to Mark. After his tirade, it became eerily quiet on the other side of the door. I was struggling to hold back my tears. A few rogue droplets did ease out of the corner of my eye, and I erased them with a swipe of my arm. I grabbed my iPod and headphones and quickly hit shuffle. I needed to lose myself in the mysteries of someone else’s thoughts and expressions. My own thoughts were just more than I could bear right now.

“Empathy is the poor man’s cocaine.
And love is just a chemical by any other name.
I like the way your pheromones make me sleepy
This far away I still smell you inside me.”

So sang Eyedea with his heart on his sleeve, as always. One of my favorites and just what I needed to lose myself. To distance myself from the mess just outside this room. I shut out the world around me and drifted off to a better world. A place where it was only me and music and the intimate connection I established with the artist on the other side. With this mellow buzz and the beauty of music, I felt more plugged in than I ever had before. I really need to play my guitar more.

I saw a sweep of light cross the wall in front of me, then I felt the presence of another person in the room. It was Mark, and it looked like he was starting his bedtime procedures. He grabbed a few things out of his dresser before leaving the room again. He returned about fifteen minutes later and crawled in beside me. I could detect the smell of minty toothpaste and his musky shower gel. He smelled really nice. After he settled in, he placed his hand on my arm and whispered my name a few times. I was pretending I was asleep, as I didn’t want to deal with the Adam situation. Mark pulled the blanket up my exposed chest, to just under my chin and patted me a few times, before rolling away from me to nestle himself comfortably and await his oncoming dreams.

How sweet was that?  He tucked me in. He defended me against his brother earlier, and now he’s concerned about my welfare. Mark really is an incredible friend, most of the time. I felt bad for pretending I was asleep, but it’s too late now, and any conversation can wait until morning.

Sometime later, I was shaken awake by a silent pair of hands on my shoulders. I must have been in a pretty deep sleep because it took me a while to focus on Adam’s face, kneeling beside the bed, only a short distance from my own. He motioned for me to get up and follow him. Something about this scene seemed very unreal to me. Earlier he wouldn’t even talk to me, but now he wanted me to follow him.

He walked me outside of Mark’s room and quietly pulled his door shut, while I stood there half asleep, waiting. He turned back around and tried to look into my eyes, but couldn’t do so for longer than a couple quick glimpses. He wrapped his arms around my waist and set his chin on my bare shoulder. He gripped me very tight and quivered, in just over a whisper, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

I placed one of my hands on his back and cradled the back of his head with the other one. I said, “it’s ok Adam,” and asked, “what’s going on?  Are you ok?”

He gripped me tighter and said, “it’s not ok and now I probably made you hate me.”

I could feel tears dripping onto my back and I could hear that full sounding nasal inhale you get from crying. “I don’t hate you Adam. What’s wrong?  Tell me.”

His crying was getting worse and his body was starting to convulse. He was going limp in my arms. Sobbing noises were starting to escape his lips. I picked him up and carried him over to the couch. I sat him across my lap and he continued to grip my neck tightly, with his face buried into my chest. He cried hard for a good couple of minutes while I just held him and rubbed his back. It upset me to see him this tore up, but he needed me to remain strong. Whatever he was fighting, he chose me, and crying with him probably wouldn’t help.

After he calmed down a bit, he moved his nose behind my ear and kissed me repeatedly on my neck, between saying, “in so sorry. I love you. I love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“I told you. It’s ok. I’m right here.”

“Don’t hate me. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“Adam. I could never hate you. Ever. Why don’t you tell me what’s going on. I’m here for you, ok?”

“You’ll hate me.”

“No I won’t. Adam, you mean a lot to me. Nothing you say could make me hate you.”

He took some time to collect himself, before he was willing to show his face. When he finally did, he kind of nervously laughed. I smiled warmly and swiped his tears away with my thumb. “It’s ok. Just tell me.”

“Phewwwww. Ok. Umm…I want you so bad. Like really, really bad, but…I don’t want to want you. I don’t want to…be gay.”

This opened up some more tears as he tried to explain his turmoil with his sexuality.

I hugged him tight to me again. “Adam, I…”

“I’m not finished. Let me finish.”


“You’re gonna think I’m so dumb…umm…I thought if I got you to hate me, that you wouldn’t want to see me anymore, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it. But…but then I saw how sad I made you, and I felt like shit, and that’s not what I want. What I want is you.”

“Adam. First. Yes, you did make me sad. Very sad. You mean so much to me and I couldn’t figure out what I did to hurt you. It was tearing me up. But you never have to do anything you don’t want to. Ever. Your friendship is more important to me than anything else. I never want to lose that, ok?  To me, you are such a beautiful person in every way. I never want to hurt you. Gay. Who knows. Are you gay?  Am I?  I can’t answer that. Are we just experimenting?  We’re going through a lot of changes right now and we’re both young. Don’t worry so much about having all the answers. There’s still a lot of time to figure all that out. We messed around and it probably meant different things for both of us, but only you know how you feel about things. Only you can decide what you’re comfortable with. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings if you don’t want to do that stuff anymore. I’ll deal with it. THIS is what’s important. Being honest with each other, and true to ourselves. Ok?”

Adam flashed me as good of a smile as he could produce in his condition, and said “thank you,” as his arms tightened around me, in maybe our most meaningful embrace yet.

His face ended up near my ear again, and he whispered, “you’re amazing.”

“No. You are,” I whispered into the top of his head.

“You are more.”

“You are the most.”

Then, in a bizarre shift of gears, Adam slid his face along my cheek and kissed me on the lips, trying to force his way into my mouth. I pulled my head back, shocked, and asked, “Adam?  What are you doing?”

“This IS what I want. YOU are what I want.”

“Maybe tonight, this isn’t the best idea. You’ve got a lot to think about, ok?”

I could tell he was disappointed, but he answered, “ok, but will you hold me for a while longer?”

“I’ll hold you as long as you want.”

He buried his face into my neck and we melted into each other. Neither of us were going anywhere. I would hold him forever if he asked me to. Eventually he drifted off to sleep, so I made the familiar trip up the three flights to deliver him to his bed. I laid him on his mattress. Carefully removed his pants and shirt, and kissed him on his perfect lips after I tucked him in. He fluttered open his eyes when my lips met his. He smiled and mouthed, “I love you Daniel.”

“I love you too, Adam. More than anything.”


I’ve said before how a song or a band can take you to a time or place the second that first note strikes. A few years later, I heard this song for the first time. It instantly attached itself to the Friday night I just relived above. In true living color. I still can’t listen to it without that immediate association. I hope you enjoy it.

Savior 15

“I…I…heard a scream outside, like in front of my house and I looked out, and all this blood and I saw shadows running away. Then…then I saw my backpack on the sidewalk, so I went out there and it has to be Timmy, because I left it at your place. He must have been bringing it back to me. It’s all my fault. I’m such a dumb ass. Why didn’t…”

“Ok! Enough. Slow down. It’s not your fault. Timmy knows he’s not supposed to leave my apartment under any circumstance. Ever. Did you see him? Did you see where the blood came from?”

“No. I told you, I only saw shadows. Like a chase.”

Jasmine locked up the front door and started heading for the back of the shop. “Come. We don’t have much time. I know where he is, if everything went ok.”

I hurried my pace to keep up with her. As she shut off the last lights and guided me through the back door, I asked “back at your place?”

“No. That place is compromised. We have a safe house a little ways out. He knows to go there.”

She opened the door of a well worn, Green Volkswagen and beckoned me to get in the other side. As I sat down I said, “you have a car? I didn’t know you had a car.”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me. It’s not my car, really. I’m just watching it for a friend while he’s away.”


She glanced over at me with a slight smile. “Very impressive Tyler. I can see why Timmy is so…never mind.”

“Oh no you don’t. Say it. What were you going to say?”

“Impressed. I was going to say impressed.”

I must have looked noticeably disappointed when I replied with a simple “oh.”

She let me wallow for a moment, until she finally offered, “among other things.”


“Timmy. You know?”

“Yeah. I impress him. Oh boy.”

“I was trying to say he’s more than impressed. He’s quite crazy about you, actually. But please don’t tell him I told you.”

Hearing her say something I already suspected, made me very excited to see him again. I needed to apologize for being a baby. I also needed to tell him of my own strong feelings that I felt for him. Take a risk and put it out there. I was very inexperienced in all things relationship. He was, in fact my first real crush. Oddly, I liked the fact that it was a boy. Maybe somewhere deep inside, I wanted to throw my father a huge disappointment. Here ya’ go pops. I’M GAY!!!

“It’s funny, but he was just getting into puberty when he crossed over. With all the little girls that chased him incessantly, they would be so disappointed to find out he’s gay. Hehe. Oh well, I hope he finds that special boy.”

She glanced back at me as she finished talking. A sly, knowing smile spread across her lips. Maybe it was obvious, my feelings for him. Honestly, I didn’t care. I’d made some mistakes that I wanted to correct. God, I hope he’s there and ok. That was a lot of blood on the sidewalk.

We drove for quite a ways, to a part of Chicago I’d never been to. Nothing looked familiar. It was all very industrial, dark and ominous. It looked like a place you wouldn’t want to be. Like where the mob would take you to be murdered and forgotten. Never to be found.

A few minutes later, we came to a street full of closed down and abandoned storefronts. Graffiti covered the remnants of former signs and plywood windows. Jasmine parked the car behind one of these stores and told me to be quick, and be quiet. I watched as she slid a board over, revealing an entrance that we had to crawl through. She replaced the board while I looked around to see where we were. It appeared to be an old grocery, or convenience store. There were vandalized racks and smashed glass doors. The whole place was destroyed.

“This way,” Jasmine whispered, pulling me back to reality. I saw she had propped up some kind of hidden door in the floor, off in the corner. I followed her down a ladder that went to a lower level. She pulled on a cord that turned on a dim light. It appeared to be a storage cellar. Probably where the shop owner kept food and other items that couldn’t fit upstairs.

“Wait here,” she said, as she went back up the ladder to shut the hatch. She came back down and motioned me to follow her through a skinny passage that opened up into another room. At the far wall there was a steel door with no visible handle. Only an ancient looking deadbolt. She tapped the door and said “Timmy? Are you here?”

Then she tapped a pattern that sounded like some kind of morse code. The same pattern was returned and she smiled. “He’s here.”

She pulled a key from her pocket and turned the deadbolt. Almost in time with the swing of the door, Timmy was through the entrance , wrapping his arms snugly around his sisters waist.

“Jazzy. You came.”

“Are you ok? Thank god you’re ok.”

“How’d you,” Timmy started to say, as his eyes spotted me standing off to the side. Before he finished his thought, and before I had time to react. He lunged himself toward me, latching onto me in a python-like hug. It felt so damn good. I hugged him back with all I had. we spoke volumes to each other without speaking a word. I felt my eyes watering up. I was about to get emotional on him, again.

Jasmine let us have our moment, but eventually saved me the embarrassment by interrupting, “ok. Inside. I have to run out for a while and move the car. You guys don’t leave. Understand? I’ll be back in about an hour. We have a lot to talk about and a lot to figure out. Stay here. I mean it, and…have fun boys.”

We obediently scooted back into the room, but neither of us wanted to let go of each other. Jasmine rolled her eyes, and left without another word. Timmy shut and bolted the door and the second he turned back around, I immediately pulled him into another tight hug.

“I’m so sorry Timmy.”

“Sorry? Why?”

“For leaving the other night. I was being stupid. I hope you don’t hate me now.”

“Hate you? I thought you hated me.”

“No. No. And then this is all my fault for leaving my backpack. Did you get hurt? I saw so much blood. I was so scared. It’s so good to see you and that you’re ok.”



“Do you want to sit? There’s a couch and a bed.”

“Um yeah sure.”

Timmy guided me to the couch, holding my hand, which was awesome, and we sat and looked at each other. Both grinning from ear to ear.

“That wasn’t my blood. I got away. But when he stopped chasing me, I thought maybe he went back to your place. I was sitting here scared that I got you killed. You have no idea how happy I am to see you. You’re safe and you’re here.”

“I guess we’re just lucky.”

“Nah. We’re just good.”

As much as I enjoyed seeing him laugh and smile, I felt a need to be true to my word and my feelings. It was time to take my risk and free myself.

“Timmy. There’s something I need to tell you. It’s very important to me.”

“What is it Tyler? Are you ok?”

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I guess I’m about to find out. Umm…I’ve never really had many friends and I’ve never been in, like a relationship with anybody. To be honest, I’ve never even wanted to be. Well, until I saw you. I don’t know how to explain it, but since I saw you, you’re all I’ve been able to think about. And then when I met you, I fainted. Such a dork. Umm…anyway, what I’m trying to say is I like you, like way a lot. So…I just…just needed you to know that.”

Timmy didn’t say anything. His expression didn’t change. It didn’t give me any clue as to how he was taking what I said. Maybe Jasmine was wrong. I started to panic, and smile nervously. “I…I’m sorry.”

Then it was like Timmy snapped out of a trance. “Shut up Tyler. Can I…can I kiss you?”

I was so relieved, and excited, and nervous. “Yes, but I’ve nev…” Before I had a chance to finish, Timmy moved his face to in front of mine, placing a warm, soft kiss on my lips. He pulled back and smiled. I melted.

“It’s ok. I never have either.”

We both leaned into each other and kissed again, and again. Instincts took over, as lust and passion urged us to enlightened levels of exploration. We learned all about one another and where a kiss can go. The taste. The texture. Every whimper and every moan. It was my first glimpse at love and I never wanted it to end.

Timmy slipped his soft hand under my shirt, placing his palm over my thumping heart, while I glided my own hands along his narrow torso. He broke our kiss and took his shirt up over his head. His hands fell to the bottom edge of my shirt, so I lifted my hands, allowing him to free me as well. His kiss returned to my neck, where he placed soft kisses in a slow path to my ear, while his fingers glided gently across my erected nipple. He blew soft, desperate air into my ear as he nibbled and tugged at my earlobe. As soft and gentle as he was, I was ready to explode with so much pent up sexual desire.

He kissed his way back to my neck, and down the front of my chest until he encompassed my so far neglected other nipple. He circled it with his tongue, occasionally swiping across the center with a swift lick. He sucked me hard into his mouth, pulling with his lips. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. I was helpless to his touch, to his control. My entire body felt like a continuous, euphoric shiver. Occasionally, a random muscle, or limb would twitch unexpectedly. As much as I wanted to reciprocate, he was in the lead and my time would have to wait.

He pulled back and placed both his hands on my chest, gently pushing me onto my back. His smile replaced with lust-fueled determination. He straddled his weight on top of my lonely body and brought us back to the place where we began. His perfect, delicious mouth, covering mine in a duet of unpracticed love song. We both gave and took what sustained us, in perfect harmony.

Timmy rolled his center over mine, as his hardness glided from side to side, over the top of my own. I lifted my butt off the couch and held firmly onto his slender waist, while he continued his erotic grind. He rolled and pushed. I chased. Our kiss was replaced with the focused concentration of our carnal dance. Every gyration bringing us closer to the promise of a blissful climax. Audible moans and whimpers, an occasional breathy yes, marked our progress. I found a place at the curve of his lower back to press and keep him close, but I needed more. Deeper. Harder. I slid ten fingers under his waistband and cradled his soft, small buttocks, drawing him tighter. I could feel that familiar tingle, right at my core. The approach of sweet release. Before long, I would find nirvana. I only hoped that he was there with me.

Then, I heard the click of the deadbolt. Timmy heard it too, as he quickly jumped off of me. We managed to align ourselves, sitting, with a conservative buffer between us. I was all elbows, trying to cover my hardness from Jasmine as she entered the room. She was all business, but she managed to giggle and offer an apology for getting back so soon.

“Ok. So I went to the scene and cleaned it up. Here’s your backpack Tyler.”

“Thanks,” I said, watching it land near my feet. I couldn’t help but notice the wet spot on the front of my jeans. I thought I was embarrassed before.

“The last thing we wanted was for someone to find a huge pool of blood and your backpack sitting in it. That was a lot of blood, too. Skyler will definitely need a few sleep cycles to get up to strength, but he will be hunting. You know what we need to do, Timmy. Tyler, you need to be very careful. No going outside after dark at all. Ever. You are one of his main targets and he knows where you live.”

“Can’t i…can’t I stay with you guys? I want to help.”

“Sorry. That can’t happen. Once we get this taken care of, you two can figure things out. But for right now, I need you to disappear. Stay home. Keep safe.”

I glanced over at Timmy, and saw he was disappointed like me. He understood the situation better than me and didn’t question his sister at all.

“I’m gonna run out again. I got a bunch of shit to do. I’ll stop by Osco and get you some food and water, Tyler. I’ll have somebody get you to school in the morning.”

She rummaged through a bag she brought in, grabbed a few things, and got set to leave again. “I’ll stay out until just before dusk. Give you guys some privacy. This’ll be the last time you’ll see each other for a while, so…um yeah. Have fun.”

With that, she was gone. Timmy stood up and bolted the door and moped back toward the couch. I could tell he was disappointed, but I didn’t know why. Was it us? Was it what his sister said, without saying anything? Selfishly, I knew I had only one night to spend with the sexiest boy I knew, for I don’t know how long, and I wanted to make it count. I scooted in close to him and draped my arm over his shoulder.

“So Timmy. Where were we? Would you like to join me on the bed?”

There’s that sly smile that I was growing to love.

Deception 1

I can’t really remember at what age I first noticed that my mom was…different. I do remember thinking when I was very young that she seemed like two different people. Very drastic swings between happy and sad. One minute she would smother me with kisses and snuggles. The next, she would disappear to her room, only to emerge later, cloaked in melancholy. I would question my sister and she would say, ‘it’s just who mom is. She’s quirky.’ She couldn’t mask the concern on her face as she fed me these lies. I could sense there was more to the story, but I wasn’t going to find out what it was. No one was wiling to tell me much of anything. I always felt like it was my fault. Like maybe it was something I did that made her suddenly become angry or sad.

Looking back, I can now see the pattern. The progression. I can remember how the swings would pick up momentum. Happen more regularly. The shift of emotions would become more intense. Then, she would be gone. For weeks at a time. My dad and sister would become quiet and introspective. The house felt like a tomb. Cold and quiet. The house of the dead. I’d be told she was traveling on business. My father traveled on business all the time, so I never questioned it. Yet, I could see the worry on my sisters face, and I could hear my fathers whispered voice, when he’d take hushed phone calls behind closed doors.

I was always kind of a momma’s boy. I leaned on her really hard for the love my father always starved me of. She had to work doubly hard on my behalf. I was emotional, unstable and full of self-doubt. She was my reassurance. My medicine. Her business trips hit me hard. I would ask every day when she’d be home again. ‘Soon Daniel. She’ll be home soon.’

Then she’d be back. Good as new. Things would return to normal. Sometimes for a couple weeks. Sometimes for half the year. Then the pattern would start over again. She’d love me a little too much. Give me hugs that were a little too tight, and a little too long. Kisses. Hundreds of them on the top of my head, or my shoulders or back, or wherever. It was ticklish and funny at first, but then it’d go too far and become uncomfortable and scary. Inappropriate. I’d see the stern looks from my sister and dad as they’d turn to leave the room. I’d wonder what it was that I’d done wrong. It’s when I knew she was not being herself. When she’d start to turn into someone else. Someone who I didn’t know, and who scared me. She’d start to say strange things that didn’t make sense. It’s when I knew that soon she’d lock herself in a room and come out mad at me. It’s when I knew that it would happen again and again, the repeating pattern. It would get more intense and more regularly, until she went on another business trip.

It was late winter and the long, icy nights were losing their battle with the sun. Slowly, the layered history of so many snowstorms and frozen rains were sinking into the warming earth. The longer days giving promises of the approaching spring. The rebirth of the forest and the return of the chorus of birdsong. Life.

I was in my bedroom working out some algebra problems. Stuck on a particularly difficult equation. I decided a trip to the kitchen to fetch a granola bar was on order. I needed to step away for a minute to clear my head. My mom was on the phone, pacing around the entryway and laundry room, and had not heard me come downstairs. I hadn’t intended on eavesdropping, but she seemed fairly agitated. I lingered in the kitchen, listening to her half of the conversation.

“It’s getting worse,” she told someone on the other side.

“I can tell it’s going to be a bad one. He can’t get the medication right. I’m losing my mind. I’m scared. I don’t know what I might do.”

She went on and on like this. It painted a vague picture for me. Not enough to know what she was talking about, but enough to give me some ideas. Enough for me to connect some dots and string together a lifetime of clues. I was suddenly very scared for my mom, but I didn’t know what for. I quietly retreated back upstairs and went over all kinds of dreadful scenarios. I simply didn’t know enough.

The next morning I got up extra early and cornered my sister in her bedroom, before she left for school.

“What’s wrong with mom,?” I asked point blank.


“Mom. What’s wrong with her, like with the doctors and stuff.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Kari shot back, sounding a bit annoyed.

As she tried to scoot past me, I blocked her escape, letting her know she wasn’t getting out of this so easy.

“I heard her on the phone yesterday. She sounded worried and she said some stuff about her medicine not working anymore. I know you know what’s wrong. Please tell me. I’m worried about her.”

She took some time, rolling things around in her head. I could tell she didn’t want to tell me anything, but I had her, and she had to give me something.

“Look. Mom has been having some problems and she just needs a little help. She’s working on it, ok? Don’t worry. She’ll get it straightened out.”

She wiggles her way past me, thinking she got off easy. As she disappeared into the bathroom, I called out, “you mean like another business trip?”

Kari leered back at me through the entrance.

“I’m not stupid, you know. You guys have always hid stuff from me. It’s bullshit!”

I walked past her without meeting her eyes. I was pissed off. I went back into my room, slammed the door and sat on the edge of my bed. I don’t know if it has to do with being the youngest, but I’ve always been treated like a baby. Sheltered. Left out of the loop. And all these secrets. It drives me mad.

Kari made no attempt to talk to me, or share any more information. She just hurried her way through the rest of her morning ritual. Thanks sis. Just another wedge between our distancing relationship. Screw her. Screw everyone.

I was determined to find out what in the Hell was going on, so after my sister left I went into my parents bedroom to snoop around. They had picked up a locking medicine cabinet after my attempted suicide, but of course, when I went into their bathroom, I found it unlocked. There weren’t any prescriptions in there, just typical, boring stuff. I checked night stands and dresser drawers and found nothing. I was about to give up, when I decided to check the walk-in closet. Sitting in a cubbyhole, amongst all the dress shoes was a gunmetal grey, metal box. I flipped open the lid and found an arsenal of prescription drugs. All of them with my mom’s name on the label. I pulled out my phone, and snapped off some pictures of the long, complicated names of the drugs. I planned to look them up after school.

I got home after the longest day of school ever. Actually, I say that almost everyday. Seriously, summer can’t get here soon enough. I flipped open my laptop and started to research the uses for the various drugs I found in my moms bedroom. Most of them were classified as antipsychotic drugs used for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Holy fucking shit! These are some serious drugs for serious conditions. I spent the next hour learning about schizophrenia and bipolar. I could definitely see a lot of the characteristics of schizophrenia in my mother. It was frightening and depressing. I could also see a lot of those characteristics in myself. I came to find out there is a strong genetic connection to being schizophrenic. Great! I was born into this world by an abusive alcoholic and a schizophrenic. Nice gene pool, eh? I’ll be lucky to see twenty. I had to stop myself from digging any further. It wasn’t going to do me any good to keep reading.

Instead, I decided to check my email, to see if there was anything new from Adam. He and I have had to deal with email as our only way to communicate. In the last two months, I’ve only managed to see him once, during a sleepover. Things didn’t work out for us to be alone that night, and we were both pretty disappointed. However, in a few nights, I’d be staying over there again and we’ve been devising a plan that will allow us some time alone. Basically, after Mark falls asleep, I’ll sneak up to Adam’s room. Not too complicated, unless of course, Mark doesn’t go to bed. We had a plan for that, too.

Reading Adam’s newest email, I could tell he’s excited about my coming over. I sure in the Hell know that I am. His email made more than one mention of kissing, and touching, and ‘other stuff’ as he put it. Why can’t it be Friday now? I knew I had some homework to get to, but after Adam’s email and the anticipation of Friday night, I had other personal matters to tend to first.


For there is a price for love

You do not just 



Suddenly bestilled


To be


So threadbare

Love’s intrepid lesions

Lined up in rows

On this fragile heart

A collection for the daring


A reminder of love displaced

Coming soon…

Deception (book three)


Savior 14

Timmy waited until midnight, then started his journey to Tyler’s house. He was excited about the chance of seeing him again, but he didn’t know how Tyler would react if he happened to see him. It wouldn’t have been his first choice, but he decided to go stealth mode. Better to play it safe, than to risk making Tyler hate him even more.

When he pulled up to the old oak across the street from Tyler’s house, he saw the soft glow of his desk lamp illuminating his bedroom. He’s still up! This could take longer than expected. Timmy leaned into the tree and waited. If he was lucky, maybe he’d catch a glimpse of his dream boy walking past his window.

He stood there for about twenty minutes when a cold chill passed through him. He was being watched. He could feel it. But from where? Before he had time to figure it out, an all too familiar scent waifed across his nostrils. Then a familiar, dreadful voice spoke from the dark space over his right shoulder.

“Who are you watching Timbo?”

Things were happening too fast. He couldn’t process what was taking place. No time to react. The voice spoke again. Closer.

“That’s HIS house, isn’t it?” Imagine my luck. I’ll get both of you on the same night. Thank you Timmy.”

Skyler emerged from the darkness as he spoke. Hissing through his derelict smile. His eyes beyond focused. His intentions unjust. Filled with a barely contained rage. Timmy tried to step back, but immediately butted up against the rugged tree trunk.

Skyler moved to within inches of the vulnerable boy. “I can smell your fear, Timmy. I’ve been looking everywhere where for you. I own you!”

Timmy stood there on shaky knees. He knew this wouldn’t end well for him. He was smaller. Younger. Weaker. He tried to swallow down his fear and focus on finding a way out of this. He felt a little ball of hate welling up in the pit of his stomach. Not only did he despise the boy standing before him. He stoled his life from him. Intimidated him. Abused him. Imprisoned him. And now he was poised to do the same thing to someone he cared deeply for. This can’t happen. Not tonight. Not ever!

Skyler could see the changes taking over Timmy. His eyes narrowed. His breathing deepened. He could see his body become rigid. “Hahaha. What’s going on Timmy? Are you gonna take me down? Protect your little boyfriend?” He gave him a hard shove into the tree. “Not gonna happen you little fucker! I’m gonna rip you to shreds. Then I’m gonna kill this worthless kid up there, and then I’m gonna kill your bitch sister. Hell I might as well kill your whole family.”

He shoved him again. Harder. “And you can’t stop me, you little bitch coward!”

Somehow Timmy managed to slow time down in his mind. He could see Skyler rearing back for another strike. A more explosive attack. It was now or never. He needed to strike first, and cause enough damage to get away. Toe to toe he couldn’t beat Skylar, but he didn’t need to beat him. He just wanted to lure him away from Tyler’s house and worry about the rest later.

Suddenly, the circle was complete. The pit in his stomach exploded. Ancient instincts took over where the burgeoning hatred finished. His eyes glowed a crimson red. His razor sharp fangs dropped. His thin muscles pushed out against his taut skin. He let out a guttural roar, lunging forward into the unsuspecting Skyler. He sunk his teeth deep into the cheek of his assailant. Tearing away a large chunk of flesh. An immediate torrent of blood poured out of the wound. The otherwise silent night, came to life with the mingling of rage-filled screams and ear-splitting pain.

Skyler brought both of his hands to the gaping hole on the side of his face, as Timmy made his quick dash from against the tree. Skyler reached for him, as he shot past. Catching ahold of Timmy on his back. It didn’t slow him down one bit, as he simply dropped his arms, allowing the backpack to slide off his body. Within seconds, Timmy had disappeared into the darkness. Leaping cars and fences with great ease. Power and grace he didn’t even realize he possessed. Skyler took the bait, and gave chase. Matching Timmy’s elusive maneuvers through the quiet Chicago suburb.

Before too long, Timmy was able to put some distance between them. Skyler’s bleeding face was taking its toll. The inevitable loss of endurance, due to the rapid blood flow. He had no choice but to fall back and tend to his wound. If he gave in to his rage, he would surely die in the chase. He stopped, as Timmy faded away. The last thing Timmy heard was a blood curdling scream. This was not over. Not by a long shot.

There I laid on his back, with my arms behind my head, legs crossed at the ankles. Hopeful that sleep would come soon. Eyes closed. Absolute silence, save the occasional hum of the houses furnace. Music and drawing had lost its luster hours ago. This was the real boredom. The trick your mind into becoming tired, but failing miserably at it kind of boredom. The ‘I have no life and nothing to do’ kind of boredom.

Once midnight passed, I started to play the clock game. Counting down the precious minutes lost during the insomnia infused night. Knowing full well that tomorrow is going to suck and I’ll be worthless from exhaustion.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by a death scream from outside my window. I’d heard enough rabbit kills in my time to know that this was something different. It sounded animal, but there was something human about it, too. I leapt out of my bed and inched over to the window, to see if I could catch a view of what was going on. It was as much scary, as it was exciting. I didn’t want to be spotted. I arrived just in time to see two silhouettes disappear between a couple of houses on the other side of the street. They looked human, but they moved with a speed and kind of grace that normal humans do not possess. I’ve seen these movements before.

Something else caught the corner of my eye. Right near the base of the large tree across the street. It looks like a large pool of oil. There’s also a bag there. Wait! That looks like… I turned to look in the corner of my room, where I normally stash my backpack. Nothing there. The dots started connecting in my head. Where’s my bag? I left it at Jasmine’s. That looks like it could be my bag down…OH MY GOD!!!

I pulled on some jeans and a hoodie and bolted down the stairs. I ran by my father, passed out in his chair. The overflowing ashtray, dangling at the edge of the armrest. Fuck his ashtray. This is far more important. I struggled into my shoes again, and ran out the front door.

Against the white snow, the pool was a grotesque deep red. Blood and not oil. My backpack was half covered with the stuff. Discarded. Abandoned. The blood trailed off, between the two houses, into the darkness. There were two sets of running shoe prints. There was a chase. Timmy! It has to be Timmy. My god! What happened here? Timmy is in trouble. I have to help him. But how? I could only think of one way to help him. Jasmine. I had to find Jasmine.

I took off running, as fast as I could, toward the coffee shop. I don’t know if she’s working, but it’s closer than her apartment. I completely ignored the fact that I was thoroughly underdressed for the occasion, and pressed on, until I could see the coffee shop a few blocks ahead. When I got to the front door, I could see that it was closed. Shit! I pounded in the door anyway. Maybe somebody is still in there. Just as I was about to give up and run to Jasmine’s apartment, I saw some movement in the back of the shop. Seconds later, Jasmine was running toward the door to let me inside.

“Tyler?! What’s going on?”

“It’s Timmy! He’s in trouble. We have to help him!”

She reached out for my frozen hands and pulled me into the warmth of the shop. “Timmy’s in trouble? Tell me what happened.”