Author: kristalyn PM
Simon has finally convinced the guy he's loved for years to be with him, but he's having trouble convincing everyone else to accept it. SLASH, oneshot, sequel to Skye.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Words: 12,620 - Reviews: 43 - Favs: 132 - Follows: 8 - Published: 08-13-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2402669
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So this took me forever to write, and I'm really sorry about that. It's a one-shot featuring Simon and Jason, and it follows Skye and Just Smile, though I suppose you could read it on its own if you really wanted to. It's a bit too sappy for me, but my characters thought otherwise. So...I hope you like it? Feel free to leave a review, just please don't be too mean.
"Mmmf," Jason said. I kicked him and he managed to pry his eyes open to glance at me in a confused sort of way. I kicked him again, and he just groaned.
"Were you trying to smother me?" I asked, rubbing my nose.
"Mmmrf." Jason is not a morning person.
"Why were you lying on my face?" I hoped that he would find that question less complicated and manage an intelligible answer. I wasn't particularly surprised when his face broke into a wide grin.
"Why do you think?" he purred. I smirked.
"Honestly, Jason. Even when you're sleeping, you've got a one track mind."
"Do you really want to complain about that?" He cocked one eyebrow inquisitively, his lips twitching into an adorable half smile. I had to kiss him.
"You taste gross," I told him, for which he shoved me off the side of the bed.
"Fuck you," he said. When I stood up again, he'd burrowed under the covers and pressed his face into my pillow. I sat down beside him, absently stroking his hair. We'd been together for months now, but I still hadn't grown used to having him in my bed.
"You should get back to your room," I said quietly. Jason mumbled something into his pillow. "Come on, Jase. Do you really want to hear your mother scream if she finds us in bed together?"
"You locked the door, right?" Jason shifted his head to face me so I could hear him. I found my hand shifting down to stroke his cheek. It was always like this with Jason. When I was around him, I couldn't keep my hands off him. I don't know how I managed to last years without him.
"Yeah, but if she looks in your room and you're not there, and my door is locked, it really won't take much to figure it out," I said. Jason smiled, his eyes falling closed again.
"Not if she isn't looking for it. And somehow, thinking both of us are straight and hate each other, I doubt she'll be looking for it." My hand trailed down his neck and Jason shuddered. "Stop that. I'm trying to sleep."
"You've been sleeping for like ten hours," I protested. Jason rolled onto his back, grabbed my arm, and jerked me down on top of him. He positioned me so that my head was resting against his shoulder, and I let my hand rest on his stomach.
"Teenagers need lots of sleep, Simon," he said sternly, both hands stroking my back. I pressed a gentle kiss onto his shoulder before curling up against him, closing my eyes.
"If you say so. But if we get caught, you're doing the explaining." Jason grunted in response, already mostly asleep again. I smiled. It was impossible for me to truly believe that Jason was actually there, beneath me, falling asleep with his arms around me. How long had I been in love with him? How long had I believed it was hopeless?
Too long, apparently, if I was still being pelted by the shockwaves of our first kiss.
"I love you," Jason whispered, as though he knew where my thoughts had led. Funny, really, as he usually just got annoyed with me if I expressed any doubts. He must have been too tired to do anything but comfort.
"I love you, too."
"I know," he said in a superior tone. "Now stop sulking and go to sleep. I'm fucking tired."
"Sorry," I murmured. Jason made a strange clicking noise which seemed to indicate disbelief.
"You're fucking retarded, Simon. I'm right here, and I'm definitely real, all right? Get over it already." I pinched his side and he squealed loudly. "You bastard! What the fuck was that for?"
"I was making sure you were real," I explained, smiling brightly when he opened his eyes long enough to glare at me. In reply, he flipped me onto my back and straddled me, kissing me hard on the mouth before his lips trailed to my neck.
"You're mouth still tastes like shit," I told him, a little breathlessly.
"Fuck you," he growled against my throat.
"Please," I said, and he laughed and lightly nipped my ear.
"And I have a one-track mind?"
"You didn't have you doing that tongue thing on your neck," I said. Jason paused in his ministrations to push himself up and stare at me.
"What?" he asked after a minute of silence.
"Nevermind. Carry on," I ordered, and Jason rolled his eyes before falling back against me heavily enough to make the breath leave me.
"You're so weird," he told me.
"So you've said," I gasped.
"And I stand by it," he replied. It was funny really, when the words he'd once used as an insult had turned into an affectionate endearment.
"I was thinking about getting my nipple pierced," I remarked calmly, and Jason suddenly froze, lifting his mouth from my chest to gape at me.
"No," he growled suddenly. "You are not sticking a needle in them."
"Well, not both of them," I agreed, glancing thoughtfully at my chest. Jason slapped his hands over me protectively.
"No!" he shrieked. "I forbid you! I like your nipples just the way they are."
"Aww, how sweet," I cooed. Jason glared at me.
"You were just teasing me, weren't you?" he asked suspiciously. I grinned.
"Come now, love. Would I really tease you about something like that?" In response, Jason lifted one hand and flicked my nipple. Hard.
"Now just imagine what a needle would feel like, Simon," he said haughtily.
"That hurt," I said, attempting to pout and likely failing miserably. Jason rolled his eyes but bent down to gently kiss the offended area anyway.
"Exactly," he told me.
"Well, what about my bellybutton then?" I suggested, which had been the real point of our conversation. I knew Jason would probably squirm at the thought of me getting anything else pierced, so I thought it would be best to work him up to it.
"Isn't your eyebrow enough?" he asked exasperatedly.
"Whatever, Simon. It's your body," he said, folding his arms over my stomach to rest his chin against them. I reached out a hand to run through his short hair. I'd tried to talk him into growing it out, but he was still stubbornly resisting.
"Yeah, but you're the one who plays with it all the time," I said, earning a grin and faint blush from Jason.
"Then I suppose I'll just have to get used to another toy on it." He sighed and closed his eyes, leaning his head into my hand. It was ridiculous, that such a simple movement could completely undo me. But Jason always seemed to break past my barriers. It should have been terrifying, knowing just how easily he could break me, but instead I loved it. I loved him. I couldn't seem to help myself. I would give up everything just to be able to make him laugh.
"Go back to sleep," I whispered, and Jason sighed again.
"I can't," he said mournfully.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because I'm lying on top of you and thinking of playing with bellybutton rings," he replied. I laughed and he lifted his head up to look at me. He slid hands off me and pushed himself forward to press a light kiss to my lips before sitting up. He ran teasing fingers down my sides and pulled off my boxers, tossing them carelessly to the floor beside my bed.
"You're making a mess," I told him, clutching his hips as he slid forward and rubbed himself against me.
"I know," he replied, moaning softly. "Do you really want to stop and pick it up?"
"No, that's all right," I decided, vaguely wondering how Jason had managed to get naked during the night yet I'd still been partially dressed. Then he was sliding a finger inside me and I forgot everything else.
"Jase, what are you doing?" I asked. He grinned.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Tempting fate," I replied. His grin widened.
"Mom and Garrett ran to the grocery store. Apparently we're going to have an important lunch today with some of their friends." Jason grimaced for a few seconds, ever antisocial, before smiling slyly at me. "But, their trip should take a bit, so we have time for a rendezvous in the shower."
"One-track mind," I said, stepping back to allow him room to step in. He just smiled and wrapped his arms around my waist, kissing my temple and pushing my wet hair away from my face. "I love you," I whispered, because I couldn't seem to hold the words back.
"I love you, too," he murmured, and the world felt perfect.
"Yes, sir. I'm going to State," I answered, adding more dressing to my salad. Peter frowned.
"State? But why would you go there? You could go to any school you choose."
"I know that, sir," I said, glancing once at Jason's tight-lipped face and deciding a quick change of subject was in order. "But I'd like to stay close to home, and State has a good engineering program. Mary, this salad is delicious."
"Thank you, Simon," my stepmother said with a smile. It was a running joke between us, me complimenting her on her one contribution to our meal. I was hoping it would draw a close to our conversation.
"Well what about you, Jason?" Peter asked. He was one of those annoying people who always had to control the conversation. Jason glared at him, gritting his teeth as though preparing to enter a torture chamber. I almost smiled, but I knew his expression wasn't exaggerated. He just wasn't good at playing polite.
"I don't know," he said tightly.
"You don't know?" Peter laughed loudly. "Well, I suppose it's not right to expect every teenager to plan for the future as well as Simon. He's one in a million, isn't he?" Peter thumped my back. Jason's eyes went hard, and he turned his gaze firmly to his own bowl of salad.
"Yeah, one in a million," he muttered.
"You must be very proud of Simon, huh Mary?" Peter added. I'm certain he didn't mean anything by his words. He just liked to suck up to people. But that didn't keep me from subconsciously clenching my fists under the table, waiting for Mary's response.
"I'm very proud of both of my sons," she said, laying a hand on Jason's shoulder. He glanced up at her, unable to hide his own surprise at her words. It broke my heart, to see that look on his face, and it was all I could do not to leap over the table and gather him up in my arms.
"Well, of course," Peter said quickly, apparently recognizing his own slip. I let my hands relax, and Jason actually took a bite of his salad instead of absently stirring it around the bowl. When we were ready for dessert (my parents could not have a meal without dessert, certainly not when they had guests), I stood up and began clearing away the plates.
"Sit down, Mary," I said quickly. "Jason and I will take care of the dishes."
"Thank you, boys," Mary said, smiling brightly at the two of us. Jason gave me an annoyed look but stood up with me. He carried his own dish, but didn't bother taking anyone else's.
"Just volunteer me for washing dishes, why don't you?" he muttered once we were alone in the kitchen. I set my stack of dishes in the sink beside his and then reached up a hand to brush against his cheek. He pushed my hand away and turned on the sink, pouring some soap on the sponge.
"Jason," I said softly.
"I'm fine," he said in a completely unconvincing voice.
"Peter's an ass." I wrapped my arms around his waist, ignoring his attempts to shrug me off again, and rested my chin on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Jase."
"I said I was fine," he muttered. "I'm used to being overshadowed by you by now."
"Well you shouldn't be," I snapped. "He shouldn't have said that. I know he didn't mean anything bad by it, but I want to kill him anyway."
"It's not his fault you're a super genius," Jason said, but he leaned back against me and I could see a smile beginning to form on his face.
"Well, I'm still pissed that he said it." I kissed his neck once and he shuddered. "I'm sorry he hurt you, baby."
"Baby?" Jason echoed, grinning at me.
"What? I'm not allowed to call you by cute, affectionate nicknames?"
"I suppose," Jason said. "Now stop lazing about and help me here."
"Oh, I think you're doing fine on your own." But I reached forward anyway and rolled his sleeves up to keep them from getting wet. He sighed grumpily but didn't protest. He was rather touchy about letting people see his scars, but he was getting better. He didn't bother with long sleeves at school anymore, but he still didn't like strangers seeing them.
"This isn't helping," Jason remarked dryly when my hands slid slowly up his arms. I ignored him in favor of pressing kisses down his neck and across his cheek. My hands reached his chest and slid down, one pressing against his stomach to move him even closer to me and the other sliding down over the front of his jeans. He groaned, giving up on the dishes and sliding one soapy hand over the one I held against his stomach, entwining his fingers with mine. His other hand clutched the counter, his face turning so his lips could catch mine.
I turned him around suddenly, guiding him to empty counter space. He knew what I wanted and quickly hopped onto the counter backwards, wrapping his legs around my waist so that we were so close. I jerked my hips forward, into utopian friction, and he grasped my face in his hands. He kissed me hard, with a desperation that let me know Peter's words had bothered him more than he'd let on. Where I would have preferred a more gentle comfort, Jason always seemed to feel better with something much less tame.
Suddenly, I heard a loud crash from somewhere behind me. I leapt away from Jason, spinning around to find my father's dropped jaw, the broken remains of his glass at his feet. I immediately adopted the most innocent look I could, idly pulling the broom and dustpan from the pantry. Jason shifted on the counter, drawing his knees up to his chest, his face bright red. He looked small and terrified, and I very nearly jerked him off the counter and ran away with him.
"Garret, dear, what's the matter?" Mary asked, poking her head through the doorway.
"Nothing's wrong, Mary," I said quickly, smiling reassuringly at her. "Dad just dropped his glass. We'll clean it up, go on back to your guests."
"Be careful not to cut yourself," Mary said before turning to go back to the table. My father eyed me in a strangely speculative manner, his eyes drifting over to Jason's huddled form and then moving back to me.
"You, young man, have a lot of explaining to do," he said in a quiet but firm voice. I nodded and deposited my tray of glass into the trashcan before putting away the broom. I stood beside Jason, pushing aside my annoyingly persistent fear and taking Jason's hand. I half-expected him to jerk away, because he was even more afraid of our parents finding out than I was, but he didn't and I found that the feel of his skin against mine calmed me down considerably.
"I'm gay," I said, at which point my father merely rolled his eyes.
"I guessed as much. I'm more concerned that you didn't bother mentioning that fact until now. I'd assumed we were closer than that, Simon." My father's words caused a flood of guilt to hit me. He was right. After my mother's death, my father and I had become a team. We'd allowed Mary to join it, but we'd always had a deep bond and I knew it probably hurt him that I'd kept something so important secret from him. I don't think I'd really expected rejection for it, but I had been afraid of marring myself in his eyes. I'd always been "perfect" for him, always excelled at everything to make him happy. I didn't see my preferences as wrong, but they were abnormal and I knew my father liked things to be normal.
"I'm sorry, dad," I said quietly. "I know I should have, but I was just…afraid."
"Why?" he asked in a tone that had turned more exasperated than hurt.
"I don't know."
"So now you and Jason are…dating?" he murmured, at which Jason's flush brightened. I squeezed his hand comfortingly.
"Yes," I said.
"Well, that explains why Jason's been spending so much time here lately. And why he agreed to stay the weekend here without any arguments." Dad folded his arms over his chest and slowly shook his head. "I thought it was odd that Jason would so willingly come here when he could have had a house to himself for a weekend."
"It was my idea," I said quickly, and my dad smiled suddenly.
"I'll bet it was," he said. "So how long has this been going on?"
"Four months," I mumbled.
"And how long have you known you were gay?"
"Since about when you and Mary got together," I said softly. Jason's hand tightened around mine, probably knowing exactly what my words meant. I'd known I was gay since the moment I laid eyes on Jason and knew I wanted him.
"I see. Well, you know you two are going to have to tell Mary about this." Jason made a quiet, choked sort of nose and I moved closer to him.
"Right now?" I asked. Dad smiled again.
"As much as I would enjoy shocking the hell out of Peter, I'll allow you to wait until our guests have left."
"I don't know if Jason is ready to tell Mary yet," I said, glancing once at the wild look in Jason's eyes. "He hasn't really known as long as I have, and it takes time to build up to letting your family know."
"Five years time, Simon?" dad asked dryly. He went on speaking before I could answer. "Well, I can understand that. I don't like keeping secrets from Mary, but this one isn't mine to tell. But Jason, I really think it's important that you tell her. Your mother loves you very much, and it would hurt her to think you were purposefully keeping something like this from her.
"Now, I believe we should establish some rules. I don't think it's a good idea for you two to be wandering around at night, going to each other's bedrooms."
"I'm afraid it's too late for that, dad," I said.
"Simon," Jason growled, smacking the back of my head. Dad sighed.
"It's not like we can get pregnant," I said, smirking at the thought. Jason groaned and let his head fall onto his knee.
"You know what I mean, Simon. I have to get back to the guests now. I'll give you two a few minutes to finish up here."
"All right, dad." He held his arms out and I quickly stepped into them.
"I love you, Simon, and nothing's ever going to change that," he told me quietly. "I don't want you to be afraid to confide in me."
"I love you, too," I said, cursing silently when I felt my eyes fill with tears. I brushed them away quickly and dad nodded once before turning to leave the room. I stared blankly at the empty doorway for a few seconds before walking over to Jason.
"Are you all right?" he asked quietly. I nodded and managed a grin.
"It's you I'm worried about. I thought you were going to pass out for a few minutes there."
"Right," Jason scoffed. "I've seen you naked, Simon. Nothing can shock me anymore."
"I'm taking that one as a compliment," I decided, though I knew he hadn't meant it as one. Jason smiled and fiddled with his rolled up shirtsleeves.
"Do you think I should tell her?" he asked quietly. I sighed and wrapped my arms around his waist, resting my forehead against his. I hesitated over my answer, knowing that Jason's relationship with his mother was still rocky at best. If he told her and she showed even the slightest sign of disapproval, he would probably sever all ties to her forever.
"It's up to you," I said, and Jason seemed to sense the guarded tone in my voice. He sighed and tried to lean away from me, but I kept my arms wrapped tightly around him.
"You think I'm being stupid again, don't you?" he muttered.
"Jason, it would be rather hypocritical of me to think you were stupid for hiding this from your mother when it took me five years to tell my father, and even then I didn't actually tell him. I think you should do whatever you feel is right, Jase." He sighed again but let me pull him against me once more and even returned my embrace.
"What do you think she'd say?" he murmured. I knew he was trying to make his voice sound detached, as though he didn't much care what the answer was, but I could feel the way he tensed as he waited for me to answer. I ran my hands gently up and down over his back as I spoke.
"I think that regardless of her opinion of us, Mary's learned from the past not take you for granted. I'm not really a psychic, Jase, but I don't think you're mother will reject for this. I don't think she'd reject you for anything."
"Yeah," he snorted, a bitterness to his tone that I hadn't heard from him in a long time. "Because then I might slit my wrists again and it would be her fault."
"Don't," I said sharply. Jason glared at me, and I recognized the look in his eyes and quickly pushed down my own temper. "I wish you wouldn't say things like that, Jase. Just the thought of it terrifies me."
"I'm not going to kill myself," he snapped, though not with the same level of fury I knew he'd felt a few seconds before.
"I love you," I murmured and Jason's mouth slid into a reluctant smile.
"Bastard," he replied before kissing me hard.
"Yeah dad?" I asked. He stood at the end of the hallway, wearing khakis and a neat white button-up shirt. I can remember thinking how odd we looked in photographs of the two of us, but that had never stopped my father from showing them off. I really was stupid to think he'd be disappointed because I was gay. He might have liked normal, but he'd never forced his ideals on me.
"Hurry up and get ready. I'm taking you out to breakfast before school."
"I'll be late," I said, glancing at my watch. Dad shook his head, wearing a small smile.
"I'll write you a note," he said.
We went to a little place a few blocks away from the Aqua Café, the restaurant my dad owns. Checking out the competition, he called it. Though I don't think it's much of a competition. Dad's place way outranks any other in town. Tourists and residents alike frequent it, and dad is pretty strict about who he'll hire so it's got something of a reputation.
We got tables in the back, and I could see the wheels turning in my father's mind even as he smiled politely at the waitress as she took our order. I grinned at him when she'd gone, and he offered me a small smile in return.
"Nice girl," he remarked pleasantly. My grin widened.
"But yours are nicer," I said. He let out a soft chuckle and shrugged.
"You know me too well," he said. Then his face slid into what I'd always privately thought of as "serious mode." It was the same face he'd worn the night he told me my mother was dead, as well as the night before he would propose to Mary. The face didn't necessarily indicate trouble – in fact, I could hardly remember the last time I'd been in trouble for anything – but it always preceded a long, often painful conversation.
"This is about Jason, isn't it?" I asked quietly, smile fading. Dad sighed and reached across the table to pat my shoulder.
"Partly," he said. "I know I said I wouldn't tell Mary about the two of you, but Simon, I don't know if I can hide this from her for much longer. Do you think there's any way you could convince Jason to tell her?"
"No," I said, more sharply than I'd intended. Dad looked surprised at my tone and I silently reminded myself that I had no reason to be angry with him. I could understand his concern – I wouldn't have liked keeping something from Jason, either. "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to force Jason to come out to Mary before he's ready. He didn't even know he liked boys until right before we, ah, grew close." It felt a bit wrong, really, nearly admitting to my father that I'd been sleeping with Jason long before we'd actually started dating.
"I can understand that, Simon, but Mary is his mother. Surely she should at least know that he's gay."
"Jason only recently decided not to hate her, dad. I think any confessions are going to have to wait until he trusts her again." I stared blankly at my glass of water, my heart beginning to feel heavy. I hated talking about Jason like this, even if I wasn't saying anything harmful. It still felt wrong.
"I don't understand why he stopped trusting her in the first place," Dad said slowly, eyes watching me carefully. I knew, suddenly, what he was worried about. He'd really only ever seen Jason's bad side, as Jase had pretty much hated him – and me – from the second his mother introduced us. He had no idea what lay behind Jason's bitterness towards Mary and my father.
"Because she left him," I said softly. Dad shook his head.
"She offered to bring him to live with us."
"That doesn't matter, dad. She still left, and Jason was twelve and all he knew was his family was breaking apart. To him, I think, Mary was replacing her old family, finding a new husband and son. I know she was only trying to make me feel welcome, but Jason thought any kindness she showed me meant she liked me more." Dad was quiet for a minute, absently sipping his coffee.
"Jason doesn't seem very emotionally stable," he said at last, and I flinched.
"Who is?" I countered, and dad sighed.
"I'm certainly not going to tell you what to do, Simon, but I just want you to be safe and Jason seems a little…unbalanced."
"He might get depressed sometimes, but that doesn't make him unbalanced." I was struggling to keep my voice calm, and it didn't seem right. I didn't get mad like that, especially not at my father.
"All right, Simon, all right. Just…I don't want you to get hurt. Not you, or Mary, or even Jason. And I think that having the two of you together could cause a lot of pain for everyone involved." My dad's voice was quiet and sincere, his eyes watching me with concern. My anger faded quickly away and I nodded slowly.
"I understand that. But it would be the same with anyone, dad, and I think Jason is more than worth the risk." I watched him struggle with what to say next, until he finally echoed my nod and managed a small smile.
"Then I'll just hope Jason finds he's able to talk to his mother and that the two of you are happy." I smiled back and felt the worry that had been weighing on my chest suddenly absolve.
"I was having breakfast with dad," I said in a mostly calm voice. My annoyance aimed toward Laurie had been building over the months, her refusal to accept Jason even after seeing how well our relationship was working out driving me crazy. "It has absolutely nothing to do with Jason, Laurie." I didn't feel guilty for the slight lie because I knew the topic of my discussion with my dad would only give her further ammunition against Jason.
"Whatever." Laurie spent the rest of class ignoring me, and she didn't speak to me again until we reached the doors to the cafeteria at lunchtime. I spotted Jason already seated at his usual table next to Skye and headed for him, only to have Laurie snatch the back of my shirt and snap, "Where the hell are you going?"
"To sit with my boyfriend, Laurie. I've been doing it everyday for the past four months, which you have probably realized by now since you generally sit there too." Laurie glared fiercely at me, her eyes glinting furiously. Although it probably would have looked ridiculous on me, Laurie's bright orange hair didn't detract from her dangerous aura at all.
"What happened," she growled, "to putting friends before lovers?"
"Oh for God's sake, Laurie." I jerked out of her grasp and returned her glare full force. "It's not impossible to appreciate my friends and my boyfriend equally. I've never once complained about the time you spend with Graham."
"Fuck you, Simon! You know I would drop him in a second if you told me to."
"No, I don't know that, and actually I don't even believe it. If you do mean that, then I think you're being pretty stupid Laurie. A real friend wouldn't ask you to break up with someone just because they've decided they don't like them. The only reason I would even suggest you end a relationship would be concern for your wellbeing, and even then I would still support you if you didn't listen to me."
"Jason is an idiot!" By now Laurie's voice had turned into a loud screech that had most of the students in the cafeteria staring at us, but that didn't deter her. "He's going to ruin your life, Simon! God, can't you even see how much you're giving up for him already? You barely ever hang out with your friends anymore, and you decided to go to a school way below your level just because you don't want to live far away from him! Can you really think that's not completely fucked up?"
"Yes, I can. I made the choice to stay near him, because it's what I wanted to do. Jason never pressured me to do anything!"
"It's not healthy to be so dependent on another person!"
"I'm not dependent on anyone! I'm sure I could function just fine without Jason, but I don't want to! I'm fucking sick of defending this to you. If you can't accept him, then you can just stay the fuck away from us, Laurie." The moment the words left my mouth, I wanted to take them back. I almost never lost my temper, because I knew that when I did, I would say something I regretted. And now I had, and Laurie's eyes were sharp and unforgiving.
"Fine," she hissed. "If you want to continue thinking that Jason isn't just using you as a fuck buddy until he can get his little Saint Skye, then go for it Simon. But don't you fucking cry about it when he breaks you."
If it hadn't been for the fact that I knew Jason was waiting for me, I would have fled the cafeteria after Laurie. Instead, I tried very hard to ignore the stares aimed my way as I hurried to take the seat beside Jason. He was staring down at the soda Skye had probably given him, while Skye and Michael looked on worriedly and Graham glanced indecisively between Jason and the door Laurie had disappeared through. I met his eye and nodded, and managed a small returning smile to the grateful one he sent me before going after Laurie.
I reached under the table and twined my fingers through Jason's, only feeling a tiny smidgeon of pain when he pulled away from my touch. I took a deep breath and then leaned in close to him to whisper, "Jase, will you come with me somewhere?"
"Why?" His voice was quiet and empty and made me flinch.
"Because I want to talk to you." I was very careful to keep my voice soft and gentle, with none of the fury still coursing through me leaking out. I knew how much Jason had been hurt by Laurie's words, and I wouldn't add to it by losing my temper with him too.
Jason didn't bother answering, just stood up and walked towards the doors. I quickly followed him, waiting to try to take his hand again until we were out of the cafeteria and heading down the hallway. He tried to pull away again, but I just held on tightly until he gave up and rested his hand limply in mine. I waited until we reached my car, where we'd both headed by silent agreement, to speak.
"Jase, I'm sorry."
"Shouldn't I be the one saying that?" His voice was as bitter as I'd ever heard it.
"You have nothing to be sorry for," I said quickly.
"Ruining your life isn't worth apologizing for?"
"Jason, please. You didn't ruin my life. You made it better." He jerked his hand free of mine and crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back against my car and staring at the ground.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever fucking heard."
"Maybe. But no matter how stupid and sappy it sounds, it's the truth. I love you, and I have loved you for a long time, and just knowing that you're mine is enough to make everything feel perfect."
"You're fucked up in the head, Simon." Jason looked up to meet my gaze for a few seconds, and all the insecurities he tried so hard to hide were there in his eyes. "That bitch Laurie is right. I'm the shittiest fucking person on the planet, and you're…you're fucking perfect. I'm shit at school, I'm shit at relationships, and I'm never going to be a nice person. Why the fuck would anyone want me?"
"I want you because I love you. Because I'd kill to see you smile, to hear you laugh. Because I know you're a thousand times better than you think you are, and you know that I'm not perfect. Everyone has flaws, Jase; perfection would be boring." I grasped his shoulders and pulled him toward me, sighing when he allowed it, resting his cheek against my shoulder and sliding his arms around my waist.
"Well you're definitely not boring," he muttered against my neck.
"I'm definitely not perfect," I replied sternly. "But I love you. I'm sorry for what Laurie said, Jase, but you know I don't agree with her."
"I think I do agree with her. But I love you too, so I guess I'll fuck your life up anyway."
"Laurie was wrong, Jason." I pulled back to stare into his eyes, to make sure he was really listening to me. "You have only improved my life."
"If you say so." But despite Jason's casual dismissal of my words, the look in his eyes was lighter and I knew that at least part of what Laurie had been saying was right; I would give up everything else, even her, if it meant making Jason happy.
"Really? I hadn't realized you knew how."
"Shut up," Jason muttered, smiling a little. "But seriously, I was thinking about it a lot for the past few days, and I want to tell my mother about us."
"Oh?" It took me a moment to gather enough composure to say anything more. "Do you want me to be there with you?"
"I…" Jason shrugged helplessly and I reached over to grasp his hand.
"Baby, you know if you want me there, I'll be there."
"Yeah, I know." Jason fiddled with the cheap mood ring on my pointer finger, spinning it around and poking at the colorful ornament. "It just feels…I don't know, weak I guess. I mean, how pathetic is it that I can't even face my own mother without my boyfriend there."
"It's not pathetic Jase. I know my father found out about us purely by accident, but if I'd planned to tell him, I would have wanted you there." I pulled into Jason's driveway and sighed. I didn't want to leave him, but he hated having me over when his father was home. I couldn't blame him, really. His father would probably explode if he knew we were dating.
"I guess if you want to be there." Jason was still playing with my ring so I used my free hand to turn his face towards me and leaned over to gently kiss his forehead.
"Of course I want to be there." I undid my seatbelt and crawled into Jason's lap, ignoring his grunts of pain. "Jason, I love you."
Jason ran his hands up my arms and threaded his fingers through my hair. "I know," he said before pulling me in for a kiss.
"I want you to do whatever you feel is right," I said quickly. "Do you still want me there?"
"Well, I mean, you, if you…" Jason trailed off and squeezed his eyes shut. "Yes."
"Jase," I said softly. He didn't open his eyes, but his face tilted a little toward me. "Jase, there's nothing wrong with wanting me there. It's not weak, or whatever else you seem to think it is. People aren't meant to go through all the hard things in life alone."
"I know," he said, in a quiet voice that indicated just the opposite. I reached across the car to thread his fingers through mine.
"Jason," I whispered, and he glanced up at me and I was shocked to see tears in his eyes. "Jase, what's wrong?"
"I don't know. It's just…everything's shit. Your friends hate me and I'm still too much of a coward to admit to my mother I have a boyfriend and I keep wondering when you're going to realize how worthless I am and leave me. I just…god, Simon, it doesn't matter what you say, Laurie was right. I keep using you, and what do you get in return? Me whining about stupid shit and getting mad at nothing." Tears were still filling Jason's eyes, but he hadn't let any of them fall.
"That is quite possibly the stupidest thing you've ever said." Jason's eyes widened and I could see his body tense, but quickly continued before he could go into defensive mode. "How many times do you have to reassure me that you love me every day? No one's perfect, and the point of us being together is to support each other. Isn't that what love is? Sure I've given up things I might have wanted so I could be with you, but haven't you done the same? I know how much you hate having people pay attention to you, but you still molested me in front of the whole cafeteria just to make me believe you. And you still put up with all the looks we get when we go out in public. You're not using me, Jase. I love you."
"I love you too," he murmured, finally wiping at his eyes. I leaned across the car to give him a gentle kiss.
"I love you," I said again, my whispered words brushing our lips together again. He managed a small smile that I felt rather than saw.
"Good." I moved my hands to cradle his face, thumbs softly rubbing across his cheeks, and Jason rested his forehead against mine.
"I'm an idiot, aren't I?" he muttered as his eyes fluttered shut.
"Sometimes. But not nearly as often as Laurie is. You shouldn't listen to her, Jase. I don't know why she acts the way she does. I know she means well, but sometimes she takes it too far."
"Laurie's a bitch," Jason remarked casually, and I laughed and kissed him again, happier than I let on to see him back to normal.
"Sometimes," I admitted once I'd pulled up for air. Jason just rolled his eyes and gazed at me for a few seconds.
"My mother wanted me to stay for dinner tonight. I guess I'll…I'll tell her then."
"If that's what you want to do." Jason nodded and then fell back against his seat, leaving my hands grasping empty air.
"Let's go. I need to be distracted today, Simon, so you better keep me entertained." I grinned as I backed out of his driveway and lightly slapped his thigh.
"You should know by now that that won't be a problem."
Dad gathered up the plates and we heard him rinsing them off in the kitchen as utter silence reigned at the table. Jase stared blankly at his lap while Mary fiddled with the lacy tablecloth. I tried to think of something to say, but no words came to me. I reached under the table and touched Jason's hand, more than a little surprised when he grasped it instead of pushing it away. If Mary shifted too much or even stood up she would see out clasped hands, but I couldn't bring myself to care and apparently Jason felt the same way.
Dad walked back into the dining room, eyes lingering briefly over our hands before he took his seat next to Mary. Jason glanced up then and dad smiled encouragingly at him, which seemed to spur him into speaking.
"Mom, I'm gay," he blurted out. My hand unconsciously squeezed his tightly, until he squeezed back and I realized what I was doing. Mary's eyes widened momentarily and then, suddenly, she smiled.
"Are you?" she said softly. Jason gnawed nervously on his lower lip.
"Yes. Well, no. I mean, I'm bi, at least, and I…I have a boyfriend." Here Jason seemed to freeze, glancing at me with a helpless expression. I tried to smile, but I was as confused by Mary's apparent lack of reaction as he was.
"I…yes. It's, uh, it's Simon, actually." Jason looked ready to bolt, his hand trembling slightly in mine. Mary continued smiling at him, and even dad appeared surprised by it. He cautiously touched her shoulder and her smile evolved into a full-fledged grin.
"Oh, Jason!" she cried, darting around the table and enfolding a startled Jason into a tight hug. "I'm so glad you confided in me, Jason. I was so worried you would never trust me enough to tell me."
"I had some idea," Mary said with a fond smile, tears streaming down her face as she rested her hands on his shoulders.
"And you're okay with it?"
"Of course I am. I would never want you to make yourself into something you're not."
"Then why didn't you say anything?" Jason's voice had fallen to a barely audible whisper, but in the silence around him everyone heard it.
"I didn't want to sound like I was making accusations. I wanted you to trust me and confide in me, so I made myself be patient and wait for the day when you did." Mary took the napkin dad offered her and wiped away her tears. "Now," she said with a bright smile. "Why don't we celebrate? Garret, would you mind getting the champagne and I'll bring out the glasses?"
"Sure," dad said, obediently following Mary into the kitchen. The moment they were gone I yanked Jason against me, smiling when his arms wrapped around me. I kissed the top of his head.
"I can't fucking believe it," he muttered.
"Neither can I." We were quiet until dad and Mary returned and then we pulled apart by silent agreement, though I moved to grasp his hand and smiled again when he let me. Somehow we made it through an hour of conversation, most of it directed by Mary who was happily making suggestions for future family outings.
When we finally escaped to my room, Jason collapsed onto my bed and I dropped down beside him, slinging an arm over his stomach.
"Fuck," he said, voice muffled as his face was pressed into my mattress.
"Fuck," I echoed, because there was really nothing else to say.
"Hello, Trisha. Is Laurie around?" Laurie's younger sister studied me out of bright blue eyes that looked exactly like her sister's. She and Laurie might have been twins but for the inch or so in height Trisha had on Laurie.
"I heard about your fight." She tapped bright pink claws against the doorframe as she continued to study me.
"I'm sure you did," I murmured. "That's what I want to talk to Laurie about, but she won't answer her phone. Is she home?"
"No." Trisha cocked her head to the side thoughtfully. "You're not going to yell at her again, are you?"
"No. I just want to talk to her." I pushed aside my exasperation and tried for an honest smile.
"She's at Graham's. Good luck." Trisha shut the door in my face before I could reply and I rolled my eyes before making my way back to my car. I pulled out the cell phone my father had given me for Christmas and dialed Jason's number. He answered groggily on the second ring.
"Were you seriously still asleep Jase?" I asked, grinning a little at his grunt.
"Do you know what time it is?"
"Well it's ten til noon, Jase. Wake up, you lazy ass." I was answered with silence. "Jason? Do you even understand what I'm saying?"
"Fuck you," he answered in the midst of a loud yawn I could hear clearly over the phone.
"I'm not into phone sex."
"What do you want?" Jason's voice was somewhere between a whine and a groan.
"Where is Graham's house?"
"Graham's house? Why do you want to know here Graham's house is?"
"I'm trying to find Laurie." There was another long silence, but this time I knew why. "Jason? I told you I was going to try to talk to her."
"Yeah, I know. It doesn't mean I think it's a good idea. Every time you've tried to talk to her at school she's blown you off. Why should it be any different if you find her outside school?" I closed my eyes and rested my forehead against the steering wheel.
"This is how Laurie always acts. She hates admitting she might have been wrong, and she certainly won't admit it in front of anyone else. I'm hoping if I catch her alone she'll be more willing to listen."
"Why the fuck do you want to make up with her anyway?"
"Jase," I whispered. "Please don't start this again. You know Laurie's been my best friend since I moved here. I know you don't like her, but I hate just letting go of our friendship."
"Yeah, so you've said," Jase muttered.
"Jason, I don't…"
"Graham lives in Pine Lake," Jase interrupted, quickly spitting out directions before I could stop him. "Michael lives next door, so you should recognize his car."
"All right. Thanks Jase." I wanted to start begging for forgiveness, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I was tired of defending Laurie and Jason to each other, and I hated feeling like I had to choose between them. It was no contest who I'd choose, but I didn't want to be forced into it.
"I love you."
"You too," he said, though with no enthusiasm.
"I'll see you later."
"All right." I heard the phone click off and flipped my own phone shut, dropping it in the cup holder and wearily pulling out of Laurie's driveway. As I reached the exit from the neighborhood, I bit my lip, uncertain of where I should go. Left would lead me to Graham's house, and possible reconciliation with Laurie, and right would lead me to Jason and…and what? Would running back to him now set the precedent for the rest of our lives? If I didn't do what I felt was right because I was too afraid of losing Jason was I proving all of Laurie's idiotic accusations true?
And on the other hand, if I went to Laurie when I knew it would upset Jason, was I putting everything at risk? I'd defended him to Laurie time and time again, and it felt almost like a betrayal to go pleading to her to be my friend again. And everything with our parents had been completely sorted out. Did I really want to risk losing the closest thing to utopia I was ever likely to find?
Still not sure I was doing the right thing, I found myself driving to Jason's house. I loved him, more than I'd even known I was capable of loving someone. I'd known from the start that he wasn't perfect, that our relationship wouldn't be like my father's and Mary's, full of unquestioning love and support, never a harsh word between them. And I didn't want that kind of relationship. I wanted Jason and all our arguments and almost-too-far teasing, and the way it felt to hold him in my arms and know that I'm the one that can make him smile and laugh and forget every scar that mars him, body and soul.
To my embarrassment, I felt tears burning in my eyes at the path my thoughts took me. It was still true that I would sacrifice everything for Jason, and I loved him. I loved him, and maybe I was giving in to him too much, but I knew what I was doing and to me it was worth it. I loved Laurie, but she had brought this upon herself. Jason had never berated me for speaking to her until she'd begun her campaign to destroy our relationship.
I reached Jason's house and was happy to note that his car was still in his drive. Not that I'd expected him to have left, if only because I knew he'd only been awake for a few minutes. I checked the window in the garage and discovered that Jason's dad's car was gone. I tried the front door and was unsurprised to find that it was unlocked. Jason and his father had a bad habit of leaving the door unlocked.
I made my way up the stairs to Jason's room and peeked through the cracked door to find him lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, the radio playing quietly in the background. I knocked on the door and it was pushed open just enough for me to squeeze in. Jase jumped at the noise and stared at me, sitting up and kicking away his sheets.
"Simon, what are you doing here?" he asked as he reached over to turn off his radio, rubbing sleepily at his eyes. I shut the door and sat in his desk chair, folding my arms over my chest.
"I decided I'd rather be here," I said, shrugging. Jason had a strange look in his eyes, studying me in a way that made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I started to question him, but he chose that moment to leap at me, nearly knocking over the chair and making me grunt as his knees slammed against my stomach. But it all seemed rather unimportant when he kissed me, hands in my hair sealing us together in a desperate sort of way. I wrapped my arms around his waist, touching bare skin as he'd slept without a shirt on.
"I love you," he said fiercely when he finally pulled away, and it sounded like an admonishment.
"I love you, too," I said, a little breathlessly. He dropped his forehead against mine.
"I know you want to work things out with Laurie," he began, but I quickly pressed a finger to his lips to stop him.
"It's all right, Jase. I know she doesn't deserve it, and I won't let her come between us." Jason pinched my neck, completely ignoring my pained squeal.
"Laurie's a bitch and I'm never going to like her, but I know that you do and I'm not going to stop you from talking to her. I'm not going to…to ruin your life. I'm not going to make you give up anything just because of me." The tears were coming back as I tried and failed to choke out a reply, and Jason tried to look annoyed but his voice was a little shaky. "Honestly, Simon, what are you crying for? This is supposed to be a good thing."
"I love you," I whispered.
"I know," he said with a small smile. "Now, you should be getting to Graham's." Jason climbed off my lap and stretched, and I quickly wiped away my tears and squelched the urge to jump him.
"I love you," I said again, because I couldn't think of anything else to say. Jason grinned at me.
"You've said that already."
"Yes, but it deserves repetition." I was glad to hear my voice had returned to normal.
"Well then, I love you too. Now get out of here. I'll meet you for lunch at…" Jason glanced at the clock and adopted a thoughtful expression. "One-thirty," he decided. "That should give you enough talking time. And if you leave before then," he added with a lewd wink, "feel free to stop by here."
"Chinese food?" I asked, and Jase grinned again.
"You know me so well." He kissed me again and then practically pushed me out the door.
I knocked on the door and a small, beaming lady answered, her smile enough like Graham's to prove she was his mother. I smiled back and murmured, "Hello, I'm Simon, Graham's friend from school. Is he around?"
"Hello, Simon, it's nice to meet you. Graham's upstairs in his room with some friends, first door on the left. Go right on up." I murmured my thanks and climbed up the staircase, feeling just worried enough to tread lightly, as though my presence would be more welcome if I was quiet. I could hear a loud clashing of voices as I approached Graham's bedroom, accentuated by a sharp cry filled with a mostly unintelligible jumble of words that might have included "fuck."
I glanced in the room to find Laurie, Graham, Michael, and another guy I didn't know sitting on the floor, in the midst of playing Halo. Graham and the unknown boy next to him were doing most of the yelling, cursing each other and occasionally adding a shove for good measure. I grinned as I knocked on the wall beside the door, ignored by Graham and the guy beside him. Michael spotted me first and smiled politely, though his eyes glanced nervously to Laurie.
She turned her head to meet my eyes and suddenly I was pinned beneath her most potent glare. If I wasn't so used to facing them after all the years I'd known her, I probably would have been quaking with fear. She wasn't a large person really, with her bright orange hair and glittering nose ring, but there was something about her that was just intimidating.
"Hey guys," I said quietly. Graham paused his game to look at me, eyes radiating sympathy despite his friendly smile.
"Hey, Simon. This is my big brother, Kyle." He gave Kyle a hard shove that was returned full force. "Kyle, this is my fried Simon. Jason's boyfriend."
"Hi," Kyle said, looking at me in an interested sort of way, as though I was a specimen to be studied. I lifted a hand in greeting, almost sad that I'd kept my hair down that day and worn relatively quiet clothes. I didn't get off on people staring at me or anything, but I felt less self-conscious about it when they had a reason to stare. I'd decided that the first time I held a boy's hand in public, when I'd been thirteen, and discovered just how much attention that generated.
"Hey, Laurie, can I talk to you for a minute?" I was fairly certain she wasn't going to answer at all, but finally she heightened her glare and spoke.
"Why?" she snarled.
"Because we need to talk." It was harder than usual to push down my temper, because I'd allowed my anger to build as she continued to reject me. She continued to glare silently until Graham laid a gentle hand on her shoulder and, with a frustrated growl, she stood up. I started to back out of the room, but then Laurie seemed to rekindle her rather impressive stubborn streak and plopped down on Graham's bed instead of following me.
"Talk away," she said sharply, in that unique tone she has that leaves the listener feeling torn to pieces. I bit my lip, glancing hesitantly at the other three in the room. Michael and Kyle were looking suitably awkward, but Graham just looked tired. He met my eyes and shrugged helplessly.
"I'm tired of fighting with you Laurie. I don't know what you want me to do, but I don't want to lose our friendship over this." Her glare didn't lessen in the slightest, and I pretty much knew that this talk was going no where.
"I want you to dump the bastard. No, you need to dump him. He's going to ruin your life."
"That's ridiculous, Laurie. He's not ruining anything." I didn't know what more I could say to convince her, and it left me with a helpless, frustrated feeling. I looked to Graham almost without realizing it and he shrugged again.
"How can you possibly believe that?" Laurie was practically shrieking now, her hands balled in fists and slamming against the mattress with every word. "God damn it, Simon, how the fuck can't you see that he's trying to control every part of your life!"
"That's bullshit, Laurie." My tone had turned a bit sharper, but I couldn't help it.
"No, it's the fucking truth! He's trying to control you completely, and you don't even fucking know it!"
"You're the one who's trying to control me!" I screamed, my temper breaking suddenly, my hold on my anger dissipated completely. "Fuck, Laurie, Jason hates your guts and he still told me to come over here and try to make up with you. You know why? Because he loves me enough to let me make my own choices, and he knows how much I wanted to salvage our friendship. You're the one who keeps insisting I dump him, and he's encouraging me to fix things with you."
"Fuck you," Laurie hissed. "Jason's just fucking around with you. He doesn't care who you're friends with, he's just using you until he can get Skye. How many times did you call me moaning about whatever horrible thing Jason was doing now? Do you really expect it's going to last with him?"
"It's lasted four months, Laurie, and I expect it to last a hell of a lot longer. You don't have to like him, but you have to accept that you can't decide who I date."
"How can you be so stupid? He's just going to fuck with you, Simon! You can't stay with him!"
"Please, Laurie, don't make me choose between you," I whispered, suddenly feeling the anger drain out of me. I knew how it was going to end, but I couldn't quite bring myself to believe it.
"Why the fuck would I want to be friends with you if you don't even fucking listen to me? I'm not making you choose anything; it's Jason's fault this is even happening!"
"I'm sorry," I said softly, feeling my voice crack a little. "But if that's how you feel, Laurie, then I'm done trying to placate you. I love Jason, and I'm not going to give him up because you don't like him."
"So, what, that means you're choosing him over me?" Laurie's gaze was filled with accusations I didn't want to see, her eyes furious as they bore into me.
"I'm sorry," I said again, as though the words were enough to make things better. "I would rather keep you both around, Laurie, but I guess you aren't going to settle for that." I hoped, for a few seconds, that she would spit out a denial, before I realized that was a foolish hope.
"Fuck you!" Laurie shot to her feet, looking as though she wanted nothing more than to dive across the bed and beat my skull in with her bare hands. "You can't fucking blame this on me! Your stupid fucking boyfriend is the cause of this!"
"Laurie," Graham interrupted quietly. She turned her glare on him.
"Let me guess, you're on his side, right?" she snarled.
"I'm not picking a side, but you know Jason's my friend." Graham hesitated for a second, as though he wanted to say more but wasn't sure he should, and Laurie pounced.
"He's your friend, so you should know how fucked up he is."
"Jason has issues, but so do most people. And he's a lot better than he used to be. I know you're only worried for Simon, but maybe you should let him make his own choices. If it ends up being a mistake then you can rub it in his face and maybe he'll learn from it." Graham tried a tentative smile, and seemed relieved when Laurie sat down again.
"How am I supposed to just sit back and do nothing when my best friend's life is heading for destruction?"
"I think maybe you're exaggerating a bit there, Laur. Maybe Jason and Simon will break up and be sad for awhile, but I think they'd both manage to recover, especially if they had good friends to help them out." Here Graham paused and looked pointedly from Laurie to me and back again. She turned her gaze to the floor, lips pursed and a stubborn look in her eyes. "Jason's my friend and I've often seen him make decisions I thought were stupid and I might have given him my opinion on the matter, but I never forced him to stop. Hell," Graham added, with a full-fledged grin, "I've even sat back and watched Michael here make a few mistakes, too, hard as that may be to believe."
"I'm leaving," Laurie announced suddenly, lunging to her feet and shoving past me. Graham sighed and quickly followed her out, leaving me, Michael, and Kyle to shuffle awkwardly for a few seconds.
"Sorry about that guys," I said, sitting on the bed Laurie had just left. Kyle shrugged and remained silent.
"It's all right," Michael said in his calming voice. I smiled gratefully at him, though I still felt a little out of place around him. I didn't think he really approved of my relationship with Jason, though he'd never said anything about it to either one of us, and he seemed supportive of us anyway. It was hard for me to read Michael, because he spoke so rarely around me and I got the impression that he kept most of his opinions to himself. He wasn't the kind of person I normally befriended, but I knew he'd done a lot for Jason.
I heard stomping up the stairs and turned to see Laurie barge into the room, glare at me, and snatch a purse from Graham's desk. Then she turned and stomped back out, pushing past Graham, who stood in the doorway. He watched her go down the stairs, a small smile on his face, and called, "I'll call you tomorrow, Laur."
"Fuck you," she screamed back, and Graham's smile widened.
"Anytime," he replied, and Laurie screamed something unintelligible. Graham leaned against the doorframe and grinned at me.
"Don't worry, Simon, she'll come around. She just hates being wrong."
"I know," I muttered. I'd watched, innumerable times, as Laurie refused to back down from an argument and seen the same thing happen. She was furious and never admitted that she may have overreacted, though most of the time she eventually solved the problem by pretending it had never happened. But there was always a palpable tension between her and anyone she'd fought with, even if they behaved civilly. And she'd never fought with me that way. We had the occasional disagreement, but she'd never taken it this far.
I sighed and climbed to my feet, and Graham patted my shoulder comfortingly. "I'll keep working on her," he promised.
"Thanks," I said.
"Well, I'm meeting Jason for lunch. I've got to go."
"Chinese food?" Graham asked wryly. I smiled and nodded. "You've really addicted him to that place. We might have to stage an intervention soon."
"I don't think it's gone quite that far yet."
"I don't know," Graham said, pretending to look dubious. "I really think the only thing Jason likes more than eating Chinese food is having sex."
"As well he should," I said, grinning as Michael turned his attention to the window and Kyle smothered a snort. It was rather easy to believe he was Graham's brother.
"Are you singing praises to the act in general or your own prowess?" Graham asked curiously.
"Both, I suppose." I took another step towards the door. "Anyway, I'm leaving now. I'll see you later. It was nice meeting you, Kyle."
"You too," Kyle said, smiling.
"Bye," Michael said quietly and Graham lifted his hand in a floppy wave.
When Jase started to sit up, I pulled him back down and he settled himself against me amiably, his head on my shoulder.
"What happened?" he asked softly.
"The usual, I suppose, but I think she'll come around eventually. Graham seems to be wearing her down." I sighed and Jason gave my throat a light kiss. "I just…even if we do start talking again, it's not going to be the same. I can't just forget all the things she said, or the fact that she completely turned her back on me so easily."
Jason was silent for a minute as I ran my fingers through his short hair, wondering why the motion was so comforting. "I'm sorry," he said softly, and it seemed like a strange admission, coming from him. Maybe Laurie was right, and I'd given up a lot for Jason, but he'd given up a lot for me too. He accepted the attention being with me generated, and he'd almost completely abandoned his tendency to suppress his deeper emotions, at least with me.
"Don't be," I murmured. "It's sad, but I think maybe this has just been an opportunity for me to realize how little my friendship has meant to Laurie."
"Mmm," Jason said. I glanced down at him only to find his eyes were closed, though his breathing was too erratic for him to be sleeping. I smiled to myself, somehow knowing as I watched him that everything would be all right.
Jason's eyes fluttered open and peeked up at me. "What are you smiling at?" he grumbled. I kissed his forehead.
"I love you," I replied.
"I love you, too." Jason planted a sloppy kiss on my chin before pushing himself to his feet. "Now, I believe I was promised some Chinese food."