This story will only have another six chapters after this one. I've planned it to end at chapter twenty... Though I might do an epilogue or something.

As always, thanks to my reviewers, and I would do an individual thanks, if I wasn't so fucking lazy...


Kareem watched me through amused eyes, while Josh looked kind of confused. "Ok... so... when are you gunna tell us what's up?...And stop pacing, please, man, it's odd."

I stopped. "Ok... ok..."

Kareem and Josh exchanged glances. "Did you have sex with-"

"NO!" I cried. "Ugh. Is that all everybody thinks about??"

Josh snorted. "Oh, please. You're the biggest pervert out of all of us."

"Well, ok, fine, but not right now."

"..Then what happened?"

"He..." I was cut off by the shrill ringing of his cell phone.

"Oh, look, it's Tyler calling." he grinned. "You won't tell me, obviously. Lets see what he has to say... Hello?-" he pulled the phone four inches away from his ear. "Ok, Tyler, breathe. I can't understand a word you're saying when you're screaming like - oh. OH. Shit, really?" he glanced at me.

Kareem laughed, then. "This is the most bizarre thing I've ever been through. I swear you guys have the weirdest relationship."

"If you can even call it a relationship. We don't act like regular couples. I've never even held his hand before."

"That's kind of... low. Maybe you should."

"Ya think?" I snapped. "...Sorry. Yeah. I'm PMSing."

He rolled his eyes. "Ok. Sure."

Josh hung up his phone at that point and turned to me. "So he told you he loved you. What is your problem?"

I sighed. "You don't get it."

"...Apparently, nobody does." he responded, before rolling his eyes. "Oh, come on, don't-"

I dramatically fell to the ground, and laid there, my eyes open, but keeping everything else completely still.

"You're lucky you have us." Kareem stated.

"Yeah. I doubt anyone else would put up with your shit."

"We are RELATED." I cried.

"You're STEP-BROTHERS!" Josh practically yelled, shaking my shoulders. "You aren't related."

"My dad threw me out of his fucking house. You think he's going to be very pleased to find out that Tyler is a fucking faggot too? I fucking doubt it. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? He's the one acting like a fucking pussy. I'm just trying to have a normal relationship. He's the one who's either eager to hang all over me, or is pushing me off of him. I don't know any of my fucking boundaries, and I just don't see how it's going to work." I rolled onto my stomach, then, and buried my head into the carpet, nearly purring when I felt Josh's fingers running through my hair.

"You don't think it's going to work out?"

"No." I said, my voice muffled, through the carpet.

"Then maybe you need to break up with him."

I tensed up. "I can't. What would I do then? Have you seen me? I'm never going to find anyone else. And I love Tyler, I just hate him."

Josh pulled my belt loop, until I was sitting up, and I sighed. "I've seen you. I don't think you'd have any trouble... " he looked to Kareem a minute. "Sure, you and Tyler are completely opposite. You're somewhat related. He's obsessive compulsive. You have anger problems - but nobody said it was gunna be easy. You're gunna have to try harder."

"I don't want to." I cried, being a drama queen again. "I'm tired of trying harder. I tried hard with Tori - and now we hate each other."

"Who's Tori?"

"...My first boyfriend. A total jag-off. Tyler had a crush on him, and he knew, so he kind of used it to make me and Tyler turn against each other... Rather, me turn on Tyler."

"Really? And what happened then?" Kareem seemed suddenly interested in my life.


"Well," he said simply, "I don't know if the same rules apply to you, but around here, it's hard to find a boyfriend... I was lucky to find Josh..." Josh blushed, and smiled, and they shared a kiss in front of me.

It was fine for the small kiss, but when it seemed to grow more passionate, I 'meeped' slightly, so they knew I was still in the room. I think I can understand Tyler's complaints. I thought, watching them break apart. We're not like that. We don't kiss very often, and if we do, it's hardly ever for a good reason. I've never held his hand... we're not 'cute'. "How long have you two known each other?" I questioned, trying to find a short change of subject.

"Um..." they glanced at each other. "Well, we'd see each other around school." Kareem answered, "but we weren't friends. I had a crush on him from the beginning, and we didn't really start talking until... two years ago, right?"

Josh nodded. "Yeah. That sounds about right."

"So - it took you two a year before you started dating?"

"Christ, Addison, I've told you already. I went to Cadence and came out there, and they beat the shit out of me. I wasn't ready to go all happy bouncy and jump into a homosexual relationship with a guy that the only thing I knew about was that he was gay. You and Tyler have lived together nearly eleven months. You care for him?"


"Then tell him."

"It's not that easy."

"Then you really don't deserve him." Josh rose to his feet. "You guys are great. You have the greatest fucking relationship that I would die for, because you knew him in a different way than just a boyfriend. Me and Kareem can't always be there for you to fall back on when you're stuck. You - need - to - work - this - out - with - Tyler." he pressed his lips against my forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow."

I watched them go, without a single emotion showing through my eyes.


Around 4 in the morning that Thursday, I was awakened by the sound of my door being tapped on. I touched the pillow, before vaguely wondering why I was on the couch, and not my bed, when I knew for a fact that I had fallen asleep in my room.

"Yeah?" I called, switching on a lamp that the bulb was dying in.

It flickered, and then died, and I stubbed my toe on the table, tripped over a lose shoe, and fell to the ground, the air rushing out of my body almost instantly.

The tapping stopped at that point. "Addi?...You ok in there?" Tyler's voice was shaky.

I spent a few seconds trying to unlock my door in the darkness, and finally heard a click, and the door opened, to reveal Tyler standing that, the glow of the moon the only source of light.

"Hi..." he said, quietly.

"What?" I was tired and cranky. You better have a good reason for waking me up. I thought, rubbing my eyes. "It's really early..."

"I know... look... can I..?"


"I don't have anywhere to stay anymore." he cried, and then grabbed me into a choking hug, and rested his head on the crook of my neck.

"What do you mean you have nowhere to stay anymore?"

He held up his bag. "I had a journal/scrapbook sort of thing in here, and, naturally, your dad went through it, another punch was thrown, and I was kicked to the curve... It's cold outside..."

"Did you walk here?" I asked, suddenly feeling the cold he was talking about.

"...He threw me out at eleven. I've been walking for-fucking-ever."

"At eleven, Tyler? Why the hell didn't you call me?" he sniffled, slightly, and I sighed. "Come in before you get sick and die."

"I didn't call because I didn't want to." he said, quietly, kicking the door closed behind us.

I flicked on the diningroom light, and we were instantly blinded for a short time period. "Why not?"

"I don't know." he admitted, sitting down on the couch because I directed him there. "I felt kind of numb."

"I could have came and picked you up."

"I didn't want that." he said, his voice just as monotone as it had been when he first arrived. "I didn't even want to come here. I wanted to go to Josh's, but I didn't really realize it until I got here."

"Why didn't you want to come here?" I asked, walking into the kitchen, to get him something warm to drink.

"Because after what all happened the last time I was here... I kind of just wanted to give you some space."

"Some space? What the hell do I need space for?"


I listened to him from the thin walls in the kitchen, and came back to hand him a warm glass of tea.

"Thank you." he was strangely calm about it. For someone as borderline homophobic and sensitive as himself, he wasn't breaking down. He took it fine.

If he had been crying, would have been able to handle it.

But he seemed ok, and I didn't know what to do.

He held the hot glass to his blue lips, and then the tears started.


Hours later, Tyler and I lay side by side on my bed, our clothes long forgotten on the floor, and our bodies beginning to come back down from the high we had just been on. Thought Tyler looked awake and alert, I felt tired and unwary. "Does this mean you're here to stay?" I asked, through a deep sleep that was threatening to consume me.

"I guess so." he responded, pulling me closer to him, with my back against his chest.

"I am so skipping school tomorrow."

"Yeah. Same here."

I grinned, and then fell back asleep.


10:30 the following morning, I awoke to the sounds of water stopping, and lost my cool for a moment, before the events of the previous hours sunk in I pulled the covers over me, almost lazily, and buried my head on the spot of the bed that Tyler had been sleeping on.

A few minutes later he walked back into the room, dressed in new boxers, and a shirt.

I re-opened my eyes, and glanced at him with wet hair, and decided I liked it. He went to lay back down, but I stopped him. "You can't lay down with wet hair." I complained. "My sheets hate it."

He laughed and wrapped the towel around his hair, and then laying down, staring up at my ceiling with a lost expression in his eyes.

"What's wrong?" I asked, yawning.

He shrugged. "I dunno. I just have a bad feeling in my gut."



"Well, maybe it'll go away."

He looked back at me. "I have to tell you something..." he said, kind of quietly. "But, I think you'll get pissed."

"Well, I'm always pissed. It should be my nickname." I stretched, and buried my face in his chest, yawning again.

"Um... I kind of... invited Malachi to come and visit." I tensed up. "But, I mean, it was long before you and I started... dating... and I didn't think much of it..."

"Tyler... does he know about us?"

"He thinks I'm still single... He knows I'm gay, though."

"Why doesn't he know about me?"

"Because... I broke his heart once before - and I don't think I can do it again... Can he stay here when he comes?"

"When will he come?"

"A couple of days."

I sighed, irritated, and crawled off the bed, reaching for my boxers and some clothes. "How long?"

"I dunno... a week or two..?"

I sighed. "Whatever you want."

"...He's just my best friend, Addi. It's Christmas vacation starting Monday, and he has no one to spend it with... you don't have to worry about anything. I'm reliable."

"I'm not worried at all." I responded, before taking a shower of nothing but cold water.


I allowed Tyler to drive my car to the airport to pick up Malachi, and I sat in my empty apartment, strumming my bass guitar, and trying not to get too pissed off. Fucking idiot. I thought, strumming a note angrily. And I left them together in a car for an hour? What the hell is my problem? I sighed, and continued strumming a song I had learned in the ninth grade. One that Greg and I had made. This is what Tyler has been complaining about... I thought. I'm jealous about small things with him, and he's jealous about small things with me... I swear to god this is a dysfunctional relationship, if there ever was one.

They arrived home about an hour later.

I almost started crying when Malachi walked in the door.

It was alright that he was Tyler's best friend. But he was gay, and he was gorgeous. How was I to compete?

He had dark hair, and brown eyes, a combination Tyler had always loved. His hair was curly and tousled. He was taller than Tyler and I, small build, a great smile, pearly teeth, and wore a lot of red and black clothing.

"Hi." I said, watching him carefully.

"Hi." he responded, not looking too thrilled to see me, either.

"Eh... Addi, this is Mali. Mali, this is Addi."

We both looked at Tyler, kind of with puzzled expressions. MALI? What the hell?? I let it go, however, because they were best friends. And, really, the only nickname I could have gone by was Addi. Nothing else came out of my name. Maybe it was just coincidence.

Malachi and I locked eyes, and they took a seat on the couch, setting his small suitcase on the ground beside their feet, while I took the floor, as I always had.

Their conversation went by so quickly, I hardly got the gist of it all. Apparently, from little bits and pieces, Malachi had gotten into a huge fight with his dad, who had thrown him out, and he was then staying with his uncle, who was out of town during vacation.

I sat there tuning my guitar, trying to forget about the less-than-sweet thoughts I kept having.

"God, you've gotten so beautiful." Malachi said to Tyler, stroking his hair. "And-"

he was going to kiss him.

I swear I nearly had a heart attack.

The guitar string popped, and snapped me in the eye, causing me to jump up from the floor and curse, and for Malachi and Tyler to jump apart.

"Oh, holy shit, man, are you ok?" Tyler asked, getting off the couch and heading over to me. "Let me see... Addi - I can't see if you keep covering it up... Addi - move your hand- thank you." I blinked repeatedly, not being able to see anything from it. "Ah... um... well... it only got your eyelid, and scratched your eye but... I think you need to get your eyelid stitched up."

I groaned, gently pushed past him, and walked into the bathroom, covering my eye up with a watered-down tissue, and blinking at the blood. It wasn't a lot, but for someone who hates blood so much, it was enough to freak me out.

Tyler knocked and came in after me, and closed the door behind him. "Do you want to go get stitches?"


"...Why not?"

"Because... they use needles..."

He laughed. "What? It's not like you're afraid of them or anything." he laughed, until he realized I wasn't laughing. "You are? Afraid of needles?"

"It's mostly just pointy objects, in general."

He looked towards the mirror for a moment. "So, that's why I cut and you burn?"

"Liters and matches are easier for me to handle."

He nodded. "Ok, so we won't go to get you stitches."

"Yeah - maybe it's nothing."

"Maybe." a silence passed, and then he moved towards me. "Do you like him?"



"...Not really."

"Why not?"

I shrugged, and then felt his lips brushing mine. Soft and light. Questioningly.

"He tried to kiss you." I said, pulling away.

"Yeah. So? I wouldn't have kissed him back."

"So? It's still a kiss."

"You're just jealous."

"Jealous is my middle name."

The phone rang at that moment, and I hurried past him, through the livingroom, where Malachi was sitting anxiously, and rushed into the kitchen. "Hello?"

"Hey, Addison?"

I recognized the voice. "...Sam?"

"Yeah... So, what're you doing for the holidays?"

"Um... staying here with Tyler, I guess."

"Tyler? Who's Tyler?"

"My step-brother."

Tyler re-entered the livingroom, and sat down by Malachi, glancing at me. "Oh... Well, maybe you could come over here some time? And visit?"

"The whole family? I wouldn't be able to buy presents for all of you-"

"No. Not for the whole family... They're in Aspen.. Just Come and visit me."

I laughed slightly. "Sure, I guess... when?"

"Whenever you find the time."



We hung up, and I went back into the livingroom, to find Tyler running his fingers through Malachi's hair. Malachi seemed to like it, because his eyes were closed and his head was tilted towards Tyler.

There was a short pang of jealousy in me, but I let it slide, and pretended to be very interested in fixing the string in my bass, but really couldn't have done it, because I felt like shit. "Who was that?" Tyler questioned.

"Sam... friend of mine."

"What'd they want?"

"...Nothing. Doesn't matter."

He nodded, and blew a kiss and a wink in my direction. Something that Malachi didn't seem to notice. "Well...I'm going to my room..." I said, leaving.

I threw my bass guitar on my bed, and then jumped onto the bed beside it, burying my head in the pillows.

When I woke up, it was to the sounds and movement of someone crawling on the bed beside me.

My eyes snapped open, and I looked to see Tyler in front of me, holding a finger to his lips. "Don't say anything." he warned, and I rolled over to give him room, saying nothing.

When he had adjusted himself, I spoke again, too tired to listen to him. "Why can't I talk?" I asked, a little loudly.

"SH!" he scolded, covering my mouth with a freezing hand. "Malachi wakes up at the sound of a feather... If you didn't just wake him up, then he thinks I'm in the room with him still."

"Why're you in here?"

"Don't you want me in here?"

"Yeah. But I thought..." I yawned. "Never mind... I'm too tired to talk about it."

He rested his head on my chest, and I breathed in deeply the scent of his hair, until I felt almost over powered by sleep. "Addi?"


It was too quiet to hear it. Maybe it didn't happened. "I love you..."

I was asleep before I could answer.


A few days into Malachi being in our house, I got used to Tyler and I not kissing and holding hands until after Malachi went to sleep.

At first, it felt odd and slightly pissy on my part, but after I really got to know Malachi, and he opened up to me, I felt more upset for the guy than anything else. After all that he and Tyler had done, and he was no longer wanted. Of course he seem to have had the same resentment over me being Tyler's best friend as I had when I met him.

After only three days, however, my resentment turned into a kind of welcoming feeling. I enjoyed Malachi's company, and I knew that he probably wouldn't try hitting on Tyler after Tyler made it clear that he didn't want it, but it didn't make me so comfortable that I would go and visit Sam and leave the two of them alone in my apartment.

However, Tyler changed my mind, promising to behave, and I left the two of them there, with a heavy heart.