Hesitation rarely tries to hide itself. Because it is impossible to do gracefully. It's the type of human play that will always scream to be recognized. Like a crimson stain on a hallway of white walls.

My love…

I've carried you on my shoulders and you bled onto my shirt.

Right now, Janet's hesitation is so bright that it blinds me into annoyance, and I start to fidget in my chair. My patience with her, with everything about her, has grown so thin. And now this hesitation of hers. Honestly, I can't stand it. But, I can stand the existence of fewer and fewer things lately.

"Do it." My stare latches onto hers in the mirror facing both of us; Janet's standing behind me as I sit in her brother's swivel chair, and she's still wearing that blindingly red human sign of pause. Sign of human weakness.

Flies kept me company while I sat with you.

And I kissed my bruising heart to keep you mine...

"Do it—now."

Janet's eyes take on a sharp boldness with words trying to work their way from her expression to my ears. I know everything she wants to say, but I don't want to hear it. I don't want her to voice any words of question or rationalization or advice. I just want her to do for me what she claimed she could do for me.

"Janet. Either do it, or I'll go somewhere—"

"No!" Janet shakes her head as though she's erasing a thought. "No, I said I could so…I will."

With the weight of this love, a dreamer's seams began to fray.

Again her eyes ring across her disapproval, but are met with my indifference.

And he saw it

So her waning ceases. She is tired of fighting me. And I sympathize with the death of her fighting spirit. For mine is not far behind.

And, in his own way, he saved me.


Days before I am sitting in Janet's brother's swivel chair, I'm wandering through aisles and flipping through CD's at Mike's Music. It's a small place on the main street three blocks past the Junior High where I took those placement tests. That Jr. High where I first meet Bethanie. So much has happened since then. Now those memories—that time—seem so very long ago.

This place is my haven. This small music store tucked deep in between Major Retail Outlets and lively coffee shops. From my window I've taken to the hobby of people watching. Everyone on the outside seems so busy and preoccupied with reaching their destination. But I find myself stunted. Removed from the feeling of moving, or even wanting to. I remember when I enjoyed being a part of the fast and slow of life. I miss the joy in something as simple as Jonah waving at me during a passing period. Or a quiet car ride with Janet.

Now I tug on the sheets of calm. In my quest to reclaim myself, I've lost something. Something precious. Finding it with this new caution I take to life has made me so tired. Every day is a rest I've forgotten to grab. Every night is a sleep I wish I could slip into. Not that I haven't been sleeping at night. Somehow I manage a few hours of what you would call respite. With the bedroom door lock secured now, of course. But it's never enough. And now I'm almost delirious with exhaustion.

I pull on the headphones attached to the wall and scan the barcode across the player below it. It's to a CD of assorted classical compositions. And again I was looking. Looking for something without real effort.

The sound starts through the headphone speakers: a swell of string instruments and bass. I flip the CD over to find the name to track one, only to find I already known it: Hungarian Dance Nos. 5 in G Minor/Allegro; Vivace by Johannes Brahms. I let out a sigh. I was hoping for something…new.

I hit skip on the player just as a tap finds my shoulder. My heartbeat jumps into my throat and I flip off my headphones so I can hear myself talk.

"What." I don't know who has startled me, but I'm annoyed at the surprise and it's obvious in my tone.

I turn around to find Eric, the guy who works here. My heart rate goes back to normal but I am still annoyed.

"Hey Josh, sorry to startle you like that."

"Then tapping me on my shoulder while my back is turned is something that should be avoided. Wouldn't that be considered common sense?" I'm short with him, but I'm short with everyone now. I think it comes from the lack of real rest.

Eric scratches his head, his eyes darting from my face to the ground. "Yeah you're right, I'm sorry."

No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you like that. It's just…I'm tired but that's no excuse… That's what I want to say. It's what I should say. I feel the words poking at my guilty conscious. Something I'm surprised I still have, considering all I've done in my seventeen years of life.

But instead of saying those words of apology—soft words that don't need to be true, just expressed for the sake of this rising awkward moment—I stare back at him. I know my eyes say no "I'm sorrys." There is no remorse in my expression, only cold impatience. This is who I'm becoming.

"What is it you want?"

"Well it seems trivial now," Eric's eyes still have not settled on a place to stare. "I just…wanted to say hey." He attempts a small wave. "So hey there, Josh."

I nod then present my back to him and pull the headphones over my ears. And skip to track five. I close my eyes and welcome the sweep of rushing melody… but it's too late

Let me push inside of you, just once. Just once….please Josh…

I skip to track twelve, my fingers starting to slip on the control buttons. Suddenly the room had grown many degrees hotter.

Let me make love to you, Josh.

My thumb presses the up button for volume so fervently that I could have broken it. But I cannot blast out the voices coming from my thoughts and memories. I'm just stalling for time now. Time to think.

Only a few days separate me from that chaotic night, and pieces of Jonah's drunken lust-filled speech still ring through my ears as vividly as they ever could. Of course they would. They are words I've always wanted to hear him say…

And true to his character, Jonah did not mention that night, the day after. He was back to himself and so I scraped myself back together too and have been scraping since. Being very careful not to fall back on old habits… But every now and again…I lose my pace.

I throw the headphones into the CD's, and turn back to glare at Eric. Part of me wants to blame him for ruining my trance, while the other part of me shakes his head and blames Joshua and all his—all my—delusions. And I don't know which version of myself to believe. So I ignore them both.

Thankfully Eric's not aware of me anymore. He's doing some filing or whatever CD store employees do. This is my chance to do what I do best: escape. I scoop up my backpack, and head out of the store, making my way down the busy main street.

Where're you going? How far do you have to go before you realize that you can't run from this, not now.

I don't respond as I would have in the past. Instead I keep walking. Pretending to be one of the people around me.

Pretending to have somewhere to go...

Pretending to be normal.

You have never been anything remotely close to that.

VVVVVVRRRRR. My pocket starts humming and I jump, causing the person behind me to run chest first into my backpack.

"Sorry." I turn to apologize and the person hasn't moved. He's looking right into my eyes as though he'd known I'd jump and turn to face him. Like he's been waiting…for me to see him, all along.

After a minute of him staring at me, and me wondering why he was staring at me in such a way—he smiles. Rather brightly. As though he has finished what he's come to do.

"It's fine." He says. "I'm as much to blame as you."


"Damn thing." I reach into my pocket and pull out a small silver slip phone. I'm like an old man scowling at a new fangled contraption, only just managing to fling it open and put it to my ear.


"It's probably a text message."

I peer up from my fumbling to see the guy still standing there in front of me, covered in so much clothing that I can't tell if he's a man or a boy.

"See you around." He waves before pointing down at my phone. "You better get that."

And before I can offer words of any sort, he disappears into the streaming crowd of normal people.

And I'm left with the text message, so I decide to read it:

Couldn't talk her down. Party still on.

I play the words back with my mind's voice, taking them apart, and then stringing them back together, trying to realize their significance. Then suddenly click. Ah, I got it now.

This text is from Janet and she's talking about Kelly's party. Kelly's reunion party for me and Jonah. I'd heard talk about it for a few months now. The idea sprouted from Kelly's genius and approved upon by Jonah's easy-going shoulder shrug. And I without a say, because this party isn't really for us. It's just for him. I've known this from the beginning: anything born from Kelly's good intentions is merely for the good of Kelly. Her plastic coating won't allow her any depth. I wonder if Jonah realizes this and pretends not to notice or simply does not care.

Either possibility irritates me. The image of her clinging to him, as I often observe her doing, drives me into a willful rage. Kelly and her sticky sexual candor reminds me of someone…

That babysitter.

But for the life of me, I can't recall whom.


"What are you scribbling now?"

I'm sitting at a metal bench in the school's cafeteria, scrawling out the words that had taken to echoing in my mind.

"'What is it you're writing,' I said. Move your hand—lemmie see."

Under normal circumstances I'd crumple the napkin, now clear with words I'd just written, into my palm. I could probably do it quickly enough to where Janet wouldn't have realized I'd been writing, at all. But I don't. I hadn't even tried.

Janet takes a seat across from me and studies the words on the napkin, only briefly. Not giving in to any interest she might have had with reading what I'd written, even though she had hinted at curiosity only moments before. It's as though I was playing a game with Janet. And Janet had won.

"Don't you know that napkins are used for wiping crap off?" She asks as she begins rummaging through the bag on her shoulder. It doesn't take her long to find what she's after. Her notebook; and with cat-like precision, she tears out a clean page and enthusiastically slaps it down it in front of me.

"It's paper, Joe. Paper is what's used for writing crap on."

I smile at her frankness and thank her for the paper that I will inevitably fold and set neatly into my pocket. She knew that that would be the end result of her kindness right from the start, yet offered the paper, anyhow. Without hesitation.

"You know you've taken to writing a lot suddenly. What's up with that? Picking up old habits?"

There's a slight pause as I go over what Janet's just said. "Old habits…" I trail off into my mind—planning only a short visit— but my shoes barely touch the welcome mat before Janet pulls me back.

"Josh…do you…not remember…" Janet's incredulous tone is like a lever, slowing her at the task of organizing the food on her tray. "…the definition of Old?"

"Yes of course I do," I reply while beginning the first vertical folds on the paper from Janet.

And the paper-giver stops to stare blankly back at me. "Then…I don't understand…what's going on again?"

I sigh at the thought of explaining myself. This is part of her is new. My friend Janet was evolving: first trying her hand at caution and now the exact opposite. The way she scrutinizes over my every word. As though I'm a puzzle and any blink, sigh and peep from me is a piece she must claw at. At first I found it peculiar. Now, it's becoming one of many thorns in my side.

"You don't have to understand, really." I shrug. "You implied old and I was inferring out loud."

"Then," She quickly counters, as if she found another piece, "Then that means you've remembered something. I've triggered a memory. I want points for this! I'm right, aren't I?"


Janet let out a snort, crossing her arms over her chest before inquiring, "Then what conclusion are you drawing?" She digs deeper. "Please enlighten me."

I answer during my second round of folding. "Are you suggesting that no one has ever inferred incorrectly?" By hiding her shovel. My eyes rise to meet hers. "Can't I be wrong? Or is that not allowed."

"Well…" She searches for a rebuttal but cannot press one together. I watch victory fade from her eyes. She catches me.

"Well…curiosity killed the cat."

If her statement was to work like a wrench thrown into my working gears, then point goes to Janet. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Janet blushes, throwing her hands into the air before looking away. "I dunno—jeez. I guess I just get freggin tired of losing every argument to you."

"Why are you blushing?"

"Because you're looking right at me."

"I do this all the time."

"That doesn't matter!"

"Why are you getting frustrated?"

Janet takes this moment to chuck her biscuit at my face. "God Josh it's like sometimes you're a robot!"

To this I could not help but laugh. And when I had, Janet rises to her feet and declares to the entire lunch hour:

"Finally a real human emotion!"

Dear god. I lower my head, "Please, sit down."

Janet's laughter hisses as she takes her contented seat. "Growing course at outlandish behavior? Writing weird smarty pants poetry at random? See." She affirms, retrieving her biscuit from in front of me. "You are picking up old habits. And—" She adds pointedly, about the biscuit in hand, "Ten second rule."

"Which habits?"

Janet sits back, folding her arms over her chest. "Why don't you infer some more. I want to see where you go with it."

I suppress the need to roll my eyes. "Janet please, can we move past this?"

"Past what?"

"You and this newborn—and obsessive—need to try my patience at every conversation."

Janet gasps but cannot hide the smirk floating beneath it. "How dare you!" She feigns outrage. "And for your information before you awoke from your four-year-slumber, fair prince, I was the worthiest academic of this learning facility. So consider my obsessive need as elation with having a conversation with someone who actually use infer in a sentenceso halleluiah to me! And secondly—I do seriously hate that you've been in a freaking coma and here I am four years ahead of you yet you still catch up to my level of academia in like what—four months? It's disgusting really, if you think about it."


"You're an android."

"Really Janet, you're being dramatic."

"I'm going to nickname you Data."


"Do you not know the definition of—"

It was my turn to throw my hands in the air and to this Janet begins to laugh, hysterically.

"What's so funny?"

The question quiets my every essence of being. However the intrusion does little to stifle Janet's fit. In fact, it's as if someone from her inner circle suddenly cared to sit beside me and pose a simple question. One Janet has no trouble answering.

"Oh you know your brother—he's funny as hell sometimes."

I attempt at sneaking a side-glance at Jonah as he nods to Janet's chuckle-filled claim. But his eyes somehow find mine. "He's entertaining at times, isn't he." And I'm trapped. Jonah's ice blue stare fills me with a warmth that I had been trying to forget. Jonah doesn't try to see through to another side of me. One that I might be hiding. Instead it's like I've never changed. It's fascinating to see how good I once was. It was brief, but it was good. In Jonah's stare are memories I want to cherish and a side of me that I was not so afraid of.

"Your hair is a mess." I find a small excuse to touch him. "It's getting so long," I playfully tug a tousled lock, his head nods against it. "I'd think you weren't paying your hair any mind at all, but I see," I pause to stroke where his hair parts down the middle, "That your roots are…still dark." My fingers slowly melt into his mane and swim downward until I reach the tips of his hair.

When I first saw him, the boy who had no qualms with lying across my legs, his hair was only a bit shaggy. Now, it trickles past his ears to caresses the back of his neck.

His face framed by his raven mane magnified the color of his eyes; a glance from Jonah could take you by the shoulders. Like there was nowhere to hide yourself if you attracted his attention.

"Should I cut it, then?" Jonah's voice is like a splash of water, shoving my focus and forcing my gaze into Jonah's trap again. His glacier colored eyes; and the cool look he was giving me now…what was I doing?

This is self sabotage.

"Don't cut it." I draw my hand away in haste. "I like it this way…very much."

Janet, who had been watching Jonah and me quietly, finally took turn to speak:

"So…are you two gonna make out now or what?"

I may have suffered a light case of whiplash, turning to face Janet right then. "What?" I counter her question with a question. But Jonah chuckles at it, playing along better than I ever could with Janet's brand of brash taunting.

"And satisfy the rabid fangirl who lives inside of you? Pffft. Never." Jonah comes back, causing Janet to snicker. See, I would have never thought of that. …And, what's a fangirl?

"So what brings you our way?" Janet causally changes the subject as I sit trying not to fidget from the memory of Janet's first question. Even if it was a joke, it had been far too direct…. And I could not decide whether she had said it because that's just the way she is…or because she knows something…that she's pretending not to know.

"I'm hiding from Kelly."

Janet throws her head back in a dramatic cackle. "Oh my gawd—" Her eyes turn back and hone in on Jonah, "You do that too?! What a coincidence!"

The two share another laugh before Janet shakes her head, waving her hands in front of Jonah's face.

"Ah man. But seriously. That party is coming up soon. I'm sorry guys. "Janet looks from Jonah to me with sympathetic eyes. "I tried to tell her that having a party wasn't a good idea. I mean, trying to draw Josh out through a chaos of new faces…it's totally the wrong way to go about it."

A warm palm slides across my forearm and my body trembles; I hadn't readied myself. Jonah's touch is a razor and I have to pretend that his accidental slice across my skin just now didn't hurt.

"Whoa—whaaat was that just now?" Janet derails the first topic for this new and surprisingly more awkward one. "What's wrong with you?" She pauses to give me a mother's tone. "Jonah's not gonna bite you, ya know."

The faintest envisioning of such an occurrence would cause an erection.

"Not unless you want him to," Janet feels inspired to add, making me want to throw her biscuit very far.

"So why did you come over again, is it just the Kelly coincidence? Did you say or no?" Janet asks, taking that same biscuit in hand to, I assume, consume it.

"That's right, there's more," Jonah pins his attention on me. And I feel like a large spot light has planted itself above my head.


"Yes?" I answer before my cue.

Jonah pauses to smile and tousle my hair a little before continuing. "Bethanie wanted me to invite you out to dinner tonight. A first official meal."

My mood sinks. "A dinner with Bethanie and me? Just…the two of us?"

I focus on Jonah's perfectly white teeth as he cracks a laugh and shakes his head. "Not just you two—I'll be there. Unless you don't want me there?" Jonah playfully furrows his brow. "Do you…not want me to go?"

For some reason, I take this moment to glance at Janet. But she seems to be barely clinging on to our conversation. So, she wins again.

"Of course I…would like you to be there, Jonah." But it's only a technical truth. Honestly, I just don't want to be alone with Bethanie. And if Jonah is there, it offers a distraction, on both sides. I think I can tolerate a night of being next to Jonah. As long as I don't look into his eyes. The way he defines me, especially now, it brings me to a place I don't deserve. How can he look at me with such adoration? Even after how I've treated him. After the lengths I've gone to, to push him away. Why does the vision of me from his eyes…stay so pristine?

"Well I haven't seen that in a long time." Jonah's words bring me back into the conversation and out of weighing the consequences of spending more time…with family. I had been so immersed in thought…that I had forgotten about the tension.

"Haven't seen what?"

Jonah studies me for a second, tilting his head to one side. "You, at ease." He quietly laughs to himself. "It's reenergized me." Jonah lets out a heart-filled laugh and reaches for my ponytail. "You haven't been yourself lately." He tugs lightly. "It's good to see you this way. I wish I could always see you this way."

His words send me spinning… We hardly see each other—I make sure there are gaps in between our social encounters…so how…did he realize? …perhaps Jonah's eyes secretly follow me…the way mine have always followed him.

"So you'll come then?"



"To dinner—with Bethanie and me?"

I have nothing left to do but nod.

"Cool. So I'll meet you at home. She'll pick us up from there I think. I really don't know her plans. You know Bethanie, she articulates in chunks."

No. I don't know Bethanie. Not at all. Except for the few occasions where we've spoken—that time in the parking lot being the longest—I've never gotten to know her. It should bother me, since the rumor is that at one time, Bethanie and I were very close. Somehow it doesn't. This wall between Bethanie and myself—no, not just a wall, a two-hundred foot gap in the earth, and we are standing on opposing sides—that distance, in no way, disappoints me. If anything, I prefer it.

The bell sounds and bodies begin to swarm up from sitting. But Jonah and I stay seated for a moment longer. Jonah says something, but I cannot hear him. Not against the ripple of bodies and noises around us—seemingly oblivious to us—all making their way to their next daily destination.

"What?" I ask. Jonah comes closer to me so that I can repeat my question. I lean forward to get within his range, our paths interlace.

"I'll see you later." He whispers and I can hear him clearly; feel his breath on my skin.

Jonah's lips brush against my cheek. "Love you." He murmurs in an even lower tone. Still I hear it. And I realize, once again, why I cannot stay close to Jonah. Even if I avoid his eyes. Not even for one dinner. Not even for a crowded, noisy school lunch hour.

My stare stumbles into Jonah as he is pulled away from me, becoming part of the moving crowd. And I stay where I am, filled with a swirling typhoon of emotion and desire which conflict and render me motionless. They hold me to my seat like heavy chains shackled at my shoulders and around my ankles. But Jonah smile shines down at me as he leaves, waving slightly as he does.

Everything comes so simply and honestly with him. Even expressions of love... And how can that be? Aren't we both wrong? Why do I feel like it's only me? It's only my version that is twisted.

Is this right?

The answer hangs just out of my reach. I can see it from where I'm standing and it makes me feel… unbearably dirty.

As you should.

And somehow…

My love…


My love…

I've carried you on my shoulders and you bled onto my shirt.

Flies kept me company while I sat with you.

And I kissed my bruising heart to keep you mine.

With the weight of this love, a dreamer's seams began to fray...

A hand latches onto my sleeve and shakes me back into moving life.

"Hey day-dreamer. We gotta go." Janet's standing beside me now, her hand on my arm.

And he saw it

So I get up. Janet takes me by the hand. And with her tightly holding onto me, we head toward the exit.

And, in his own way, he saved me.


I don't like doing things on my own. I never have.

Keeping schedules, making appointments, running errands, preparing meals, using maps to find new places; these are the types of things I've always detested doing alone. Yet I always found myself doing just that.

This is something new I've remembered about Joshua De Leon.

"Are you going to wear that to dinner?" Jonah's voice pushes back my wondering in front of my mirror. I look past my reflection to his, kind of wishing I'd locked the door. "Yes. Why, is there something wrong with what I'm wearing?"

"No, not at all." Jonah stands beside me and I can't help compare myself to him in the mirror. "I just think it's funny that you're going to dinner in your school clothes." He sniffs my collar. "You smell like you've been playing sports."

"I walked home today, maybe that's why." I step once to the right, putting space between us. I've spent too much time with Jonah today. I've over-estimated my endurance. And now I face him with a dulled sword and dented shield.

"By yourself?"


"Why didn't Janet take you home?"

"She offered. But, I felt like trying walking…by myself."

Jonah coughs a laugh. "By yourself? Hm. I see."

My eyes study him in the mirror as he continues to inspect my appearance. It's easier to interact with Jonah this way because I'm not looking directly at him. Don't ask me how that works. I wouldn't be able to answer you.

Counter to my humble exterior, Jonah looks like he's on his way to a press conference: shiny black shoes, creased black slacks with matching tie and a starched button up burgundy shirt.

"Are you going to give a speech at this dinner?" I find myself inquiring aloud.

Jonah gently bops me on the head. "Shut up. It's a formal dinner. I dressed for the occasion." I watch through the mirror as Jonah playfully pokes me on the arm. "I do those sorts of things."

"You look ridiculous." I'm lying, of course. In regular attire, Jonah's already eye-catching. And like this, he's brilliance is almost blinding. "With your hair slicked back like that, you give off the air of intelligence. It's very misleading."

Jonah's jaw drops to the floor. "I can't believe you said that. You prick." He's concealing his amusement all the while. "You're just jealous 'cos I look so good." Jonah poses for me in the mirror with his left arm crossed over his chest, and his right index finger thoughtfully resting on the side of his flash-worthy pensive stare. I am indeed jealous. Not of him, but with having to share him when he looks like this.

You cannot share that which does not belong to you.

I take another step away but continue to stare as Jonah. I assume he's waiting for me to laugh and nudge him for his impromptu pose. But I cannot stop watching him in the mirror, so finally he breaks his pose himself.

"What," Jonah's teases, "Aren't you excited about seeing your sister?"

I manage a slight smile. "Sure I am." My thinning enthusiasm is hopefully masked, but I assume not. "I just think I look best…in my uniform."

In truth, I'm not at all excited about going to dinner in some high-end restaurant with Bethanie. That's why I took no effort to look after my appearance. Because of what this event is really about: an official reunion; me and her and getting to know each other. And that thought gives me no incentive to alter my attire from this morning. She'll have to take me as I am: long hair pulled back into a loosening pony tail, sneakers and crinkled school uniform. This all the consideration I will muster for this occasion.

"Could you at least tuck in your shirt properly?" Jonah asks while going ahead and doing it for me.

I'm too slow to escape his hands sliding inside of my jacket to smooth the ends of my button-up shirt. I remember when he'd done this same thing when we'd gotten home from the hospital. Only this time, my reasoning is completely different.

"Does this make you uncomfortable?" His tone is more tantalizing than playful.

I swallow hard and my lips part but all that comes out are raspy attempts at breathing.

Jonah slows in his task of tucking my shirt in. Making the causality of his thoughtfulness take on a different guise. "When you breathe like that…" He whispers into my ear, his tone drained of any playfulness "…it sets me back from playing this game of silence you've been stuck on lately."

Jonah draws closer to me and I close my eyes against the feel of his mouth moving from my hair, across my cheek and settling into the corner of my mouth. He smiles and I can feel his lips turning upward as he does. Oh god. He's too near and there's no more room for me to slip away to.

"Shit," Jonah's voice is low, "I'm hard."

My fingers begin to flick, as if trying to free themselves from my palm. "Me too." The truth escapes my lips, without my permission. Acting as the key to any and all excuses.

The world spins and goes upside down. Instead of my shirt being tucked into my pants, it's pulled up and over my head. The old me: the Josh who woke up from the hospital bed, would have stopped Jonah from doing this. For fear that the door to my bedroom is still open, for fear of the knowledge that Bethanie could be here at any moment, or Mom.

But that version of me only takes up half of my conscious. And his attendance is fewer and fewer.

"Joshua," Jonah pauses in his act of undoing the zipper to my pants, "I just want…" He searches for the right words, "…a little taste." By simply saying his desire out loud, Jonah's voice changes into one hard breath. "If you don't try and stop me now then..." He trails off. But Jonah doesn't have to finish his sentence for us to reach a mutual understanding.

Don't do this to me. Those words want to force their way out of my mouth. But I can feel the cage rattle. My demons won't be held in for much longer. And it angers me that I've come to this place…and that I am weak here. So weak. My mind is already playing at the idea of what ifs.

Don't fight it. Just take it.

Maybe just this once. I'll allow a stumble, just this once. And this will be the last time.

Is there…such a thing?

My head drifts back; my eyes weigh to the ceiling as I'm caught in the web of my decision.

I lose balance and land against something sturdy; my arms support me, as Jonah takes me in his mouth. Jonah's aim is perfect. I can feel every nuance of his lips as they tighten and suck. His mouth bobs and traces the length of me. And the room begins to swell with our inability to form words, instead, growing heavy with the uneven sound of my voice and the vivid noises emanating from below me. The clear recognition of slurping and sucking. Knowing those noises were coming from Jonah made me sick for more. All the seedy string and percussion that accompany Jonah giving me a blow job, I won't ever forget them. I already know that they'll later haunt me in darkness.

I nearly lose myself when Jonah's tongue halos the head of my erection. But in spite of our dark history, that I'd begun to sort through, I know he and I have never gone this far…and I want to enjoy this for as long as possible.

Jonah's takes me all the way into his throat; his teeth gently come against me and I nearly let go, stumbling back again only to be pushed down onto the bed.

"You move too much." Jonah's voice is still low, and he pays little time with dialogue. Instead his fingers come around the base of my member; his tongue focused in the task of licking, as though I am a piece of candy that he is impatiently defining the flavor of. This is too focused, too effective. And I cannot hold back any longer.

I come into Jonah's mouth and he leans forward, bracing himself on my thighs, sucking harder; taking me in with eagerness, bringing me to tremors. My fingers dig into the sheets and I have to bite down, to keep from crying out.

After it's over, Jonah sits back, his arms outstretched behind him and he gazes up at me, smiling. I'm still trying to collect all the pieces of my mind, for they are all over the room, in corners, too high to reach.

"Oh crap—dinner!" Jonah jumps up into standing and begins to search for my shirt…from where ever it is he had thrown it to.

My back is on the mattress that, one week ago, I had fled from. Where did my bearings go? Is this how quickly passion can break down walls? It seems the best way to win against it, is to kill it. But how?

How, indeed.

I open my eyes to the light fading from my ceiling and the shadows, from Mom's lilies in the yard, swaying against my wall; dancing with one another in the quiet evening breeze. I watch all this in silence until finally I am at a place where I think I can speak again…accept myself, again. So this is who you are, huh?

"You're still worried about dinner? Shouldn't you be full now?" I'm shocked at the question, even though it has come from my own mouth.

Jonah turns to me after picking my shirt up from off the ground. His hair has fallen from the way it was: back to looking unkempt. But that is all that looks slightly out of place on Jonah's body.

Jonah shrugs. "I'll skip the appetizers."

I laugh only because I admire his ability to recover so quickly from anything that comes in his direction. Jonah has always been this way. Even from the poison that makes up who I am. Instead of wilting from it, he has blossomed. I am shadow and Jonah is the light which cradles me, makes me feel human, again. I'm constantly caught by his vision of me; always being framed by his notion of who I am, and trying to believe in it.

Even when Jonah is beaten he is still stronger than I could ever claim to be. And with that strength he supports me, and in harder times, carries me. Even when I refuse to be helped…

Wrapped up snuggly in sentiment is like being drunk. Suddenly I find myself at ease by it, and for the first time, I am glad to have parts of my memory. Because without them, I wouldn't know Jonah like I do.

"Hey—snap out of it Josh. Do you want your shirt or not?" Jonah readies himself to chuck it at me when more truth escapes my mouth. And I lose my chance at stopping them:

"Love you, too."

Jonah's questioning eyes fall into a calm I've never seen him have before. It was neither dark nor light or in between. His eyes are new to me. Completely new. Is this happiness? Is he overwhelmed with it at this very moment? Really, I don't have to ask to know.

"Josh," Jonah takes a step towards me, "what did…you just say?" He seems frazzled, but in a way that suited him. Finally a genuine admission results in a genuine happiness. I have kept him unhappy, for far too long.

"Jonah," And it's good to see him this way. I wish I could always see him…this way. "I love you…"

Jonah's arms go limp at his sides, and my shirt falls from his grasp and to the floor. Before I know it, I am swept into his arms and he is holding me so tightly that I feel my bones might start to crumble. I can hardly breathe under the pressure of his embrace. But it's okay this time. It's okay with me. And we stay that way until the shadow on my wall spreads across to darkness.

Oh Joshua…you have done wrong tonight...

At eight-thirty pm Bethanie calls my cell phone. Jonah and I untangle and make our way to dinner. There is a knot in my stomach that was not there before. Something is telling me…I've crossed a line. That answer from before, the one just out of my reach—it has begun to sway, like Mom's shadowed lilies on my wall. And against the storm of my admission …that answer will fall. And with it a promise that I made to myself long ago…

I should have stopped myself, but old habits die hard. And by the time I realize…it is far too late.

And now… this vase… will crack.



So the Realization Saga has finished its stretch. The theme: freggin habits. Right? I always leave SO MANY QUESTIONS, I know. And don't worry, this thing won't end w/o them being answered. It's all part of the dance. The frustrating dance you want to kill me for. LOL. I deserve it!!

Thank you for reading and reviewing. Thank you for keeping with me after my super gaps. THANK YOU MY BETA OLENA AND MY WHIP CRACKER HANA KIMI. Those two play an intricate part of the process. Give them a round of applause, please.

I'd also like to thank all of you. Again, yes I'm thanking you all again. And there are so many of you, that I am overwhelmed with...I don't know what to call it. But it's something good. Something positive. And I've read all your reviews, still, more than once. And I work off of them. Every word of advice is considered. Every compliment is savored. Every criticisim is digested. THANK YOU FOR KEEPING WITH ME!

And because it's been TWO YEARS, I can't name you all--it'd be a whole 'nother 15 pages. So it'll wait till the end.

Thanks for the string cheese... Insert smiley face here