Author's Note: Despite the fact that my bloody laptop has crashed, I can't stay away from writing something... Anything! Yes, I've resorted to good ole pen and paper for the time being. I've had a couple of ideas for a series of one-shot stories, so I thought I'd take the time to see to that now. Anyway, enjoy! And I'll love you forever if you review...

This first one is somewhat inspired by the TV series, 'Queer As Folk'... If you've never watched it, you should! ;)

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Rules. We had to have them. We had to find some sort of halfway point that we could meet at, some sort of compromise. Something midway between your fairytale romance and my life of bed-hopping. And I thought we'd found it, marked it out with our rules. But now I'm sitting alone in bed, watching the clock and just waiting for you.

The clock reads 2:55am. You still have five minutes to go before you're late. But what does it mean if you are? May be it's finally all happening. I just stare at the clock, watching as the flickering numbers change slowly. The silence in the flat is deafening. 2:56…2:57… I hear your keys slide into the lock, the bolt being thrown back. The numbers change again just as you slide the door open and step into the flat. 2:58. You made it.

You don't say anything as you lock the door and switch on the alarm. You toss your bag onto the kitchen counter before shrugging off your jacket and kicking off your shoes. You give me a weak smile as you walk towards the bed, and I know who you've been with. What you've been doing. As you peel off your clothes, I put aside the documents that I was meant to be reading, instead looking up to watch you. Soon you're sliding in next to me, filling the bed with your warmth. –You smell like him, but that's okay. The rules say so. My rules. You've only broken one but you don't know that I've figured it out. It's not ideal, but it's okay- you always come home to me at the end of the day.

"Tay…" you purr, nuzzling your face against my neck kittenishly.

"Mmm?"

"I'm sorry- I was late."

"You just made it. 2:58."

"Oh…so you're not mad?"

I sigh, rolling over to look at you. Bright blue eyes gaze at me expectantly.

"No Jamie, I'm not mad."

You smile, closing your eyes and snuggling closer to me. I expect you to be tired and knowing the reason why should anger me, but it doesn't. All I can feel is relief; I'm just glad you still came back to me. I let my eyes brush over you, taking in your smooth, youthful features, the locks of dark chocolate hair that fall into your eyes. With hair that dark it seems natural that your eyes would be too. But when you open them, they're as bright as sapphires. My fingers dance lightly over your jaw, up over your cheek and into your hair. I love that you've let it grow, just long enough for me to tug on. Your breathing is slowing down as you begin to drift off in sleep, and I watch. It's one of my few guilty pleasures, watching you sleep.

I can't help myself. I lean down slowly, pressing my lips against yours. I gently slide my tongue in to taste you. But I don't- there's something else there. I recoil, and it jerks you out of sleep. Your bleary eyes gaze at me in confusion as my mind reels and my heart clenches in my chest.

"Tay, what is it?" you murmur, your voice still slurred with sleep.

"-You kissed him."

Your eyes suddenly fly open fully, filling with clarity as you look at me guiltily. I'm right, and it hurts.

"You kissed him," I repeat, my gaze hardening on you.

"Yes. But-"

"And you've been seeing him. A lot. That kid, the artist."

I can't stop myself from saying it all, telling you that I know. I've known for a while now.

"-He's as old as I am!"

You blurt it out so suddenly. It doesn't really matter how old he is. And you are still a kid, with your twenty years. Perhaps the ten years between us is too much suddenly. I always forget how old you are; with all that we've been through, you seem so much older.

"-It doesn't mater. You still kissed him. What's his name?"

"Ben."

"-You're not meant to know that. And you're definitely not meant to have seen him as much as you have done. 'No names, no numbers and never more than once,'" I say, reciting our rules. And most importantly, no kissing. Kissing means too much.

"I know the fucking rules, Taylor!"

"Yeah, well that didn't stop you, did it?" I can't help the sneer that's crept into my voice. It's the only way I know how to mask the hurt that I'm feeling.

"This isn't really about Ben, is it? It's about your stupid, fucking rules!"

"We made those rules for a reason, Jamie. They had to be made!"

"Stop kidding yourself, Tay! You made those rules. You made them so you wouldn't have to change, and so you could still have me. You made them so you wouldn't have to love me the way you're so afraid of doing!"

You're right. Completely. And you're too perceptive and just too goddamn right. It scares me that you should know me as well as you seem to. It isn't right that anyone should know me that well.

"I don't want the rules, Tay. I want you, and for you to only want me. It's not that much to ask…"

It breaks my heart. If only you knew. But you can't, because one day it's all going to backfire on me, and it's going to be me that's left out in the cold. And I don't think I could take that. So I react the only way I know how to, and then we're shouting and saying things we don't mean. –I know I don't mean what I say, but when I see that cold look of resolve settling in your beautiful eyes, it dawns on me that I might just have pushed too hard this time. The time has finally come.

"He tells me he loves me, all the time. You can't even say it once!"

You hit me, desperate in your anger. I can't tell if you hit me because you want me to hurt, or if you hit me because you just want me to feel. Your feeble swing lands on me heavily; I know I'm going to be feeling the impact forever. You're pulling clothes on hastily, your eyes marred by tears as you grab some of your things and leave. Not looking back once. I'm left staring at the closed door for what seems like hours before I slowly move to switch the alarm back on.

I sit in our empty bed, just looking at the apartment. It's quiet again, silence thudding around me as my eyes scan the area and see your things scattered around the place. Your jacket on a chair. Your notebook with all your writing in it. The socks that I borrowed from you this morning. I know that when I get back from work tomorrow, it will all be gone. And I knew it was going to happen one day. Letting someone in- it never works. I knew that one day you'd realise that everything we have just isn't enough. That I can't give you the one thing you want.

Sitting there alone, I know that I have to try it. I'd thought about it so many times that I can't count, but saying the words out loud just makes them real. And sometimes it's better to dodge reality. But I had to try it now, even if you'd never hear it from me.

"I love you."