(this is so you guys don't have to go back and read all those chapters again...)

Story so far: Kyle Shanning was forced to work a on a school project with two people he's hated all through high school: Lucy and Joey Klein. Unfortunately, Kyle began to fall for one of these twins, and had to start admitting that his sexual preferences were bent. That's not even the worst of it, though. He's just turned sixteen and, due to a family tradition, he, with the approval of his parents, has to choose someone to marry! Monica, a girl with her eyes and soful glued to the idea of being Kyle's wife, is determined to make sure Joey doesn't win. Joey, who cares about Kyle, probably loves him, thinks arranged marriage is stupid and tearing Kyle away from his creativity and freedom. Monica currently has Joey held up in a parking garage, Kyle is sitting in Joey's room, worried, and Rick is having a hard time dealing with the fact that his best friend is gay.

Quite.


Monica swung the keys to her jaguar around her skinny finger and smiled at Joey, the other hand on her hip. The parking garage was damp, dark, and smelt like the boys' locker room at school, closer to the end of the day. They grey walls made all the cars inside look dull, and there was a used needle resting somberly against one of the thick cement supports just behind him.

As Monica sauntered over toward them, Joey held Alison tighter, keeping his eyes on that needle, mind racing with memories of HIV awareness videos shown throughout grade school. Being totally aware that Monica wasn't a very nice person, he still hoped that she wasn't a complete loonie. That she wouldn't threaten a baby with a used needle found lying in a parking garage. He hoped, anyway, but curved hips doubled slowly over and a pale arm reached down for the somber inoculation device. Joey's chest started pounding.

"Monica..."

She picked it up. "Look, I wont have to use it if you do exactly what I say."

If Alison hadn't have been in his arms, Joey would have told this priss where and how far she should shove that needle. Alison, though, was there, so the blond stifled his irate attitude and said, "Okay."

This was awful. He'd been taken captive twice in the same week. This was pathetic. Sure, Joey wasn't sure if he wanted to marry Kyle — how could he be? That's a huge decision to be making at sixteen. But now he wasn't going to be able to show up at his house for the first dinner party and try to woo Kyle's parents into liking him. They'd already made it clear that his gender wasn't a problem, though Kyle did need to have a child someday, but Joey liked kids, so that wasn't a problem either. The problem was that whether or not Joey wanted to try and audition for Kyle's hand, whether he believed it was stupid, morally wrong, or perfectly fine, it didn't matter, because Monica was going to make sure he didn't show up at Kyle's tonight. Thus eliminating Joey from this silly 'contest.'

And not that it mattered now, but Joey did think having to fight off a bunch of girls to marry a guy he just met was stupid. It's not that Joey didn't think Kyle was worth it, not at all. He'd destroy as many high-class call girls and whores as required if they were standing between him and his man. But Kyle should marry whoever he wanted to, whenever he wanted to, if he ever wanted to. No one should be forcing him. Also, if Kyle really cared about him, he wouldn't be making Joey do this. They really hardly knew each other anyway! How controlling were his parents? Was that the reason Kyle was always so afraid of everything? Of being himself? Never mind that right now, stupid.

"Good," Monica said and pressed the unlock button on her car keys. The jag flashed, and she dropped the needle on the floor, kicking it away. "Needle's gone. Give me the baby."

"What?" Joey squished his litter sister into his chest and took a few steps back, eyes wide. "No. No way."

"Hey, I can go pick that needle back up, or you can give me that goddamn baby. Your choice."

He held Alison out a little, and she grinned up at him, drool trailing down her chubby lips. Her eyes were just as brown as his. "Ally... I've gotta go for awhile, okay?" Her face didn't change. One year olds weren't very good at speaking or understanding language; especially ones who spent most days with a fever. "I guess you'll have to meet Kyle without me. You'll like him, though. He's sorta uptight, and kinda... well, okay. He's really uptight and he's a huge tool, but give him a chance, deal? He's not as bad as Mom, an–"

"Quit stalling and give it to me!"

Without another word Joey handed Alison to Monica. Staring at his littler sister, he asked, "What do you need her for?"

A wicked grin slashed across perfect, white teeth. Monica placed Alison against her thin waist, and suddenly Joey was very conscious of his not-so-thin one. "I'm going to amaze Kyle's parents with my responsible mothering skills. Now," she pointed at her black jaguar, "get in. I'll send someone to get you in the morning."

He was about to, but his phone rang. Grabbing it he looked over at the other blond to see if she was going to drive Alison's head into the ground if he answered it. Monica walked over and looked down at his cell. The screen read Kyle. Aw... he called. What a cutie. Not that it was going to help much.

Monica nudged him. "Answer it, tell him you're fine, and that you'll be there a bit late."

Frowning at how unfair life was, Joey flipped his phone open against his ear and made no effort to sound happy. "Hey."

"Joey? It's Kyle. Where are you? Are you okay? I woke up in your room and Heather told me Monica took you somewhere so I just wanted to ma–"

"Hey, hey, calm down." Shutting his brown eyes, he tried his best to keep the water from his voice. Tried to sound like he was fine; what else could he do? Monica was holding Alison now. He couldn't just leave. "I–I'm fine. Just at the mall. But, uh..." His voice cracked like think, dry ice and he shook his head, upset with having to lie. "I'm going to be late for the dinner... thing. I've gotta pick my sister up from the hospital. She's sick all the time. I told you, remember?" A small smile crashed onto his lips and he looked at Monica. "Just before you shoved me up on my kitchen counter and stuck your tongue down my throat."

Kyle didn't say anything for a second, but the look on Monica's face more than made up for it.

"Hey, I didn't shove you anywhere. You were already sitting on the counter."

"But you remember it, right?"

Kyle didn't say anything for another second, and Monica began tapping her foot. Then, shyly, he mumbled, "Y-Yeah, I remember."

"Good."

"Are you sure you're okay?"

Joey held the phone to his head with both hands, nearly heartbroken. He wanted to say something stupid, something silly to keep this conversation going, but he couldn't. Not with Monica holding his sister. So he laughed and hid all the anger from his voice. "Jeeze, you worry too much. I'm fine. I'll see you in a few hours."

"I'm not worried."

Joey smiled. "Uh huh."

"I'm not!"

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, babycakes."

"Stop calling me that!"

"Hmm... nope." His smile leapt from his lips when Monica reached for the needle again. "I've gotta go. See you." Joey slammed his phone shut.

Holding one hand out, Monica said, "Kay, gimme your phone. I don't want you calling anybody." Joey did. "And just so you know, I wasn't going to try to kiss him tonight, because I figured you hadn't yet. But now that I know you have, I think I'll try to take it even further. I'm sure Kyle misses the feeling of a nice, curved, thin body, if you know what I mean." Joey did his best to ignore the direct comment on his stomach, but today was turning out to be shittier by the second. "Now get in the jag."

He did, sitting cross legged in the back. "You better not hurt her."

"You're in no place to tell me what to do." She leaned into the car, teeth clenched. "Besides, you should be more worried about Kyle. What's he going to think when you don't show up tonight? He'll see me there, caring for a sick baby, and forget about that stupid blond gay kid that used to follow him around."

Joey glared. "Don't hurt her."

"Whatever." Monica backed out of the car, but before she slammed the door, she explained, "And don't bother trying to get out. You can only unlock it with the keys, which I'll have all night." Another wicked smile. "Sleep well."

The door shut in his face.


"Hey! What d'you think you're doing?!"

Grisha didn't pause. He swung the bag of water and crabs over his shoulder and bolted for the door, determined to save every single goddamn one of them from being eaten by grocery-shopping people. On his way out, he dropped a one-hundred dollar bill on the Service Desk. That should cover the cost and make this act less ilegal. Hopefully. He'd only been in Canada for seven hours, and he didn't want to start anything huge right away. But these crabs deserved a fighting chance, dammit! And Grisha was going to give it to them no matter what!

Despite his blindness, he tore through the exit door and dropped into Matt's car, screaming at him to drive while throwing the wet bag onto Darel's lap. Having been completely unaware of Grisha's intentions by asking them to stop at the grocery store, Matt simply floored it. Years with Darel had taught him that asking questions was useless.

"Huh," Darel said as he looked into the bag. Grisha nodded at him, and Darel didn't bother to say anything else because the Russian couldn't speak much English.

Matt, however, wasn't as bright as his boyfriend and opened his red lips. "What the hell was that?"

"Ich spreche kein Englisch, du Idiot," was his reply.

Then, sitting beside Grisha, Darel's face lights up. "You speak German?" He nodded. "Warum haben Sie das Krabben nehmen?"

"Die Krabben," Grisha corrected, but didn't answer the question. "Wo haben Sie Deutsch gelernt?"

"Uh..." Darel didn't know the German word for it, but it was probably close to the English one. "School."

"Hey," Mat said, looking at his partner in the rear-view mirror. "You never told me you could speak German."

"It's not relevant to our relationship if only one of us is able."

Matt pondered this, then said, "Oh, well since I'm the only one in our relationship who's able to hit your prostate, I guess I don't have to show you anymore."

"Matt!"

Rolling his eyes and looking at Grisha, he said, "He can't understand us anyway."

Darel turned back to the Russian, pointing toward the front seat. "Er ist wirklich ein Idiot." Then he asks why, exactly, he took the crabs: "Aber... warum hast du die Krebse nehmen? Das ist nicht legal."

The answer Grisha gave was complex, so Darel only understood pieces of it. Basically, this Russian kid seemed to love animals and thought that breeding and growing them solely for food was lazy and selfish and horrible. He promised to take all the blame if they were caught, and knew of a nice place to let the crabs live. He'd walk them there this weekend. It ended with a promise to be more grounded, but that he couldn't stop himself when he heard the tank water.

"Es tut mir leid..."

Darel smiled. "Im Englischen ist: I am sorry."

Straining with his accent, Grisha says, "I am sorry."

"Es ist okay. It's okay."

Matt pulled into Darel's parents' place, kissed his sweetheart on the head without a thought, and smiled at Grisha when the Russian nodded at them, trying to say that he didn't have a problem. Darel waved as he watched Matt drive away, and pushed Grisha into the house along with the now-leaking bag of stolen-crabs.

In German, he said, "I'm not sure how my mother's going to react to having her bathtub full of crabs until next weekend. Though... we could put them in Rick's bathroom."

Grisha was unbelievably happy to have someone to talk to, even if it was in his second language. "Who is Rick?"

"My little brother. I don't actually live here, I moved out last year. You'll be going to school with him."

"What's he like...?"

Laughing, Darel drops his bags onto the kitchen floor. "Oh... you'll find out."


"Stop calling me that!" He grumbled, ignoring the devilish look on both Heather and Lucy's faces.

"Hmm... nope." Kyle was about to continue to ask Joey to refrain from calling him by that horrible, unmanly nickname, but the blond's voice snapped before he got the chance. "I've gotta go. See you."

The line went dead.

"Bye..."

"Is he alight?" Lucy asked, leaning toward Kyle.

"Uh..." He flopped down on Joey's bed, clutching his phone. "Yeah. He said he was, anyway."

The purple haired vixen folded her arms. "I thought you said he was with that thing from your party."

"You mean Monica?"

"It has a name?"

Kyle laughed, but stopped completely when Lucy kept steady eyes on him. "Uh... he said he was at the mall. But..."

"But...?" She said with great patience.

"But I think he was lying."

"And why, on earth,would he be lying?" Trying to coax it out of him, she leaned forwards more.

It wasn't that Kyle was stupid — he just took longer to put things together. His brain worked one step at a time. First: Joey didn't sound very happy on the phone. Second: why. Well, right now Kyle wasn't happy because he knew that Joey didn't want to have to compete to marry him. Kyle knew that because... wait. How did he know that? Joey never said anything. They'd never really talked about whether this betrothal competition was stupid or not. He just... knew Joey didn't like the idea. Like how he knew Joey wouldn't like a movie-date. It'd be too boring for him. Or how he knew Joey really was scared of the dark and just didn't want Kyle to know it. Or how he knew that Joey would rather get hammered on a beach than in some stuffy bar...

But why did he know all that?

It didn't matter. The point was, he shouldn't be making Joey participate in his weird family traditions. Even if Joey did want to, Kyle should know that asking him to was wrong and stupid and selfish.

"He's really uncomfortable with the idea of marrying me, isn't he." It wasn't a question. Kyle stared down at his lap and continued. "I'll talk to my mother about it tonight. I might be able to get her to put it off for a few months, so we can..." His face went a little red, and he shut his eyes. "Maybe we can go on a date, or something..."

Lucy flopped herself down beside him on Joey's bed, and crossed her arms. "I am only gonna say this once." Feeling the heat surging from her eyes, Kyle leaned away a little. "Joey is an impulsive idiot. He never thinks before he does shit. That's why he's in the middle of your stupid, fucked-up betrothal mess." Kyle opened his mouth to explain that he was planning to fix that problem, but the purple-haired girl spoke over him. "You, on the other hand, over-think every little goddamn thing– I swear to god if you thought any harder your brain would turn into a rock, and you'd be just as think-headed as my brother."

"I–"

"No. Shut up. I'm not done." She turned to face him, sitting cross-legged on the bed. It reminded Kyle a little of Joey. "It's a good thing, your over-thinking. If you ever strap on a pair and stop being so afraid of him, you might be able to get Joey to slow down and think before he acts once in awhile."

"So what are you saying?"

With a rough exhale of air, she kicked him off the bed. He landed on the carpeted floor with a muted thud, and looked up into bothered brown eyes. "I'm saying that you're good for my brother, you idiot, but if you don't get him out of this whole marriage thing I'm seriously gonna kick — your — ass."

Suddenly he was anxious. The fact that Joey was feeling anything but content because of something Kyle was (or it this case, wasn't) doing lit his head on fire. What had he been thinking? Why was he always so selfish? Maybe he's just blind, or stupid, or completely unable to grasp the idea of standing up for himself, against his parents, and telling them that he was his own goddamn person who didn't want to get married, not yet and not like this, anyway.

"I'll talk to them tonight."

"Good."


Sunsets were amazing, beautiful, breathtaking. Joey liked them. He couldn't count the number of daydreams he's had of Kyle shoving him down on a grassy field and kissing his neck under a setting sun. Honestly. There was only one thing Joey didn't like about sunsets: the result, the after effect, the end, the conclusion.

The dark.

He was on one of the top floors of the parking garage, so he could see the sky through the space between the floor he was on, and the one above him. The lower it seethed into the grassy field beyond the city, the faster his heart shot off in his chest. What was he going to do? He could take scary movies, ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies, werewolves, and a million other generic horror figures. But he couldn't handle the dark. Not like this, not alone, not when no one knew where he was.

"It's alright..." He breathed and caught his knees in his arms. "Just shut your eyes and go to sleep." Set his head down. "Sleep." But it wasn't working.

When he got out of here, he was going to have night vision surgically implanted into his eyes. He didn't care if he had to travel to Europe and sift threw the black market slums to find someone to do it — he was getting it done. But since that will probably prove to be impossible, he might just knock Kyle's teeth out instead. Somehow, Joey had hoped that Kyle would've picked up some subconscious vibes during their conversation and come daringly to his rescue. But he's been here for three hours. Alone. In the dark.

God it feels like it's eating me...

Even thought it was strongly out-of-place, Joey smiled at how kind of dirty that thought was. Would Kyle ever give him head? Now that would be a worthy apology for getting him locked in a car all night. Joey wouldn't mind giving him head. Hell, it'd be kind of hot to hear Kyle scream or groan or whatever he'd do. But Joey had never done it before, and Kyle had definitely never done it before, and actually they'd never been on a date before, so maybe Joey needed to slow down here, only a little. He didn't want to disappoint him, though, or seem inept, unwilling, shy–

Why the hell was he thinking about all of that? He needed to figure a way out of this stupid car before the sun went down completely! Using Kyle as a distraction was not productive. Weren't there supposed to be lights in public parking areas? Monica probably had them blown out. What was with that girl? Why did she want to be Kyle's wife so badly? God this whole situation just screamed mid-afternoon soap opera.

The blond opened his eyes and felt his stomach flip when he couldn't see.


Talking to his mother was going to be a lot more difficult than Kyle had expected, and he already though it was impossible. The house was quickly being loaded with guests, mostly women and their daughters, so Carla Shanning was busy entertaining them and listening to mothers go on about how perfect their daughters were for Kyle. 'Oh you should see my Judy with money, she's amazing...' 'That's nothing! Amy here can make roast duck...' 'My daughter owns her very own gymnasium...'

It was starting to make Kyle feel a little sick. The reason he had to be engaged at sixteen was because of all the money in the family. The Shanning clan was allowed to keep the cash if, and only if, there was an offspring to pass it down to. Said offspring, however, only got the money if he or she was married. Kyle's father was very obsessed with the family funds, and didn't want to risk losing them because his son couldn't get hitched. Thus, a whole mess of women in his living room, ready to be courted or court or whatever the hell; Kyle didn't care anyway he just wanted to get his mother alone for a few seconds so he could beg her to cancel the whole thing!

"Kyle! Hey." He did a three-sixty and came nearly nose-to-nose with Monica. She giggled at him and took a step back. "How are you?"

"Uh, I–" he stuttered, caught between two bright blue eyes. "I'm good." Something squirmed in her arms and Kyle looked down, distracted. "You?"

Giggling again she shifted the baby into her other arm. "I'm fine. This is my cousin, Olivia." She grabbed one of Olivia's little hands and waved at Kyle. "Say hello, 'Liv."

The baby stared blankly up at Kyle who stared just as blankly back down at her. Then she smiled, drool loping down her chin, and Kyle grinned like an idiot on too much valium, wiping the drool away with the sleeve of his red sweater.

"Hey," he said, voice level and not changed to some freakish squeak, "Nice to meet you." As Kyle pulled his sleeve away, Olivia snatched it and popped one corner in her mouth. He laughed a little and stepped closer, so she wouldn't fall from leaning too far forward. "How's that taste?"

Smiling, Monica inched closer too. "Sorry about that. She chews on everything."

"I don't mind."

"Well aren't you two cute?" Carla Shanning said, arms folded and standing in front of them. "How was your day, Kyle?"

"Good. But I need to talk t–"

Ignoring him, she looked over at Monica. "And what's your name, sweetie?"

"Anna-Lynn Monica Linnaeus, Mrs. Shanning, but just call me Monica." She reached out a hand to shake Kyle's mother's. "I'm very pleased to meet you."

"You as well. But if you don't mind, Monica dear, I need to speak with my son alone for a minute."

"Of course." She smiled and tugged at Kyle's sleeve, trying to get Olivia to let go. "Come on 'Liv..." The baby started to cry only a bit as Monica pulled harder, so Kyle, feeling relieved because he was finally going to get a chance to talk to his mom, took his sweater off and draped it over Monica's shoulders.

"I'll find you later, okay?"

Making no effort to hide her astronomical glee, Monica nodded and walked away.

Carla Shanning nudged her son down the hallway and said, "We better go somewhere more private."

Having been with his mother his entire life, Kyle knew what that line meant. In about twenty minutes he was not going to be in a good mood anymore. Nope, the second she sat him down and explained what they needed to talk about, Kyle was sure he'd be ready to punch holes in the wall. Regardless, though, he needed to talk to her about at least postponing the betrothal so he could give this stupid thing with Joey a chance, if not getting rid of the tradition altogether. But what if she said no? What was he going to do then? God, could he even ask her?

I'm such a coward...

"Have a seat, hun." Carla patted the cushion next to her. They were in the back parlor, moon light creeping in through the open window. Kyle sat down, worried. "Okay. First, you know that I love you no matter what."

Oh no. "Mom..."

Closing her eyes and shaking her head, she went on, "I've always told you that. Whatever you choose to do with your life, whoever you are, I'm behind you one-hundred present." Kyle felt his face go red. "So I'm a little hurt. Why didn't you tell me you were gay? Now I've got all these women out there and y–"

"I'm not gay!"

"And I'm not stupid." Her long black hair shivered in the breeze, and Kyle hated that she looked so frusterated. "Do you really think I wouldn't notice my own son... becoming so happy all of a sudden?"

"But that doesn't mean I– that I'm..." He couldn't finish.

But his mother could. "No, it doesn't mean you're gay. But it's so obvious that you've met someone you really like, hunny. I've been wondering why you weren't telling me, and then I saw his registration form. I ask Ann about him and she said you two were," her face brightened and she made quotation marks with her fingers, "quite fond of each other."

Entirely embarrassed, Kyle scrunched up and berried his head in his knees.

"So are you?"

"Am I what?"

Carla tried her best not to laugh at the state of her son. "Quite fond of him?"

For thirty seconds Kyle didn't say anything. It was better than denying it, he figured, but this was his mother and he'd already let her down enough for one night. So, keeping his arms on his knees and his head in his arms, hiding everything from the world, he took a long breath and said, "... he's alright."

"Oh?"

"I guess."

"You guess."

Without any hint of pride but with all the strength he had left, Kyle lifted his head away from his legs and looked at his mom. "He's amazing."

"Amazing?" She smiled. "That's a big step from alright." Stroking his hair and understanding that he was freaking out on the inside, she asked, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I sort of just told him yesterday morning. I'm not even sure if it's true. I don't... Mom, I don't want this." He leaned into her hand, rubbing his green eyes. "It's too much. I just want to meet a nice girl so everything can be simple, and he wont have to deal with me and, and all the crap that comes with me."

She flicked him in the ear. "Kyle, no relationship is easy. Wouldn't you rather try to make it work with someone you're really into instead of someone you think will make it easier?"

"I don't know." He set his face back between his knees. "I have no idea."

Carla shuffled closer to her son. "Well, he signed up to compete in your father's crazy family tradition. He must want to deal with 'you and all the crap that comes with you.'"

"Actually..."

She held a hand up. "Let me guess. You want some time to figure it out."

"Yeah. Sorta. Look, Mom, I don't want to be in–"

"Tell you what," she said, cutting him off. "Is he coming over tonight?"

"Later, but Mom, lis–"

"Perfect!" Her fingers ran through his hair as she stood up. "Introduce me when he gets here. If he seems competent enough, I'll talk to your father about holding off on the engagement for a few months."

"Mom–"

"Oh you don't have to thank me, hun. Now come on, we've got guests to entertain."

Though the problem was not anywhere near entirely fixed, and though Kyle would still go on feeling guilty about making Joey compete, he stood up without another word. His mother had serious tunnel vision, so if she wanted to entertain party guests, that's what she'd do. It would be easier to tell her when Joey was here anyway. Maybe. Kyle hoped he got here soon.


Oh hey. Yeah. It's only been what... two years since I updated? Hm. You can all go thank Magalina! She drew me a picture of Kyle and Joey (it's in my profile) so I got my butt in gear and updated.

I also re-wrote the first nine chapters. Nothing new happene, really. I took out a lot from chapter six, though.

This whole story doesn't make sense, but I'm okay with that :) It's my 'relax and write whatever you want' story! It's also a soap opera. I'm addicted to soap operas. They have gay couples, guys!! Go watch One Life to Live's Kyle and Oliver Story on youtube! Or Verbotene Liebe with English subtitles. :)

Inso.