Aiden stood at the end of a pier overlooking the sea as the sun set in the horizon. A cool ocean breeze blew by him, gently whipping his hair around in the wind. The sound of waves crashing up onto the shore was the only thing Aiden could hear. As he gazed absently out over the water, the sun's waning reflection glistened on the surface like a dying blaze beneath the surface.

Despite the beauty of the scene with which he was witnessing, Aiden felt nothing inside. After everything that had happened, he had found himself emotionally distraught, numb to the world around him. For so long he had kept the tragedies of the past bottled up within him, tormenting himself, keeping everyone else out and unable to get close to him. Now, everything had changed. In the matter of weeks, his entire life had been turned upside down, and all the years of torment and anguish had finally come to an end.

It seemed uncanny to Aiden that the most unlikely of people would be able to make such an impact on his life like Max had done. After so many years of hiding the truth from his friends and family, keeping them from getting close to him, Aiden had cracked and revealed all to someone who he had only met about a month ago. Aiden had wanted ever so much to hate Max, and struggled and fought with himself to retain that hate. But the more he struggled, not only with himself, but with Max, he finally discovered the root of all that hate. He saw what he used to be in Max, and remembered how innocent and naive he was then. He wanted so much to go back to the way he was before, living without a single care in the world. But Aiden knew that that was impossible, and it was that which made him despise Max so much. At the same time, he envied him and hoped with all his heart that no matter what, Max would never lose that sweet, innocent, naive outlook on life.

Now, after all he had been through, Aiden felt as if a part of his life had been settled. He had opened himself up to Max, and let someone in. Aiden had never felt more of a connection to another person as he had with Max, and he knew that he would never be able to have any kind of intimate relationship with him for that very purpose. Regardless of their differences, they were both very much alike, and it was those similarities that would tear them apart. Aiden didn't want to risk losing Max, nor did he want to risk hurting Cory, his only other true, close friend. Since he did not possess the qualities Max had, he felt that he and Cory deserved each other more than anything. With that set in his mind, Aiden was finally able to let go and really, truly be happy for them both.

Breathing a sigh, Aiden dug into his pocket and took out his pack of cigarettes and his lighter. As he took out a cigarette, placed it in his lips, and went to light it, he suddenly froze as a light gust of wind blew past him. Hesitating for a moment, he suddenly lowered his lighter, and removed the cigarette from his lips. He smiled, turned around, and slowly started walking back down the pier. Upon passing by a garbage can, Aiden dumped his cigarettes and his lighter into it, and kept on walking. Tucking his hands into the pockets of his hoodie, he started on his way back home.

'What next?' he thought to himself.

The End