Bennie sighed and brushed his dark brown hair out of his blue eyes, before turning back to the door, hoping Diego would come through and apologize. So far no luck and it was already seven, almost three hours since Bennie got off work. Bennie heaved another sigh and made himself get up from the couch. It would be his job to make up to Diego again despite the fact that this whole fight had been Diego's fault. Diego had come to Bennie's house smashed and pissed off the night before. Never a good combination. He had screamed and yelled about the fact that Bennie hadn't waited up for him, never mind that it was three in the morning and Bennie had to get up for work the next day at seven and that because they lived separately, Diego didn't come over every night.

Diego had woken all the neighbors and someone called the apartment security on them and the landlord had come up in a robe and told Bennie that if he got one more complaint he was throwing Bennie out. Which scared the shit out of Bennie because if he got thrown out, he had nowhere to go. This landlord was exceptionally nice letting Bennie live here. Most people wouldn't rent him an apartment because he was a minor. In retrospect, dropping out of high school and running away from home had not been the best idea. Especially because the only reason had done it was so he could be with Diego and lately, that relationship had been rather rocky.

Bennie walked to the kitchen, resolving to stop regretting his decisions and fix his bond with Diego. He made chocolate chip cookies, Diego's favorite and after a moment of hesitation changed into one of Diego's favorite outfits: skin-tight leather pants that laced up both sides and showed off an inch of golden skin from hip to knee where they tucked into leather boots with thick silver buckles and a sleeveless transparent red shirt that stopped a couple inches above his belly button. He pulled a trench coat on over the ensemble and left, cookies in hand.

He quickly walked towards Diego's apartment, keeping his head down, not making eye contact with anyone and staying on main streets. He had gotten raped once before and it had taken years of therapy to move on. He did not want to repeat the experience.

When he got to Diego's house, he opened the gate and walked up the pathway, inhaling the sweet scent of gardenias that filled the air. Diego hired gardeners to come every week to keep the garden pretty. He always said he didn't care what the garden looked like; he only did it because Bennie liked it so much.

Bennie smiled softly at the thought. Things like that was the reason he had run away with Diego a year ago. No matter how many stupid, insensitive things Diego did, there were always twice as many lovable things.

Feeling better and less resentful than he had, Bennie stepped onto the porch and slipped off his trench coat and decided to climb into bed with Diego and surprise him. Diego usually went to bed fairly early because usually, he worked from about four in the morning until noon, and then went to sleep a few hours after getting home. Yesterday, he had off which was why he had the chance to go to the bar.

Bennie dug his key out of the trench coat pocket and unlocked the door. He stepped inside and froze at the sight that met his eyes, almost too stunned to take it in.

Diego was on the couch in the living room, where they had snuggled together for hours on end on weekends and watched stupid feel-good movies, fucking another boy, his dark hair matted with sweat and his tanned body shining with it. The boy underneath him was writhing and moaning noisily, shamelessly begging for Diego to go harder and faster and arching his back and pushing his hips up to meet Diego's. Before Bennie could really absorb what was going on, the boy came, screaming Diego's name and a moment later Diego followed before falling onto the boy, still sheathed inside.

Bennie paled, finally coming out of his trance as the cookies fell out of suddenly nerveless fingers and the plate shattered. Both looked up sharply at the noise. The unknown boy glared, apparently completely unembarrassed to be caught having sex by a stranger while Diego went white and then red. "Bennie," he said softly, a note of pleading in his voice.

Bennie didn't stay to here anymore. He spun around and ran out of the house down the walkway, tears beginning to fall down his cheeks and sobs making there way out of his throat. He pulled on his coat and struggled with the latch on the gate.

"Boyfriend?" a voice screamed from the house and a moment later, footsteps sounded behind him, lighter than Diego's. The boy, still completely naked, put hands on Bennie's shoulders and turned him around. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know! I never would have approached him if I had!" he said, sounding desperate.

Bennie just sobbed harder, the tears coming faster now. He couldn't really process the other boy's words, all he could think about was the fact that Diego was cheating on him.

"Bennie," said Diego quietly reaching out a hand, just having made it out, as he took the time to put on pants.

Bennie flinched back from the hand, but Diego ignored it and grasped his chin gently. Bennie shrunk backwards, but Diego wouldn't let go. There was a loud slapping noise and his hand retreated quickly. Bennie looked up in surprise. The boy had slapped Diego!

"You bastard!" he yelled. "You cheat on him and then just expect him to forgive you?"

Bennie saw through tear blurred eyes, that Diego backed up. The boy, a small blond, stepped forward and gently closed the trench coat. "I'm sorry," he repeated, sounding truly remorseful.

Bennie didn't reply back and went back to trying to work the catch on the gate. He could usually do this without a problem! What was wrong with him?

Gentle hands pulled his away. "You're shaking." The blond sighed and opened the gate slowly. "Don't do anything stupid, okay?"

Bennie pushed past him and ran, with his head down, tears falling faster and faster, not knowing where he was going and not particularly caring.

What seemed like hours later, Bennie stopped, exhausted, and slumped to the ground, sobbing. Finally, the tears stopped coming and after a few more sobs, those stopped too. He huddled into the coat and finally looked around him. It looked familiar… He raked his brain for where he was and finally hit upon it. He was in a park that he had played in as a kid. He hadn't been here in years, not since he first met Diego…

Bennie smiled bitterly. Diego had cheated on him and probably had before this night. Diego came over to Bennie's apartment often enough, but there were a lot of nights he didn't. And Bennie had gone over to Diego's house once before without Diego escorting him. And that had been the night he had run away, only a few months since they got together…

He wasn't good enough for Diego. Remembering what he had walked in on, Bennie blushed. He was never that loud, he never instigated anything and he kept himself in as much control as possible, being too shy to act like that blond. If that was what Diego liked… Maybe originally Diego had liked him for how much of an innocent he was. He had never had anyone touch him intimately with the purpose of making him feel good. The only experience he had had with sex was that one rape incident. Diego had said that he was so happy that he trusted him enough… Bennie felt like a fool. He gave up everything to be with Diego. All Diego had had to do was be nice and Bennie had fallen hard.

Two more tears trailed over raw cheeks, but he didn't have enough energy to start really crying again. He forced himself to think. He needed to get home. He couldn't stay here.

Bennie dragged himself up using a nearby tree and began stumbling in the general direction of his apartment building. By the time he got to his apartment, he was more than ready to collapse. He ignored the blinking light on his message machine. Whoever it was could wait.

He managed to get to the couch before he crumbled and lost consciousness falling into a world where he was happy and everything between him and Diego was okay.

Bennie woke with a start the next day, and promptly fell off the couch, hitting the ground with a thump and a loud groan. It took him a moment to wake up and remember what had happened the night before. When he did, the tears started again, but he wiped them away angrily. He had cried until his nose felt swollen to the size of an apple and his cheeks stung last night. He didn't want to cry anymore.

He picked himself up and plodded over to the phone and began listening to the fourteen messages.

All of them were Diego apologizing, sounding desperate and claiming that he had been drunk and that was the first time. Bennie didn't know whether to believe it or not, so for the moment, he decided to just think about something else.

The phone rang and Bennie started but picked up the phone without thinking and froze remembering that it could be Diego. He relaxed when he recognized the voice saying "hello?" repeatedly and confusedly as Jonathon, the manager of the bookstore Bennie worked for.

"'ello," Bennie answered, wincing as his voice came out raspy. "Oh crap! I'm late, aren't I?" he yelped, his voice not improving with use.

Jonathon made noises of concern at his voice before telling Bennie that he was taking the day off and he was getting off today for not calling, but it was a once in a lifetime thing and only because Bennie sounded so nasty and hung up.

Bennie blinked down at the phone before hanging up and only taking time to peel off the combat boots he was wearing, before flopping back down on the couch. He finally thought about what breaking up with Diego would mean besides the obvious. His salary didn't really cover all his bills, Diego had been helping him out. And he couldn't really get a better job because he had dropped out of school a year ago and couldn't go back; he needed the time to work. He could go back home… but no. Hs parents wouldn't take him back, not with him just disappearing one day with a boy they couldn't stand.

He couldn't ask his older brother, Michael, for help either. Last he had heard Michael was struggling to keep himself up afloat with his job as a writer. Maybe he should call him or something though. Talking to someone who loved him would make him feel a lot better right now… But he had disappeared on Michael too.

Bennie sighed and curled up, quickly falling back to sleep. The phone woke him up again. He ignored it and it rang and rang, until the message machine turned on. It was Diego apologizing again and sounding desperate, tired and worried. Bennie fell back asleep and ignored it the next time it rang as well and promptly fell back asleep.

A pounding on the door woke him up this time. He felt panic climbing up his throat and froze.

"Bennie, I know you're in there! Open up!" Diego shouted.

Bennie stayed curled on the couch, hoping that he would go away.

A few moments later when it became clear that the door wasn't going to open, Diego shouted, "Fine! I have a key; I'll just open it on my own!"

At that, Bennie bolted from the couch and to the door, hoping to be able to keep the lock from turning or have time to chain the door. No such luck. The lock turned just before Bennie reached it and the door began to open.

Bennie hurled himself against it, trying to shut it again, but Diego had gotten a foot through. "Bennie, just listen to me!"

"No!" Bennie yelled, still hoarse, as tears began forming new tracks down his cheeks. "Go away!"

"Bennie, let me in," Diego said, voice softening.

Bennie kept his weight pressed against the door, and pushed as hard as he could against it, but he slowly began to slide backwards. He only had a moment to mourn the fact that he was about five and a half feet and weighed about one hundred and ten pounds while Diego was half a foot taller and about fifty pounds heavier before Diego managed to get through the door.

Bennie tried to bolt, but Diego grabbed him around the waist and pulled him close. Bennie rammed an elbow into the taller boy's stomach in response and was rewarded with a grunt and the arm around him loosening.

Bennie escaped to the bedroom and shut the door, leaning against it, hoping he could hold this one.

"Bennie, will you at least listen to me?" Diego asked from the other side of the door.

"No! Go away!" Bennie yelled again, keeping his weight against the door.

It didn't do any good and a moment later, Diego was through the door.

Bennie backed away from him, matching each of Diego's steps with a step of his own, until he finally backed himself against the wall. Diego kept advancing until he was less than a foot away. Bennie got ready to lash out, but Diego pulled his legs out from under him and promptly sat on them and captured both his wrists in one of his hands. Bennie didn't even bother to fight, knowing how strong Diego's grip was.

"Now you have to listen to me," Diego said softly, catching Bennie's blue eyes with his brown ones.

Bennie ducked his head and squeezed his eyes shut. Diego's gaze always undid him.

"Please look at me?" Diego asked. When Bennie didn't, he sighed and shifted, bringing himself closer to Bennie until he was sitting on Bennie's thighs with his legs bent and on either side of Bennie's torso and one of the younger boy's hands held tightly in each of his. Finally, he sighed. "I'm sorry. For everything. I shouldn't have gotten mad at you before, and I shouldn't have cheated on you. I was completely smashed and horny as all hell. And stupid, but that kind of seems as a common state of mind for me."

Bennie stifled the soft laugh that rose at that. At least he was finally admitting it. Bennie noted that Diego's hands were sweating slightly around his, and that his voice quavered. He's nervous, Bennie realized with a start as he continued.

"And I always feel bad asking you for sex. You don't seem to like it-"

Bennie cut him off here with a rather startled yelp, shock making him open his eyes and look up. Not like it? When had he ever said anything like that?

Loud knocking startled him out of his jumbled thoughts and the "Landlord! Open up!" made him shove Diego off him, who was caught by surprise and fell, and clamber to his feet. He staggered towards the door, and opened it.

The landlord's scowl disappeared for a moment with an expression of utter surprise- probably at his clothes, which Bennie just remembered he hadn't changed since last night- before he quickly regained it. "I got another noise complaint. That's two in as many days. You have two weeks before I throw you're stuff onto the curb."

Bennie opened his mouth to argue desperately, but Diego came up behind him and before Bennie could say anything, snapped, "Fine," and slammed the door in the man's face.

Bennie whipped around and glared at him. "Diego!" he yelled. "What am I supposed to do now? Where am I-"

Diego cut him off. "Now, you are supposed to live with me."

Bennie stared at him, and stammered out, "W- what?"

Diego grabbed one of his hands, "Move in with me. Please. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. If I had planned this better I would have brought the ring."

Bennie stared at him in shock. They had avoided the L-word for the whole year they had been dating and Diego had just said it… and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with him. "W- wait, th- there's a ring?" Bennie asked

Diego blushed faintly and ran a hand through his hair before nodding, obviously embarrassed.

"For me?" Bennie whispered, too surprised to do anything else.

Diego nodded again and said softly, "I was going to ask you to marry me soon, or the equivalent 'cause it's not exactly legal here, but then I had to go and do something stupid. Now, I'm kind of just hoping that you'll forgive me enough to mooch off me and therefore give me the chance to win you over."

Bennie stared at him. Marry? As in the whole life-long thing? Diego wanted that? With him? Oh, sure, Bennie had fantasized of course, but Diego had never given any sign of wanting the same thing. Maybe it really had just been a drunken mistake…

Diego looked back at Benny, afraid that blurting that out just ruined all his chances when the younger boy tackled him, sending them both to the floor, and kissed Diego firmly on the lips. Diego kissed him back, just as fervently.

Bennie pulled away a moment later. "I love you too," he said, with a sunny smile.

Diego smiled back at him, relief showing obviously in eyes. "I promise I'll never cheat on you again, no matter how horny I get. And I'm going to try and quit drinking. I just got a sponsor for AA today."

Here Bennie stopped him for another delighted kiss, before Diego pulled back to continue, "And what was with that yelp earlier? You thought I hadn't noticed you didn't actually like sex? It's actually really obvious. You're really, really tense the whole time and the only sounds you make are whimpers and you only ever instigate kissing," he finished.

Bennie blushed and looked down, hoping he would realize he liked it without him having to say anything. He heard Diego sigh after a moment. He was hoping I would say I liked it, Bennie realized. He really didn't know how shy Bennie was. This was going to be hard…

"Diego," Bennie said softly, still staring at Diego's shirt. "Um…" he mumbled, wondering what to say.

Diego sighed again before sitting up and scooping up Bennie in his arms. "You don't have to say anything," he said. "I can stay chaste."

Bennie snuck a glance up in surprise and Diego caught it and offered him a grin. "It'll be hard- excuse the pun- but I'll manage," he said, carrying Bennie to the bathroom and setting him down. "Now, don't take offence to this, but you're sort of a mess."

Bennie blushed, but nodded and began to peel off his shirt. Diego quickly left the bathroom and Bennie realized that he meant it; he would stay chaste to keep Bennie happy. At least for awhile. He frowned and debated on whether or not to chase him and drag him in, and finally decided to not do it. At the moment, a nice, hot, leisurely shower seemed really inviting.

Afterwards, he left the bathroom in a pair of silken jogging shorts that he had left in there a few days before. Diego opened his mouth, looked up and froze. Bennie couldn't help but smile shyly at him. He had gone around shirtless or in just shorts and Diego had seen him completely nude on a number of occasions but for some reason he was often rendered speechless at the sight.

Diego shut his mouth with a snap and averted his gaze. Bennie frowned. He was used to the older boy practically jumping him when he was in the little tiny jogging shorts. Diego really meant to go through with the chaste thing, because he thought Bennie didn't like sex. Dammit, Bennie thought, I was so hoping that he would crack and I wouldn't have to say anything.

With a sigh, he went over and snuggled up to the man who promptly wrapped an arm around him. "Diego…" he started, hesitantly. "I'm shy. You know that. I have issues opening up and, for lack of a better phrase, releasing my inhibitions."

Diego nodded, curiosity evident on his face, obviously wondering were this was going, although there was a glimmer of hope in his eyes.

Bennie sighed again. He had so been hoping Diego would jump to conclusions and figure it out. Oh well. "I- I like sex," Bennie said, face burning. "I'm just shy, and don't want to do anything you won't like, and I'm still sort of scared, but I love you and I love to have you inside of me…" Bennie stopped, too embarrassed to continue.

Diego stifled the urge to whoop and instead hugged Bennie tight. "Anything you do I like, although the lack of noise makes me sort of nervous. You should know all you have to do is say stop and I'll stop, so the fear is completely ungrounded. At least when it concerns me it is. And I love you too and, as I have made fairly clear at certain, previous occasions, I very much like being inside of you," he said, grinning and kissing Bennie on the forehead. "I almost forgot, sorry sweetheart, but I'm ordering you to do a few things."

Bennie stiffened, but Diego continued before he could pull away. "Go back to high school. You've only missed a year and you were a year ahead anyways. If they won't let you, get your GED. Contact you're family. Or at least you're brother. You love him and he loves you. And go to college. If you don't get a scholarship and you're family can't help, I can pay for you in full. We might end up in a crappy apartment, but I will. So what do you say?"

Bennie stared at him for a moment in pure, unadulterated shock before kissing him with a very clear, although nonverbal, yes.