He catches Logan's waist and kisses him once more, then leaves his bedroom, traverses the hall and stairs, exits through the backdoor and makes no sound, save his feet against the grass and then the sidewalk, tracing a path from one suburban home to another-

They spent the evening drinking, talking. All the things that bring them closer and all the things that drive them farther apart. Joshua knows Logan isn't going to be his, will never be his, and he knows he will never be honest enough to ask for something more. He will keep Britta, pretty girl she is, and he will rot in a marriage, maybe to her. Maybe get her pregnant so she'll have to stay, and he won't have to go through the whole process of getting close to a girl again-

And he thinks of Logan. He has freckles on his nose and cheeks and lips. He dyed his hair white-blond, and it shines against his tanned skin, makes his black eyes eerie and luminous. They are shaped like almonds, and Joshua held their attention for fleeting minutes.

Tonight, Logan said they got along very well, and maybe they should spend some more time together. Not just on the nights Joshua gets away from everyone else. Go to a movie, have a conversation that isn't about sex or sexuality. Something deeper; once they talked about philosophy and agreed about so many things, it was scary.

Scary to think they suit each other. Scary to think neither of them are willing to.

So absorbed, Joshua does not notice the evening's chill. He wears a t-shirt, faded jeans, running shoes that have known better days; in Logan's house they looked duller, and on this sickly gray cement, they seem at home. His hair musses in the wind, his cheeks flush and nose reddens. Lips dry and part, arms sway beside him. His gaze is not on the street but on something intangible.

The past, so recent -bruises on his neck and hickeys on Logan's chest- will beat backward, and he listens to the rhythm of his steps.

Faster, then slower, then faster again when he is aware he slowed. Then he stares at his hands and then the sidewalk, sickly gray, his shoes, matching it. His skin is so pale and against Logan's it looked-

Dead. Wasted. Someday he'll rot in a marriage, and tomorrow he'll call Britta and make a date.