Okay, seriously? What the hell, Noah?

I pull up my blinds and stare down at his grinning face from my window. He's standing in the yard, waving like a fuckin' doof. I feel a grin spread over my lips as I shake my head, storm towards my bedroom door, and hurry down the stairs to the front door. When I yank it open, he's already there, waiting, with that same grin.

"We aren't meeting Paige and Cody for, like, another two hours," I point out, even though I already know he is very well aware of that.

He steps inside and hums. As a reflex, he leans down and pecks my cheek, and I turn my face so I can snag his soft lips.

"Couldn't wait to see your handsome face any longer," he draws out deeply. "...Are you feeling okay?"

"Oh my god, shut up," I say with a snicker as I shut the door. "Oh, yeah... M'fine."

He's already halfway up the stairs. Even when he walks, he's too damn fast for me.

I break in to a half jog until I'm at his side. His elbow nudges me playfully, so I shoot him a coy look through narrowed eyes.

We step in to my room and he's instantly on me. Attacking me, I mean.

His arms are wrapped around me, and his teeth are lightly scrapping against my neck in that way that makes my eyes flutter. It makes my knees weak.

"Is that why you're here early? You fucking rabbit," I whisper, tilting my head to allow him access to my neck. He takes the offer instantly, latching his mouth on me and swirling his tongue against my skin.

"Mmm, actually, maybe I just came to watch you play video games, nerd," he teases, hot breath smoldering against me. I scoff.

"Sure you did."

I put my hands on his cheeks and force him to stare at me, so I can bask under his warm, half-lidded gaze. My heart kicks in to my rib cage as I watch his best smile turn up the corner of his lips and expose his teeth.

He has a handful of different smiles. There's the fake one, of course, and I hate to brag, but it's never fooled me before. Ever. I've also seen him make a truly mean-spirited smirk before, when he insulted Brett at his party. I know it was directed at Brett, the guy who still feels the need to ask shit like, "So, who's the girl?" or shoot us looks like he just can't get over it, but I still hate that sort of look on Noah. It's not him. There's his real smile. He uses that one around Paige, Cody, and me. It's soft and kind. It makes him look so much easier to talk to. He used it the second time he came over too, when my dad invited him to look at his car and they started chatting for a solid hour while I looked on in confusion. My dad adores him over the fact that he can hold a conversation about old cars and football. It doesn't really make me jealous. I like seeing that kind of light in my old man's eyes, and the fact he can talk about his interests with someone else without having to be at a sports bar, tipsy, at one in the morning.

Noah's best smile is reserved for me. The one he's wearing right now. It's the only one that shows off his pearly teeth.

He hates his teeth. It's funny how someone so unfairly flawless can still be self-conscious about silly little things. I've even mentioned that they're perfect before, and they basically still are to me even after I looked closer at any "flaws."

A few of his back molars have silver fillings. He told me that his parents never tried too hard to teach him about brushing his teeth when he was younger. His right canine is the slightest bit crooked from refusing to wear his retainer to bed. His left front tooth has a small chip on the corner. He got it from football, when he got tackled by some fatass from Elmont.

Again, I think his teeth are fine. Perfect like the rest of him, even. But, if he wants to save his best smile just for me, I'm not going to protest.

He simply stands across from me, leaning towards my touch. He can tell I'm off in my own little world again. Not like that's anything new. He always waits eagerly until I snap back to reality and notice he is watching me.

"I'd rather we fuck," I whisper. His intoxicating smile widens as he happily moves back in to oblige, capturing my lips.

His arms snap around me tightly. So tightly, in fact, I feel the breath rush right out of me. He lifts me, hops, and body slams me in to my plush mattress, all while shouting, "Touchdooown!"

"God, you're such a-"

He rolls onto me and- Fuckin' hell, he's heavy... And he shuts me up effectively.

"Told you we should have gone to Mac Burger. Don't you think, Pax?"

Paige sits across from me, leaning on her elbows and grinning reassuringly.

Noah sits on my side, his right arm brushing snugly against my left because of the slightly small size of this booth we're in. Cody sits to Paige's right, resting his chin in the palm of his hand.

"Yeah," I laugh, drawing my straw to my lips. After I stop sucking, I add, "I'd rather eat shit than go in the place again."

"Hey, the food's not that bad," Noah adds in smugly, nudging me with his elbow.

"Sure," I shoot back behind the straw, chewing on it absentmindedly until my roaming gaze falls back on the reason Paige brought up eating at Mac Burger instead. Well, it's a group actually. It's five of Noah's old teammates. Can't really escape people you know in this town.

Huh. Now I can only sympathize with our slow-ass waitress, if she has to wait on those guys.

Noah and I have been dating about five months. About every month or so, I start to feel like people have stopped caring about the whole thing. Like assholes like the guys a few tables over have lost interest in harassing me, and even Noah, about it. They still surprise us sometimes, though.

I hope they only glare and don't come over.

"If it's bugging you I can go say something," Cody mutters. I glance back and blink. Noah's hand is on my knee, squeezing gently. I didn't realize that I was starting to look bothered.

"No," Noah and I say at the same time. I glance at him and let him continue.

"If they want to start something then they can come over here," he mutters.

My heart feels the slightest bit sunken into my chest as we sit here under those multiple stares. Today's been a good day. Today. It's miraculous.

Noah's been in an extra good mood.

He showed up at my house, got me off two consecutive times, even after I'd already jerked off once this morning, might I add, and wandered down to hang out with my dad in the garage, like he's taken to doing a lot more recently. He doesn't usually take long naps like I do, so he'll wake up about an hour before me and go make himself at home until I come wander down to find him. My dad's been home a lot more... I can't believe he was home on a day like today.

But, when he's not, I'll wake up with Noah staring at me instead, still pressed right against me, and he won't even deny it. He'll grin at me and try and tell me about all this shit I mumbled in my sleep about him, and how it was cute, and I'll remind him that he's a dork.

He told me his mom invited me to dinner tonight, which is definitely progress... Even though Noah says I'd definitely not enjoy dinner with his parents. I can't imagine I would; he describes them a lot like Paige's mom and dad. Constant, petty fighting, while acting like they aren't judgmental, when they are obviously some of the most judgmental people you'll ever meet. But unlike Paige, who at least tries with them most of the time, Noah doesn't even seem very close to them and it's a little sad... But hell, his parents invited me to dinner. Still makes me kind of giddy.

...I really don't want his mood to be ruined, as it often is when somebody has to go off and say or do something homophobic to him. It still looks like he's getting kicked in the chest, and reminds me of when it used to bother me like that. I hate having to watch it happen, but he always reads my mind and tells me not to blame myself...

Paige leans in and whispers something to Noah, which actually makes him grin and laugh out loud. It is a nice, welcomed break to the tense silence and the rising guilt in my chest. Cody and I glance at the two questioningly.

"Well sure, I'm open-minded, but it sounds kind of scary. Like, having Mr. Third Leg over here put his-"

"Dude, dude, come on!" Cody groans, sputtering mid-sip from his straw. He covers his ears and shakes his head violently. "I really don't want to know!"

I relax and snicker at Cody. His reactions are always pure gold... Oh my god, Paige, wipe that satisfied smirk off your face.

I grin back at her graciously, then at Noah, relieved. He's smiling again, and his arm slips around my shoulders. Paige winks at me, and the five guys at the distant table look back at their plates like they've lost interest.

"Are you taking me out here to murder me and dump my body, or what?" I ask from the passenger seat of Noah's car.

"Maybe," he hums vaguely.

We're going in a pretty odd direction, down the old parkway leading towards Atlanta that's basically been forgotten by people simply passing through since the interstate was built, looong before our time. It's quiet, with little wooded sections that break abruptly in to crop fields or horse pastures. I haven't been on this road for a while... I visited a couple times since freshman year. Driving alone through here gets pretty lonely, though.

We're heading right for it, too.

Mom used to tell me about this place when I wanted to know how her and Dad got together. I'd ask her if I'd ever meet someone in a romantic, storybook way like that, because she would never frown judgmentally at me and be like, "You're a guy. Why would you think about romantic stuff like that?" She'd smile and be like, "Sure you will," and then she'd rustle my hair that matched her own golden locks. She'd tell me again about how her and Dad would go to sit under a single tree by a swimming hole, and she'd watch him make a fool of himself by swinging off the rope swing, doing "tricks" and trying to impress her and usually ending up flopping on his stomach in to the water. Sounds exactly like what Noah would do.

"Noah," I start suspiciously. Hell, he's making the turn. He can't possibly even know about this place, unless-

His soft glance derails my train of thought, because he's suddenly serious.

I've told him about Mom, but not about this place. The place we spread her ashes.

It was a stiff conversation, but he's someone I can talk to about it. He asked once if my parents were divorced, and why I didn't ever seem to go to my mother's house on weekends or whatever. When I told him, he seemed sorry he'd asked, but more so guilty, like he clearly remembered that time he called my mom crazy, and my reaction suddenly made a lot more sense than merely his use of the word "Faggot." I had to spend the rest of the day reassuring him that it was okay.

"Dad told you?" I ask in disbelief.

"We were out here earlier. By the way, your dad drives that car like a madman." He peels up the gravel road, which is just the slightest bit inclined as a hill, and stops under the tree at the top, and I can't breath. I stare out on the pond, which is blanketed by a sheet of sickly green algae. I imagine the water was a lot cleaner when my parents were our age... That's not the main thing I'm staring at, though.

There's a bouquet tied to the worn rope that confirms Dad and Noah really were out here.

"...I asked him to show me how to get here, so he brought me by. If I asked you, it'd just spoil it. Are you coming?"

His car door is open already. He steps out and my body jolts to follow. I meet him in front of the still-running SUV and reach for the cluster of roses, stems wrapped in plastic, hanging from the worn rope swing.

"Happy Mother's Day, Pax."

My lip trembles and I swallow a bittersweet lump in the back of my throat. I haven't let him see me cry so far, dammit. I-I told him not to try this sappy sort of stuff, but here we are.

"I'm n-not a mother, dilweed," I utter weakly, feeling a grin spread. I look at the ground and cover my face in my hands. He wraps his arms around me.

"Well obviously not. The flowers aren't for you. Greeeedy," he hums, pressing his lips to my heated cheek. "I love you."

I lean in to his warmth and let my walls crumble. A quiet breeze rustles the tree leaves and makes the bouquet swing softly, and bob like a gentle, silent nod of approval. The air around us is... melancholy, but tender.

Noah Bradley: Are you awake?

Paxton Laker: Yeah

Noah Bradley: Can't sleep.

Paxton Laker: Me either. What's wrong?

Noah Bradley: I miss you.

Paxton Laker: I miss you too. You'll be home for break in a week babe :o

Noah Bradley: Need booty.

Paxton Laker: Lol

Noah Bradley: And kisses. ;P

Paxton Laker: Is everything still going good?

Noah Bradley: I'm going to pass English. Chris is really cool and helped me with that paper. Everyone here is a lot more laid back. It's a fucking relief... lol

Paxton Laker: Yayyy roomie. And I can imagine... I'm glad you're happy. Everyone at the community college doesn't even care either. It's great. And Cody seems to miss your little bromance almost as much as he misses Paige. :P

Noah Bradley: Tell Cody not to get his panties in a bunch and I'll hang out with him when I'm done with you. ;P I can't wait to be there to watch you mumble in your sleep. I have to be close to you.

Paxton Laker: I think you can handle just talking on Facebook a little longer. ;)

Noah Bradley: Oh, TOTALLY Facebook's always been my favorite way to talk to you

Paxton Laker: Pfft stfu xD don't even

Noah Bradley: Heheh xD I'm going to try and get to sleep now, my morning class is tomorrow. Is that ok?

Paxton Laker: Yeah. Same.

Noah Bradley: Looking out for the day when you're close to me. ;o

Paxton Laker: ha ghaaaaay

Noah Bradley: Sweet dreams, Pax. I love you.

Paxton Laker: Yeah yeah


Paxton Laker: I love you too Noah. :)