What the hell am I doing?

High-tailing it to Dad's with a boy I just met…?

It sounds crazy.

It is crazy—that's right… I'm crazy.

Here's the thing. My father and I aren't exactly on speaking terms. It's been about eight years since I've seen him so no, I don't have a single fucking clue what I'm going to say, how I'm going to say it, or how it'll go down showing up on his doorstep after all this time.

But I can't let Calix know that.

He's got too much going on in that head for me to burden him with an issue he's expecting me to take care of.

Besides, Nanaimo is pretty much the only place we can go—if we want our dreams to come true. Dad's property is large, and sits on the outskirts of the coastal town. It's nestled at the base of Mount Benson on private land that's been in my mother's family for generations. I technically have claim to it… I know this deep down, but I'm still pretty much fucking flipping out as I drive west.

Wade Walker, fifty-something—ten careers under his belt. Yeah. Postman, electrician, landscaper, carpenter—on and on. I walked out on him after years of alcoholism took its toll on me. Don't get me wrong, he's not an abusive-drunk – just a hopeless, mopey one whose apathetic neglect caused me all kinds of issues. At some point, it was like he just stopped wanting to live – then he would barely acknowledge my existence…

Sure. You could say he was grieving over my mother, but that excuse could only pass for the first few years. Ultimately, he chose alcohol over me – and that was a very hard pill to swallow.

Long story short, I said some nasty, regrettable things, and haven't talked to him since.

Up until two weeks ago, I had the same bitter opinion about it. Let the old man die alone for all I care. Fact is, I would have never considered facing my father before this beautiful thing called Calix happened to me. And he's done some crazy things to me already—up to and including getting me to fall desperately in love with him.

I've found out first-hand that this love in particular is so powerful, that making Calix happy is the only way I'll be happy, and it's torture otherwise. Believe me, it's that real.

I know that Calix would be satisfied sleeping in a lean-to in the forest with me every day for the foreseeable future – because that's the kind of crazy boy he is – but a cabin called our own? That we build… just like we dreamed…? I want to lose myself in that life with him, and since I'm a deadbeat with no job, barely any savings to last us, and no place to stay; only one option.

Plus, as a boyfriend, one of my main responsibilities is ensuring no wild animals eat my sweetheart.

God, the whole situation is incredible—something I didn't think happened to real people. And being with Calix fills me with this wonderful warmth I haven't been able to shake since reuniting with him.

I thought for sure—after saying the things I did back on the day I let him go—Calix meant it when he said he never wanted to see me again. I experienced the terrifying lows of losing what was definitely the best thing to ever happen to me. And I promised I would never let him go again.

Taking my eyes off the road for a brief moment, I risk a glance at that soft face pressed against the moldy seat of my truck. At the moment, he's curled up beside me, sleeping peacefully; all it takes is this one look and I'm reminded of that promise – reminded why I'm doing all this in the first place. Devastating heat surges through my body; from my toes to my fingertips, it's a stinging, aching desire. Crazy, crazy, crazy. Especially when combined with the undeniable need to reach out and touch him… make sure he's real…

These new feelings are driven by a regular cycle of sceptical cynicism and acceptance.

It always starts with the sheer disbelief that anyone like Calix can even exist.

Totally perfect—all for me.

He fights it, but there's no denying just how much of a puppy he is. Those eyes of his are spellbinding; he tests boundaries like he's just learning the rules. And don't get me started on the weird aura he gives off. I know Canuck sensed it too. He was drawn to Calix from that first night, and his behavior was altogether strange and unpredictable leading up to when he left us.

No doubt it had everything to do with Calix.

And he might be a little senseless, but when he knows what he wants, it's like not a God damn thing will change his mind.

That's why I have to be there.

Calix is impulsive. He doesn't have that mechanism the rest of us are born with. You know… that one that stops us from doing reckless things. He would chase a butterfly off a cliff given the chance. It's dangerous, and it worries some part of me deep down. I have to be extra watchful. This is the kid that snuggled with a wild wolf behind my back…

But, for being such a spacy ditz, he's really quite intuitive. He says he's dyslexic, but he can sure read people and listen. And he's always been so ridiculously, naively forward with what he wants. Spoiled for sure. But fucking hell, more often than I'd like, I find myself giving him his way just to see him happy.

Yeah, the sceptical cynicism doesn't last long. It always come back to whole-hearted acceptance.

All in all, before Calix – I didn't really believe good, honest people still existed. I'm far from that myself, but Calix is all that and more; untainted, spoiled, pampered…direct… so fucking sexy I can't resist him at all.

I'm so in love with everything about him, it's wild. The only thing I care about is being with the person I came to need so badly I literally can't function like a normal human being without them. My mind spins too hard… my hands vibrate too much… an awful feeling of constricting tightness takes hold and I just can't shake it…

Calix's leg shifts slightly as he stirs, and I realize I should probably get us to a hotel.

If it was just me, I'd spend the night in the truck. But Calix's leg concerns me and he hasn't really said anything about its condition.

He deserves to stretch it out and not be forced into a cramped position on top of me.

I'm just pulling off the highway and into Sparwood – one of my favourite little towns in the area – when he wakes up.

"Wy—att?" Calix asks with a tiny yawn in the middle of my name. He's sleepy, but definitely checking the time on the dash. Then he pulls himself into a sitting position and stares at our surroundings dreamily. "What's up? Why are we slowing down?" He tries to squint out the windows and make out something in the pitch-black beyond. But it's well past midnight; until we approach the lighted streets, he won't be able to see much.

"I'm finding us a place to sleep for the night," I explain, unable to help the smile on my face. It still feels weird. Like the muscles there aren't used to lifting my lips. When Calix brightens, I can pretty much feel all the warm energy around him. Goosebumps appear on my forearms right after my stomach flips and shivers run down my back.

"Really?" he bursts out happily. "Like a hotel? We won't just sleep in the truck?"

He knows me so well already; it's both frightening and amazing.

"No, we'll get a good sleep and stretch that leg, alright?"

Calix dismisses the concerns about his leg like he always does. Instead he shuffles over from the window and slides into the space next to me, draping both his arms around mine.

"Put your seatbelt on," I mutter half-heartedly. Honestly I didn't notice until now it wasn't wrapped securely around him, and it's triggered that familiar unease when I think about what if…

He listens and buckles up, but it's the lap-belt for the middle seat and doesn't go over his shoulder. I nervously grip the steering wheel and reduce my speed to ten clicks under the inner-city limit.

"How long has it been since you've slept in a real bed? Or did you stay in these places when I was in the hospital?"

Smooth voice… smooth skin… fucking smooth as hell moves too. I really want to fuck him again.

I feel his eyes drilling into me – it takes all of my self-control to keep focused on the road.

"I slept in the truck," I admit. "It's been years since I've laid down on a real bed…"

"This'll be fun," Calix comments dreamily. He squirms beside me – getting as close as humanly possible and making sure our thighs are touching and there's no gap between us. It's not even needy, or clingy (though you could argue otherwise) because I totally get it. After all we've been through, I just want to be as close as we can be too. There is an indescribable comfort to it.

We're on our own wavelength, because, at the same time, we both say, "I missed you."

I have both of our duffle bags over my shoulder as we make our way to the front desk.

Calix walks with a noticeable limp beside me, but we take it slow and I marvel in how strong he is about the whole thing. Not once has he whined about the injury. I know it's just another sign of how dangerous our relationship is when it can eclipse something like that. It's like, without a doubt, the only thing he cares about is being with me (of all people).

And I can't deny that kind of thinking is pretty mutual.

The employee at the counter gives us a tired, exasperated look as we attempt to check in well past two in the morning.

"How can I help you?" he asks – clearly unimpressed with our presence. I watch his disinterested eyes trail to Calix and hate it for some reason. I don't know what this maddening itch is… but it's one that makes me realize I don't want anyone to look at him.

I found him. He's mine.

"We need a room for the night," I inform dryly. I know it sounds bad that way, but I've really got nothing to hide here. It's not against the law to take your boyfriend to a hotel and fuck him, even if that's not specifically on the agenda.

Calix doesn't help things. He pops his hip out in such a way that it takes all the weight off the injured limb and he leans on the counter for support, grinning suggestively at what I've said.

"Do you have a reservation?"

It's immediate how quick the anger comes to the surface. "No. I don't."

I just want to lay down. I want to check Calix's stitches. I want to sleep.

The clerk – whose nametag reads Owen – gives me a sneer that doesn't go unnoticed. "It's past the check in time," he says crisply, like it's extremely important we understand this.

"Is a fucking room available or not?" I snap impatiently. In fact, I'm just taking a breath to let the rest of it out when Calix hip checks me and shoots me an incredulous look.

"I'm sorry," he apologizes to Owen immediately. "We're tired. I think what he means to say is, even if it's past check in time, are we still able to get a room?"

I don't want him to speak. If Calix was Canuck, I'd be silencing him. My thumb and middle finger are already forming together in a snap but I catch myself just at the last second and realize—not for the first time—I can't treat Calix like that. There are just so many gut reactions I can barely manage them after letting them control me for so long.

Owen takes a long, irritatingly deep breath as he turns slowly towards a computer and begins to type into it. "We have a room available. Two Queen beds, non-smoking?"

"That sounds great!" Calix offers a smile that's too beautiful for anyone else. I pull him behind me to hide him but he just stands on his toes and mutters into my ear. "Do you have twenty dollars?"

"What—why?" I hiss – though I'm already reaching into my grainy old wallet to pay for the room. I hand him a twenty anyway, and watch as he spins on the spot and presents it to Owen proudly.

"Um – excuse me – I was wondering. You know since it's so late… and you won't be expecting anyone else… if maybe there's another room available? Like… one with a Jacuzzi?" I don't know what I'm watching as Calix slides the bill across the counter like he's pulled off multiple bribes in his life – still beaming ear to ear.

There's that unquestioningly daring part of him – out for everyone to see, and Owen is clearly as stunned as I am. I watch his expression change from one of indifference to one more fitting of his job.

"Yes – I'll see what I can do," he accepts, pocketing the money and searching his system again. "Our Executive Suite is available tonight if you'd like a complimentary upgrade?"

After a brief argument at the counter – wherein we were forced to use Calix's Dad's credit card to hold the room because cash doesn't cut it these days – we unlock the door to the suite.

It's large – glamorous – and not at all what I'm used to. Calix, however, is almost beside himself with glee as we enter the luxurious suite, complete with its own kitchenette.

"Look! Look at the bed, Wyatt!" He races to it as fast as his bad leg will carry him and then belly-flops onto the King-sized mattress, swimming in the sheets. "So nice… oh my God. Really comfy!"

I set the dufflebags down and join him on the mattress—finding its pillowy softness altogether off-putting. Yes, it's comfortable. But almost too comfortable…

There's no way I'm getting a decent sleep. It's not nearly firm enough for proper back support…

Calix lifts up, stares at the huge Jacuzzi in the middle of the bedroom, and then shoots me a wide-eyed, imploring look that says everything.

"What was that down there?" I ask seriously instead. If I look as grumpy as I feel, Calix notices. Although it loses some of its power, he maintains that permanently warm smile as he reads my expression, and then I continue. "Doesn't seem like the first time you've bribed a guy."

"It wasn't," he admits casually. "When Dax and I went backpacking, we had to stay in hotels near the airport. We'd always bribe for upgrades. It works every time."

I let this statement sink in, reminding myself not to get too bitter over the fact that there are things about Calix I don't know. Of course there would be. We've known each other less than two weeks… he had an entire eighteen years of life before that. All to do with this equally reckless older brother by the sounds of it.

"What about you and how you acted down there? It's really obvious you've been living on that mountain too long. Did you forget how to be polite, or did you never even learn?"

"Shut up," I counter, tossing him back to the bed in one fluid motion. He doesn't weigh very much, which makes it easy to throw him around, and he loves it because he laughs as his back lands onto the mattress with a soft thump.

Calix might be expecting me to climb over and tickle him. I want that—I do. But with his leg outstretched, it's easy to get lost in thoughts about it. Plus, if we're going in the Jacuzzi, he needs to start undressing.

"How's your leg?" I ask for what seems like the millionth time.

I get the same old response; a shrug—hazel eyes glancing away—and Calix mumbling, "alright." I know I don't exactly look impressed, but Calix gets defensive; a sign that tells me there's more to it. "It's fine, I said!" he snaps irritably. "I have painkillers if it gets really bad!"

"I'm not talking about pain, Calix," I begin. "I'm asking you how is it? What's the deal – you gonna walk right eventually?" He doesn't respond – which he should know is something that irritates me to no end. "Huh? What'd the doctors say?"

I reach for his belt-line, but his hands beat mine to it and he starts to pull his jeans off slowly.

"I don't know—it's all blurry. I wasn't really paying attention…"

"Calix," I warn.

He's set off at my serious probing, whipping the pants to the floor and reaching for his socks next. "It's never going to be the same, alright? That's the gist of it. Just be glad I don't have to be in a wheelchair… I'll just get stiff, occasionally. I told you—I wasn't paying attention. I knew it was bad… and I was too busy thinking about you and looking at my beeper to—"

"Okay, okay, I get it," I interrupt. He can just go on and on. I pull him by the ankle and lean over to get a good look at the wound, and although it doesn't exactly scream 'healed', it's considerably less concerning than I remember. Sure enough, my haphazard stitches are gone and replaced with neat, professional ones that are doing a much better job of holding together the wound. There is still a lot of bruising, and it doesn't look near perfect. But there is absolutely no infection, and that's a good thing. "When do these need to come out?" I ask.

Calix huffs again and I'm not sure what his problem is but it's not exactly helping my mood.

"I don't know."

"Didn't they say—"

"Yeah they probably did but I guess we'll just have to visit a doctor in Nanaimo to see."

"Can't you pay attention when it counts?" I seethe.

"No point getting mad at me about it now," he mutters—dripping with attitude. "I don't have a time machine to go back and listen to every little word they said when I was thinking about you and Dax and my parents and—"

Needless to say, we're both frustrated with each other as we climb into the tub a few minutes later.

It's not even like I'm asking much. Calix has two responsibilities – one is keeping close to me and the other is making sure his fucking leg gets better. It blows my mind how he can space-out in such a crucial conversation about his health, and the anger is still showing on my face because Calix occasionally peeks up at me to check if I'm still mad and then his eyes dart away at once.

The bath itself is strange and makes me uncomfortable. I showered after making my way off that mountain—truck stops have facilities to rent—but submerged in bubbly, jet-driven hot water, there's an incredible sense of unease filling my guts.

Eventually Calix's silence grows on me. I know it's on me to make it right, and instead of saying anything at all, I just reach out for his wet arm and pull him along until our bodies are just one giant, slippery mass.

It's sensual—I feel this boy with all of my senses. I swear I can even taste him in my mouth without having to kiss him again. A rush of affection takes away the stinging anger of our little argument, and I resist crushing the life out of him as he attempts to comb wet fingers through my trimmed beard.

"I'm sorry," he says quietly, avoiding my eyes.

"Nah, I'm the one that's sorry," I reply before even thinking about it. "I know you were going through some shit." Then it's as simple as that. Suddenly my lungs open and I'm taking a really deep, relaxing breath. "Honestly, I'm just happy you're okay."

Calix smiles again. He rushes back into his happier self alarmingly fast. "Right? It feels way better already, Wyatt. But that could be the water… anyway, it's like—less stiff…"

My heartstrings tug violently. I feel the way they take complete control of my body as I lift Calix's face and kiss him so he shuts up. It's complete satisfaction; it's peace of mind over something I've been anxious about for days. I can finally lose myself with him—and I don't want to fight that anymore. I already found out that doing so is useless and somewhat impossible.

There's no way to express it into words. I'm not good with them anyway. So I settle on a simple, "I love you," and then move both of our wet bodies straight to the bed.

After lowering him to the mattress, I separate to get us both some towels. Calix is shivering when I return but stabs into my soul with his beaming smile. There are a million things I want to do—cuddle and kiss—see if he's down for another round.

But he's tired.

And we have endless time ahead of us to indulge in our love.

As he dries off, I watch him stretch out his leg carefully. Despite what Calix says, it still seems tough to move, and there's no thought except intimate ones that want to make it better as I pull the limb towards me.

I gently work my fingers between the surrounding muscle– massaging in small circles to help the rigid limb relax.

Yeah, I knew the whole thing was serious the first moment I saw Calix. That gash was downright life-threatening, and I don't want to think what would've happened if I hadn't done a patch job and made sure it didn't get infected. Beyond that, I had always known in the back of my head that whatever damage already done was pretty much irreversible.

It's a weird feeling I get when I think about it.

On one hand, Calix might not ever walk properly again; the tendon just won't heal that way. On the other… it's one of the most satisfying feelings in the world to take care of him. Despite what he thinks of me, I'm not good at much. But for some reason… taking care of someone else is something I'm really good at.

You could go off on a bunch of reasons why this is.

You could say because my father neglected me, I swore I'd never treat an animal… a girlfriend or wife (and in this Calix, definitely my boyfriend) like that. You could say that I've raised enough dogs in my life, that by now it's just ingrained in me. All of it and more is probably true, but the feeling is wholly satisfying nonetheless.

And when I finally look up at Calix, he's asleep.

Another shock of love overwhelms me. I don't know what to compare it to. Petting an animal until it falls asleep in your lap or something? It's a mix of contentment, and the warmth that fills me any time I think about Calix, honestly. Together it's deadly, and I can't imagine how I ever lived without him.

A/N: And so, it begins again...