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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Seventeen:
    Secret Santa

    The next week consisted of Lucas never leaving my side. The only time we spent apart was when his dad took him to do a little Christmas shopping for his mom, and even then I made sure I was with Kyle the entire time we were apart to ease his nerves. He wasn't really nervous about losing me as he was about me not being there to protect him. I'd assured him that when the time came, he'd be ready to fight for me and I wouldn't have to protect him anymore.

    I loved every minute of his wild obsession of being together at all moments of the day. We were never apart and I felt important being his bodyguard. We played video games together as boys often do, we watched dozens of romantic movies (neither of us could really handle a thriller just yet), and most importantly of all we advertised our relationship all over town. There wasn't a person who Lucas knew that didn't know about me. He was permanently attached to my side now, and there was no way I was going to let him go.

    I'd like to take this moment to completely describe Luke's appearance. Being that I never actually knew I was gay before, I never paid much attention to his body so I never really described it. For lack of a better term, he was gorgeous. Every part of him accented another part. His body was perfectly symmetrical. He had muscles of course, but not too many. He had very little body fat and his skin was completely smooth except for a little trail of hair from the middle of his torso that led to his belly button and further down.

    And as for the parts that matter, his dick wasn't “oh my God” big but it was a good size. It was big enough for him to feel confident but not too big to make me afraid of letting him fuck me. His ass muscles were tight and toned but soft to the touch. And like I said before, he does look incredible in those jeans.

    His face was like a perfect sculpture. He had a nice smile that spread across pearly white teeth. His bottom lip was a bit more full than his top and kinda stuck out when he smiled. His eyebrows weren't thin, but they weren't bushy. He didn't maintain them at all, they were just naturally perfect. One of them had a little scar in the middle of it from an incident on his skateboard when he was 12 and the hair wouldn't grow there. His eyes were beautiful hazel as I've mentioned dozens of times. I just couldn't get enough of his eyes. They were pools of beauty that I could swim in for days.

    His hair was golden blonde and short on the sides and back, almost like a buzz cut, but long at the top. He kinda had this faux-hawk thing goin' on, though he never actually put it up. His bangs were usually spiked outward. I couldn't understand how someone so perfect, so beautiful could fall in love with me. I wasn't ugly or anything, but I knew I wasn't nearly as attractive as Lucas was.

    While Lucas had a baseball body, my body belonged more to a tennis player. My legs were thicker than Lucas' and my arms were muscular, but the rest of me was a bit underdeveloped. I have muscles, but not nearly as many as Lucas. My face was thinner than his, less defined. My eyebrows were a little more bushier than his, but I tried to keep them cleaned up. My cheekbones were much more prominent than his. When he smiled, his cheeks would form dimples; mine wouldn't.

    My hair was also short and thin at the sides, but I made my bangs come down at an angle. I had darker hair than Lucas. Light brown, but not too light. It was kind of like a chocolate color. My nose, while even and symmetrical, was a bit longer at the tip than Lucas'. Mine stuck out a bit further and it made me hate a profile shot of me, but Lucas insisted that it made me look cuter. He knew how self conscious I was about my honker and he made sure to give it its own special kiss every now and then.

    But despite all the physical prowess of Lucas, the one thing that stood out was his heart. What he told me that day in the bathroom was true for me too. I didn't fall in love with his looks; I fell in love with his heart. The size of his heart was more important to me than the size of his pecs or the size of his cock. I could feel his love for me in every touch and every kiss. Each shock he sent through my body wasn't my response to his touch; it was his love being transmitted from his heart to his touch, from his touch to my skin, and from my skin to my own heart.

    But I think the difference between our physical appearances is what defined our positions with each other. Lucas was more dominant and in control all the time. His muscular build allowed him to feel more confident. Mix that in with his compassionate nature, you get one very amazing guy who isn't afraid to take the lead. Me on the other hand, I was a little more self conscious about my body. I wasn't as built as Lucas was so I depended on him to keep my spirits high and make me feel wanted. I guess you could say I was the girl in the relationship, but I didn't mind that.

    I guess that's why I loved our temporary role reversal here. I loved feeling needed rather than wanted. Lucas gave me the chance to feel like the defender; the one who would fight for us and be able to give him the strength he needed. It was a nice change to be in Lucas' shoes for a while. It wasn't until two days before Christmas that Lucas started feeling better. He wasn't as scared to go to sleep at night and even though he still needed my presence, he was feeling much more relaxed.

    On Christmas Eve, his grandparents on Anne's side came over for dinner. She had cooked up a couple steaks for Kyle and her father, while the rest of us enjoyed her mother's pork and stuffing casserole. It was clear where Anne received her cooking skills from. I usually don't like pork but my God... it was an amazing dish. For dessert, Anne had baked a home made Angelfood Cake. Around 7, we wrapped up in our coats and walked down the street for the evening service at their church. I wasn't much of a religious person, but I really wanted to go to give thanks for everything I had been blessed with over the past few months.

    After the service, we walked back home to exchange gifts. Lucas wanted us to save ours for tomorrow night, so I just sat back and watched their family with a smile on my face. I fought back the tears when I saw the joy and love on everyone's faces. I had always wanted to experience this part of a family, but I was far too young to remember the only two years I had been able to.

    I missed my mom a lot that night. When Lucas was saying goodbye to his grandparents (Gram and Gramps as he called them), I sat on the couch in the family room and stared into the roaring fire, thinking about her and fiddling my locket with my thumb and index finger. He came to sit down next to me and he grabbed my free hand and tangled our fingers together.

    “They loved you,” he said, “As I knew they would.”
    “And they're okay with us?” I asked.
    “Well Gram already knew,” he said, “I never told her but she knew somehow. And Gramps may be old fashioned but he knows true love when he sees it. He doesn't really approve of it, but he accepts it. The last thing he said before leaving was, 'I like this version of you. He's much happier,' So I guess he's okay with it.”

    I smiled and returned my attention to the fire.

    “Are you okay?” he asked.
    “Yeah, I just,” I said, “I miss my mom.”
    “Oh...” he said, “I'm sorry Aaron.”
    “No I mean,” I said, “I had fun tonight. I just, I haven't really experienced what it's like to be part of a real family.”
    “Well that's not fair,” he said, “Everyone deserves that.”
    “I did twice,” I said, “But I was too young to remember it.”
    “What do you mean?” he asked. With sudden realization on his face, he revised his question, “You never told me, what happened to your dad?”
    “He was around until I was two. My parents weren't married, but he promised he'd stick around to help her with me. That was the closest I've had to a real family until my dad met a waitress with the chest of Pamela Anderson. They ran off to Washington and I never saw him again.”
    “That's terrible,” he said putting his arm around my shoulders and hugging me into him.
    “I got cards from him for every holiday for four more years, but they stopped suddenly,” I said, “I don't even know if he's still alive.”
    “I'm so sorry,” he said, “That's really unfair.”
    “Don't worry,” I said with a half smile, “Tonight was really fun.”
    “Well you enjoy the rest of the night,” he said. He sounded as if he knew something I didn't.
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “This was just Mom's side of the family,” he said with a grin, “Tomorrow you get to meet Dad's.”
    “Okay why do I feel really nervous now that you said that?” I asked.
    “Maybe cause my dad has 3 sisters and 2 brothers,” he said, “Two of the sisters and both brothers are married with kids, and the other sister has a pair of twins with her boyfriend.”
    “That's a lot of kids,” I said.
    “Yeah and they're the least of your worries,” he said with a grin.
    I must have had a look of pure panic on my face.
    “Aaron I'm kidding!” he said, “They're gonna love you.”
    “If you say so,” I said with a twinge of panic still in my voice.

    We sat that way for a while. He leaned his head onto my shoulder and eventually started nodding off. He readjusted and turned to lay his head on a pillow he placed on my lap. After about an hour his parents walked in. I held a finger up to my lips to let them know he was sleeping. They nodded and whispered that they were going to bed and that we should catch some Z's as well.

    “Santa doesn't come when people are awake in the house,” Anne said with a grin.

    When they left I tapped Lucas softly on the side of his face..

    “Wake up baby,” I said.

    He stirred and looked up at me.

    “Sorry,” he said.
    “No reason to be,” I said with a smile, “We should go to bed.”

    We both stood and he laced our fingers together as he stumbled up the stairs with me at his side. As we walked down the hallway, he stopped and stared at the bathroom door with a smile. He pulled my hand up and guided me towards the door.

    “Come on,” he said.
    “You don't wanna pee together again do you?” I asked jokingly.
    “Shut up and come on,” he said.

    He opened the door and lead me inside. He turned on the faucet in the tub and waited for the water to warm up before putting the plug in. I gave him a smile and a wink when I understood what he wanted and lifted my shirt over my head. He came over to me, put his hands on my chest and kissed my lips with extreme care. His touch was gentle and loving every time. His hands moved from my chest to my waist and started unbuckling my belt. My hands met his at my waist and unbuttoned my jeans while his pulled the zipper down.

    I stepped out of my pants when they fell to the floor and Lucas joined me. He lifted his shirt off and let his pants drop to the floor. We stood there for a moment just staring at each other. For some reason, he didn't get hard, and neither did I. That's when I was convinced that this relationship wasn't about sex. Lucas was telling the truth when he said that.

    When the tub was full, we pulled off our underwear and Lucas stepped into the water first. He let out an audible sigh then extended his hand to me with a smile on his face. I stepped in, sat down, and pushed my back up against his chest. He put his arms around me and held me as we just sat there in the water together. I leaned my head back against his shoulder and turned my face toward his. His scent filled my nostrils and forced a smile on my face.

    “Aaron,” he whispered.

    I opened my eyes to see his sad look.

    “What's wrong?” I asked.
    “I need you to tell me that you'll never leave me,” he said.

    And there it was. He was still vulnerable; still afraid.

    “Oh baby,” I said turning my body around to face him, “Never! I would never leave you. I love you way too much.”

    He just stared at me with tears in his eyes.

    “Luke,” I said grabbing his hands, “I love you so much. I'm here as long as you want me here. I won't leave until you tell me to.”
    He smiled weakly and said, “What if I said I want you here forever?”
    “Then forever is how long I'll stay,” I said with a smile, “Nothing can change that.”

    I turned back around and pushed my back against his chest again. We were sitting there for probably 45 minutes when Lucas started yawning. I ran my fingers against his arms when he pulled me closer to him and kissed my neck. I smiled and moved my hand down to his thigh. Slowly and cautiously, I moved it closer to his crotch. He was as soft as a freshly washed towel.

    “You're not hard,” I said.
    “Neither are you,” he whispered, “There's no reason to be.”

    I turned to look at him and smiled. He smiled back. It was that moment that we knew how much we cared about each other... and it made us happy.

    We got out of the water and dried each other off. He pulled me into him and hugged me. I felt his lips on my cheek and I turned my neck so I could kiss his lips. We walked out of the bathroom together with the towels around our waists. When we got into his bedroom we put on some underwear and crawled into bed together. Lucas was on his back and I moved in to lay my head on his chest. I was running my fingers softly along his muscle lines when he spoke again.

    “Aaron I'm sorry,” he said, “but I need you to say it again.”

    I sat up and looked in his eyes through the darkness.

    “Luke,” I said, “I love you way too much to leave you.”
    He smiled weakly again and said, “I don't know what I would do without you... and that's all I can think about. I keep thinking about how I almost lost you and what I would have done if I did. It's killin me Aaron.”
    “Hey, hey, hey,” I said as he started to cry, “Look at me.”

    I lifted his chin with my hand and forced him to look into my eyes.

    “You need to stop thinking like that,” I said, “Okay, listen to me. I'm still here. I'm okay; I didn't leave you.”
    “I know it's stupid,” he said, “I just can't help it.”
    “Luke, it's not stupid,” I said, “When I thought he was gonna kill you that day I was terrified too. But I didn't let it cripple me. I used that fear to make myself strong enough to fight for you.”
    “I'm just really scared Aaron,” he said, “I don't wanna lose you.”
    “And you're not going to,” I said, “Nothing in Heaven or Earth can take me away from you. You're stuck with me.”
    He smiled, “I wouldn't want to be stuck with anyone else.”
    I smiled back, “I love you baby.”
    “I love it when you call me baby,” he said.
    “Well then I'll call you baby more often,” I said as I leaned in to kiss him, “Now go to sleep. Santa doesn't come when people are awake in the house.”

    I rested my head on his chest again and his arms came around me. He moved himself a little lower so my head was on his shoulder and his chin was pressed against my forehead. We fell asleep like that with smiles on our faces.

    * * *

    I stirred from my sleep as I felt fingers brushing lightly on my face. I didn't want to open my eyes yet, but I couldn't help but smile. The fingers were replaced by his lips as they softly kissed my cheek and made a trail to my lips. My arm flung around his neck as I pulled myself up. My eyes fluttered open to see my light bathed angel staring back at me with his beautiful eyes.

    “Didn't mean to wake you,” he said.
    “It's okay,” I said still smiling.
    “Merry Christmas,” he said.
    “Merry Christmas to you too.”

    We sat up in bed. Lucas had the look of a little boy on his face. He knew I had a present for him and he knew he wanted it. I smiled and leaned in to kiss him again. I could see the anticipation in his eyes and I could feel his heart pounding in his chest. His hands went up to the back of my head and forced me to kiss him harder. His tongue pushed past my lips and found my own so it could dance to our symphony of soft moans.

    His gentle touch traveled from my hair to my back and my hands moved up to his sides. I fell backward onto the bed and pulled him on top of me. His hair dangled and tickled my forehead. He pulled away and stared into my eyes with a smile on his face.

    “Are you feeling better?” I asked.
    His eyes shimmered with his response, “Better every second I kiss you.”

    My lips met his again and I took his bottom lip gently with my teeth and let go. He smiled and kissed me again. With a smile on my face, I dropped my arm over the side of the bed and pulled a box out from under the bed. I pulled it up and put it in front of Lucas' face.

    “We're supposed to wait,” he said with a smile.
    “I know, but I want to see your face now,” I said.
    “Aaron,” he said with a crack in his voice.
    “Just open it,” I said kissing him again.
    “Okay,” he said.

    We both sat up again and I sat across from him as he placed the box in front of him. He gently lifted the bow from the top and opened the flap to look inside. His eyes instantly filled with tears as he took in a deep gasp. He looked back up to my smiling face and stared at me. He gently pulled the Beanie Baby Doberman named "Doby" out of the box and kept staring at me.

    “You remembered,” he said softly.

    He sat up on his knees and put his hand on the back of my head, pulling me into a deep and passionate kiss.

    “I can't believe you remembered,” he said, “Where did you find this?”
    “I have my ways,” I said.
    “I've been looking for a new one for years...”
    “When you told me that story, I started hunting for one,” I said.
    “You didn't,” he said.
    “Yeah I did,” I said smiling.
    “You are incredible,” he said as he kissed me again.
    “Yeah I am,” I said with a grin.
    “You want your present now?” he asked.
    “Sure,” I said.

    He leaned forward over the foot of the bed to his chest of drawers. I sat back and stared at the fabric of his boxers tightening around his magnificent ass muscles. With a smile on my face I lifted my foot and lightly kicked his butt.

    “Is that my present?” I asked, “Cause I like it.”
    “Dork,” he said as he sat back and handed me a box, “I think you're gonna like this better.”

    I gently opened to box and looked inside. There was something wrapped in blue wrapping paper and a small envelope inside. I pulled out the slim thing wrapped in blue paper first and examined it. My eyes found his and he nodded at me. My fingers tore open the paper and tossed it aside as I looked closely at the CD in my hands.

    “What's this?” I asked.
    “It's every song we've listened to together,” he said, “Every song that makes me think about you.”
    “Oh Luke that is so sweet!” I said wrapping my arms around his neck, “I love it.”
    “Open the envelope,” he said.

    I did as I was told and flipped the tab of the envelope open. My smile reached from ear to ear as I pulled the contents out. There, in my hand, were two front row tickets to the Paramore concert.

    OH MY GOD!” I screamed.
    “You like it?” he asked sarcastically.
    I LOVE IT!” I yelled as I attacked him with kisses, “How on Earth did you get these?! This concert has been sold out for three months!!”
    “I have my ways,” he said.
    “I don't believe this Luke,” I said, “This is incredible.”
    “Yeah,” he said, “And I have it all worked out too. It's two weeks after we get back to school on a Friday. It's only about a 45 minute drive so we can leave right after class and be there with plenty of time. And I uhm... I kinda booked a hotel just in case we were too tired to drive back.”

    He was trying to hide his grin, but I knew why he booked that hotel.

    “Luke you are amazing,” I said, “And I'm not gonna be too tired to drive back, but maybe we can use the room anyway.”

    He beamed at me. I knew he was hoping I wouldn't take it the wrong way. But with a boy as cute as Lucas, how could anyone not give in to his sad face?

    “Oh and I'm not done yet,” he said with a big smile crossing his face.

    He got up and practically skipped to the door and down the hall. I could hear him mumbling to his parents and I heard him coming back down the hall. When he walked back into the room, he shut the door and sat on the edge of the bed. He patted the area next to him and I swung around to sit at the edge with him. He grabbed his hands in mine and sat there in silence. There was a knock at the door not long afterward.

    “Come in,” he said.
    “What's going on?” I asked.
    “Shh,” he said.

    His parents and Kyle were standing in the doorway. Lucas kissed my cheek and stood up to join them as they stood there. Anne's eyes found mine and she was the first to speak.

    “Aaron,” she said, “Lucas told us about your family.”

    My eyes found his. He tried to avoid my gaze but I clawed at it with mine. There was no hurt in my eyes though.

    “The four of us would like to formally invite you to spend Christmas Day with us,” she said, “As a part of the family.”

    The grin was wiped from my face and a look of astonishment took it's place. I stared at Lucas and tears filled my eyes. I smiled again and looked at all four of them. They were all smiling at me and Lucas broke away from them and rejoined me on the bed.

    “I would be honored,” I said.

    My hands found Lucas' and I squeezed them with all my might as I kissed him gently. He had fulfilled my wish. At that moment, I was more than happy. I was so much more than loved. But most of all, I was where I belonged.

    * * *

    Lucas leaned over and smelled my hair a little.

    “What are you doing?” I asked.
    “Just making sure you don't smell like meat before we throw you in with the wolves,” he said.
    “Lucas!” his dad said from the front seat, “I've asked you not to call Jackie and her daughters 'the wolves' a million times.”
    “You really shouldn't tease your boyfriend Lucas,” Kyle said.
    “Aaron you're going to be fine,” Anne said, “I promise.”
    “Yeah I'm just messing,” Lucas said putting his hand on my thigh, “Just be the sweet, smart, and amazing guy you are and they'll love you almost as much as I do.”

    He leaned in to kiss me then as the car pulled into the driveway. We piled out of the car and I took a long look at Grandma Harper's house. It was bigger than Lucas' house. I could hear the sounds of kids yelling and playing in the backyard. It was in the mountain area and we'd been driving for almost an hour to get up here because of the snow.

    I must have been off in my own little world again because I didn't see the small snowball heading for me until Lucas batted it away with his hand. Two little children with snow covered gloves ran right up to Lucas and gave him a big hug. They were both talking at the same time and I could really tell what they were saying. Lucas stopped them and turned towards me.

    “Aaron,” he said, “This is Jacob and Aly. They're my Aunt Gina's twins.”
    “Hi there,” I said with a big smile.
    “Jacob, Aly, this is Aaron,” he said, “He's my boyfriend.”
    “Boyfriend?” Jacob asked, “I thought boys had girlfriends.”
    “Well I like boys Jacob,” Lucas said, “And Aaron is my boyfriend.”
    “I don't get it,” he said.
    “You'll understand when you get older,” Lucas said, “Now go tell your mommy I'm here okay?”
    “Okay!” they both said at the same time as they ran off.
    “They're my favorite cousins,” Lucas said, “And Gina is my favorite aunt. You'll love her Aaron. She's so sweet and amazing.”

    We walked inside and my nose was instantly overwhelmed the amazing smells that filled the house from the kitchen. I could smell the turkey and the mashed potatoes as their aroma danced with the smell of the Christmas Tree sitting in the big family room off to the left of the entryway. Lucas saw the smile on my face and grabbed my hand as we walked in. Kyle diverted to the back door to join the kids outside while their parents went straight for the kitchen to greet everyone.

    We were walking down the hallway towards the bathroom to freshen up from the car ride when the twins came barreling down the hallway towards Lucas again. Following them was a skinny woman wearing lots of green and red clothing and big hoop earrings. Like Lucas' father, she was blonde but had some red streaks in her hair. She was wearing a spiked cross necklace and some flashy rings with bright gems in the middle. She was no older than 30.

    “Lucas!” she said excitedly.
    “Aunt Gina!” he said just as excited as she was.
    “Hi honey! Merry Christmas,” she said as he hugged him.
    “Thanks, you too,” he said.
    “And who is this handsome young man?” she asked looking at me.
    “That's the guy I told you about Gina,” he said.
    “Oh Aaron!” she said as she pulled me into a hug as well, “It's so good to finally meet you.”
    “Thanks,” I said, “Good to meet you too.”
    “Lucas has told me so-o-o-o-o much about you,” she said, “I must say he's cuter than you said he was Lucas.”
    I blushed and chuckled, “I know that's not true.”
    “Oh but it is,” she said, “You're a very pretty boy.”
    “I've never been called pretty before,” I said with a smile.
    “Well it's true,” Lucas said wrapping his arm around my waist.
    “Lucas dear,” she said, “Would you take the twins back outside and make sure they haven't had the chance to bury any of the other children in the snow?”
    “Yeah sure Gina,” he said chuckling as he grabbed the twins in his arms and walked toward the back door.
    “Aaron,” she said as she put her hands on my shoulders., “I just want to let you know that you've made Lucas such a happy young man. Before he met you he was in a really dark place, and you've changed him somehow. I just want you to know that if you were going to try anything to get me to like you, you've already done it.”
    “Thanks ma'am,” I said.
    “Oh please call me Aunt Gina or Na-na or anything else besides ma'am,” she said.
    “Okay Aunt Gina,” I said smiling.
    “But I'm serious,” she said, “The boy I just saw was someone I haven't seen in a very long time. He's been very depressed for a long time. The day he met you I noticed an instant change in him. Whatever you've done, you've made him happy again and that's all I could ever ask from you.”
    “I love him very much,” I said smiling.
    “That's good enough for me,” she said, “Come let me introduce you to the rest of the family. Beware of Jackie though... for lack of a better term she's a major bitch. Don't make too much eye contact with her and let Lucas deal with her two daughters.”

    I did as I was told when I was introduced to Aunt Jackie. I smiled my biggest smile and shook her hand gently. After her I met her husband Hank who seemed like a very passive man (which is Lucas' explanation for why she's such a bitch; she can get away with anything), Uncle Roy who was a borderline alcoholic and having a staring contest with the chest full of beers, his wife Elaine who was quiet and sat at the window watching the children play in the snow, Uncle Bob who smelled like cigarettes and urine, his wife Patty who was the source of the cigarette smell, Aunt Francis who was just as colorful in personality as Gina, her husband Carl who was nowhere near colorful, Aunt Bridget whose only feature that stood out to me was the gap in her teeth, and her husband Jack who was too invested in the football game on TV to say more than two words to me.

    Last, but certainly not least was Grandma Harper. She was a wonderful woman who took to me instantly and asked me to help her stir the dumpling batter. Of all people, she made me feel the most welcome. Like Gina, she had seen how happy Lucas was around me and loved me unconditionally for doing so.

    There were way too many kids for me to remember. The ones who stood out most were Jackie's daughters. Audrey was 14 and Brianna was 17. They were both really really moody towards me and before I could say two words to them, Lucas held out a couple tampons and a box of Midol to them and said he had come prepared for them this time. They instantly shut up and went about their business shooting dark looks at Lucas and I. He told me to ignore them, so I did.

    After about an hour of hanging out with the kids outside, tossing a couple snowballs at each other, and building a snowman with the twins, Lucas and I went inside to sit by the fireplace and warm up before dinner. When dinner was called, all the kids sat at the big table in the kitchen, and all the adults plus Lucas, Kyle, Audrey, Brianna, and I sat in the dining room. We all sat and Lucas was the one who said grace this year. I could feel his hand tighten around mine when he said, “Lord we thank you for everything you've blessed us with this year, and we hope to continue to be blessed by you in the years to come.” When he was finished I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. His hand was on my thigh under the table for most of the meal.

    After dessert the kids all piled into the large family room around the tree. Lucas and Kyle played “Santa” and passed the gifts out to everyone. I was shocked when I received two gifts. One from Lucas' parents and one from Gina. I wasn't expecting any at all and was incredibly thankful for everything this day had given me. I had indeed found where I belonged.

    * * *

    On the car ride home, I fell asleep with my head on Lucas' shoulder. Our hands were entangled when I woke up. We were about halfway back to his house and his dad needed to stop and get gas. We got out of the car and stretched in the crisp cold air of the night. He took my hands in his and the smile on his face glowed in the night. I don't think he ever stopped smiling that entire day. Neither had I.

    When we got home, Lucas and I went straight upstairs to take a nice hot bath together. I settled into his chest once again and almost fell asleep there. His arms were wrapped tightly around me and his face was nestled into my neck as he gently kissed me every few seconds. My hands met his around my chest and I held him as he held onto me. I never wanted to let go.

    But we had to. Lucas' toes were getting raisined and he wanted to get out of the water. We got out and dried off and headed back into his bedroom. We were sitting on his bed watching something on TV. I didn't know what because my attention was focused completely on him. His touch, his scent, his aura; anything that made me feel warmer in the cold night.

    He stood up to go to the bathroom after about 30 minutes and was gone for longer than he should have been. I was about to go check on him when the door opened and he stood there in the doorway with nothing on but a big blue bow covering his crotch. His smile beamed in the semi-dark room as he stood there with his hands on his hips. I smiled back at him.

    “I have one last present for you,” he said still smiling.
    “Oh really?” I asked as I walked over towards him, “It looks big.”
    “It's heavy too,” he said.

    I wrapped my arms around him and linked my hands on his back just above his ass. He pressed his gift up against me and kissed my lips gently. Slowly, I backed up and pulled him toward the bed. I spun him around and pushed him backwards to sit down on the edge of the bed. There, I got on my knees and slowly unwrapped my present. There was a big smile on his face as I pulled the string away from his cock. Not long after I pulled it away, his cock sprang to life and quickly hardened.

    I took off my shirt and threw it behind Lucas. With a smile on my face I moved my hands to his ankles and lightly grazed his skin. I went from his ankles to his legs and slid them slowly upward until I reached his thighs. I moved my face to where my left hand was and lifted it away. I replaced my hand with a light kiss, and then did the same for the thigh my left hand was on.

    My fingers closed around his shaft and he threw his head back with a moan as his hips pushed up into my palm. I put my lips around his head and used my tongue to play with it. His left hand went to the back of my head and started to push me down further on his cock. His gasps for air and moans of pleasure filled the silence as he thrust his hips up toward my face. I put my hands on his back just above his ass and pulled him forward more. I moved my hands to his chest and made him lean back a little and pushed his legs upward.

    With my mouth still on his cock, I moved my left hand to play gently with his balls and my right hand played with his exposed asshole. I slipped a finger inside and he moaned a deep growl that seemed almost like a lion. All three sensations had him cumming in my mouth in no time. I could feel his balls pulsing and his cock began to swell in my mouth. His final moan started with another growl that turned into a long pleasured groan as his cock erupted. I pulled my lips off and let him spray all over my face and chest.

    He looked at me and laughed when he was finished. He pulled me into a standing position and began cleaning me up with his tongue. He licked every part of me, even parts that weren't covered in his juice, and then pulled me in to kiss him. His kiss went from my lips to my chest and started to descend toward my jeans, but he stopped. He reached over and pulled out a condom and lube from his nightstand.

    “Now that's hardly fair,” I said.
    “It's for you,” he said.
    “What?” I asked.
    “I want you to be the top tonight,” he said, “That's my last gift for you.”
    “Oh Luke I don't know,” I said, “I enjoy being the bottom.”
    “Please?” he asked, “I want to do this for you.”
    I leaned in and kissed him, “Okay.”

    He placed the condom and lube on the bed next to him and pulled me closer to him. With his teeth, he unbuttoned and unzipped my jeans. He hooked his fingers under the waistband of my boxers and pushed both of them to the floor. When I stepped out of them, he pulled me on top of him and started kissing me all over. He backed up to the pillows and made himself comfortable. I ripped open the condom wrapper with my teeth and Lucas pulled it out of my hand.

    I closed my eyes when he rolled it onto my cock and let out a sigh when I felt the cold lube being applied to my shaft. When I opened my eyes, I saw him with his fingers in his hole putting lube on the inside. Then he gave me a smile and a wink and put his hand around the back of my neck and pulled me closer. I guided my cock to his hole and slowly pushed the head in. He threw his head back again and moaned as I slowly pushed in. Inch by inch he let out multiple groans.

    “How far in are you?” he grunted.
    “About half way,” I said, “You need me to stop?”
    “No keep going.”

    He let out several grunts as I pushed myself further in. This feeling was incredible. He was so tight and warm; the sensations on my cock were indescribable. But the look on his face was even better. He had this look of pure pleasure on his face; it was as if there were no pain at all. But I knew there was, so I was gentle until he told me to do otherwise. I wish I had taken a picture of his face when my balls touched his ass. He looked so proud and happy with himself, while still feeling the pleasure of me pushing inside of him.

    “Go harder,” he grunted.
    “But Luke...”
    “No,” he gasped, “Harder.”

    I did as I was told and pulled out slowly, but pushed back in harder. Lucas' face showed only pleaure from my quick thrusts. Faster and faster I pounded his ass. He had to stuff a pillow in his face to keep from screaming out in ecstasy. Lucas pulled the pillow off his face and pulled me down to kiss him deeply and passionately. Our moans filled each others' throats as I felt myself getting close. Lucas then stopped me, kept my cock in his hole, and flipped over onto all fours. He signaled me to keep going.

    I wrapped my arms around his torso and pressed my chest up against his back as he stuffed his face back into the pillow. He flexed his ass around my cock and sent me into a frenzy. I felt my balls tighten and my cock throb as I was nearing my final thrusts. I let go of his body and sat up as I forced my hips into his ass as hard as I could as my cock erupted deep inside him. Both of us let out a simultaneous groan after the final slam and we both collapsed.

    I pulled myself out of him and he turned over underneath me. He told me to sit up and when I did, he pulled the condom off of me and cleaned all the cum off my cock. When he was done, we got up and quietly went across the hall to the bathroom to take a quick shower together. He had a smile on his face the entire time. When we got back into bed, he hugged me tightly and kissed me gently.

    “No wonder you like that so much,” he said, “That was incredible.”
    “And you were tough,” I said, “I couldn't have handled that much my first time. Didn't it hurt?”
    “Only a little at first,” he said, “Then it was a really good hurt. And when I looked into your eyes, it all went away, and all I felt was you.”
    “I love you,” I said.
    “I love you too,” he said with a kiss.
    “Oh before I forget,” he said, “Travis invited us to spend New Year's Eve at the cabin next week.”
    “That sounds like a lot of fun,” I said softly.
    “You can call Mike and Carly in the morning and tell them they're invited too,” he said.
    “Oh great!” I said.

    He kissed my cheek and I cuddled into him as our breathing and hearts slowed. I fell asleep with a big smile on my face.

    Yeah... this is definitely where I belong.
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  2. #252
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Awesome chapter, ITC. What a wonderful Christmas. And isn't that what it's all about, Love. Such a romantic story and I'm jealous...lol Sounds like New Years if going to be a fun time with all the friends together.

    Craiger

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    I, too, am jealous of their love...

    Touching and uplifting chapter, ITC . Amazing as always.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,
    Christmas in April - and what a wonderful Christmas it was, too.

    Welcome to my family, Aaron - heartfully reinforced by Luke's parents, aunts, grandparents.

    This was a phenomenal "chapter" (or three, lol).

    Thanks, so much, for sharing it with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  5. #255
    HUGS! ;-)
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC ...

    THAT was simply, and purely, AWESOME!! !!!

    THANK YOU!!

    Keep smilin'!!
    Chaz
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Quote Originally Posted by DonQuixote View Post
    Christmas in April - and what a wonderful Christmas it was, too.
    I originally intended to have this part of the story out before this last Christmas... unfortunately life got in the way and made it much harder to write this story. I wish I could have kept the timeline of the story in line with the seasons but when life gives you lemons...

    Unfortunately my lemons were rotted at the time and were in no condition to make lemonade with.

    I'm really glad you all enjoyed this chapter cause I really enjoyed writing it

    Depending on how much I enjoy writing the next chapter, it should be up by this time next week.

    Much love,
    - ITC
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Thanks ITC, wonderful chapter, a nice family Christmas!!
    Aaron and Lucas certainly enjoyed it!
    So now to the cabin again for our little group of friends!
    Hugs
    Harry

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Beautiful chapter, ITC. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for the update!

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Hey guys! So it's been a wonderful week. I've spent a lot of time with my friends and school is almost over!! I can't wait to start relaxing. Anyway, here's the next chapter.


    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Eighteen:
    Full of Surprises


    “Aaron come here for a minute!”

    I set my laptop on the coffee table and walked from the living room into the media room where Lucas was sitting at the desk with his own laptop. I walked up behind him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders while kissing his neck. He sighed softly and moved his hands up to mine and twisted around to kiss my lips. He caught me by surprise with how urgent and passionate his kiss was which caused me to end it a little earlier than I wanted.

    “Look at this,” he said.

    I moved closer to his laptop screen to look at the site he had pulled up in his browser. He had dozens of pictures of different apartments open in tabs in his window and as I scrolled through them there was only one thing on my mind.

    “Luke, all of these are too big,” I said, “We don't need that much space.”
    “But they're all cheaper than the dorm rooms,” he said, “And we'd still have enough money for meals.”
    “Your parents are paying for our meals too?” I asked.
    “Honestly it was their idea,” he said, “They told me to find an apartment cheaper than the dorm plan and we could use the left over money for personal use.”
    “I can't let them do that for us,” I said.
    “Well you can try to talk my dad out of it Aaron, but it's like arguing with a wall.”
    “I just don't want to feel like they're spoiling me,” I said.
    “Well get used to it Aaron,” he said as he stood from the chair and put his hands on my hips, “Because I am gonna spoil you until the day I die.”
    “Luke you don't have to do that,” I said, “Besides it kinda makes me feel...”
    “What?” he asked after I paused.
    “Well when you buy me expensive things and take me out to expensive meals... it kinda feels like you're rubbing it in my face.”
    “Aaron... No,” he said, “No that's not what I'm doing. I swear.”
    “I know you wouldn't do it on purpose Luke,” I said, “But I just don't like it when you wave your money around in my face.”

    I pulled away from him and went to sit in the recliner facing the big T.V. with my arms crossed over my chest. He walked over and knelt down next to the chair I was sitting in. He pulled my hand away from me and held between his hands.

    “Aaron, did it occur to you that I want to do nice things for you?” he asked.
    “No... not really,” I said.
    “I love you,” he said, “All I ask from you is to let me show you how much I love you. And if that means spending a few extra bucks then I don't care.”
    “Luke I don't know,” I said, “It's just different... You grew up this way; you're used to having money.”
    “Stop,” he said putting a finger to my lips, “I don't want this to be an issue with us Aaron, but I'm not gonna stop treating you the way you deserve to be treated. So you're just gonna have to get used to the fact that I want to spend money on you and show you exactly what you mean to me.”

    I smiled at him. I knew there was no way I would be able to convince him to stop treating me the way he wanted to. I would just have to deal with it and let my boy give me gifts and spoil me rotten. I mean, who would really complain about that? We kept looking at different apartments after that and an hour later we settled on one that we loved that was only about two blocks away from campus.

    Afterward we both went upstairs and packed up some things for the night at the cabin. We goofed around a little while doing so. Every now and then we'd exchange this look. I can't really describe it, but I knew something was on his mind. I had seen that look for a couple of days now and it was starting to worry me, but I knew he would eventually tell me when he was ready for me to know. I just smiled at him and continued packing.

    When I had finished putting all the clothes I wanted into my bag, I went back downstairs to the living room and grabbed my laptop. Before I could turn around, I felt his hands come around my waist and his body press up against my back. He kissed the back of my head softly and his scent flew up to my nose. I closed my eyes and smiled while I felt his arms with my hands and let out a soft sigh.

    “No PDA please,” Kyle said from the kitchen.

    We both jumped when we heard him. Apparently neither of us had seen him when we walked in but he had a perfect view of Lucas rubbing himself up against me. We both smiled embarrassingly at him and went back upstairs together.

    When we got to his bedroom, I plugged my laptop into it's charger and sat on the bed fiddling with the Rubik's Cube Aunt Gina gave me. I wasn't very good at it and could only get one side at a time. Unfortunately that always messed up the one side I already had. It frustrated the hell out of me but Lucas found my methods to solving the puzzle quite amusing. Every time I would get a side, then look at the side I had before and let out a grunt, Lucas would giggle softly to himself.

    After the third or fourth unsuccessful solution, I gave up and set it on the nightstand with a groan of exasperation. Lucas just sat there snickering to himself.

    “Do you have any idea how adorable you are?” he asked.
    “Buzz off meathead,” I said standing up from the bed.
    “Ooh someone's got a sharp tongue tonight,” he said.
    “You wanna see a sharp tongue?” I asked sarcastically.
    “Bring it on,” he said with a grin.

    I jumped onto the bed and straddled his chest, pinning his arms to his side with my hands. As he struggled beneath me, I leaned forward and licked the side of his face. He started laughing as I smiled down on him and he stuck his tongue out at me. I leaned forward again but this time, I kissed his cheek softly and moved my right hand to the side of his face. He stopped struggling and a big smile stretched across his face.

    “I love you so much,” he said.
    “I love you more,” I whispered.
    “Promise we'll always be like this,” he said.
    “Like what?” I asked as I sat up.
    He placed his hands on my thighs and said, “Like best friends, only better.”
    “I promise,” I said with a grin.

    He looked over at the clock and I followed his gaze. It was after 11:30 already and we had to be up at 6:00 in the morning. With a sigh he locked his hazel eyes onto mine and gave a weak smile.

    “We should probably wash up and get some sleep,” he said.
    “Yeah I think you're right,” I said.

    I got off of him and took his hand to lift him up off the bed. Hand in hand, we walked down the hallway to the bathroom for a quick shower together. He held onto me the entire time as he washed both of us. His hands explored my entire body and he smiled when his hands rubbed my cock with soap. I leaned forward and kissed his smile. His lips encased mine as we let the water run over our heads and wash the suds away.

    When we were both thoroughly clean and Lucas was satisfied with his explorations, he turned off the water and pulled some towels off the rack for us. I was drying my torso when he wrapped his towel around my neck and pulled me forward to push his lips against mine. When he pulled away he tossed my hair with his hand and smiled at me.

    It was just after midnight when we finally climbed into bed together. I pushed myself up against his side and he wrapped his arm around my shoulders. He rested his cheek against my hair and kissed the top of my head lightly. I quickly fell asleep in his arms.

    * * *

    Lucas was standing in front of me. I didn't know where we were, but we were high up. I could overlook the entire town from our vantage point. I had my side to the ledge and I faced him trying not to look down. I reached out to grab his hand, but he moved away. I fell forward and hit the ground. I looked back up to look him in the eyes and ask him why he left me.

    But he wasn't there. I stood back up and looked around for him. It was as if he disappeared completely, but his presence still surrounded me. I called out for him, but no response came. It was dark and I was alone, even though I didn't feel alone. I didn't know why Lucas left, but he was gone. I sat down against the wall and cried softly.

    I felt his hand on my shoulder and my eyes opened up.

    “Hey we're almost there,” he said, “You awake.”

    I looked around as I was coming out of my dream. My brain took a second to make the transition from the dream to this reality. There was a tear falling from my right eye, but Lucas couldn't see it because I was faced away from him. I wiped it away and turned myself over and put the seat back in the upright position. Other cars were going past us on the highway. Lucas was pulled over on the side of the road at a rest stop.

    “Where are we?” I asked.
    “About 20 minutes away, but I really have to piss,” he said, “I didn't want to wake you but I didn't want to freak you out if you woke up and I was gone.”
    How ironic.
    “Okay,” I said, “Go ahead, I'll wait here.”
    “Be right back,” he said as he kissed my cheek.

    He was out of the car and running to the bathroom at lightning speed. When he was our of sight, I let the lingering sadness from my dream wash over me and I cried a little while waiting for him to come back. It was at that moment I realized how much I really needed Lucas; how much I loved him. I wiped up my tears and seconds later he was walking out of the bathroom and back towards the car. He got in and pulled back onto the highway.

    “You can go back to sleep,” he said.
    “No I'm awake,” I said, “I'm good.”
    “Okay,” he said, “Music?”
    “Yeah sure,” I said pulling out my CD case.

    I pulled out the CD Lucas made for me and popped it into the player. The first song, which didn't surprise me, was Wings of a Butterfly by H.I.M. I smiled at Lucas when the song started and he blushed a little.

    “You would make this song the first track,” I said.
    “Well of course,” he said as he turned slightly serious, “It's the song that brought you back to me.”

    I put my hand on his which was placed on the gearshift. I was smiling at him the rest of the way as the CD shuffled through several songs that Lucas and I listened to together. We were listening to Emergency by Paramore when we pulled up the dirt road that lead to Travis' cabin. It was about lunch time and I could feel my stomach grumbling.

    “I hope Kelsey isn't making lunch again,” I said.
    “She and Travis broke up,” he said.
    “What?” I asked, “When?”
    “Just after Christmas,” he said, “Remember he graduated this semester. He's moving to Vegas. He got a job as part of surveillance at the MGM hotel and she didn't think they could work out a long distance relationship.”
    “Oh wow,” I said, “Why didn't you tell me?”
    “I thought you knew,” he said, “I thought Travis would have told you.”
    “No he didn't,” I said, “He told you?”
    “No, Cherilyn did,” he said.
    “Oh of course,” I said.
    “Sorry,” he said, “I really thought you knew.”
    “Is he okay?” I asked.
    “He's tough,” he said, “He'll get through it.”

    We had parked by now and were sitting in the car. The engine was running but the radio was off. There was a little bit of silence between us, but it wasn't awkward. We just sat there enjoying the view of the lake and the light snow around us. With a satisfied sigh, Lucas finally opened his door and stepped out into the crisp air. It wasn't as cold as it had been all week, but it was still pants and thick jacket weather. I pulled my coat on and stepped out of the car as well.

    He grabbed my hand when I met him at the front of the car and we walked together up to the front door. He knocked three times in a vertical line. That was the first time I noticed that he had picked up my signature knock. His was a little rougher and not as fast as mine. He had made it a mixture between both of ours. It was as if he were telling people “We're both here.”

    Cherilyn opened the door and greeted us both with a big hug. I saw Carly and Mike standing behind her smiling.

    “We have a big surprise for you Aaron,” Carly said.
    “What is it?” I asked.
    “Come inside,” she said grabbing my hand.

    She pushed me through the house to the entertainment room. Her hand wrapped around the doorknob and pushed it open.

    “Carly,” I said, “What's going...”
    “Hey Aaron,” a voice said cutting me off.

    I spun around to see who the voice had come from. I looked right into the dark brown eyed, short dark haired face of Henry.

    “Oh my God,” I said stunned.

    I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him close to me. I started crying on his shoulder and he started crying too.

    “I missed you,” I said.
    “I missed you too buddy,” he said.
    “What are you doing here?” I asked as I pulled away from him and wiped my eyes.
    “I got home the other day,” he said, “Carly and Mike welcomed me home but when I asked where you were they said you were spending Christmas with Lucas.”
    “Yeah,” I said with a sigh.
    “I'm sorry Aaron,” he said, “I fucked up big time.”
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “Everything I did... it really messed everything up. I couldn't even be there for Christmas. You depended on me and I failed you.”
    “Don't say that,” I said, “Henry it's not your fault.”
    “But it is,” he said, “And I'm sorry for the things I said.”
    “No,” I said, “That wasn't you. I know that wasn't you.”
    “It was part of me,” he said.
    “I don't care,” I said hugging him again, “I'm just glad you're back.”
    “It's good to be back,” he said.

    Lucas walked into the room when we separated from the hug. I re-introduced the two of them and they shook hands. The change in Henry from when I last saw him was incredible. He wasn't the same person anymore. He wasn't even the guy I knew before he started using. He had gone back to being the guy I met in high school. He was happy, and he was carefree. And so was I.

    When I met Henry, I was a skinny kid. I was weak, defenseless, and always being picked on by a group of kids. I wasn't bullied or anything, but I was an outcast from them. They thought of themselves as the popular kind, but everyone thought they were just douchebags. Henry was part of that group. I met him in my Freshman English class while we were working on an assignment in the School Library. One of his friends took my notes out of my hands and tried to antagonize me. But before I could even respond, Henry was already pushing the fat lug over and retrieving my papers for me.

    After that, I had a whole new respect for him. He dropped his friends and joined Carly and I in our crusade through high school. I had never really thought about it, but Carly was right. I never actually looked at anyone during high school. I had tried so hard to fly under the radar and look plain and average, that I suppressed everything I actually wanted. I wanted so badly to be mundane and normal, that I started to believe there was nothing different about me.

    And Lucas was right too. Back when we were writing our papers for Psychology, when he wrote about my need to push people away because of my mother. He was right. I was systematically pushing everyone in my life away from me to prove that I was able to do things on my own. But ever since Lucas helped me tear down that wall, I had changed back to the kid I was before high school.

    In summary, both Henry and I were back to who we were when we met. The one major difference now was that I had freed myself from the fear of being noticed. If Henry knew about Lucas and I, he didn't show it. We had left the entertainment room and Henry, Carly, Mike, and I were all sitting around talking about nothing in particular. Henry excused himself for a moment and walked out the back door. I followed him a minute later.

    “Hey,” I said, “Is everything okay?”
    “I was gonna ask you the same thing,” he said with a chuckle.
    “Well we always could read each others' minds,” I said.
    “Not anymore,” he said softly.
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “Are you gonna tell me or do I have to ask?” he asked.
    “You lost me bud,” I said.
    “About Lucas,” he said.
    “Oh... right,” I said, “Do you know?”
    “Carly told me all about it,” he said, “Why didn't you tell me before?”
    “I didn't know before Henry,” I said, “I was hiding it from everyone, even myself.”
    “I don't understand,” he said.
    “I don't really understand it either,” I said.
    “Well Carly's been bragging about it since she found out,” he said, “She said she knew from the moment she met you.”
    “What do you think about it?” I asked. The question stung my throat a little as it came out.
    “I'm okay with it,” he said with a smile, “I never thought you would be but now that you are, it's okay.”
    “Are you?” I asked.
    “Am I what?”
    I widened my eyes at him.
    “Oh... oh no I'm not,” he said, “But if I was I'd totally do you.”

    We both started laughing like crazy; like old times. While we were in hysterics, Lucas came walking through the door.

    “Hey I made us a couple sandwiches for lunch,” he said.
    “Thanks Luke,” I said, “We'll be right in.”

    I leaned forward and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Henry shied away from our PDA and gave a little awkward cough. When Lucas went back inside, I turned back toward Henry and looked at him with a smile. He smiled awkwardly and looked away.

    “It's gonna take some time to get used to that,” he said.
    “Don't worry Henry,” I said, “It'll get easier to see.”
    “Good,” he said, “Now let's go inside I'm starving.”

    * * *

    POP!

    Lucas had the champagne bottle in his hand as the cork flew across the room and hit Cherilyn in the back of the head.

    “Bullseye!” he yelled laughing.
    “Fuckin a-hole,” she said.
    “Whoa droppin' an F-bomb, look out below!” Lucas said.

    As he made a falling whistle, he poured the champagne into several glasses on the counter. It was ten minutes to midnight and we were watching the TV waiting for the ball to drop. Lucas had packed a bunch of noisemakers and everyone had one in their hand as they grabbed a glass. I had some of those little things that made a loud popping noise when you pulled the string and a bunch of streamers came flying out like fireworks that I was saving to use on Carly once all the noise settled down.

    By the time everyone had what they wanted, it was five minutes till. We were standing around the front room, Lucas and I standing together behind the couch with our arms linked. I was staring at the TV screen waiting impatiently. This was the first time I had celebrated the new year with more than one person. But what I was really excited for was my midnight kiss with Lucas. We were going to enter the new year with the most romantic kiss in the room.

    Two minutes. My heart started racing in my chest. Lucas must have sensed my anxiety and pulled me closer to him. I lost myself in his scent.

    Thirty seconds. I was losing my mind with excitement. I stared at Lucas with a big smile on my face. The Ball slowly started descending as the crowd on TV started counting down.

    10...
    9...
    8...
    7...
    6...

    We joined in.

    “Five!” Carly shouted.
    “Four!” came from Henry.
    “Three!” Cherilyn squealed.
    “Two!” Mike yelled.
    “One!” we all said in unison.

    And without warning, Mike grabbed Carly's hand and bent down on one knee. We all froze when the crowd shouted “Happy New Year!” and Mike pulled out a case and opened it to reveal his engagement ring. The room was silent.

    “Carly,” he said, “As of this moment we've been together for five years. In those five years you've shown me how annoying and demanding you can really be. You clawed your way into my heart and you refused to leave. And even though you nag me to no end and your irritating habits made me want to rip off my arm just to have something to throw at you, I wouldn't want to spend another second without you because I love you too much to be annoyed by you anymore. You have made me so happy in the past five years and I would rather die that spend one second without you in my life. Will you marry me?”

    Suddenly he became aware of all of us staring at him. But he didn't back down. She was staring at him in shock; we all were. It seemed like an eternity before she found her voice again. She dropped to her knees with tears in her eyes and pulled him into her body and kissed him with all the strength and passion in her body. And to think, I thought Lucas and I would be the romantic ones that night. When the kiss finally broke they were both smiling widely.

    “Is that a yes?” he asked.
    “That's a hell yes!” she squealed.

    Mike gently pushed the ring onto her finger. I was crying now too. I was so happy for the two of them, I couldn't help it. I felt Lucas squeeze my hand and I looked over at him. He was smiling with tears in his eyes as well. Henry walked over to Mike and gave him a pat on the back and gave Carly a hug. With our hands held tightly together, Lucas and I went over and I hugged Carly as well. She squealed with delight and hugged me tightly.

    “Please don't kill each other,” I said with a grin on my face.
    She kissed my cheek and said, “I promise.”

    When I let go of her, she immediately went back to Mike and they kissed passionately again. We all kind of diverted our attention when I saw Travis chugging his glass of champagne. Whether it was his first glass or his third, I couldn't tell.

    * * *

    The excitement died down a little as Lucas and I downed our fourth glass of champagne. Travis had gone to bed a while ago. It was about 2:00 in the morning and Lucas and I were dancing to some slow music. I couldn't tell you what it was, I was too buzzed to actually hear it. The only thing my mind was on was the feeling of his body pressed against mine. I had my arms wrapped around his back and my face resting on his shoulder. He held me close to him as we danced, well more stumbled around than danced.

    I have no idea when we finally made it upstairs, but we didn't even change out of our clothes. We both collapsed onto the bed in each others' arms and fell asleep that way. The only thing I was sure of before falling asleep was that I was smiling. I hadn't stopped smiling all day. And nothing feels better than to fall asleep in the arms of the person you love.

    * * *

    Waking up was another story. The moment my eyes popped open my head was slamming and pulsing with a pain unlike anything I've ever felt. I let out a loud groan of pain while I sat up and looked over at Lucas. His hand was pressed against his forehead and he was groaning as well.

    “No talking please,” he whispered.
    “Why?” I whispered.
    “Do you not see the diesel truck sitting on my head?” he whispered.
    I chuckled lightly and whispered, “Do you want some coffee?”
    “Please,” he groaned.

    I got up and walked out the door and downstairs. There was already a big pot of coffee brewing but when I walked into the kitchen, Cherilyn was just turning on the blender. The sound was like a hammer slamming on the giant church bell that was my headache. I groaned loudly and threw my arms over my ears. She shut off the blender and giggled at me.

    “Sorry,” she said clearly finding amusement out of my pain. She handed me a glass full of something pink and said, “Drink this, you'll feel better.”
    “What's in it?” I asked.
    “You don't wanna know!” she said with a smile, “Drink up!”

    I nearly vomited the first time it touched my tongue but held it down and eventually drank the whole glass. She was right, it did make my head stop hurting significantly. I thanked her while grabbing two mugs of coffee and a glass of that disgusting hangover shit for Lucas. Carly passed me in the hallway with a groan of pain and I stopped her with my elbow.

    “Might wanna get your earplugs if you're going down there,” I said, “Unless you want to know real hangover pain.”
    “Thanks for the warning,” she said.

    I walked back into our room and saw that Lucas was sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. He looked up when I opened the door and smiled weakly.

    “Is that Lynn's hangover cure?” he asked.
    “Yup,” I said.
    “Give!” he said anxiously.

    Despite it's disgusting taste, he downed the whole thing in four gulps. With a satisfied “Ahh,” he reached for the coffee mug I held in my hand. I gave it to his greedy hands and sat next to him. We both sipped at our coffee for a while enjoying the silence and the occasional groan from downstairs as Cherilyn prepared another glass of her miracle slop. I didn't even realize that Lucas' hand was around my waist until he spoke.

    “Did you have fun last night?” he asked.
    “Tons,” I said with a smile, “All thanks to you.”
    “No, thanks to Travis,” he said.
    “Speaking of... I'm kinda worried about him,” I said.
    “Why?” he asked.
    “He didn't seem to really want to be here last night. He was really closed off,” I said.
    “He's probably just trying to deal with the breakup,” he said, “Don't worry about him. He'll be fine.”
    “I hope you're right,” I said.

    His arm came around my waist.

    “So you haven't said anything about Henry,” he said, “How is everything?”
    “Good,” I said, “It's just like old times actually.”
    “And how is he about...”
    “What?”
    “Us...”
    “Oh,” I said, “He's kinda uncomfortable with it but he said he's gonna try to be okay with it.”
    “That's good,” he said, “You know what that means right?”
    “No...”
    “It means,” he said as he leaned in to kiss my neck softly, “That there is no one who disapproves of us.”
    “Oh you're right,” I said grinning at him.
    “I love you so much Aaron,” he said.
    I got up and stood in front of him, “I love you so much more Lucas. Don't ever doubt that.”
    “I won't as long as you don't,” he said.
    “I never will. I couldn't imagine my life without you.”

    I really couldn't...
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  10. #260
    JerJer91
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    DAMN! I thought it would have been Lucas Popping the question. It was a good chapter anyway. Keep up the great work and we'll be waiting anxiously for it.

    Jer-Jer

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,
    It was a great New Year's Party.

    It's great to see Henry back to his Old Old Self.

    I'm glad someone has a miracle cure for a mother of all hangovers.
    There have been a few times I could have used one.

    Thanks for sticking with us and sharing your wonderful talents and imagination with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Hey ITC,
    I haven't had as exciting a New Years as that for a long time. I like that Henry has reappeared and I'm sure he will be OK with Lucas and Aaron. However, I am a bit worried about Aaron and his dreams. There still seems to be a little apprehension and anxiety hidden within his psyche. Of course the many things he has gone through in the past have obviously taken their toll. Great chapter!

    Craiger

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC, great chapter. I love that Henry's back. I think he'll come round to accepting Lucas, and I doubt it'll take long.

    My New Years' was similar. Except I woke up on the floor instead of in a bed. But I did have a New Years kiss with a fit guy, so 's all good.
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

  14. #264

    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Wonderful chapter, ITC. And I too am thrilled that Henry is back. Also thrilled about Carly's engagement. They are basically the only "family" Aaron has, so it's great that everything is going well.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Hey guys, so my laptop's video card died last night and my laptop is no longer usable. Stupid me did NOT back up what I had written of the next chapter so far so now I have to start all over again. Sorry for the delay =/

    Much love,
    - ITC
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Quote Originally Posted by inthecloset View Post
    Hey guys, so my laptop's video card died last night and my laptop is no longer usable. Stupid me did NOT back up what I had written of the next chapter so far so now I have to start all over again. Sorry for the delay =/

    Much love,
    - ITC
    Ah man, I know what that's like...
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

  17. #267

    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Ouch! Good luck with that ITC.

  18. #268
    Porn Star Matt89's Avatar
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Great story! Keep it up.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Sorry to hear that, ITC. Any chance you can pop the HDD out and plug it into the PC you're using just long enough to get what you need?

    Just a thought.
    May not be compatible, though.

    Good luck.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Nah DQ, the laptop Drive won't work with the desktop I'm using and you need a specific piece of equipment to convert it. Very sad that I lost so much stuff though
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    How about a repair shop moving it to a memory stick for you?

    Are you getting the laptop fixed? If not, hold onto the drive from it - you might be able to have them move things over to whatever you use in replacement for a not unreasonable fee.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Yeah currently working on that right now. It's gonna take a while.
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Okay I need someone who can proofread my chapters for me. The person who usually did it has gotten into a bit of a bind with his personal life and hasn't had much time to catch up on my story. Is there anyone who would like to volunteer? Keep in mind this may get a bit confusing as the longer a chapter goes unposted, the more likely it is for me to add, change, or remove sections of the story and can give away major plot twists and conclusions as the story progresses. If you have no issue with these conditions, please send me a private message and we'll talk. I really want you to be certain of this decision as I know how much seeing a chapter in advance can really ruin the story for someone.
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Alright I just want to give a big thank you to Anonymous for proofing this chapter for me. You really saved my neck buddy. I was freaking out about this chapter when my friend told me he wasn't going to have time to check it for me. I really appreciate your help!

    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Nineteen:
    Home Is Where You Make It

    The sounds of Lucas crying softly in the darkness stirred me from my sleep. I turned my head to see him sitting up in bed with his head in his hands. I lifted my palm and pressed it gently against his bare back. He jumped a little when he realized I had heard him. I sat up beside him and put my arm around his shoulders. His eyes were red and puffy and he tried to avoid my gaze.

    “What's wrong?” I whispered.
    “Nothing,” he said, “Just a bad dream.”
    “Luke,” I said.
    “I don't want to talk about it, Aaron,” he said, “Just go back to sleep.”
    “But...”
    “I said I don't want to talk,” he said, this time more commanding, “Go back to sleep.”
    He threw the covers off of his legs and walked out of the bedroom. I could hear the bathroom door being opened and shut aggressively down the hall. As I lay back into the pillows I drew a deep breath and tried to ignore what was bothering him. It was nearly impossible. Nothing could make Lucas lash out like that at me. I knew whatever he had dreamed, it was really bad... and it had something to do with us.

    ***

    Lucas wasn't there when I woke up that morning. I got out of bed and went into the bathroom alone, took a shower alone, and got dressed alone. I went downstairs alone and saw him sitting at the kitchen table with his laptop in front of him. Slowly, I approached him from behind. His scent filled my nose when I was a couple feet away from him. My arms gently wrapped themselves around his shoulders. I felt him tense up a little at first but he immediately relaxed.

    We sat there like that for a while, neither of us wanting to speak. I wanted so badly to ask him about what had happened last night, but I knew he would tell me when he was ready. So I waited. I waited for him to be ready and for him to speak first. Our heartbeats synced among the anticipation. The slow thumping in my chest was mirrored by the powerful and calm thumping in his.

    “I'm sorry I snapped at you,” he whispered.
    “It's okay,” I said.
    “No it's not,” he said, “It was uncalled for.”
    “It doesn't matter,” I said.

    I released him and sat in the chair beside him. He took my hands in his and looked me dead in the eye. The look on his face was one I had never seen on him before. He was scared... actually, he was terrified. He was beyond the point of comfort and I knew whatever was going on in his mind, it wasn't good. Then the look I had seen several times over the past couple weeks replaced his look of absolute fear; the one that told me he had something he really wanted to tell me, but still didn't know how exactly he should say it.

    I placed my hand on his cheek and smiled at him as if attempting to comfort him. He pushed his cheek into my palm and took a deep breath. We sat there for a while in another silence until we could hear the footsteps of his parents coming down the stairs. Our reluctance to release our hold on each other was painfully obvious on our faces... but moving day awaited us.

    “You boys got everything packed?” Gary asked when he saw us.
    “Yeah,” Lucas said softly.
    “Everything okay?” Anne asked.
    “Yeah we're fine,” I said matching Lucas' tone.
    “Well we better get the car loaded up,” Gary said with surprising energy.
    “Do you want to take any of your furniture, Lucas?” Anne asked.
    “Aaron says he has a lot of stuff we would need in one of those mobile storage units. It'll be there by the time we get there,” he said.
    “All we need tonight is a bed and maybe a TV,” I said.
    “Well lucky you,” Gary said, “Lucas has both of those in his bedroom. C'mon son, let's go take that bed apart.”

    My excitement of moving into our new apartment was only matched by the excitement of the concert two weeks later. As soon as the bed was in pieces, Lucas and Gary brought it down along with the bedside table, and Kyle carried the TV down with him. We would meet the storage unit at the apartment complex three blocks from campus at five that evening. Lucas estimated that we would be finished moving everything in by nine as long as we had help. Carly and Mike had promised to meet us down there as did Jonathan. The rest didn't have any desire to move into their dorms so early.

    We threw our suitcases into the backseat and loaded everything into the car. Surprisingly everything fit into Lucas' mini SUV, but there wasn't room to lean the front seats back even a little. I promised Lucas I would drive the first shift so he could rest. I knew he hadn't come back to bed at all after his rude awakening early this morning and wouldn't let him protest. When we were strapped in and ready to go, we said our last goodbyes to our family and took off down the California 101 highway.

    As I drove with the music on low volume, I occasionally glanced at Lucas as he slept. He looked so peaceful and beautiful in his sleep. Every now and then he'd smile a little and I'd smile with him. It made me feel better that he was having a nice dream or two. But I still couldn't help but wonder what he had dreamed about the night before. Lucas doesn't cry about much, and nothing could make him snap at me the way he did.

    He stirred in his sleep as we approached Greenfield. His eyes fluttered open and he looked over to me with a smile on his face.

    “Hey sleepyhead,” I said.
    “Hey,” he said, “Wanna switch?”
    “Sure,” I said, “Gotta get gas anyway.”

    I pulled off the highway in Greenfield and into the local cheap gas station next to the exit. When I got out of the car, Lucas was already coming around the front of the car to meet me. He put his arms around my waist and pressed his lips against mine. I felt his tongue pushing against my mouth so I opened to allow it to enter. My own tongue pushed past his and they danced together as I got lost in our kiss. I didn't even notice the truckers staring at us with dirty looks.

    When Lucas pulled away from me he turned around and flipped them the bird with a grin. I laughed at his brazen attitude and went over to the pump. Lucas went inside to pay the cashier and I pushed the pump into the slot and started filling. I wasn't paying attention to anything in particular, but one of the truckers was approaching me. I looked over to the little shop where Lucas was chatting with the cashier. I started to panic a little when the trucker was within ten feet of me.

    “Hey there,” he said.

    He was a round man. He had a beard covering his bubbly face and a mustache stretching across his upper lip and down the sides of his face. He had long oily hair and an unwashed red flannel over-shirt. He had a half smoked cigarette in his mouth and a pack of cigs in his front shirt pocket. He walked closer to me when I ignored his first call.

    “Didya hear me boy?” he asked, “I said 'hey' to you ya little fag.”

    That one hit me deep.

    “What did you just say?” Lucas yelled.

    He came running up next to me and got between me and the round man.

    “Oh look,” the man said, “His girlfriend came to fight fer the little fag.”
    “Say 'fag' again,” Lucas said, “And you'll be sorry.”

    The trucker chuckled under his breath and looked back at his friends standing next to the big rig at the air pump station. He turned back toward Lucas and looked him in the eye with a wide grin on his face. His hand went up in the air and mockingly went limp at Lucas.

    “And just what do you plan to do about it faerie boy?” he said with a lisp.

    Lucas grinned and turned away. The trucker laughed a loud guffaw towards his friends who were laughing like hyena's from their vantage point. I saw Lucas as he faced me with a fire in his eyes. His grin turned into a sneer as he whipped around and his fist flew into the trucker's jaw. The trucker fell flat onto the ground on his back. All the laughter stopped as Lucas looked up towards the men standing at the big rig.

    “Anyone else wanna mess with the fags?” Lucas yelled.

    The men scattered and went over to their own trucks. Lucas smiled and turned back toward me and put his hands on my hips again.

    “What on Earth was that?” I asked.
    “That was me fighting for my boy,” he said kissing me softly.
    “Well yeah but you didn't need to knock his ass out,” I said.
    “Okay, so I showboated a little,” he said with his toothy grin.
    “A little?” I asked glancing at the man who was just pulling himself up from the ground.
    “It's worth it for you,” he said.

    With that, we got back into the car and Lucas drove the rest of the way back to San Luis Obispo where we would meet Carly, Mike, and Jonathan to move into our new apartment and start our new lives together.

    ***

    So here we were. Lucas and I were standing in the small kitchen section of our new apartment. It was big enough to hold a section of counters, a stove, a dishwasher and a fridge, which were all included with the apartment. In my storage unit were all the things my mother left to me after she died. The bank foreclosed on the house and I went to live with Henry. Everything I was able to save went directly into storage. There was a nice coffee table and a crčme colored loveseat for the living room and a matching one seat-er, a few lamps, a spare bed, a desk, my great grandmother's kitchen table and chairs to go with it, and a couple antique bedside tables with a matching cedar chest that my mother left me.

    Carly and Mike showed up shortly after 5:30 and Jonathan was there about 10 minutes later. Lucas and Mike unpacked the car while the rest of us opened the unit and pulled everything out carefully one by one. The couple living next door to us poked their heads out and offered to help. I graciously accepted and learned their names; Jason and Haley. They were in their late twenties and were engaged to be married in August after Jason's parents were able to move to town. After about an hour we had most of the furniture moved into the apartment and Jason and Lucas were like best friends.

    Haley and Carly also hit it off. Once Haley noticed Carly's engagement ring, the both of them were prattling on about wedding plans and what their kids' names were going to be. By 9, everything was inside and ready to be set up. We put the bed together first so Lucas and I would be able to sleep on something that night while Jason and Mike set up the TV Lucas brought so they could catch the end of a football game.

    We left everything else where it was sitting to be put where it belonged later with the exception of our boxes of clothes which were set in the bedroom. The car was completely empty and the unit only had a few things we didn't need left inside. I would call the movers to pick it up and take it to the nearby location in case we decided we needed them someday.

    And so that was that. We were essentially moved in and officially living together.

    Lucas was heating up the pot roast Anne sent with us as a housewarming present while I made a pot of coffee. Carly and Mike were sitting on the loveseat while Jonathan sat on the floor with his laptop on the coffee table. Haley and Jason were cuddled on the one seat-er watching the game. I glanced up at Lucas and smiled at him when I caught his eye. He had his face over a pot of instant mashed potatoes and I chuckled when he took a whiff and smiled.

    “Restaurant quality,” he said with a grin.
    “I'll bet,” I said sarcastically.

    He poked my side playfully and pulled the pot off the stove. I called out to everyone that the food was ready as he shut off the stove. As we sat at the table, Carly and Mike surprised me by having us join hands and have a silent prayer.

    I gave thanks for my new family.

    ***

    After everyone left, Lucas and I took a nice long hot bath together. His fingers were dancing around my arm and tracing every definition of my muscles. Every now and then he'd tickle me a little and I'd let out a soft laugh and he'd return it with a kiss on my cheek. Despite the relaxing environment, I knew something was troubling him. He had sighed about three times in the past twenty seconds and the third one was really deep and rough.

    “Is everything okay?” I asked in a soft whisper.
    “Yeah,” he said, “It's all good.”
    “Then why do you keep sighing?”
    “Oh,” he said with realization, “I didn't even notice.”
    “Well I did,” I said, “Something's bugging you.”
    He remained silent.
    “Is it your dream?” I asked.
    He didn't say anything.
    “Are you ever gonna tell me about it?”
    “Aaron, it's nothing,” he said.
    “It certainly isn't if it's bugging you this much.”
    “Aaron, just please drop it,” he said.

    I could hear the pleading in his voice and decided it was best to not push it. However, I couldn't help but worry and he could sense it. He hugged me closer to him and kissed me softly as if to try and relax me. It wasn't working. It was times like these that reminded me that Lucas and I had only met a few months ago. It was almost halfway through the semester around midterms that we met thanks to the flood of students moving into the dorms after the shooting.

    I guess I should put some things into context for those who don't know about the situation and clear up any confusion for those who do. Rachel Hadfield was a deeply demented girl. The article I read about her in the paper the day after her suicide said that she had several cases of drunken assault and the way she pushed guys that rejected her onto her bisexual brother could almost be classified as prostitution. Something snapped in her mind one day as she attempted to murder a young man named Josh Gordon and his roommate Cameron Davis.

    However, she was unsuccessful and no one who witnessed the attempt saw her face and she tried again. This time was sloppy and unplanned and left four witnesses including Rachel's brother. The article said he tried to talk her down and convince her that she could still take it back. Unfortunately she was too far gone in her psychosis and wouldn't listen to logic so she turned the gun on herself and pulled the trigger over her heart.

    This was early last year around the beginning of the Spring semester during an unseasonably warm January. The school had apparently kept the event covered up for a while with the exception of the newspaper article I read. At the time, the spotlight was shining down on a Philadelphia school where a shooting on grounds shook the internet so the shooting that happened at our school wasn't big news and the school took advantage of this to attempt to keep the story under wraps.

    It was about summertime where the school's administration decided that all students were required to visit a counselor hired by the school for a psych examination to determine whether or not this was an issue they needed to be concerned with. Once this story hit the papers everyone freaked out. The media exploded with stories of a “Murder/Suicide Coverup,” and “What your child's school may be hiding from you.” The school officially released the story to the media and that's why after almost 9 months, people moved into the dorms when they felt threatened.

    Why am I telling you all of this? Well I'm sure someone who knew about the shooting was probably asking themselves why if Rachel killed herself in January, everyone was freaking out during the Fall semester. So in case you were, there's your answer.

    But the only reason I even still think about that is because sometimes Lucas does things that surprise me even though I claim to know him so well. That's when I thought of something. I sat up and turned to face him. I looked into his soft hazel eyes and gave a weak smile as the words poured out of my mouth without even being processed in my mind.

    “One year my mom and I couldn't afford a Christmas tree,” I said, “I was about eight and we were having a lot of financial troubles and she couldn't afford to buy me a gift and a tree. So instead, she bought a large piece of cardboard and some paint supplies. When I woke up Christmas morning, I just saw this big tree shaped piece of cardboard sitting in the living room with a couple boxes under it. She poked a bunch of holes into the 'branches' and hung our ornaments through them.”
    “Why are you telling me this?” he asked.
    “I don't know,” I said.
    “You're not trying to invoke our little deal again are you?” he asked.
    “No, God no Luke,” I said, “I just kinda feel like we don't know that much about each other sometimes.”
    “Oh,” he said, “Well then tell me something else.”
    “Like what?” I asked.
    “Tell me your favorite memory of you and your mom,” he said.

    I turned back around and leaned my back into him again. His arms went around me as I took a deep breath.

    “Oh that was about two years later,” I said, “The fourth grade classes were putting on a play. We voted and picked Little Red Riding Hood. We held auditions and everything and I got the part of the Big Bad Wolf. When I found out I was so excited. My mom and I stayed up all night sewing my costume together. By the time we were rehearsing, I was wearing my costume and everyone was jealous of me. I even got extra credit with my class. My costume looked magnitudes better than everyone else. After the play was over I gave my mom the biggest hug.”
    “That's so adorable,” he said as he hugged me closer.
    “What about you?” I asked, “What's your favorite memory?”
    “Well,” he said, “I don't have very many. My parents weren't around very much when I was little.”
    “Why not?” I asked.
    “My dad worked a lot when I was a kid. I barely spent any time with him. There would be times when he'd go on business trips and I'd realize that my days didn't change when he left. And my mom was very active with community activities. She loved helping everyone as much as possible. I think I only saw them together about once a week for an hour.”
    “Luke, that's terrible,” I said.
    “Yeah but it wasn't all bad,” he said, “I had my brother.”
    “Oh yeah?” I asked.
    “Yeah,” he said, “You know how most brothers fight and hate each other when they're little, and usually don't start to like each other until they're like 20 or something?”
    “Mhm,” I said.
    “Well Kyle and I never fought,” he said, “And you couldn't pay us to hate each other. We loved each other fiercely. From the day I was brought home from the hospital Kyle loved me. He was about five when I was born and he was the only person that wouldn't make me cry while holding me. I don't know what it was, but my parents say that from the day I was born Kyle was my protector. My absolute favorite memory is my first day of kindergarten. Kyle came over from the 4th grader area and played with me during recess. I don't know if he was marking his territory and sending a message for people not to mess with me, or if he really did like me that much.”
    “Maybe it was both,” I said.
    “I never actually thought it might be,” he said.
    “I'm sure it was,” I said with a smile.
    “You know, Aaron,” he said, “For what it's worth, I don't believe our pasts matter. I mean I know who we are now is a result of our pasts, but I feel like I know you no matter what happened to you before I met you.”
    “That's really sweet Luke,” I said, “But I'm the kind of person that picks apart every moment and figures out how I changed from it.”
    “I know,” he said, “That's part of what makes you so great Aaron.”
    “I don't get it,” I said.
    “Your wheels are always turning,” he said, “You're always thinking about the past and I'm always thinking about the future. You keep me grounded and remind me of our mistakes while I look forward and see what's coming ahead. You're like my rear view mirror and emergency brake.”
    “I love you too,” I said with a smile.

    Both of us relaxed a little as the tension between us eased. We spent the rest of our time awake in silence. By the time we were in bed, I was so tired I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow and Lucas' arms were around my torso. I took one deep breath and as I let it out, my mind went completely blank and the unconscious darkness swept over me.

    ***

    It didn't last long though. I was woken by Lucas' crying again that night. Like the night before, I turned my head to see him sitting up in the darkness with his face in his hands. I sat up next to him and put my arm around his shoulders. He leaned into me and continued to cry. I didn't ask him about his dream this time; I just let him cry on my shoulder as long as he needed.

    After about twenty minutes, he pushed himself away from me and threw his legs over the side of the bed. He took in several deep breaths before he spoke.

    “I'm sorry, Aaron,” he said in a monotone voice.
    “Do you wanna talk about it?” I asked softly.
    “No,” he said bluntly.
    “Okay,” I said, “Come here.”

    He leaned back into me and I put my hands on his shoulders. I gently rubbed the tension out of his muscles and tried to help him relax. My hands moved from his shoulders to his back as I worked him over into a gentle calm. His breathing shortened and he relaxed under my grip. He thanked me and his head went back down to his pillow. Within a few moments he was asleep again and his tears on my shoulder were dried. It was as if they weren't there to begin with.

    I tried to get back to sleep just as fast but I couldn't help but wonder what was going on with him. My thoughts were in a whirlwind for about an hour before I could get back to sleep. I didn't wake up again until the alarm went off.

    ***

    I shut off the alarm quickly as soon as I realized it was going off. Lucas didn't stir in his sleep and I was relieved it didn't wake him. I let him sleep a little longer as I jumped out of bed and grabbed a quick piss and shower. When I was done I put my bathrobe on and went into the kitchen and opened up the boxes until I found the oatmeal box. With a pot on the stove I went to go wake Lucas, but he was already sitting at the edge of the bed when I walked in.

    “Breakfast is on the stove,” I said.
    “I can smell it,” he said, “Thanks.”
    “It'll be ready soon so if you wanna take a shower, make it quick.”
    “I will,” he said.

    I knew he still wasn't over what was going on in his dreams, and I couldn't shake that feeling that made me want to pry my way into his head and figure out what he's going through. And I knew he could see that feeling in my eyes. I went back out into the kitchen to stir the oatmeal. It was already bubbling a little when I got to it. Lucas came out seconds later and went directly to the bathroom. I heard the shower turn on and I went outside to get a paper.

    Jason was out there as well. He saw me coming and kept the window of the newspaper dispenser open for me to snap on off of his quarter.

    “Thanks,” I said.
    “No prob neighbor,” he said smiling.
    I laughed a little and said, “I still can't believe the two of us are living together.”
    “First time?” he asked.
    “Yeah,” I said, “First boyfriend.”
    “Oh congrats,” he said and started to walk upstairs, “Listen, I heard some crying coming from your place last night. Is everything okay?”
    “Yeah I know, I'm not sure,” I said, “He won't talk about it.”
    “Well when Haley's upset,” he said, “I just rub her shoulders and kiss her neck the way she likes it and she eventually feels better.”
    “Thanks for the advice,” I said, “But I think this is a little more than upset.”
    “Well, let us know if you guys need anything,” he said, “Even if he just needs someone to talk to.”
    “Thanks,” I said, “I really appreciate it.”

    And with that we both went into our respective doors. When I walked in I saw Lucas pulling the pot of oatmeal off the stove in the kitchen to my left. He smiled weakly and pulled a couple plastic bowls from one of the boxes still sitting on the kitchen floor.

    “You left it on too high,” he said, “It cooked faster than you can walk.”
    “Oh sorry,” I said, “I ran into Jason downstairs and we got to talking a bit.”
    “About me?” he asked.
    “How did you know?” I asked.
    “I can see it in your eyes,” he said, “When you said you talked to him you got this glint in your eye that you get when you talk to someone about me.”
    “Oh,” I said.
    “It's okay Aaron,” he said.
    “No it's not,” I said, “I'm worried about you Luke.”
    “Don't be,” he said.
    “I have to be. You won't talk to me about what's bothering you.”
    “Aaron it's not important,” he said, “I just have to work through some things.”
    “But you don't have to do it alone,” I said.
    “Aaron, just drop it.”
    “No!”
    He flinched.
    “Don't push me away, Luke.”
    “I'm not,” he said, “I just need to do this alone.”
    “But I don't want you to. Just tell me what's bothering you. Whatever it is, we can work through it together.”
    “Aaron, just drop it!” he yelled.
    “Please Luke,” I said, “I wanna help.”
    “Look if you drop it now,” he said, “I promise I'll tell you when we get back from the concert.”
    “Fine,” I said.

    We ate in silence and let each other cool off from the argument. I knew obsessing wouldn't help, so I tried to push this into the back of my mind. When I was finished, I dropped the bowl into the sink and went into the bedroom to grab my wallet and my book bag. When I went back into the kitchen, Lucas was rinsing out the bowls in the sink. He looked up to me with a questioning look on his face.

    “My professors posted the assigned texts,” I said, “I was gonna go get my books for the semester. Wanna come?”
    “I was gonna work on unpacking some boxes,” he said, “And I'm supposed to meet Jonathan at the gym in a few hours.”
    “Oh okay,” I said.
    “You can meet us there if you want,” he said.
    “I think I'll pass. I'll come back and finish unpacking the boxes.”
    “Okay,” he said, “Love you.”
    “Love you too,” I said as I kissed him and walked out the door.
    “Aaron,” he said.

    I stopped and turned toward him.

    “I really mean that,” he said as he walked over to me and kissed me again.
    “I do too,” I said with a smile, “And nothing can change that. Not even a little argument.”
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  25. #275
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Hey ITC,

    Glad to see the boys are back and are settling in their new apartment together. It's nice to see they have a congenial set of neighbors in Jason and Haley. I am really curious and a little worried about Lucas' troubling dream. I eagerly await the next chapter.

    Craiger

  26. #276
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Nice work, ITC. I'm also a bit worried about Lucas' dream, but I hope think know he and Aaron will be able to work it out when Lucas is ready to talk.
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,

    A very nice chapter - a good send off by the family.
    I loved the little "incident" with the macho man in his own mind trucker being quick to remember that not all truckers are like that, of course.)

    A good house setting up and warming, and great to know their neighbors are so nice.

    It will be interesting to see what is bothering Lucas so much, and to see if he does open up all the way.

    Thanks, again, for sharing your time and efforts, and talents, with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  28. #278
    HUGS! ;-)
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    THANK YOU!, ITC and Anonymous!

    Excellent chapter! Loved every bit of it!

    Lucas kind of reminds me of Me! There are just some things I have to work out for myself, and don't want anyone else's help. I've always been somewhat independent. Don't want to "bother" anyone! Not sure why that is ... just stubborn, I guess!

    Hope it's nothing too devastating! I mean, with Lucas being who he is, how could it be? Well ... except for that temper, steely glint in his eyes, and roundhouse to the trucker's jaw ...

    Of course, can't wait for More!

    Keep smilin'!!
    Chaz
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Beautiful chapter, ITC, as you already heard from me in my email :]

    And don't thank me, I just added some commas and changed a tense shift lol. It was np. :] Glad I could help.

  30. #280

    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Thanks for the update, ITC. A cute and yet ominous chapter at the same time. I'm a little worried bout our boys.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Alright guys, I know it's been a while since my last post, but you got to admit I'm getting faster haha. This chapter was hard to write because of the ending. I didn't want to leave it where I'm leaving it but it is entirely necessary. The next chapter is going to be in Lucas' perspective describing his dream for us all. Thank you all for your continued support to my writing. I know I don't have as many fans as I used to, and if I do then they're just not as vocal in the thread. But I still feel obligated to finish this story.


    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Twenty:
    Misery Business


    “A lot can happen in a week.”

    Carly always said this to me when I complained about time. She always told me that when it comes down to it, time can't measure our experiences, only we can. Well I had two weeks to suffer through until the concert and, I must say, Carly is full of shit. Every day seemed to seep together and nothing (well, almost nothing) worth mentioning happened to us for those long fourteen days which, honestly, made them seem longer. When nothing is going on, time seems to stop completely. Two weeks can seem like a month when the semester is just starting and nothing needs to be done yet.

    Let me start off by saying, my classes were boring. I started with a History class on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1-3. Two hours of boring lectures; it was torture. I had an 8-11 in the morning class on Wednesday for Political Science with a 4-5 in the evening class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for a required Ethics course. My last class, which was worth 6 credits, was a Classical Literature course on Thursdays from 1-5. I still hadn't decided my major yet and I was running out of time. I was hoping by now I would have decided what I want to do, but at this rate I was going to be spending another year or two in school.

    Of all of my classes I've taken at this school, I think I enjoyed Political Science the most. It wasn't because I was interested in politics, because I was absolutely repulsed by the very idea of being a politician. From the first five minutes of the first class I knew that I would love the professor. She was young, but experienced; and she had an incredible desire to teach. She had a degree from one of the most prestigious Law Schools in the state, but she used it to educate people about the government and the voting process. She said on the first day that we would mostly be spending class time debating several hot topics in politics so we needed to come to class prepared and educated.

    And of all my classes I've taken at this school, I think my History class was taught by the most dull, dry, uninspired professor on school grounds; maybe even in the country. He had no desire to teach; and I knew I would find it difficult to stay awake in his class.

    But that's all boring shop talk to you, I'm sure. And I know you want to hear about Lucas. I'm sad to say that the nightmares continued, but he wasn't as bothered by them anymore; at least he didn't show it to me. I was worried about him, yes, but we made a deal and he made a promise so I thought it best to just leave it alone. I knew he would come to me when he needed me... I just hoped that he would need me soon, and I didn't want to think about what would happen if he didn't.

    The days slowly passed; and each night I woke to Lucas' soft sobs. I didn't question him; I just comforted him and tried to help him relax. By the first weekend, he was looking like shit. He hadn't slept well for almost eight days. His face looked tired and weak all the time. He would spend prolonged moments leaning against something with his eyes covered by his hands.

    That Saturday night, I decided to draw a nice hot bath for him. Carly gave me some of her “relaxation candles” and a CD of soothing music she used when she needed to relax. Lucas came home from the gym and I lead him toward the bathroom door. When I opened it he gave me this loving gaze and kissed me softly on the cheek. I helped him undress and lit the candles for him. When I shut off the lights and reached for the doors, his soft voice stopped me.

    “You're not joining me?” he asked.
    “No,” I said with a soft smile crossing my face, “I think you should just relax.”
    “Okay,” he said, “Thank you, babe.”
    “You're welcome, pretty boy,” I said, “Call me if you need anything.”

    I went and sat on the couch reading The Iliad for my literature class and waited for Lucas to come out. I could hear to water occasionally sloshing around as Lucas would change his position in the tub. After about an hour, I heard him pull the drain and step out. Within moments the bathroom door was open and Lucas was walking down the hall toward me completely naked. I stood to greet him and he wrapped his arms around my waist.

    His naked and semi-moist body pressed against me with unusual force and he kissed me passionately and with power unlike any he's ever displayed before. His hands explored my back and moved down to my ass. I felt his fingers clutch against the denim fabric that covered my cheeks and I knew what he wanted. I pulled my lips away from his eager and hungry mouth and smiled at him when I noticed his cock stiffening against my jeans.

    “Man, one hot bath and you're ready to skip dinner and go directly to dessert,” I said.
    “Oh, please! Like you don't know how tempting you are,” he said.
    “You know you love my innocence,” I said with a grin.
    “I love more than that,” he said.

    His left hand moved from my ass to my crotch and rubbed it gently. He pushed his stiffening cock up against me and moved in to kiss me again.

    “Oh God, Luke,” I moaned.

    Both of his hands met at my belt buckle and worked anxiously to remove it. He pulled it through the loops and tossed it behind him and then returned his hands to unbutton my jeans. I got caught up in the heat and lifted off my shirt. I felt him pushing my jeans and briefs to the ground. We never broke the sexually charged kiss between us as we fell to the ground and Lucas straddled my chest. He moved forward and pointed his now rock hard cock at my face.

    With a smile and a wink, I popped his head into my mouth and ran my tongue around the edges of it. He gasped and moaned at the sensations I was causing him and flexed his ass muscles against my chest. My hands reached behind him and each grabbed a handful of his cheeks. As I pushed more of his cock into my mouth, my fingers slipped into the deep canyon between his cheeks. One of my fingers found his hole and rubbed at it.

    He moaned deep and gasped my name. I pulled my left hand off his ass and placed it at the base of his cock as I pushed him out of my mouth. He pulled himself off of me and I sat up to kiss his beautiful lips. His hands dropped to the back of my thighs, and with little effort and swift motions, he lifted me to straddle his waist in the air. I yelped a little at his sudden aggressive actions but welcomed them as he looked into my eyes with lustful hunger in his.

    I wrapped my legs around his waist and locked them at the ankles behind him. He spat onto his fingers and reached under me. I felt him rubbing gently at my hole with his fingers and moaned softly. Then I felt his cock push softly against my hole. I gasped and pulled my head away from him.

    He recognized the panic in my face and nodded at me. His hands released me and I gently released my grip around his neck. I watched him walk over to one of the boxes labeled “Personal” as he pulled out a box of condoms. He mouthed the word “Sorry” and walked back over to me. His eyes lost the lustful hunger and regained his genuinely affectionate gaze. He took me in his arms and kissed me softly as I opened the wrapper and rolled the condom onto his cock.

    I leaned back against the couch and Lucas lifted my legs onto his shoulders. His cock poked against my hole again and this time I welcomed it inside me. By now, his initial penetration was easier to take. It wasn't completely painless yet; it would still be a while before the pain went away. But it was easier. I gasped when his balls hit my cheeks and he moaned when he slid out of me. He pulled out completely and pushed back in.

    The pain slowly turned to pure pleasure as he fucked me against the couch. The lust was back in his eyes again and I could feel it as he pumped against me. He was more intense than usual and I knew that this was more desire than love. When I felt his cock swell inside me, he dropped my legs down to the ground and pulled out of me. I dropped to my knees and pulled the condom off, tossing it over my shoulder and taking his cock back into my mouth.

    His ass cheeks clenched and his body tensed. His face turned a light pink as he pushed his cream out into my throat. The loud moans emanating from his chest filled the room. My mouth was full of his juices but he kept shooting more. It spilled out from my lips as I tried to swallow it all. I couldn't take anymore and took my mouth away from his shaft and allowed three more spurts to fly over my face and drip down my chest.

    He dropped to his knees to join me and pulled my face against his. I felt his tongue cleaning up the strings of his cum off the sides of my face. When he was finished, he looked at me with a proud smile on his face. I smiled back and kissed him. I moved my knee to get some better leverage of our conjoined weight and it hit something wet. I looked down and noticed a puddle of my own cum on the carpet. I hadn't even felt my own orgasm when it happened because of how intense Lucas' was.

    We collapsed on the ground, our backs on the carpet and our heads turned toward each other. I noticed the very moment when the hunger left his eyes and his warm loving gaze returned to fill the hazel pools on his face. He smiled a toothy smile and kissed my forehead lightly. Within a few moments, he was on his feet and in the kitchen preparing something for us to eat. He threw on an apron over his naked body and pulled out a few pots and pans.

    I was a bit baffled by the spontaneous sex session we just had. It wasn't like Lucas at all to just mount me out of nowhere like he did. Mind you I wasn't complaining about it, I was just curious about what sparked it. It couldn't have been the nap... could it?

    An hour later, I was still trying to figure him out. He had been surprising me ever since we moved in, and maybe that was it. Maybe he finally realized that since we didn't have to worry about things like family or roommates walking in on us, we could do whatever we pleased whenever we pleased. I liked that thought and figured that had to be it.

    Lucas had finished cooking his famous stuffed omelets and we were sitting down at our little table watching each other eat. It was at that moment that I finally pushed back all my fears and anxieties about myself and realized that Lucas and I were going to be together for a very long time. And that was the only thing worth mentioning in those long two weeks before the night we flitted off to Santa Barbara for the concert.

    ***

    However, something happened before the concert that I'm still not sure is important or not. But like Lucas said, when my brain bookmarks something I never forget it.

    It was around four when Lucas got out of his last class of the day. I drove his car over to the Business building so we could leave immediately. He came bouncing out of the double doors wearing his excitement on his sleeves. I was relieved to see his bright beautiful smile covering his face pushing his cheeks up into the most adorable little boy dimples I've ever seen on anyone. It was the face of pure excitement; the kind you see on children when they realize that giant box in the corner on Christmas morning is for them.

    When he hopped in the car, I couldn't help but smile with him. He planted a big and sloppy kiss on my cheek once he had his seat-belt secured. We popped on the radio and I pulled right onto the 101. I had planned to drive at least halfway so Lucas could rest. He had no intention of resting so after we stopped at the gas station for an energy drink to have right before the show started, Lucas insisted on driving the rest of the way.

    It was about 4:30 pm and the sun was beginning to set thanks to the short winter days. We were probably about twenty minutes away from the stadium when it happened.

    I was sitting in the passenger seat staring out my window at the coast when we pulled off the 101, into Santa Barbara. We were going to stop and get something to eat before the concert so we got off once we saw an IHOP sign. The traffic light for the exit was red, but it was like Lucas didn't even notice it. We went zooming around the corner to make a left hand turn and I saw the car before Lucas did. The burgundy Sedan was probably going about 50 over the hill and I shouted to Lucas when I saw it.

    “Watch out!!” I yelled.

    Lucas immediately slammed his foot onto the brakes and there were a couple of screeching noises. I clenched my eyes shut preparing for the collision that was sure to hit my side of the car. It was about a minute before I heard the sounds of other drivers honking at us.

    I opened my eyes and saw the Sedan was nowhere to be found, but we were sitting in the middle of the intersection with cars on all sides wanting to get through. I looked over at Lucas and saw that he was stunned in place. His hands were clenched on the steering wheel and his face was dead white. I quickly threw off my seat-belt and stumbled out of the car and over to the driver's side door. I threw the door open and gently put my hand on Lucas' shoulder.

    “Come on,” I said calmly.

    He slowly took his hands off the wheel and pushed the button to release his seat-belt. When he stepped out of the car, I had to catch him. His legs were shaking uncontrollably and he wasn't able to stand on his own. I knew what was happening to him better than anyone else... he was having a massive panic attack. His sweat was cold and his entire body was tense and rigid. Those beautiful hazel eyes seemed dull and lifeless. Worst of all, the look on his face was something I'll never forget.

    By the time I got him into the passenger seat, several drivers had gotten really pissed off and were spitting swears out at us. A few of them even squeezed past us without even stopping to see if we were okay. I jumped into the driver's seat and pulled out of the intersection as quickly as I could. When we were safely parked in the lot outside of IHOP, I turned toward Lucas and grabbed his hands in mine. He had calmed down significantly and his breathing had gone back to normal. I looked him straight in the eye and realized he was crying.

    “Luke what happened?” I asked.
    “I don't know... I thought it was green.”
    “Are you okay?” I asked.
    “No,” he whispered.
    “Do you want to skip the concert and go home?”
    “No,” he said louder, “Not a chance in Hell.”
    “Alright,” I said as I moved to get out of the car, “Are you sure you'll be okay?”
    “Yeah I'll be fine,” he said.

    And with that we both got out of the car and walked inside. Our meal was silent. Lucas didn't say a word, not even to order his food; he just pointed at the menu to what he wanted. By the time we were back in the car, some color had returned to his face and an anxious smile was drawn across his lips. But not mine...

    ***

    The room was dark and silent with the exception of the dull roar coming from the crowd. Lucas and I stood hand in hand as the countdown began. Everyone in the audience shouted as what little lights there were went completely out. A chill ran down my spine and my grip on Lucas' hand tightened. I could feel the moment sneaking up on me.

    Three blue spotlights pierced the darkness and focused on the left side of the stage as the lead guitarist Josh Farro's suddenly slid his hands along the strings and began a repetition of notes going from high pitch to low. On the third cycle of notes, three more blue spotlights focused at the right side of the stage where the secondary guitarist Taylor York joined Josh's rotation. The two played their guitars with such grace and talent that I almost screamed right then and there, but I was saving it.

    On the sixth cycle of guitar riffs, the rest of the stage lit up in blue lights as Zac Farro began beating his drums without mercy. The subtle sounds of the bass guitar joining the rest of the instruments were probably unnoticed by the crowd, but I knew that both Lucas and I noticed the very second that Jeremy Davis first struck one of his strings. The drums and the bass threw my inhibitions out the door and the screaming was on its way out my throat when I saw Hayley Williams run out on stage and the opening notes to Born For This echoed throughout the stadium.

    The stage burst into orange lights as Hayley joined the boys on stage and shouted out to the audience.

    “Santa Barbara!”

    The lights went out and four blue spotlights focused on her at the center of the stage. Lucas and I were right in the center of all the action. We could see everything from the perfect distance. She was right there in front of us; within a couple arms' length from our faces. I could almost feel the energy pouring out of her as she started singing. Her voice filled my ears and I lost all control over myself as I started cheering and singing along.

    Lucas joined me as the song got harder and faster. I don't know how to describe every emotion I had at that moment. I wanted to scream all the air out of me until my vocal chords gave out. I wanted to dance as if no one was watching me. But most of all, I wanted everyone in the crowd to disappear, except Lucas of course, and have us be the only two there.

    When Hayley reached the chorus bridge, she held out her microphone toward the crowd. As the entire audience shouted, my lips froze. Hayley was looking right at me; directly into my eyes. At that moment I felt as if nothing could bring me down from my musical high.

    ***

    The rest of the concert remains a blur to me, despite it being one of the most amazing nights of my life. The one thing I remember most about that night though, was when the band left the stage and the audience was shouting, “One more song!”

    Lucas and I joined the crowd with our fists in the air shouting those three words. I wasn't the only person who knew that there was one song they hadn't done which everyone expected them to play. And just as I suspected, the sound of Josh plucking at his guitar strings overpowered the shouting as the notes came through the speakers. The band came back out on stage and a wave of cheering and screaming came from the audience, and me.

    “Did you want one more?” Hayley asked.

    The crowd responded with more screaming.

    “Cause we were talkin' and we think we might have skipped one,” she said.

    My eyes widened with excitement and my muscles tensed with joy as she came up to center stage right in front of us.

    “Well, that's it!” she yelled, “We hope you enjoyed your night!”

    And then, without warning, Zac and Josh started the drum and guitar intro to my favorite song. I lost my mind and jumped in the air screaming. My heart was beating out of my chest as Hayley danced through the intro of the song next to the Zac and his drums, then came bounding up the center of the stage to plant herself right in front of us.

    I'm in the business of misery
    Let's take it from the top
    She's got a body like an hourglass
    It's tickin' like a clock
    It's a matter of time before we all run out
    When I thought he was mine she caught him by the mouth
    I waited eight long months she finally set him free
    I told him I couldn't lie he was the only one for me
    Two weeks and we had caught on fire
    She's got it out for me
    But I wear the biggest smile!

    The audience joined her after the drum/guitar bridge that filled the gap between lyrics.

    Who-o-oa I never meant to brag
    But I got him where I want him now
    Who-o-oa it was never my intention to bra-a-ag
    To steal it all away from you now
    But God does it feel so good
    Cause I got him where I want him now
    And if you could then you know you would
    Cause God it just feels so!
    It just feels so good!

    The lights on stage were flashing between green, orange, and blue, with an occasional strobe flash between the interchanging lights. I looked over at Lucas and his radiance was emanating through his smile, his excitement was pouring out his eyes, and the love I felt for him was going into him through our entangled hands. I noticed people staring, but like Lucas in the gas station, I was prepared for any confrontation and didn't care what people thought about me.

    My attention returned to the stage as Hayley entered the second verse. I hadn't noticed it at the time, but from the pictures Lucas took I knew she was watching us more than we were watching her.

    Second chances they don't ever matter
    People never change
    Once a whore you're nothing more
    I'm sorry that'll never change
    And about forgiveness we're both supposed to have exchanged
    I'm sorry Santa Barbara but I passed it up now look this way
    Well there's a million other girls who do it just like you
    Lookin' as innocent as possible to get to who
    They want and what they like; it's easy if you do it right
    Well I refuse, I refuse, I refuse!

    Her attention was never pulled from Lucas and me. We were jumping up and down with the rest of the audience and I didn't think we stood out much from the crowd. It was our hands intertwined with each other in the air together that caught her attention. Josh was oblivious to us as he entered the chorus, even though he constantly came close to our position. Taylor and Jeremy were more entranced with their performance and I wouldn't bet anything that Zac would have been able to see us past Hayley.

    But her attention on us was quite obvious by the time she entered the second chorus.

    Who-o-oa I never meant to brag
    But I got him where I want him now
    Who-o-oa it was never my intention to bra-a-ag
    To steal it all away from you now
    But God does it feel so good
    Cause I got him where I want him RIGHT NOW
    And if you could then you know you would
    Cause God it just feels so-o-o-o-o-o-o!

    The intensity of the song slowed down as a soft guitar solo took control with Hayley's voice dropping to a softer tone. You could barely hear the rest of the instruments because of their low intensity but everyone knew what was coming.

    I watched his wildest dreams come true
    Not one of them involving you
    Just watch my wildest dreams come true
    Not one of them... HEY JOSH!

    And there it was. Josh's major guitar solo began with a slight screech but picked up in power. It was an incredible experience to watch him slide his fingers along the strings. For me, it was like watching an artist paint. Each note he struck was a brush stroke that slid across the canvas that left a beautiful color of sound behind it. I fell into a complete abyss as the solo went on.

    When the solo ended the rest of the instruments broke and Hayley's voice brought me back from my abyss.

    Who-o-oa I never meant to brag
    But I got him where I want him now
    Who-o-oa I never meant to brag
    But I got him where I want him now
    Who-o-oa it was never my intention to bra-a-ag
    To steal it all away from you now
    But God does it feel so good
    Cause I got him where I want him now
    And if you could then you know you would
    Cause God it just feels so-o-o-o-o-o!
    It just feels so good!

    “Thank you!” she yelled.

    And with that, Zac, Jeremy, Taylor, and Josh left the stage; but Hayley stood there waiting for everyone's cheers to fall silent. The lights came up and once everyone noticed she was still there, the cheering stopped and the screams fell to a dull roar.

    “I just wanna say,” she started, “That through the entire show I've noticed two people in the crowd tonight. Not once did they let go of each other. The entire time they were holding hands and I just want to say, I am very happy to see a couple like you so closely.”

    She walked up the stage toward Lucas and I and knelt on the ground to be level with us.

    “What are your names?” she asked as she pointed her microphone towards us.
    “Lucas and Aaron,” Lucas said. He could see I was too stunned to speak.
    “Well, Lucas and Aaron,” she said as she pulled out a pen, “Let me sign something for you.”

    Lucas pulled out the t-shirts we had bought before the show started and handed them to her. She dropped the mic onto the ground and signed the shirts. I still couldn't gather my courage to say a word. She handed them back to us with a smile stretched across her face.

    “Thanks,” I said weakly.
    “Sorry about him,” Lucas said, “He's a huge fan and you kinda stunned him.”
    “Well,” she said as she reached out toward me, “I'm a big fan of yours.”

    She pulled me closer to her and planted a kiss on my cheek, then did the same to Lucas. I was definitely not going to move for a while after that. She gathered herself and stood up from us. With her mic in hand, she yelled out to the audience.

    “Anyone messes with them, I'll kick your butts,” she said, “Good night, Santa Barbara!”

    And then she was gone. I watched her bounce off behind the stage. In my paralysis, I barely felt Lucas touching my shoulder trying to shake me back to reality. His fingers snapping in front of my face brought me out of my hypnosis. As we made our way through the crowd to leave the stadium, I noticed how far up in the clouds my head was. I stared at my t-shirt and ran my fingers over Hayley's signature. That was definitely a moment I will never forget.

    ***

    We decided to drive home after that and cancel the hotel reservation. After the hype wound down, Lucas said he wasn't feeling well, but assured me when we got home he would still want to talk to me about what was going on.

    This was probably the first time since we met that I was actually scared to hear something Lucas had to say. The entire time driving, my heart was doing double the work. Lucas was asleep, which I guess was a good thing. I was a bit tired but we were almost there when my eyes started to droop. I remember seeing the exit sign for the school, I remember seeing the street sign for our apartment complex, and I remember putting in the code to open the gate. The one thing I don't remember is the driving part.

    I leaned over and kissed Lucas lightly on the side of his face. His eyes fluttered open and a slight smile parted his lips. As I pulled away his arm came around my neck and pulled me back into him. His lips pressed softly and gently against mine. My hands went around his neck and I pulled him into me as well. Our lips were stuck in a dance no one wanted to stop. It was one of those kisses where you're not sure what's going to happen afterward, so you want to let the person know how much they mean to you. At least that's what it was for me.

    When we were inside the apartment, I dropped our bags on the ground and made my way over to the bathroom to take a quick piss. When I came out of the bathroom, Lucas was sitting on the couch with his hands in his lap. I walked up to him slowly, not sure what he wanted me to do. He patted the seat next to him so I carefully stepped over to him and sat down.

    “Aaron,” he said, “What I'm about to say is very difficult. I had no real intention of telling you this because I didn't want you to get mad at me.”
    “Lucas what is it?” I asked.
    “You remember how I told you,” he started, “That last year I was messing around on the internet and I found those internships for the music industry?”
    “Yeah that's how you decided what you wanted to do,” I said.
    “Well there's more than that,” he said, “I actually filled out an application and sent it in. They told me they didn't have room...”
    “But...”
    “But they sent me a letter about a month ago, not long before Christmas,” he said, “They accepted me for the Fall trial.”

    I was stunned. This was great news! I stood up with a smile on my face.

    “Luke that's amazing!” I said, “Why didn't you want to tell me?”
    “I already turned it down,” he said.
    “What?” I asked, “Why?!”

    He took a deep breath and looked me in the eye.

    “It would be in LA,” he said.
    “Oh,” I said as I sat down.
    “Well... how long would you be gone?” I asked.
    “It's a six month internship,” he said, “But there's a chance for a permanent position.”
    “Permanent...” I whispered in disbelief.

    I stood and walked over to the hallway entrance. Lucas got up and followed me. I felt his hands wrap around my waist and his chin rested on my shoulder.

    “It's 12 interns with one position,” he said, “The chances of me getting it are very slim.”
    “How many of the others are still in school?” I asked.
    “Why does that matter?”
    I pulled his hands off my waist and turned to face him, “How many?”
    “None of them,” he said.
    “Then that's it,” I said, “The position is yours.”

    I walked back over and sat on the couch putting my legs up on the other seat to tell Lucas I wasn't intending on letting him sit there to comfort me. But he came over to me anyway and lifted my legs up and sat down, setting my legs on his lap. He pulled my shoes off and started rubbing my feet with wonderful skill.

    “They wouldn't accept your application knowing you were still in school unless they were sure they wanted you,” I said.
    “You don't know that,” he said.
    “I do,” I said.
    “Well it doesn't matter,” he said, “I turned it down already.”
    “But you can still accept it again right?” I asked.
    “Not if they filled the position already,” he said.
    “Okay... well find out,” I said.
    “Why?” he asked.
    “Because I don't want you to turn it down so quickly.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because I want you to think about it okay?”
    “What is there to think about?” he asked.
    “Oh I don't know Luke, your future? Your career? Your life?!”
    “None of that matters without you,” he said.
    “I don't want that to be your only reason for passing this up Luke,” I said.
    “Why not?”
    “Because I already had a mother give up everything for me!” I shouted, “I don't want you doing the same thing.”
    He stared at me with a stunned and hurt look, “That is really unfair Aaron.”
    “No it's not,” I said, “I want you to give this a good amount of thought before you just throw it all away.”
    “This is exactly why I didn't want to tell you,” he said, “I knew you'd get all noble and bitchy about it.”
    “I'm bitchy?” I asked, “Well I'm sorry I don't want you to regret your decision someday.”
    “Don't you get it Aaron!” he shouted, “What else could I be having nightmares about?! What else would make me cry like that? What else would cause me to snap at you? What else would scare me so much that I don't want to sleep at night?”
    I just stared at him.
    “I've been having nightmares about leaving you,” he said quietly, “And when I come back you don't want to take me back.”
    “Luke,” I whispered with tears in my eyes, “I don't want you to leave me.”
    “Then why are you pushing this?” he asked trying to hold back his own tears.
    “Because,” I said, “I just want you to think about it. I want you to give me one good reason why you shouldn't go for every reason why you should go.”
    “Fine,” he said as he stood up and walked toward the front door.
    “Where are you going?” I asked.
    “To think,” he said.

    He threw the door open and slammed it shut as he disappeared behind it. I just stood there staring at the door for an hour with tears running down my face.

    I don't want you to go...
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    I also wanted to include the videos that show the scenes of the concert I described in this chapter for anyone who was curious.



    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  33. #283
    JerJer91
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC i loved the new chapter. i havent had much time to comment after reading ur new chapters so i figured i wuld make sure to comment on this one. it was such an emotionally driven chapter. every part of it was charged with the raw emotions of Aaron and Lucas, almost as if I could actually be sitting in their heads as things play out. Im envious of you just because you can actually do that with barely trying. I don't wanna read anything with you really trying because i know i would cry. I cant wait for the next chapter.

    I think i may know where you're going with this, i doubt it though because i was wrong the last time.

    Thanks for the update, can't wait for more.

    Jer-Jer

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,

    I know I don't comment after every chapter, but I do read them all, and they are all very wonderful. I just didn't think I need to state the obvious so much .

    Cheers,
    Hugo

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    That was an awesome chapter, ITC.

    The reason I don't leave comments often is because I can't normally think of anything better than that to say.
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

  36. #286
    HUGS! ;-)
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC! THANKS! for the concert!!

    Great chapter! (As usual!) Can't wait to find out how "our" boys deal with this! Certainly hope they can find a way to work it out!

    Keep smilin'!!
    Chaz
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,
    This was so powerful.
    So many places.
    From slightly distant to OK to zoned then psyched.
    Then to the concert and being one - with the lead singer, no less!

    Then, the announcement and the long, QUIET drive home, late at night, while the mind wanders/races.

    And the confession and confrontation.

    There's a LOT of love there - going BOTH ways through the fighting.

    Thank you, once again, for sharing your incredible talents with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Intensity personified! The warmth, fear, exuberance, silence, dread and the indecision all in one great chapter, ITC. I know the boys will find the right answer to this new challenge.

    Craiger

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Lovelovelovelovelove it

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Twenty-One:
    A Fork In the Road


    Hey guys, this is Lucas talking. I knew from the very moment Aaron told me about his idea of writing our experience together that I would have to talk about my dream. In all honesty I never did plan on telling Aaron about it. He can say whatever he wants about us, but the one thing he'll be wrong about is that we do in fact know each other better than he thinks. I knew that if I told him about my dream, it would make him that much more supportive of the whole thing.

    But that's not what Aaron wants me to say. He asked me to write this because whenever I tried to tell him what the dream was about, my throat would close up and the words wouldn't come out. So he talked me into writing it all down to get it out so maybe both of us could understand it. It's the part about everyone else reading all about it that bothers me right now. I wish there were an easier way to say all of this and I wish there was a way to say it without it being included in Aaron's story, but the fact is this dream was really important to the events that Aaron is leading up to.

    So where to begin... I guess I have to say that yes, every night I had the same dream. Sometimes it had minor but very noticeable differences, but no matter what changed during the dream, it always ended the same way.

    It would start with me sitting on a train alone. No one sat in the seat next to me and there were very few people in the car I was in. Usually, I saw this really old man sitting across the aisle from me. He too was alone, but he was more aware of it. He would stare at the empty seat with sad regret, as if whoever sat there was long gone from his life. Every time I looked at him I wished that I wouldn't end up like him; old, alone, and with nothing left to live for.

    Sometimes the old man wasn't alone. There were a few dreams where there was an equally aged woman sitting in the empty seat next to him. When she was there, he wasn't sad anymore. He had a great big smile on his face as he held her hand in his. Her eyes were beautiful blue and they gazed lovingly at the man. When I had that dream, I wished I would end up just like that man; happy, loved, and with everything to live for.

    Unfortunately I didn't have that dream often. He was usually alone. Sometimes he wasn't even there. But most times, I tried not to look at him because I knew how empty it would make me feel to see his forlorn eyes staring at the vacant seat. I would try to stare out the window at the country side. The train usually went through farmer areas so the view was very nice; lots of foliage and animals running around in the fields. This made me feel at peace when the old man was alone.

    When the train pulled into the station, I would get off alone. Sometimes I waited politely to let the old man off first, but he would never budge from his seat. He didn't want to leave the person who wasn't there. It was as if that were the last place they were happy, so he wanted to stay there as long as he could trying to remember how happy he once was with the person who filled the space next to him. Every time I waited for him to get off first, he would wave his hand at me as if to say, “I'm not leaving,” and would look back at the seat.

    I would stand there for a moment in disbelief. I couldn't understand why, if this person didn't want to be with him, he would stay and wait for her. I couldn't understand why he insisted on spending the rest of his life without the person he wanted to be with.

    After a moment of staring at him with pain in my heart, I would get off the train and look around for whoever was supposed to pick me up. They were never there; not even during the dreams where the old man was with the woman. I must not have told anyone that I was coming back if no one was there to pick me up. Either that or when I left, they all forgot about me. To this day I choose to believe the former is the reason because the latter just makes me feel even worse.

    So I walked. I would walk from the train station to wherever it was that I wanted to go. I usually ended up downtown or at the restaurant that I waited at for Aaron when he was attacked that night. I don't know why I would end up there, I just did. I guess because I was waiting for Aaron to suddenly appear in front of me and make everything okay again. But I was afraid of what I would see if he did. When I left, I hurt him.

    When I got tired of waiting at the restaurant, I started walking again. I don't know where I ended up, but it was always the same place. I would get tired of walking and sit down on the curb as I watched people sprinting to wherever it was they were late getting to, and waltzing down the street completely oblivious to my existence. Except for one person.

    “Lucas?” I heard a voice say.

    I turned and looked up from where I was sitting and my eyes fell upon the most beautiful man I have ever seen. He was also the most beautiful man I had ever left.

    “Aaron,” I said with gleeful relief.

    I stood up to greet him with a hug, but he didn't return it. When I pulled away I noticed Henry was with him. I had a big smile on my face but his face remained surprised and motionless. After a few seconds my smile went away as I waited for him to speak. He turned to Henry first.

    “Hey, you go ahead,” he said, “I'll catch up to you later okay?”
    “Sure thing bud,” he said as he gave him a fist bump and walked away.

    We stood there in our awkward silence for a moment, not sure what to say to each other. A couple awkward grins were passed as he went to sit on the curb where I was seated before. I followed him and sat down next to him with a couple inches between the two of us.

    “What are you doing back?” he asked.
    “Oh uhm,” I said, “The internship is over.”
    “Over?” he asked.
    “Yeah,” I said, “I didn't get the job.”
    “Oh Luke I'm sorry,” he said putting his hand on mine.
    “It's okay,” I said, “Just wasn't meant to be I guess.”
    “I see,” he said, “So are you back for good?”
    “I'm not sure yet,” I said, “I still need to figure a few things out.”
    “Like what?” he asked.
    “I don't know. I guess I just want to take some time you know?” I said.
    “No,” he said, “I don't... I don't know what that means.”
    “It means,” I started, “That I need to put my life back together first.”
    “Back together?” he asked.
    “Yeah,” I said, “When I left... I left everything. I need to try and get everything back. If I can't then I'm not staying.”
    “Oh,” he said softly.

    He moved his hand from mine and stared down at the ground between his legs. His soft brown hair blew lightly in the fall breeze. I caught a whiff of his scent in the air as it blew past the both of us. He always smelled like coconut or something and I knew that was what I was smelling. He scooted closer to me and took my hands in his and held them between us.

    “Aaron,” I said, “I know I hurt you when I left.”
    “Yeah you did,” he said.
    “Is there any way you can forgive me?” I asked.
    “Luke,” he said, “I wish there was. I spent so long being mad at you that I don't really know how else to be right now.”
    “Aaron,” I whispered with tears building up in my eyes.
    “You will always be the best thing that happened to me Lucas,” he whispered, “But I just can't put my heart through all that again.”
    “I'm sorry,” I said through my tears, “I still love you.”
    “And I still love you,” he said, “But it's just too hard to even look at you right now without remembering just how much it hurt when you left.”
    “I'm sorry,” I repeated.
    “I'm sorry too,” he said.

    He stood up and looked down at me, his beautiful face destroyed by the sadness he was carrying in his eyes. I stood to join him at his level and took his hands in mine again. I pleaded him with my own eyes to take me back, but he didn't look at them. He turned, pulled his hands out of my grip, and started walking away. When he was a couple feet from me, he turned back and smiled at me.

    “I will always love you Lucas Harper,” he said, “Nothing will ever change that.”
    “Then please,” I said, “Don't leave.”
    “I'm sorry,” he said, “But you left me first.”
    “Aaron!” I yelled.
    “Goodbye.”

    And that's when I'd wake up. The crying usually began before I woke up as I'd wake up and my face would already be soaked with tears. Every time I had that dream I would sit up and try to forget it. Most of all, I would try to make sense of it. I had already turned down the offer so I didn't know why I was having this horrible dream. It broke my heart to think that I would ever leave Aaron and it made me want to kill myself to think that he wouldn't take me back if I did leave.

    So I didn't want to leave. I made sure that I wouldn't have to leave and I didn't want to tell Aaron about it because I knew if he knew about it, he might make me go. When he said what he said about his mom, it was a low blow. It hurt me more than I ever thought Aaron could possibly hurt me. But I knew he was right. He already had someone give up their life and their dreams for him. When I left that night, I left to think about what he had said.

    I went to my old thinking spot that I had before I met Aaron. There was this old abandoned building not too far from the school. It wasn't dangerous or run down; there was just no one to use it after the owners died. I would go to the roof and look out over the neighborhood. Some days I went out there just before sunset so I could watch as the city was illuminated by the light that poured over the horizon. It was definitely my happy place and after our fight, I needed to be somewhere happy.

    ***

    It was probably about two in the morning when I finally made my way back to the apartment. Aaron was fast asleep but I had a feeling he hadn't moved from where he was standing for quite some time after I left. I got into bed as gently as I could to keep from disturbing his slumber. My efforts were for naught though because the moment I was tucked under the blankets, Aaron turned over and put his head on my chest. It was then that I knew he was never actually asleep because I felt my shirt become instantly moist from his tears.

    I moved my left hand up to run my fingers through his hair in an attempt to let him know I wasn't mad at him. However, I'm sure I know Aaron well enough to know that he still thought so. Even my kiss on his cheek wasn't enough to keep his mind from convincing him of something he was totally afraid of. I gently ran my fingers in and out of his hair and brushed my face softly against the top of his head.

    “I'm sorry,” I said.
    “I'm sorry too,” he said.
    “I love you.”
    “I love you too.”
    “Do you want me to stay?” I asked.
    “Of course I do Lucas,” he said, “How could you ask me that?”
    “Because you sounded like you were offended that I wanted to stay,” I said.
    “Lucas,” he said softly, “I was offended about your reason for staying.”
    “I thought it was a good enough reason,” I said.
    “You should know that I want what's best for you,” he said, “Even if it hurts me. I want you to take the internship because that's what you wanted before you met me.”
    “And before I met you I wanted to kill myself,” I said, “I thought about it every day. I thought about how no one would love me every time I saw my friends and their relationships. If it weren't for you I would have been gone by now.”
    “Lucas don't say that,” he said.
    “Why not?” I asked, “It's the truth.”
    “Because I don't want to think of you like that,” he said, “I know who you are now and that person is strong. He can handle anything that's thrown at him with such grace and strength that it makes me wonder how someone so amazing could fall for me.”
    “Then come with me.”
    “You know I can't...”
    “Why not?” I asked.
    “I have to stay here Luke,” he said clutching his locket under his shirt, “I have to finish school.”
    “Aaron...”
    “No listen to me,” he said sitting up, “I have faith in you Lucas; I have faith in us. We're strong enough to handle this. We can make a long distance thing work.”
    “But I don't want to be away from you that long,” I said.
    “It's only three hours away,” he said, “I can come down there every weekend, we can talk, text, and even video chat every day. I have no doubt in my mind that we can make it six months.”
    “And what if I get the job?” I asked.
    “Then I finish school and come down there,” he said, “I'll get a job and we'll be together.”
    “How can you be so sure about this?” I asked.
    “Because I love you,” he said, “And that means I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be with you no matter what. But right now, you need to take this opportunity.”
    “And what if you're wrong?” I asked.
    “I'm not,” he said.
    “But what if--”
    “Stop it,” he said putting his finger against my lips, “I'm not wrong.”

    He put his head back down against my chest and we were silent for a moment. I didn't know what else to say to him. He was so sure that we would be able to make something like this work, but I still wasn't convinced. I couldn't think of any way to make our relationship work when we were so far away from each other. Even Travis, the strongest person I know, didn't think he could make a long distance relationship work and broke up with Kelsey even though it killed him to do it.

    “I don't know how to be without you Aaron,” I said.
    “I know,” he said, “Neither do I. But we can figure it out.”
    “Aaron this isn't what I want,” I said, “I want to stay here with you.”
    “I don't want you to go either,” he said, “But more than that, I don't want you regretting it someday.”
    “I won't,” I said.
    “You might,” he said, “Somewhere along the line you might think about this choice. And when you do I want you to be sure you made the right decision.”
    “Even if it means me leaving you?” I asked.
    “Lucas you once told me that all you wanted was to be responsible for putting someone on stage,” he said, “What if you could discover the next Hayley Williams? Think about how many lives you'd change just by putting her on stage. Think about how tonight was for us... you could do that for someone else someday.”

    I thought about that for a long moment. He was right of course. Somewhere out there was some young artist struggling to get their voice out there. The more I thought about that, the more I realized that Aaron wasn't trying to convince me for anyone but that person. He knew that nothing would make me happier than making someone's dreams come true and changing the lives of a million depressed, lonely teenagers who just want to know that they're not alone.

    That's what music did for me. I knew that from the very first concert I went to. Once I saw that band on stage I knew I was going to be okay. When I saw how many other people there were in the stadium waiting to see this band perform, I knew I wasn't alone. All Aaron was trying to do was convince me that I could do that for someone else, and that would be more important than either of us. All he was trying to do was make me see how important I was to someone else besides him.

    “Okay,” I said, “I'll call them tomorrow.”
    “Thank you,” he said, “I love you.”
    “I love you too,” I said, “Just know that I'm going to do it with every bit of reluctance I can possibly muster.”
    He laughed at that, “I'm fine with that.”
    “Are you sure this is right?” I asked.
    “It may not be easy Lucas,” he said, “But it's definitely something you need to do.”

    And with that, I felt my eyes start to droop. Aaron rested his head against my chest, using my muscles as a pillow. I stared at him for a while wondering how I could possibly leave him. Even though it's something I don't think I can do, he has some kind of blind faith in me. I wasn't afraid of being without him so long that I might be tempted by someone else; I would never think about doing that to him. And I definitely wasn't afraid of the same thing happening to him. I was afraid that if we didn't see each other for a long time, we might drift apart.

    But if he was certain that wouldn't happen, then I would just have to have as much faith in him as he had in me...
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  41. #291
    JerJer91
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Damn ITC,

    Only 2 writers have ever been able to make me cry like that, you make number 3. the emotions of Aaron and Luke were almost dripping with each letter, even in this short chapter.

    Thank you,
    Jer-Jer

  42. #292
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,
    That was a great chapter. So much emotion, angst, love.
    I can see the turmoil in Lucas' mind.
    Particularly after all he's been through, the fear of losing Aaron is extremely real, tangible, and horrific to him.

    You make us want to take both boys in a massive bear hug, and tell them both all will be OK.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  43. #293
    HUGS! ;-)
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC ...

    EXCELLENT!!!

    Keep smilin'!!
    Chaz
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

  44. #294
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Brilliant chapter, ITC. I finished it with a huge smile. <--- Like that, only bigger. They'll be okay I reckon. Thanks for posting this.
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC, such an emotional and powerful chapter! Thank you for sharing .

  46. #296

    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Awww. Beautiful chapters, ITC. It won't be easy, but if they truly love each other, they'll make it work. Thanks for the update!

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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Wings of A Butterfly

    Chapter Twenty-Two:
    Starry, Starry Night


    The sound of mumbled voices stirred me from my sleep the next morning. I cracked my eyes open and allowed them to adjust to the sunlight seeping in through the window above the bed. My body refused to move after the minimal sleep I had gotten that night. I turned my head toward the alarm clock and waited for my eyes to focus to read the time.

    8:30... How could he already be awake?

    I flipped over onto my stomach and spread out my arms trying to make myself more comfortable. When I failed to do so, I settled on trying to hear Lucas' voice through the walls. Unfortunately I failed to do that as well. So I just laid there in my own silence as I usually do in the mornings waiting for my reason to force my body out of bed to pop into my head.

    Lucas walked into the bedroom a few minutes later. I moved my head a little to see him in all his beauty. He had already taken a shower; I could tell because he was only wearing a clean pair of boxer briefs. I could see his cock bouncing around as he walked and I smiled when he wiggled it at me after noticing I was staring. He walked over to the bed and slapped my butt through the blankets. I rolled over onto my back and smiled at him.

    “I like how it bounces,” he said with a grin.

    His voice was scratchy and strained from yelling at the concert. I knew mine would be too so I restrained from saying anything until absolutely necessary because I knew he would give me shit about it. I smiled at his comment, turned back onto my stomach and shook my ass at him a little bit.

    “Ooh sexy,” he said.

    He dove into the sheets head first and laid next to me. His face rested right next to mine and his soft eyes focused on mine. He leaned forward and kissed my lips with tender care. I kissed back with just as much love and tenderness he gave me.

    “I love you,” he said.
    “I love you too,” I croaked.
    “Oh hello, Kermit the Frog,” he said, “Where's Aaron?”
    “Very funny,” I said harshly.
    “You know I'm just messing with you,” he said.
    “I know...” I said quietly.
    “So what you got going on today?” he asked.
    “I have to hit up the library in a couple hours,” I said.
    “What for?” he asked.
    “First research paper of the semester,” I sighed.
    “Ah, sounds like loads of fun,” he said, “Want some help or company?”
    “I’d love some but it's not necessary,” I said.
    “Yeah it is,” he said quietly.
    “Why?” I asked.
    “I just got off the phone with that record label,” he said, “And it's official. I got the spot.”
    “That's great,” I said softly, “I was kinda hoping it was already too late.”
    “So was I,” he said.

    He lifted his arm and brushed the bangs away from my forehead with his fingertips. The tips of his fingers grazed my skin and sent those tiny sparks of electricity through my skin. The thought of him leaving scared me and the thought of never feeling that way again made my stomach ache. I tried to hide my pain from him, but trying to fool Lucas was like trying to take a shower with rocks instead of soap. He looked into my eyes; his own eyes filled with concern.

    “What's wrong?” he asked.
    “Nothing,” I said, “I just... Is it okay for me to complain about you leaving?”
    “Not a chance,” he said.

    He sat up and straddled my chest, looking down at me with his beautiful, perfectly sculpted face. He ran his hands against my arms and my hands went up to his thighs as I stared up at him. His smile from earlier had completely vanished and was replaced by a serious look he rarely had. A lump formed in my throat as I stared at my boyfriend and wished I had just kept my mouth shut last night. If I had just been a little selfish, he wouldn't have to leave me.

    “Aaron this is really hard for me to do,” he said, “I really need you to support me through this or I'll never be able to do it. If you complain... it'll just make this even harder than it already is, and I can't take that.”
    “I'm sorry,” I said, “I'll support you no matter what you do baby.”
    “Thank you,” he said, “I really appreciate that.”
    “Lucas,” I whispered.
    “Yeah,” he whispered back with a grin.
    “Can I tell you a secret?”
    “What is it?”
    “I'm crazy about you,” I said with a smile.
    “Well then, can I tell you a secret?” he asked.
    “What?” I asked.
    “You should see a therapist,” he said with an evil grin.
    “Jerk,” I said, pushing him off my chest.

    He landed on the other side of the bed, doubling over in laughter. I got up and walked toward the closet to retrieve a change of clothes. When I turned around to look at him, he was laying on his stomach diagonally on the bed with this chin in his palms and his feet in the air.

    “You're mean,” I said.
    “Oh come on, Aaron,” he said.
    “You say I sound like Kermit the frog,” I said, “And that I need a therapist.”
    “Come here,” he said.

    I dragged my feet as I walked over to him. He sat up and scooted his butt to the edge of the bed. When I got close enough, he reached out to grab my hands in his.

    “To be honest,” he said, “If you need a therapist then I should be committed. ‘Cause I'm crazy enough to want to be your Miss Piggy.”
    I let out a loud laugh when he said that, “Nice save.”
    “I try,” he said with a grin, “But seriously Aaron, I want you to know that whenever I may point out your flaws, you shouldn't take it the wrong way. I love your flaws; they're part of what make you special to me. Every imperfection makes you more perfect for me. Every clumsy moment you have, the fact that your right eye squints just a little bit when you read, the way the left side of your mouth curls up when you smile, how you're ticklish on the left side of your neck and not your right; every time I point out something, it's just my way of telling you that I know you.”

    I leaned in to kiss him. I wrapped my lips around his and pushed my tongue past his teeth to dance with his. A symphony of tastes and moans filled my mouth. When I pulled my face away from his, a smile was stretched across his face.

    “Go shower,” he said, “You smell like ass.”
    “Whatever,” I said as I turned to walk away, “You love my ass.”
    “You know I do,” he said as his hand reached out and squeezed my left cheek, “Oh, by the way, I saw Jason downstairs when I went to get a paper. He invited us to dinner tonight.”
    “That sounds great,” I said, “Go tell him we'll be there.”
    He slammed his hand against the wall that joined our apartment with Jason and Haley's and said, “Hey we'll be there tonight.”

    I stared at him in disbelief until I heard a slam come from the other side and Jason's voice saying, “Awesome!” Lucas had a massive grin on his face as I gave him a wide-eyed, blank look of shock and turned to walk away.

    “Wear something slutty tonight!” he called out.

    ***

    I wore the white V-neck Lucas said looked too tight on me and my pair of black jeans which he said drew immediate attention to my ass when I turned around. I indeed looked slutty and smiled every time I caught him checking me out.

    By now, Lucas' hair had grown out a bit since we left for Winter Break and was in desperate need of a trim according to his vanity. I however thought he looked nice with a little longer hair. The bangs barely drooped over his eyes as it was too long for him to try to keep it pointing outwards the way he liked it. The sides which were usually cut really close had grown out to look more like mine. All in all, I thought he looked amazing the way he was, but he liked his hair a certain way and already had plans to get it cut the next day.

    He was wearing a tight shirt also, except his was a black button-up shirt. He wore nothing underneath and left the top button unhooked to try and get me to check him out too. As a way to get me back for my choice of attire, he wore those faded blue jeans that drove me crazy. They gripped at his thighs perfectly and formed around his ass in a way that made it look better than it did naked. It was weird how Lucas could turn me on so much while wearing clothes.

    His left hand was around my waist, holding me close to him as we knocked on our neighbors' door. I felt his hand move from the grip he had on my waist to my back pocket and slip inside. He leaned his head over and kissed me playfully on the cheek.

    “I bet you get hard before I do,” he said.
    “Ten bucks,” I accepted.
    “You're going down,” he said.
    “Yeah, ‘cause you'll be the one with the wood,” I said grinning.

    The door opened before he could say anything more to try and entice me. I was thankful because I knew he was about to whisper something into my ear that would give me an instant hard-on. Haley appeared behind the opening door with a bright smile on her face and an even brighter smile on Jason behind her.

    I guess I should take a moment to describe these two, starting with Jason. He was alright looking, nothing too special. He looked to be in his mid thirties and was in pretty good shape. His pecs were well defined under his dark red button-up shirt and his biceps were nearly popping the sleeves open. He had dark hair; darker than mine. It was slightly curly, but I could tell that's just because it was long. It wasn't really long; it was just longer than mine. He had the workings of a mustache, but not much of one, and a small goatee.

    He had dark eyes as well, but they were full of happiness all the time. Jason was one of those guys whose smile was contagious; and he was always smiling.

    Haley was almost like his opposite. She was bright in every way possible. Her brown hair, blue eyes, and the color of her clothes were all luminous colors and made the rest of her seem even brighter. Even her smile somehow seemed whiter because of the rest of her appearance. She was shorter than Jason, who stood about two inches taller than Lucas. If I had to guess, she was probably about five foot four and the rest of her body was proportionate to her height which made her a tiny woman. However, she was a tough one too, which I'll get to later.

    They greeted us and lead us into their apartment. This was probably the first time Haley and I actually spoke to each other considering when we were moving in, Carly hogged Haley all to herself to talk about their respective weddings. She instantly saw through the wall I still put up when meeting new people and told me to knock off my shit before Lucas even had a chance to. I smiled graciously and bowed slightly to her which she laughed at.

    “Listen, Aaron, you and Lucas feel free to be yourselves around here okay?” she said.
    “Okay,” I said rather cautiously.
    “It's best to do as she says guys,” Jason added, “She'll put the spotlight on you until you do.”
    I grabbed Lucas' hand in mine and looked at Haley, “Better?” I asked.
    “A little,” she said.

    Lucas pulled me into him and planted a big wet smooch on my lips.

    “Now that's what I'm talkin’ about,” she said.

    I hadn't noticed her southern drawl before but it was definitely there. After I noticed it, a lot of things about her made me wonder where she was from. She was a small, but muscular woman who really didn't take kindly to bullshit. I could easily imagine her in a cowboy getup and wrestling with a bull... and winning.

    As Haley continued cooking dinner Jason, Lucas, and I all sat in their living room. Thanks to Haley, their place looked very clean and fancy. The couch was white and faced with its back to the kitchen toward a nice big screen TV. There was a large white chair that looked like it could seat two easily in it next to the couch which faced with its side toward the kitchen. A short coffee table sat in the center with an ottoman sitting on the open side as if to serve as an extra seat.

    I could tell immediately that Jason was an intelligent man. Instead of a cable box, he had their TV hooked up to a PC tower. Their remote was a wireless keyboard and he used that to download TV shows instead of watching them on cable. I took little mental notes as I was sure they saved a ton of money from not having to pay a cable bill.

    Lucas' eyes found the paintings that Haley had hung up around the walls. He admired them with his jaw slightly dropped and walked from painting to painting to study them. While I was chatting with Jason, I noticed he had stopped at one for much longer than the others. I excused myself and walked over to him. I recognized the Van Gogh painting immediately when I came within eye-shot of it. We had studied this painting in my sixth grade class because of my teacher's obsession with art history.

    I gazed at the beautiful copy of Starry Night that hung on the wall and remembered the song that went with it. My teacher had played it for us the first time we looked at the painting and I remembered it like it was yesterday.

    Starry, Starry Night.
    Paint your palette blue and gray,
    Look out on a summer's day,
    With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
    Shadows on the hills,
    Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
    Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
    In colors on the snowy linen land.

    Now I understand,
    What you tried to say to me,
    How you suffered for your sanity,
    How you tried to set them free.
    They would not listen, they did not know how.
    Perhaps they'll listen now.

    I didn't notice the tears in my eyes until Lucas wiped them away. He also had tears in his eyes so I returned the favor and wiped his away.

    “You were thinking of the song weren't you?” he asked.
    “You know it too?” I asked.
    “Of course,” he said, “Art major, remember?”
    “Oh yeah, duh,” I said.
    “I take it you guys like that painting?” Jason said from his seat on the couch.
    “Yeah, it's one of my favorites,” Lucas said.
    “Well, talk to Haley,” Jason said as he got up to join us, “She insisted we have that piece.”
    “I can see why,” Lucas said, “It's beautiful.”
    “You said something about a song?” Jason asked.
    “Yeah,” I said, “It was written about this piece.”
    “And all the others too,” Lucas said.
    “I thought it was just this one,” I said.
    “No,” Lucas said sternly, “He talks about a bunch of them in that song.”
    “Did what's-his-name write it?” Jason asked.
    “Who?” I asked.
    “The guy that painted it,” he said, “Did he write the song?”
    “Oh, God no,” Lucas said, “Don McLean wrote and sang it.”
    “It really is a haunting song,” I said.
    “You'll have to let me hear it sometime,” Jason said.
    “Boys,” Haley called from the kitchen, “Slop's on!”

    Jason pushed us into the kitchen where Haley stood looking like the perfect image of a 1950's housewife. Her lace apron folded in half and tied around her waist along with the retro apparel she was wearing was something right out of Home & Garden.

    “Wow, Hales,” Jason said, “You look just like Florence Henderson.”
    “Watch it, babe,” she said, “I'll scratch your eyes out and make you my bitch in front of these guys.”
    “Whoa, hey, keep the kinky stuff for when you're alone,” I said grinning.
    “Sit down and eat,” she said glaring at me.

    I did as I was told and took my seat. Haley brought around a plate of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, boiled peas, and something I didn't recognize. I poked and prodded at the stuff made up of rice and celery and some other things I couldn't figure out. Once I popped it in my mouth though I couldn't get enough of it. Whatever it was, it was delicious.

    “You like the rice salad?” Haley asked.
    “It's incredible,” I said with a mouthful.
    Lucas nudged my side and said, “Don't talk with your mouth full, babe.”
    “Bet you tell him that a lot,” Jason said under his breath.
    Haley punched his shoulder and said, “Jason, don't be rude.”
    “Haley, don't be prude,” he said with a grin.
    “It's okay,” I said laughing, “I wish I thought of it first.”
    “So,” Lucas said clearly changing the subject, “When's your wedding?”
    “Two months, three weeks, and five days,” Haley spat out.
    “Wow,” I said, “Freaking out yet?”
    “Not at all,” Jason said, “My baby is rock solid.”
    “Yeah,’ rock solid,’” Haley said, “That's a lie; I'm a total mess.”
    “Don't worry,” Lucas said, “That's normal.”
    “Yeah, but that doesn't make it any better,” she said.
    “Where are you getting married? That big church on Santa Rosa?” Lucas asked.
    “Uh, well no actually,” Haley said.
    “We're not getting married here,” Jason said, “Haley's grandma has diabetes and well... she's not doing so good. She still lives in southern Texas and the doctors say travel is out of the question for her.”
    “We're gonna move out of here in about 5 weeks and start getting ready for the wedding over there,” Haley added.
    “After the honeymoon we're going back to be with her family until... well, until it's time,” he said.
    “Oh, man,” I said, “I'm sorry.”
    “No, it's okay,” Haley said, “I'm sorry too. We wanted to invite you guys but we know it's right in the middle of the semester and... well, we couldn't put you in that position.”
    “Oh, no, we understand,” Lucas said, “It's okay.”

    We all fell silent for a little while. Lucas and I traded uncomfortable looks with each other. I knew he was feeling guilty for bringing the subject up and wanted to say something. I grabbed his hand under the table and squeezed it softly to let him know it was okay. He squeezed back and I could feel the guilt inside him pour into me. We sat there with no sounds except for the forks and spoons scraping against the plates as we ate. It was one of those moments where you lose track of time in the silence and I was almost startled when it was broken.

    “Have Carly and Mike picked a date yet?” Jason asked.
    “I don't think so,” I said, “I know it's going to be in the summer though so they can do it at home.”
    “Where's home?” Haley asked.
    “Sacramento,” I said, “Bout 300 miles North of here.”
    “Oh wow,” she said, “Home's pretty far away.”
    “Not for me,” I said smiling at Lucas.
    “Where's home for you?” Jason asked.
    “Wherever Lucas is,” I said.
    “Awwww,” Haley said. She turned toward Jason and slapped his arm, “Why can't you be that romantic to me?”
    “Because you hit me all the time!” he said.
    “I do not,” she said crossing her arms.
    “Do too,” he said.
    “Yeah, well, you deserve it most of the time,” she said.
    “I believe it,” Lucas said smiling.
    “Don't encourage her,” Jason said.
    “So has Carly picked out a dress yet?” Haley asked, changing the subject as subtly as Lucas had.
    “She hasn't shown me anything yet,” I said.
    “Well, she showed me this beautiful dress when we were over at your place a couple weeks ago,” she said, “Honestly, if I hadn't already had mine fitted and paid for I would have snatched that one.”
    “I wonder why she didn't show me,” I said.
    “She didn't plan on buying that one,” she said, “It was out of her price range.”
    “Oh,” I said, “That sucks.”
    “Yeah it does,” she said, “That dress was amazing.”

    We all finished eating and Haley served us all a cup of coffee and a slice of her homemade apple pie. She said it was her grandmother's recipe; and I must say, it was probably the best pie I've ever had. I don't know what all I tasted, but it wasn't just apples. There was a multitude of flavors circling my tongue and driving my taste buds insane. I could see why Jason was marrying the girl. If Lucas could cook like her I'd be shoving a ring on his finger in a hot second.

    After dessert was served and the chatting dulled to a light conversation as all of us sat around the coffee table, Lucas and I decided it was time to go back to our place. As we said our goodbyes, I hoped that after they moved we would someday find them again. They weren't a normal couple like most people you see, and I knew from the start that Jason and Lucas would be close as would Haley and I. The pit in my stomach told me that I would miss them terribly when they left.

    Once we were through the door, Lucas wrapped his arms around from behind me and pushed his lips against mine when I turned my head to look at him. I felt his crotch press into my butt and the log in his shorts told me that he had lost the bet.

    “You can pay me in the morning,” I whispered with a grin.
    “Shit, I forgot all about that,” he said.
    “I knew you would,” I said smiling wider at him as I turned to face him.
    “Well, when you dress this slutty,” he said grabbing my ass, “How could I even remember to breathe?”
    “That's a good question,” I said, “But, you're not so conservatively dressed yourself big guy.”
    “Had to at least put up a fight,” he said, his beautiful smile finally breaking across his face.

    He gave my butt one more pat and pulled away from me. I went to the fridge to grab a water bottle and sat down on the couch waiting for Lucas to come out of the bathroom. When he did, he flopped down on the seat next to me and pulled me into his arms. We sat like that for a few minutes as I fell into his incredible strength and lost myself in his aromas. I closed my eyes and allowed every piece of him take control of my senses.

    “Hey Aaron,” he said.
    “What's up?” I whispered.
    “I wanna do something,” he said, “You're gonna think I'm crazy, but I really want to do it.”
    “What is it?” I asked as I opened my eyes and sat up.
    “I want to buy Carly that dress she wants,” he said.
    “You're right,” I said, “You are crazy.”
    “I'm serious though,” he said.
    “Why?” I asked, “That's a lot of money if she can't afford it. Carly's been saving up for her wedding since she was five.”
    “Which is why I want to buy it for her,” he said.
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “She's been planning it for almost twenty years,” he said, “If she plays her cards right, this will be the only wedding she has. She deserves the dress she wants, not the one she can afford.”
    “Luke, that's really sweet,” I said.
    “But?” he asked.
    “No 'but', it's a really sweet gesture,” I said, “And you're right. She does deserve it.”
    “Okay, but listen,” he said, “I want to surprise her with it. You need to find out which one it is; get all the details on it. And you need to keep her from buying another dress until I can get one in her size.”
    “I promise I'll do everything I can,” I said.
    “Thanks,” he said.

    We sat there for a few more minutes before we both started yawning. We made our way back to the bedroom, undressed to our underwear and climbed under the covers. I rolled on my side and he pressed up against my back, wrapping his arms around my torso. My hands instantly went on top of his and our fingers entwined with each other.

    I could feel his breath on the back of my head. His body heat transferred into me which was the only thing keeping me warm on these cold winter nights. I felt his crotch pressing against my back; it was still hard as a rock.

    “Luke?” I whispered into the darkness.
    “Yeah baby?” he asked.
    “Do you feel like we don't... ya know... do it... enough?” I asked.
    “What?” he asked, “You mean fuck?”
    “Oh well you make it sound so much more romantic.”
    “Sorry,” he said.
    “Well do you?” I asked.
    “Honestly,” he said, “No. When we make love Aaron... it's like the world stops turning. When we do it, my body erupts in feelings that I can't even describe. There's nothing like the feeling of your body pressed up against mine as I blast myself into you. It doesn't matter how many times we do it because once will leave me weak in the knees for days.”
    “And what about when you leave?” I asked, “What happens then?”
    “Well we'll definitely make good use of our webcams,” he said, “But honestly the sex isn't what matters most to me. It's moments like this that are most important to me.”
    “Moments like what?” I asked.
    “This,” he said squeezing me, “Me holding you, talking to you, and being so madly in love with you. I'm gonna miss this more than anything.”
    “I love you too,” I said smiling, “You're the best boyfriend anyone could have.”
    “No,” he said, “You are.”

    His lips grazed mine with no hint of lust in them and his hands tightened around my torso. Finally my body succumbed to the long and tiresome weekend we had suffered through. My eyes couldn't stay open much longer and my last thought before I fell asleep was about how much I was going to miss being around this boy in a few months.
    Give me one firm place to stand, and I shall move the Earth...more than the 383 miles it would move anyway.

  48. #298
    Porn Star pe_gay89's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Bat Country, Yorkshire, UK
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Great stuff, ITC!
    You depend on our protection yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth!

    I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight.

    foREVer

  49. #299
    Defender of Downtrodden
    DonQuixote's Avatar
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    ITC,
    A wonderful, love-filled chapter.

    The simple, pure emotions pour off the page at us.

    Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  50. #300
    HUGS! ;-)
    Kyanimal's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Milwaukee
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    Re: Wings of A Butterfly

    Oh, NO!! EVERYONE is moving away!!

    Jason and Haley, such recently found Friends, are SO "Kewl"! And, then there's Heart Throb, Best Bud, True Love, Lucas leaving, too!

    How is poor Aaron, left all ALONE, possibly going to Cope???

    Well ... he still has other Friends around him. And, with today's technology, it's much easier to stay in touch! Still ...

    However, as "they" say, "Absence makes the Heart grow fonder!" And, somehow, I'm feeling that all of this is going to work out "just fine". Perhaps there will be "rough spots", and times of "turmoil", but I think everyone will be coming out of this much Stronger. At least, that is my Hope!

    All the more reason to ...

    Keep smilin'!!
    Chaz
    WISDOM is the Knowledge you've gained ... After you could have used it! _Me

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