Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 5

Posted: N/A

Thanksgiving weekend came and Ethan and his parents went to visit his dad's parents for most of the weekend. They planned to be back late on Saturday, so Chase and Ethan made plans to get together on Sunday afternoon. After spending the afternoon with Ethan watching a movie and playing video games, Chase headed back home on his bike.

It was dusk and it was starting to get dark. He took a short cut through the park instead of riding around the perimeter of the park. As he turned into the park, a truck sped by and turned a corner up ahead with the tires screeching a little bit.

Chase was on one of the paths through the park when he suddenly found himself flying off his bike because someone had clothes lined him. Someone's arm hit him chest high and he flew backwards off the bike. His breath was knocked out of him. He felt a little dizzy as he lay on the ground trying to catch his breath.

He felt himself being picked up and held up by a strong grip as he continued to try and catch his breath. His head hung down as he did so. He finally caught his breath as someone started to lightly slap his cheeks. He looked up and saw someone standing in front of him, with a bandana over his lower face covering his mouth and nose. The guy was pretty good sized. He looked like he was built like a football player. He had a knit cap pulled low over his head so that all Chase could see were the person's eyes. He turned around so that Chase could not see his face and lifted the bandana around his lower face and sounded out a loud whistle

Chase shrank back from the guy, but could not move much as another person came up behind him and gripped his arms tightly so he couldn't move.

The guy in front of him placed his hand on Chase's shoulder and gave a friendly squeeze. "Hi Chase ol buddy."

Chase saw a couple of other guys come running up, they were similarly dressed with bandana's and knit caps.

"Who…who are you?" Chase asked him.

"No one of importance," the guy answered him with a little chuckle before he continued. "But I do have a little request for you. You're a loser and should not try to climb above your station."

Chase was confused, "I don't know what you're talking about."

The guy squeezed his shoulder, causing him to wince from the pressure. "Let me explain it to you. A friend of mine would like you to quit hanging around Ethan Hicks. They think you're trying to climb out from under the rock you were under and they would like you to go back underneath that rock and stay there this time."

"Ethan's my best friend," Chase said plaintively.

The guy chuckled, "How could he be your best friend, when just a short time ago, you were mostly invisible to him." The guy paused before continuing. "He's moved on Chase. Don't you get it? Maybe you were friends once, but you're not his friend. He's just letting you hang around because you did him a little favor. He feels sorry for you, the little loser, who gave him a little help one time. So it's time you moved on as well. That is the message that his real friends want you to understand."

"He's not like that. Ethan would never be like that. He's my friend and I'm his." Chase protested as he looked at the guy with a determined look.

The guy looked back at him and Chase saw a slight change in his eyes as he suddenly slammed his fist into Chase's gut causing him to sag in the grip of the guy who was holding him. He was coughing and trying to get his breath back and was doing his best to keep from throwing up. The others who were there were chuckling at his discomfiture.

The guy leaned in and grabbed Chase by the hair, "You don't get it, do you loser? His real friends want you to disappear, become invisible again." He threatened, "You can start by finding somewhere else to eat lunch. Do you understand now?"

Chase could only nod his head numbly to show he heard the guy.

He let him go. "See you Chase ol buddy. Have a nice day."

Chase was dropped to the ground and the four guys turned their back on him laughing at him. He was on his hands and knees with his head hanging down, as he tried to recover. Chase looked up and saw them disappear down the path. A few moments later he heard a truck start up and drive away.

He retrieved his bike and checked to make sure it was okay before he got back on it and continued his ride home. There were tears on his face by the time he got home, but before he went inside the house he quickly wiped his eyes.

His mom called out from the kitchen when he entered, "Chase, is that you?" she called out.

"Yeah Mom." He answered.

"Go and wash up, dinner is about ready." She said.

"Kay Mom, I'll be right there." He went to the bathroom and closed the door as he washed his face and hands. He looked in the mirror to make sure that there was no evidence of what had happened before he headed into the dining room for dinner.

Later that night Chase was laying in his bed thinking about what that guy had told him. He tried to think of anything on the guy that would give him an idea who it was. None of the four guys were wearing anything different from any other teenager that went to his school. He was sure that they went to his school. They looked like they were juniors or seniors, but they had hidden their identity well and all he saw on any of them was their eyes. The guy who hit him was big enough to be a football player, as was the guy who had been holding him. The others were probably on the team as well, but he wasn't sure. He thought about what he was going to do the next day.

He loved the rekindled friendship with Ethan and loved being close to him. He thought that even though Ethan couldn't be his boyfriend, since he was straight, he could at least be his best friend. He didn't really believe what the guy told him about Ethan just being nice to him. Chase was certain Ethan would not be that way. However, somewhere a niggling thought came to him telling him that maybe it was true, because since middle school he had been all but invisible to Ethan. Chase shook his head at that thought. Ethan was different. He was Chase's best friend, he had told Chase so. Chase went to sleep without resolving his conflict about what he was told to do by the guy who hit him.

The next day at school, when lunchtime came around, Chase found a different place to sit and tried to not be conspicuous, so that Ethan might not notice him and wouldn't call him over to join them. What he didn't count on was Ethan looking for him until Ethan sat down across from him.

"Hey Chase. Why are you sitting over here?" Ethan asked.

Chase shrugged, "The other tables had people sitting at them."

Ethan looked around and pointed to where some of his cross country friends were sitting, "There's some of the guys over there, you could've gone and sat with them. I would've joined you guys, when I got here."

Chase shrugged again, "Oh, uh…I, uh didn't see them."

Ethan smiled, "C'mon, let's go over there."

Chase hesitated and then nodded. He gathered his stuff and followed Ethan over to the other table.

Ethan directed him to a seat and he sat down next to Chase, giving him a big smile.

Chase gave him a sort of shy smile in return before going back to quietly eating his lunch while Ethan answered a question from one of his friends. Chase made some furtive glances around the area to see if anyone, especially any of the football players were looking at him, but he didn't see anyone, so he relaxed a little bit.

Another thing he noticed was Ethan was sitting so close to him their legs were touching and several times Ethan's leg increased the pressure or his arm and shoulder brushed against Chase as he turned or gestured to one of his friends while he talked to them. Ethan was close enough for Chase to smell Ethan's scent, his shampoo or whatever. He almost wanted to lean into Ethan and hope that Ethan would put his arm around him and hold him.

He had closed his eyes when he thought about that, opening them only when he heard someone make a small sound. He opened his eyes and looked up at Kristi who was standing across from him and Ethan.

She looked down at them and Chase thought he saw something on her face, but it disappeared before he could truly see the look she gave him.

She smiled at the two of them, "Hi Ethan. Hi Chase."

Ethan looked up and smiled, "Oh, hi Kristi, have a seat."

She grinned happily, "Thanks."

Chase greeted her as well.

She nodded at him and then turned her full attention to Ethan.

She sat down and started asking him about an assignment in one of the classes they had together. Since Chase wasn't in their class he just listened to what they were talking about without saying anything. He had just finished his lunch when he heard Kristi ask Ethan about the Holiday Dance that was going to be held on the Friday night that school would let out for Christmas break.

"Ethan, are you going to the Christmas dance in a couple of weeks?" She asked.

Ethan thought for a moment, "I hadn't thought about it, maybe."

"I think it will be lots of fun. I'm going to be there. You should go. I'd love to see you there. Maybe we could dance together." She gushed a little.

Ethan shrugged, "Maybe, but with this thing," he lifted his boot up a little, "I don't think I'll be doing much dancing. It might not be that fun since I can't dance."

Kristi's smile dimmed a little, "Oh, yeah I forgot." She thought for a moment as she finished off what she was eating and she smiled at him again as something occurred to her, "You know, my older brother is taking his girlfriend to the dance, he could give you a ride. You can come with us if you want. It'll be fun."

Ethan shrugged again, "Maybe I can. I'll let you know. Maybe, I'll get lucky and my ankle will be healed up and I can get this boot off. So yeah, it depends on whether I get the boot off or not." Ethan finished with a smile for her.

Her smile was even brighter, "Cool, but even if you don't get it off we could still go. I think it'll be fun."

Ethan shrugged noncommittally.

Ethan nudged Chase, "What about you Chase, are you going?"

Chase shook his head, "No, I wasn't planning on it."

Ethan looked as if he was going to say something else but the bell rang signaling the end of the lunch period.

"See ya in class Chase," Ethan said as he and Kristi left for their next class.

Chase just nodded in answer and headed in the other direction.

After school Ethan asked Chase to come over after school again.

Chase looked around for a few moments before agreeing to go. Chase did not see the confused look on Ethan's face at his action. When Chase agreed, he mentally shrugged and helped Chase get his bike in the back of the SUV.

Once at his house, they played video games for a little while before Chase said he had to go. Once he left, Ethan laid back on the bed, confused about the way Chase had acted. He had seemed a little distracted. He had seemed to be thinking about something else. Ethan wondered about that. He thought about calling Chase and asking him about it but he was interrupted by his mom calling him for dinner. He didn't call later either, because he forgot about it.

When Chase left Ethan's, there was a little bit of nervousness. He had been a little worried about Ethan sitting with him at lunch, but he didn't see anyone really looking in his direction, so he didn't really worry too much about. When he agreed to come over to Ethan's house, he again felt that bit of fear, but it was Ethan asking him and he had to go. He hadn't seen anyone watching him then, so he hoped there wouldn't be any trouble. He only stayed at Ethan's for a short time before going home. He made sure that there was plenty of light so he could easily keep an eye out for those guys. He also made sure that he didn't take any shortcuts through the park. It was a little longer, but he felt better when he finally rode his bike into his driveway.

The next day at lunch, he was little late because he was asking his teacher about an assignment. When he came outside, Ethan waved for him to join them. Chase glanced around and couldn't say no, so he joined them. He smiled at Ethan as he sat down. Ethan smiled his encouragement to Chase as he joined them.

During the lunch period, Ethan started to notice, Chase glancing furtively around the area, like he was watching for someone or something. Every time he thought about asking Chase what he was looking for, Kristi would say or do something that turned his attention away from what Chase was doing. When lunch was over, Chase said his goodbyes and scurried away.

Ethan headed to his locker after their class together while Chase went to his locker. Ethan went out front to wait for his mom. He looked around for Chase, but didn't see him. When Ethan's mom came by, Ethan had her wait for a few moments while he looked around for Chase. His mom told him they had to get going as she had some errands to run. So Ethan looked around once more to see if he could see Chase anywhere and frowned a little as he got in the car.

As Ethan's mom pulled away, Chase pushed his bike out from between the buildings where he had been hiding. He had barely gotten himself and his bike hidden there before Ethan came out of the school. He could feel his eyes watering up a little as he watched Ethan leave. He quickly brushed them away as he got on his bike and rode home.

Later that evening, Chase was doing homework when his cell went off. He picked it up and saw that it was Ethan. He thought about ignoring it, but he at least wanted to hear his voice, so he answered it.

"Hey Ethan…..No, just homework…..Yeah, almost done…..Sorry, I, uh…..had to look up something at the library……yeah, sorry, I didn't think about it or I woulda told you in class. You didn't wait for me did you?.......Oh, sorry. Tell your mom I'm sorry for making her wait too……Tomorrow? Maybe…..I mean maybe, I might have to go to the library again……it's for a report in science class…..Nah, you don't have to wait with me. That's not fair to your mom…..When your ankle is healed up and you are riding your bike again, then yeah okay, but you shouldn't make your mom wait for both of us….Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow…Bye."

Chase groaned after he hung up and flopped down on the bed. He hated lying to Ethan, but it was only a little lie. He was the only one hurt by it. They had just started to be close friends again and now this. He didn't even know why. His being friends with Ethan, wasn't hurting anyone. Maybe it was a jock thing, they didn't want anyone who wasn't "cool" hanging around with the jocks and Chase, up until recently, had not been cool. But Ethan's other friends from the cross country team didn't seem to have any problem with Chase being around them. Why would someone who looked like a football player care about it? Chase was confused about that. He couldn't think of any football players who hung around with them. He just didn't know. He wanted to be around Ethan, but he didn't want to get his butt kicked either. He lay there thinking for a little while more before he got up and finished his homework. He just didn't know what he was going to do.

For the rest of the week, Ethan would wave for Chase to join them and Chase couldn't think of any way to decline so he sat with them. He did like being around Ethan, but was still a little worried. Neither Chase nor Ethan noticed the looks that Kristi kept giving Chase when no one was looking. She did her best to keep Ethan distracted from Chase, hoping that he would finally ignore the little creep and give her the attention that she deserved.

At the end of the day, Chase kept using the excuse that he had to look things up in the library as the reason he wasn't going home with Ethan. He could see the disappointment on Ethan's face, but he didn't know what to do. He felt really bad about it, but he didn't know what else to do about it.

Finally, on Friday at lunch, Ethan asked him to come over Saturday. "Chase, can you come over tomorrow and maybe stay overnight, ya know like we used to. It'll be cool."

Chase looked at his pleading eyes and wanted to say no, but then Ethan stuck out his lower lip and gave Chase his puppy dog eyes look.

Chase couldn't stop himself from laughing. "You look like one of those pictures of those dogs with the huge eyes," Chase said.

Ethan tried to look even more pitiful and gave out a little puppy dog whimper.

Chase and the other guys at the table started laughing and Chase gave in, he held his hands up in surrender, "Okay, okay, I'll go. If my parents say it's cool."

Ethan did a little fist pump, "Yes, I knew that would work, either that or I was going to have to act all crippled so you'd feel sorry for me."

"When do you want me to come over?" Chase asked.

"How about twelve?" Ethan replied.

Chase nodded, "I'll call you tonight and let you know if I can come over."

"I've gotta go. I'll see you later Ethan," Kristi said as she got up from the table.

"Bye Kristi, see you on Monday." Ethan said cheerily.

Kristi quickly turned around to hide the anger on her face. She was fuming as she walked away thinking furiously.

[How could he prefer that little creep's company to hers?] She had just been about to ask Ethan if he wanted to go to the movies with her this weekend.

She was scowling, which caused people to get out of her way, as she went to find her older brother Craig.

Since Chase was coming over for the weekend, he said goodbye to Ethan at his car and Ethan's mom told them that it was okay for Chase to stay over on Saturday night. She asked Chase to have his mom call her if it was okay.

Chase thanked her and waved as they drove away. He felt pretty happy on the ride home. He didn't even think about what the guy had told him. He only knew that he was going to be able to spend the weekend with Ethan.

At dinner that evening, Chase told his parents about Ethan's invitation and got their permission. After dinner, Sandy called Mary and they talked for a little while. She said that she would take Chase over and asked if she minded giving him a ride back home on Sunday. Everything was all set. Chase thanked his parents and went to his room after cleaning up from dinner to call Ethan.

"Hey Ethan, I guess you heard huh….yeah, I'll be there around twelve….hey that'd be cool….what movie do you want to see?.....Real Steel, yeah, that's sounds good. I haven't seen that one yet.…..Cool I'll talk to you more tomorrow afternoon……Yeah, I can't wait either….Kay bye."

After he hung up, Chase smiled to himself. He couldn't wait until tomorrow. Everything that the guy had told him was the furthest thing from his mind. He couldn't stay away from Ethan, he loved Ethan so much. Besides, it was the weekend, not at school. He looked forward to the next day.

The next morning Chase packed everything he thought he would need for the weekend and was ready to go long before it was time to go.

While he was waiting for Chase to get there, Ethan cleaned his room, even though Chase had seen it plenty of times with stuff sitting around. For some reason he thought it should look better for Chase's visit.

By twelve, Sandy was ready to take Chase over to Ethan's. She went in the house with him, so she could visit with Mary for a little while. Without thinking about it, Ethan grabbed Chase's hand and pulled him to his bedroom so he could put his backpack away. When he grabbed Chase's hand, Chase felt a little tingle deep inside that made him feel really good. The boy of his dreams was holding his hand and he tightened his grip a little to make sure it lasted as long as Ethan allowed it.

In the bedroom, Ethan let his hand go. He had him put his backpack down in one corner by the desk. Then Ethan lay down on his stomach on the bed and motioned for Chase to join him by patting the bed next to him. Chase toed his shoes off and lay down next to Ethan, as close as he dared so that they were touching partway along their length. Ethan had today's paper opened on the bed to the section that listed the movie times at the Madison Town Center.

"The next showing is at two. We could go now and grab something at the food court and then go to the arcade for a little while before the movie if you want." Ethan offered.

Chase quickly nodded, "Yeah, I haven't been to the arcade in awhile."

They closed up the paper and went back to the living room just as Sandy was saying goodbye to Mary and Randy.

"Bye Chase. Don't give Mary any trouble or I'll come get you and drag you back home." Sandy said before she turned to Mary, "If he gives you any trouble, you have my permission to do what you wish, but don't leave any marks."

Mary laughed, "You know he'll be no trouble. It's so nice to have Chase visiting again. I think Ethan's happy about it too. Bye Sandy, I'll bring him back home tomorrow."

Sandy gave Chase and Ethan both hugs and left.

Mary turned to the two boys, "Well, did you guys decide when you want me to take you to the mall?"

Ethan nodded, "There's a two o'clock showing, but we'd like to go now so we can get something to eat and maybe play some games at the arcade before it starts."

"Well, if you're ready to go, we can go now." Mary said. She grabbed her purse and keys, "Honey, I'll be back in a little while."

Randy smiled at the boys, "What movie are you going to see boys?"

"Real Steel." Ethan replied.

"Well have fun guys." Randy headed back into the living room to go back to watching the football game that was on.

Mary led the boys out to the car and a few minutes later she dropped them off by the food court entrance.

"Ethan, call me when you guys are ready to come home, but at least by five," she told them.

Ethan nodded, "Thanks mom. See you later." He closed the door and she drove off with a little wave of her hand goodbye.

The boys headed inside, guided by the many different smells emanating from the food court, which caused their stomachs to growl a little. They grabbed some Mickey D's for lunch. As soon as they finished, they headed over to the arcade and for the next hour, they played several games, usually ones where they could both play together. As it neared time for the movie to start, they headed over to the theater and got their tickets.

After the movie, which they both enjoyed, they headed back to the arcade for a little while before calling Ethan's home to come and get them. As they walked outside to meet his dad, Chase said something funny which caused Ethan to laugh and he kind of leaned against Chase and let his arm rest across the shoulders of the smaller boy. Chase loved it and leaned in toward him a little. What really thrilled him was that Ethan kept his arm there even after he had stopped laughing at what Chase had said. To Ethan, it felt good to let his arm rest on Chase's shoulders. Once they reached the doors of the mall, he dropped his arm. They did not have to wait long before his dad came to pick them up.

As they drove away, two people watched from a nearby parked car. Kristi turned to her brother Craig, "See that little creep is still hanging around him. Ethan should have been at the movies with me, not him."

Craig looked at his sister, "Don't worry. I'll take care of him." He then tried his best Godfather impersonation, "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse," he said and smiled at his sister. She smiled back.

Mary had a spaghetti dinner ready when they got to Ethan's house. Afterwards they helped clean up the dishes before going to Ethan's room. That sat on the floor leaning against the bed while they played video games. When they tired of that, they got up on the bed and looked through the cable channels. They found a comedy on cable to watch. Many times they leaned against each other as they laughed at the character's antics in the movie. When the movie finished they started getting ready for bed. At that moment, they both realized that they had not talked about the sleeping arrangements.

"Oh, um, where am I going to sleep Ethan?" Chase asked nervously.

Ethan colored, "Oh, uh shoot, I didn't think of that. Our extra bedroom was changed into an office for my dad." Ethan looked around in confusion as he tried to think of a solution. "I guess you could sleep in here with me. That is if you don't mind. My bed's big enough." Ethan waited for Chase's answer.

Chase worked hard at keeping the nervousness from showing on his face as he thought about sharing Ethan's bed. The thought of sleeping next to Ethan thrilled him of course, but he was worried about how his body would react to being so close to Ethan. When they were younger, they slept over at each other's house all the time, but that was before he realized how he felt about Ethan. Now he was a little worried.

"Or you could sleep on the couch if you want." Ethan offered.

Chase thought seriously of taking him up on that suggestion. He had been looking down as he thought about it, and when he looked up, he saw Ethan standing there looking at him and biting his lip. He looked about as nervous as Chase felt.

After a moment, Chase shook his head, "No, I guess it will be okay to sleep here. It's probably more comfortable than the couch." Chase with a nervous chuckle.

Ethan smiled and nodded, "Yeah, I've slept on it before. It's okay, but the bed is much better."

"Hey, it's not much different then when we were younger and used to sleep over all the time." Chase said.

Ethan nodded, "Yeah, it is."

When Chase decided to sleep in his room, he felt a couple different things that he couldn't explain. One was being relieved that Chase had agreed to stay in the room and the other was a nervous fluttery feeling in his stomach. He didn't know where these feelings were coming from, but it felt right to him. He thought part of it was that he and Chase were friends again. Here they were, having a sleepover like they use to have all the time when they were kids.

They took turns using the bathroom. When Chase came back into the room, he stopped at the door and stared. Ethan was standing with his back to Chase in just his boxers. Chase stared at him. His body started reacting to the sight and he almost regretted deciding to stay in Ethan's room, but he slowly backed away and went back to the bathroom. He stood in front of the mirror and washed his face with some cold water to cool down a little. That helped and he was able to go back to the bedroom with everything under control.

Ethan was sitting on the edge of the bed in his boxers and a t-shirt. He looked up and smiled at Chase, "I thought you fell in."

Chase giggled. He walked over to where his backpack was and he hesitated for a moment before he took his pants off and laid them across the backpack.

Behind him Ethan watched Chase undress. He suddenly felt his face get warm and he knew he was blushing. He turned on the bedside light and went over to turn off the ceiling light. Both of the boys got into the bed at the same time.

Once they were both settled in the bed, Ethan turned off the light and turned toward Chase. It took a few moments for their eyes to adjust to the dim light coming from the streetlights outside. Their faces were not really clear and that was something Chase was glad for.

"Ethan….tha…thanks for being friends with me again." Chase said nervously.

Ethan heard the slight quaver in his voice and instinctively reached across until he found Chase's hand and held it. "Chase….I'm sorry that we had to be friends 'again'. We never should have stopped being friends. You were always my best friend and I shouldn't have ignored you."

Ethan looked through the dim light trying to make out Chase's face. "I want to thank you for letting me be your friend again. I ignored you for a long time, and you still wanted to be my friend. I mean you saved my life, literally. So, thank you for giving me a second chance to be a better friend," Ethan said.

Chase gave Ethan's hand a squeeze before reluctantly letting go.

They talked for a few moments before yawns started to be interspersed in their conversation. Finally they said goodnight to each other and were soon asleep.

As Chase slowly woke up the next morning, he felt warm and cozy. He kept his eyes closed and reveled in the feelings he was having. He hugged the arm closer to him that was draped across his body. The arm tightened slightly as it held him a little closer. He scooted slightly backwards against the body of the person who was holding him and gave a little sigh of contentment.

[Wait, the person holding him?….Oh shit!] Chase's eyes opened quickly and he trembled a little as he looked down and saw Ethan's arm was holding him close and he could feel Ethan's body close against his back. He lay there wondering what to do, when he heard Ethan murmur something and then nearly shot out of the bed, when he felt Ethan's nose move in his hair and then he felt Ethan's mouth near the nape of his neck and then kiss him once gently on the back of his neck. That light touch made his body shudder with exhilaration. Then the lips stopped kissing and there was a sudden movement from behind him and the arm was withdrawn quickly.

"Oh…sh….shit…..Oh, Chase…man, I, uh….I mean….shit….uncool….man, I'm sorry….I didn't mean….I was dr…dreaming and uh….it was an accident…." Ethan had sat up from where he was laying and was stuttering and in a little shock at what he had been doing.

Chase quickly turned around and placed his hand over Ethan's mouth shutting off his words. He smiled at Ethan and after hesitating for a moment he moved up closer and then he put his arms around Ethan and hugged him. Ethan was a little surprised and stiff in Chase's arms for a moment before he sagged in relief. Chase wasn't freaked out. He brought his arms up and hugged Chase back.

"It's okay Ethan. It felt nice to be held." Chase said soothingly.

All the while he was trying not to tremble in Ethan's arms. He sensed when Ethan wanted to let go and reluctantly he sat back as well. They looked at each other. Chase trying to keep his face from breaking out in a huge grin and Ethan, bright red and completely embarrassed. Ethan kept thinking to himself, he had been kissing the back of Chase's neck and he knew that he liked it and he liked smelling Chase's hair as well, but that was weird.

Chase finally broke the silence, "Gotta go, be right back." He got up and after slipping his pants on grabbing his toothbrush, he went to use the bathroom.

While Chase took care of that, Ethan was able to take a few deep breaths to calm down and think about what had happened. He couldn't believe he had just done that, but he thought maybe it was the dream he had been having that made him do that. He couldn't remember the dream, but that was the only explanation for it. You didn't do that to other guys, unless you were a fa….no he didn't like that word…gay. Unless you were gay, you didn't do things like that.

When that thought entered his mind, he was stunned. Was he gay? Is that why he was doing that? His thoughts were interrupted by Chase coming back into the room.

He gave Ethan a smile before he went over to grab a clean shirt to put back on. His back was to Ethan and Ethan watched him for a moment and started noticing things about Chase. He was smaller but he still seemed to have a nice body at least from the back. His longish blond hair looked really good too.

Ethan shook his head, "I'll…I'll be right back" he said hastily.

"Kay," came the muffled voice of Chase as he pulled the shirt over his head.

Ethan left the room and went to the bathroom. He used the toilet and then stood in front of the mirror looking at himself, trying to figure out what was going on with him. He was confused. He once again shook his head and finished with cleaning up. He went back into the bedroom and Chase was sitting on the bed watching TV. He looked up and smiled at Ethan has he came in. Ethan smiled back. He couldn't believe how cute Chase looked right then. He quickly looked away and went to the dresser to get a clean shirt. When he had his shirt and pants on, he turned back around to face Chase.

There was a knock at the open door and they both looked up to see Randy standing there. "Morning boys, breakfast will be ready in few."

Ethan nodded, "Kay dad, we'll be right there."

Chase was already standing up and had turned the TV off. He waited for Ethan to get his protective boot on and they both headed to the dining room.

When they got there, they saw Ethan's parents putting the food down on the table. There was bacon, eggs, toast, with some milk and juice. The boys sat down.

"Morning boys." Mary said.

"Morning." They both said.

They poured some juice and milk and started helping themselves to the food. Before long they were finished and helped clean up.

They went back to the bedroom and made the bed up, before sitting themselves on the floor to play video games. Ethan was still embarrassed about what had happened and he wasn't concentrating on the game as much as he should. Chase noticed it, but wasn't sure he should say anything. He was a little worried about what Ethan might be thinking, because he did notice that he hadn't said much.

"Chase?" Ethan said with a question in his voice.

Chase glanced at him, "What?"

Ethan was quiet for another moment, "Sorry about that."

Chase looked at him, "For what?"

"You know, when I, uh…you know, when I was, uh, holding you." Ethan swallowed nervously.

Chase paused the game and put the controller down. He hesitated for a moment before he put his arms around Ethan and hugged him. "There is nothing, I mean it, nothing to be sorry about. It really felt good. My mom always says that hugs are the best thing you can give someone any time. They don't cost anything and almost always, the person who gets them feels better. So you did nothing wrong. I liked it."

Chase pulled back and looked into Ethan's eyes. Ethan gazed back and almost fell into Chase's blue eyes. He saw nothing but a friendly twinkle. He smiled in relief and without thinking he pulled Chase into another hug. "You know it makes the person giving the hug feel good too," he said when he sat back.

Chase nodded, "Yeah, I know. Now get your head back in the game loser."

"Loser? Kay, you got it." Ethan answered him.

They restarted the game and this time Ethan had his head in the game. They played until about twelve noon and it was time for Chase to get home. He had some schoolwork to finish up. It was the last week before Christmas break and he had an assignment that was due in a couple of days.

Ethan rode in the back with Chase on the way to his house. He went along because his mom wanted his help doing some shopping for Christmas today. Chase waited until Ethan had moved to the front seat and rolled the window down. He held out his fist and they bumped. Ethan looked up at Chase and once again was caught for a moment by his eyes, he saw a lot in them, but there was something special in them that seemed to be meant only for him. Chase smiled, stepped back and waved to them as they drove off.

The next day at school Chase was looking forward to seeing Ethan. The threats from the football guy were no longer on his mind at all. After spending the weekend with Ethan, Chase only wanted to continue spending time with Ethan, especially if he could have more weekends like the last. He knew Ethan didn't feel the same way that Chase did, but he was sure that at least he and Ethan were friends again. That was the best part, he and Ethan were friends just like they used to be.

At lunch he looked forward to sitting with Ethan, instead of trying to be invisible and hoping no one would see them together. He walked over and sat down across from Ethan with a smile.

"Hey Ethan," he said cheerily.

"Hi Chase," Ethan replied with a smile as well.

Neither of them noticed the look of distaste on Kristi's face as she sat down. Ethan looked to his side when she sat down and she schooled her features to give him a big smile.

"Hi Ethan," she said and then she surprised him when she hugged his arm briefly and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

His mouth dropped open in surprise and he started turning red. For a short moment there was silence at the table and then his cross country friends started making cat calls, which caused him to blush even more.

Chase felt something like a sharp pain in his gut as he looked back and forth between Kristi and Ethan. Kristi had a look on her face like she had won a contest. Chase could only shrug and realize that this is the way it was going to be. Ethan was going to have a girlfriend at some point. Chase was just his friend, hopefully his best friend, but never a boyfriend. He made sure that he only let a smile show on his face and started doing his best to ignore what he felt and join in with making fun of Ethan.

At the end of the lunch period Chase caught a smirk on Kristi's face as she walked away arm in arm with Ethan to their next class. Chase just shook his head in regret as he left for his class. He would see Ethan later in World History.

Chase had just closed his gym locker and bent down to grab his backpack from the ground next to his leg when a towel was wrapped around his head from behind, completely blocking his vision. Someone behind him had a tight grip on the towel so that he could not move his head. His hands shot up to grab the towel so that he could pull it away from his face. He started to find it hard to get air because of the towel. He felt two different people grab his arms and hold them tight. He tried to kick out at whoever had his arms, but since he couldn't see, he mostly missed with his kicks. Someone then grabbed his legs and held them tight against their sides with his legs tucked under the person's legs as he was picked up. He heard a muffled voice through the towel.

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