Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 19

Published: 8 Apr 14

Monday was Christmas Eve and Dylan was just hanging out at home. He was thinking some more about his friends and the feelings that he had been able to pick up from them. He was still wondering about being able to project his feelings onto someone else. He was curious about it and wondered if he could do it, but he didn't know exactly how to do it.

He felt bored and went to join his parents in the living room. They were watching an old Christmas movie. It had a bunch of singing and dancing in it. When he saw that, he thought he wouldn't like it, but after watching it for awhile he started to enjoy it. One of the actors was pretty funny. While he watched he involuntarily felt what his parents were feeling when the older of the two actors was singing something to one of the actresses, something about counting your blessings. He could feel how much his parents really loved each other and it caused him to smile. He wanted to share what he felt for them as well and he looked at them and without thinking about it he sent that feeling to his parents. He saw his parents both look at him and give him a smile as their eyes sparkled with happy unshed tears. His mom mouthed 'I love you'. He smiled back at her and did the same. They continued watching, but inside, his mind was churning as he realized that he had inadvertently sent that feeling of love to his parents and they had felt it. He wanted to go to his room and jump around a little bit to celebrate his success, but he had gotten into the movie by now and he decided to stay and watch to the end.

During a funny part when the funny actor was pretending that he hurt his leg, Dylan tried to send the feeling of amusement to his parents. A moment later, his mom gave a little chuckle and he stopped sending that feeling. He glanced at his mom and saw that she had a puzzled look on her face. He quickly turned back to the TV. They watched the whole movie and he found that he had really enjoyed the movie. He even found that he teared up a little at the end of the movie. He saw and felt the same feelings from his parents. After the movie, he said goodnight to them and went to bed. He didn't go to sleep right away because he kept coming back to the fact that he had sent his parents a feeling and they had reacted to it, although his mom had seemed to be a little puzzled about the humorous feelings she had felt. Eventually he did go to sleep.

Christmas afternoon the eight friends, especially those that had paired up, texted each other about what they had gotten for Christmas. Dylan came up with the idea of getting all the guys together and seeing a movie on the day after Christmas. They decided to go and see 'The Hobbit' at the theater.

They left in the late morning and met up at the mall. After locking their bikes up, they went to the arcade for a little while and then hit the food court for lunch. Their next stop was the theater. They got their tickets and went inside after getting drinks and snacks. Each of the couples paired up, leaving Ethan and Dylan to sit next to each other. They were all enjoying the movie. During a part of the movie, Dylan let his mind wander a little and could feel the way his friends felt and then he felt something that was discordant among all those good feelings. It was a feeling loneliness and longing underneath the other feelings. Dylan looked around and tried to focus on those feelings. It wasn't long before he found where it was coming from. It was Ethan. He concentrated and underneath a feeling of having a good time, there was loneliness there and something else, but he couldn't figure out what that something else was. He took surreptitious glances at Ethan. He noticed the contrast of black hair and blue eyes and he thought to himself that he couldn't understand why Ethan would be lonely he was so cute. Dylan wanted to try to send some good feelings towards Ethan, but suddenly it was like he ran into a wall and could not get past it. In fact, he could no longer get those feelings of anything from Ethan. He tried to get something but couldn't feel a thing. It was like someone shut a door in his face.

Ethan was happy with the seating arrangements. He got to sit next to Dylan. When they had first entered the theater he was worried because that old problem reared its head, the buzzing in his ears. He was very happy that it faded away by the time that they got inside the theater where the movie was going to be shown. He didn't want to have to be hearing that during the movie, especially if it got as loud at it had sometimes. When he found out he and Dylan were sitting next to each other, he had to work hard at keeping a big smile off his face. He so wished he could tell Dylan how he felt, but that wasn't something you just blurted out. Of course, like many others in his shoes, he had no idea how he could find out if Dylan might like him the same way. He knew Dylan cared about people. He seemed like he didn't have a mean bone in his body. Ethan had never heard him say anything bad about anyone. He wished he could hold hands with him while they watched the movie.

He was just sitting there when he heard something that startled him.

"God, I love you Dakota."

Ethan's eyes opened wide as he slowly moved his head to look at Sean who was sitting next to him. He tried to be discrete and not just openly stare at Sean. He saw that Sean was gazing at Dakota. He couldn't see his face and he wasn't sure but from what he had heard in Sean's voice, there was probably a look of adoration on Sean's face. Something made him look down and he saw that they had moved the armrest that was between them out of the way and they were holding hands. Sean was almost leaning against Dakota. Ethan kept stealing glances at the two of them and saw the little touches and smiles that they shared with each other.

He analyzed what he had heard, because the strangest thing about it was, he was almost 100% certain, that Sean had not actually said that. What he heard was in Sean's voice, but it didn't quite sound like Sean had said it, there was a difference to it. Maybe stronger, more self assured. When Sean normally said something, he was kind of quiet about it. This did not sound like that, but he knew it was Sean and now with what he was seeing going on between the two boys, he knew that they were like him and they were together. He thought that the others didn't know, or for sure someone might have said something, but maybe not. One thing he had gleaned from his time hanging out with them was that they were good guys. He had never heard one of them say anything bad about anyone, well except for a couple of bullies, like the guy who had been harassing Sean earlier in the year. He remembered seeing Dakota glare at the guy a couple of times when he saw him looking at Sean.

Ethan lost track of the movie for a little bit as he digested this. Since he was almost certain that Sean had not actually said anything, that really left only one explanation. He had heard what Sean was thinking, but how could that be? Of course he had heard stories about people supposedly being able to do that, but that wasn't real, it had to be some trick. He figured the people in real life who claimed to be able to do that had some trick or angle, it wasn't real. Sure in movies and books they talked about people who could do that, but people couldn't really do that, could they. But he remembered the guy in Sears when they were looking at TV's. He could have sworn that he had heard him say something, but now with what had just happened maybe the guy had only thought that and Ethan had heard what he was thinking. It had happened before, too. He had heard Sean before at the skate park a few weeks back when Dakota had tried out that kid Ryan's board. He remembered agreeing with something Sean said, but Sean hadn't actually said anything. Maybe he thought it and Ethan had picked it up.

If all this was true, wow. How could he find out if it was true? Should he tell his friends, or his parents? He gave his head a slight shake. No, first he didn't want his friends to think he was a freak and he was sure his parents would want to put him in a nuthouse. Just thinking about it, he wondered if he was going nuts. He was brought back from his reverie when he heard Dylan say something.

"Why is Ethan feeling lonely? He was so cute. Look at the contrast of that black hair and those blue eyes. He's really cute. He should be able to have any girl falling all over him."

Ethan panicked and glanced to his side. He saw the Dylan wasn't even looking at him but at the movie, but he did notice a thoughtful expression on his face. He noticed Dylan's eyes start to move to look towards him and he quickly did something in his mind and it was like he suddenly could not hear Dylan's voice. He suddenly felt a little chill. Had he actually heard Dylan's thoughts and hear him say that Ethan was cute. Why would Dylan say that, unless he was just like Ethan? He wanted to say something, but he didn't know what to say. How could he tell Dylan that he felt the same? Then a thought occurred, maybe it was just an observation. Dylan thought he looked cute but not in that way. Just that he was good looking. Ethan realized he was clenching his hands together very tightly. He willed himself to relax and slowly placed his hands on his knees and loosened up. He closed his eyes for a few moments and carefully and quietly let out a slow breath. He looked back up at the movie and tried to concentrate on what was on the screen. It was an exciting part, so he was able to get back into the movie and put the thoughts of being able to hear someone's thoughts behind him.

They all clapped and cheered at the end of the movie. As they left the theater, Ethan stayed at Dylan's side. They unlocked their bikes and headed for home. Jamie was one of the first to split off, since he lived south of Florida Avenue, everyone else lived north of Florida. He thought he noticed something in the way he smiled and he thought he'd try to hear his thoughts. For a moment there was nothing and then he heard.

"Love you, too."

Another shocker, Jamie was gay and so was someone else in the group. He knew it wasn't Dylan. As they rode off, he tried to figure it out by looking at his other friends. He knew it wasn't Dakota and Sean. He knew that they were a couple. Dylan was also a no. So there were three left, Ian, Logan and Josh. He knew Josh was Dylan's best friend and he wondered if they had ever done anything together since they were such good friends. As they rode, Ethan was at the back of the group for a couple of reasons. He could look at Dylan up ahead who was riding next to Josh. So he just watched those three. He even concentrated a little on his friends to see if he could hear anything. Soon he saw a few little things going on between Ian and Logan. It was just like Sean and Dakota. There was an undercurrent of thoughts between the two. It was almost like they were communicating with each other, but not. He quickly figured it out that Ian and Logan were also a couple. Then that meant that Jamie had probably been thinking about Josh. At least he thought so. It didn't seem like Jamie was thinking about Dylan and he was pretty certain Dylan wasn't thinking about Jamie that way. So that left Josh. Maybe Josh and Jamie were another couple. He ducked his head. What were the odds, all of his closest friends were gay and all of them appeared to be paired up, except he and Dylan. Wow. If that was the case, then he wondered if Dylan knew about any of the others. Ethan decided that he would try to find out. He slowly tried to read Dylan. He heard the buzzing sound and then it faded away as he focused on Dylan and then there he was. He could swear he was hearing Dylan's thoughts. They were about a lot of things. The movie, his friends, what to do for the rest of the Christmas break, and then there it was, he did know about the others. Somehow he had figured it out and then Ethan nearly crashed his bike into Ian. Dylan was gay, too. Wow, all eight of them were gay. He suddenly felt light headed for a moment and got a little sick feeling in his stomach, but it quickly went away.

Dylan was riding next to Josh and suddenly felt a surge of so many things, surprise, joy, elation. He heard someone's bike tire screeching to a halt and looked back and saw Ethan come to a halt about an inch from Ian's back tire.

He looked at Ethan and he became concerned, "Ethan? Are you okay?"

"Huh, uh, what?"

"Dude, are you okay? You look kind of pale."

"No, ah, I mean yeah, I feel fine."

Dylan nodded just as the light to cross turned green. He whispered something to Josh and they let the other four go ahead of them as they waited for Ethan. Dylan moved next to him and reached out to gently grab his arm.

He looked at Ethan, "You're sure you're okay?"

Ethan swallowed and nodded. He smiled at Dylan.

"Yeah, I feel okay. Come on, we better go before the light turns red. Dylan looked up and the three of them started across the street. At Sanderson the two couples split off leaving Dylan, Ethan and Josh to continue on, since they lived in the same general area. They soon came near Josh's condo and he said his goodbyes leaving Ethan and Dylan to continue home together.

As they neared Sydney Street where they would split off, Dylan to the left and Ethan to the right, Ethan made a quick decision, "Hey Dylan. Do you want to come by my house and hang out for a little while?"

They had stopped at the corner of Sydney and Madrid. Dylan seemed to be considering it and then he smiled and nodded, "Sure, sounds good, I have nothing else going on."


They turned right and headed towards Boston Street where Ethan lived. When they got there Ethan had Dylan follow him around the side of the house to park his bike and then led him around to the front door. He went to open it thinking his dad would be home since the university where he taught was out for the holidays as well, but the door was locked so he had to pull his key out. After he closed the door behind Dylan he called out.

"Dad, I'm home."

There was no answer, so he shrugged and looked at Dylan.

"Do you want a coke or something?"

"Sure, coke would be fine."

Ethan got a couple of cans out of the refrigerator and motioned for Dylan to follow him. This was actually the first time that he had been inside Ethan's house, so he was looking around a little as they went to Ethan's bedroom. Ethan went to sit at his desk and Dylan sat at the end of the bed. Ethan was a little jumpy.

"Uh, hey, I'll be right back."

He was almost bouncy as he left the room to head to the bathroom. He wanted to splash some cold water on his face to see if that would calm him down a little. After he dried his face, he looked at himself in the mirror and made sure his hair wasn't a mess before taking a big breath and letting it out. He went back to his room and saw that Dylan and gotten up and was kind of looking around at his books and some of the DVD's and other things he had around the room. Ethan didn't say anything, but something made Dylan turn around. Ethan felt light headed for a moment as he looked at him and then the nervousness came back, but he steeled himself against that.

"Uh, Dylan."

Dylan heard something in his voice that caused him to reach out with that extra sense of his. He felt several things, nervousness was the strongest, but there was a feeling of anticipation, a little happiness and a longing.

"Yeah bro."

"Can I, uh…I need to tell you something kinda important and I hope you don't freak out?"


"Uh, okay, uh…."

Ethan was frozen. Dylan could feel his fear getting stronger and he thought about what he had done the other night with his parents. He tried to send feelings of friendship and he found himself feeling something a little more. It was like he was really seeing Ethan. He saw something change and the tension he felt coming off of Ethan, eased away a little.

"Dylan, uh…how do I…I…"

His voice dropped low.



Ethan bit his lip and kind of ducked his head a little, "I'm…gay."

He looked at Dylan then waiting for his reaction. He was pretty sure that it wouldn't be negative, but he wasn't quite sure. Dylan, for his part, knew that it had taken a lot for Ethan to say that and he used his gift again to send reassurance. Ethan's eyes opened wide as he felt it and in his mind he heard.

Ethan resolved to forge ahead.

"I, uh, also wanted to say…that, I, uh…really…li…like you a lot."

Dylan didn't say anything for a moment. When he looked at Ethan he saw and felt what he was feeling and found that some of that same feeling was in himself, too. It had all started back when Ethan had almost passed out. There had been something special that he had felt then, but he hadn't explored it much, what with figuring out a few things about the gift he had. So now that he was confronted with it, he realized that he felt some of what Ethan was feeling. He didn't think it was to the depth that Ethan was feeling yet, but he thought it may turn into something similar.

"Me, too."

Ethan's grin threatened to split his face.

"Really? Can…I…kiss you, please?"

Dylan didn't say anything, he just walked forward and the two met. They put their arms out and they turned their heads to the side bringing their lips together in a gentle kiss. No tongues or anything, just a sweet kiss. It felt amazing to them. They pulled back after a few moments and just looked at each other, before doing it again.

"That was pretty brave to admit that."

"Well, I kinda knew it would be okay."


Ethan wasn't sure if he should do this, but he wanted to have someone to talk to and he didn't want Dylan to find out later and then be pissed that Ethan didn't tell him earlier. He thought that there was a chance Dylan would freak out, but he knew he was a good person and someone who never said anything bad to anyone. He pulled away a little and went to sit at his desk chair.

"I hope you won't hate me, or freak out."

"How could I hate you? You're my friend, well, maybe now, more than just that, but…"

"No wait, let me finish. This is going to sound really weird, but please promise you won't hate me anyway, but if after I tell you, and you don't want to hang around with me, I'll understand. I barely understand it myself. I…shit…I don't know how I say this."

"Well, you told me you're gay and you know I am too, so what else would you think I'd freak out about?"

Ethan looked down at his hands as he tried to screw up the courage. He was afraid that he was going to lose him before he even really got him. He was shaking his head slightly. Dylan noticed this and became concerned.

"Fuck it…okay here goes…I heard what you were thinking."


Ethan was still looking down at the floor, but he chanced a glance at Dylan who had dropped to the edge of the bed. When he answered it all came out in a rush.



Ethan sighed and in a low voice.

"I heard what you were thinking."

He glanced up a little and saw that there was a stunned expression on Dylan's face. Dylan just stared off in space and then he got up without saying a word and walked toward the door. Ethan couldn't believe what he was seeing and he dropped his head into his hands as tears started to drop. He couldn't believe he had fucked everything up. He didn't see that Dylan hadn't left, but he was pacing back and forth a little.

Dylan felt the overwhelming sense of despair coming from Ethan and he stopped his pacing and turned to look at Ethan hunched over, his shoulders shaking. Dylan looked at him and then closed his eyes; he sent his feelings toward Ethan. When he opened them, he saw Ethan slowly looking up in wonder. Their eyes locked and Dylan kept pouring those feelings into Ethan and just nodded. Ethan stood and slowly came over to Dylan.

"Are you doing that?"

"Check for yourself."

Ethan nodded and concentrated and then he heard Dylan.

Ethan's eyes widened.

"You're like me?"

"I think, sorta, but not exactly. I was searching on the net and I think I'm empathic. I can sense people's feelings and I recently found out that I can send feelings to a person too, sometimes."

"Wow. I thought you'd freak."

"No, but then you can hear what people are thinking?"

"Well, not always, but there have been a couple of times when I thought someone had said something and I answered them, but they looked at me weird and said that they hadn't said anything. There was one time I swore that I heard Sean say to Dakota that he thought he was pretty cool. I said, 'I do too' and they looked at me really weird. Then this afternoon at the movie theater I heard Sean say that he loved Dak…..oh, shit….uh, forget I said that."

Dylan started laughing. Ethan was puzzled.

"Don't worry about that. I already know about them."

"Did they tell you?"

"Nope, I sensed how they felt about each other."

Dylan tapped his head and Ethan nodded.

"Oh, then what about the…"

Dylan nodded.

"Yep, I know about the others too. We're the last of the group to be paired up. Uh, I guess, that is if you want to be paired up?"

Ethan smiled as he looked at Dylan. "Oh yeah, more than anything."

He leaned in and they kissed once again. This time they held it longer. As they did, Dylan sent his feeling across to Ethan and Ethan was murmuring how much he loved him, only he was doing it inside Dylan's mind. They finally had to break apart and drop on the bed as they tried to catch their breath. Once they had gotten their breathing and heart rate back down, they looked at each other.

"Oh, Wow!"

"That was so cool. I could feel what you were feeling."

"And I could hear you say you love me, but you weren't saying it out loud. That was awesome. But….."


Ethan got a look of panic.

"Shit my dad's home. I forgot about him being off work."

He sat up and tried to adjust his pants, which had gotten very tight. Dylan had the same thing going on. Ethan pulled his shirt out of his pants and quickly got up off the bed, while Dylan was scrambling for the remote to get the TV turned on. Ethan left the room and went to head his dad off.

He found him in the kitchen getting a drink of water.

"Hey Dad."

His dad turned around and smiled, "Hey Ethan. I wasn't sure you were home yet. How was the movie?"

"Oh, yeah, it was great. Dad, I brought one of my friends home to, you know, hang out for awhile."


"Yeah, we were in my room watching TV, I'll go get him."

Ethan turned around and hurried back to his bedroom to retrieve Dylan. Dylan was on the edge of the bed watching TV. Ethan grabbed Dylan's arm and pulled him up. Dylan let himself be led back towards the front of the house.

"Dad, this is Dylan. Dylan this is my dad."

Dan Johnson came over to Ethan with his hand out and they shook. "Nice to meet you Dylan. You guys are in school together?"

"Yes, sir. We have all the same classes."

"Great. Well, welcome to our home."

"Thank you, sir. Uh, Ethan, I should probably be going. My parents will want me home for dinner. It's nice to have met you Mister Johnson."

"You too, Dylan. It was nice to meet you."

"I'll walk you out. Be right back, Dad."

Dan nodded and they quickly went out the front and over to the side to get Dylan's bike. Behind the fence, Ethan grabbed Dylan and kissed him as they both giggled at almost being caught.

"See you, Dylan."

"Yeah, I'll call you."

After one more kiss, he followed Dylan out front and they waved as he rode off. Ethan watched him until he was down the street and had turned the corner. He then put his bike away in the garage and went to his room. He flipped on the TV and aimlessly flipped through the channels as he thought about what he had found out. Dylan liked him, a perfect ending to the day.

Jamie was lying on his bed and channel surfing when his cell phone rang. He dropped the remote and picked up the phone from the bedside table. He saw that it was Josh and smiled.

"Hey Josh…naw, just channel surfing…really, will that be cool?...How long until your dad gets back?...oh, that's cool…sure, I probably could…okay, cool. I'll be there in a few…yeah, love you too…see ya."

Jamie put his phone down while he sat on the bed to put his shoes on. He picked up the phone and put it in his back pocket. On the way out, he told Maggie that he was going to a friend's house for a little while. She waved acknowledgement as he left. He got his bike out of the garage and was soon on his way down the street. A short time later he got to the complex and walked his bike to Josh's condo. When he got there he locked his bike up in the small patio area just off the front door. He knocked on the door and it was quickly opened by a smiling Josh. He stepped aside and ushered Jamie in the house.

The door was barely closed before Josh had his arms around Jamie and his mouth met Jamie's in a kiss. They held the kiss for as long as they could before they had to come up for air. As they pulled back, Josh took Jamie's hand and pulled him to his bedroom. They collapsed on the bed giggling. Both boys toed off their shoes.

"So how long do we have?"

"My dad said he'd be back around five. He had some things to take care of in his classroom at the college."

"Cool, so what did you have in mind?"

Josh giggled and launched himself at Jamie, knocking him on his back. He straddled him and leaned down to kiss him. While they were kissing, Jamie slowly reached up and tickled Josh until he was giggling into Jamie's mouth. Jamie flipped Josh onto his back and they wrestled back and forth for a little while which quickly got them both hard. Their hands wandered underneath shirts and over jean's clad butts. They were breathing hard when they stopped and Josh was under Jamie. Josh reached for the bottom of Jamie's shirt and started pulling it up. Jamie got off of Josh and quickly stripped his shirt off. Josh sat up and stripped off his shirt as well, tossing it on the floor nearby. The two of them came back together and they let their hands and lips explore each other's body as they took turns making each other feel good.

Josh was on top of Jamie as they giggled and kissed. Neither of them wanted to stop, but they were interrupted by the door to the bedroom being opened and a shocked and angry voice spoke up.

"What the hell is going on here?"

Both of the boys looked at the open door in shock and surprise. Josh's dad, Derrick, was standing there looking down at the two of them with anger. The boys sprang apart, but the damage had been done. He walked over to the bed and grabbed Jamie by the arm and dragged him off the bed, where he fell to the floor. Jamie scrabbled around for his shirt and shoes.

Derrick grabbed his arm and pulled him through the condo to the front door. In the living room he shoved him toward the front door, "You, get the hell out of here!"

Josh had followed them with fear on his face. He saw Jamie frantically pulling his t-shirt over his head. He looked back and saw the fear on Josh's face and the anger on Derrick's. He took a step toward Jamie and pointed his finger at the door.

"I said, get the hell out of here, you little faggot and don't come back! You are not welcome here."

Jamie gave one last fearful look at Josh before he turned and quickly left the condo.

Derrick turned back to Josh and pointed at him, "And you, get your ass to your room."

"But Dad…"

He quickly rounded on Josh and pointed to the back of the condo, "Room, now, move your ass."

Outside Jamie quickly put his shoes on before he unlocked his bike and got out of there as quick as he could. He was trying to hide the tears on his face. He was real scared for Josh. He didn't know what to do. He was scared for Josh. He started toward home but stopped and turned around. He headed towards Dylan's house instead.

Back in his room, Josh grabbed his shirt off the floor and put it on. He started pacing his room, anxious for whatever was going to happen. Anxious about what his dad might say to him. He could hear his dad moving around in other parts of the condo. There were tears in his eyes and he was little scared. He had never seen his dad look that angry before and it scared him. Soon he heard his dad's footsteps coming to his room. He looked up as his dad came in and he saw that there was still anger on his face. In one hand was a glass with amber liquid. Josh could smell the strong alcohol.

He pointed the glass at Josh, "How long has this been going on?"

"Dad, I…"

"How long?!"

"This is the first time…"

"And you snuck behind my back?"

"We didn't…I didn't…I'm sorry, but I love…"

"You're only thirteen, you don't know shit about love. You're too young to know anything. And with another boy? Did that little fag talk you into it or force you?"

"No, Dad, I wanted…"

"No, you will not be a queer. I will not have a fag for a son."

"But Dad…"

Derrick stepped up and the back of his hand struck Josh on the right cheek causing him to fall back on the bed. His tears flowed as he held his hand to his cheek. He looked up at his dad in fear. Derrick took a drink from his glass and pointed the hand that held that drink at Josh.

"That faggot is not allowed in here ever again. You better not let me catch you with him. I'll have to look at getting you transferred from that school so that you are not around him and that will be that."

Josh's eyes widened in horror at the thought of being separated from his friends, "No, please Dad. I'll do as you say. I'll stay away from him. Please, don't separate me from my friends."

"What, are the others fags too. Is that why you don't want to be transferred, huh, is that it?"

"No Dad, I swear, they're just friends."

"That's what you said about the faggot I just threw out of here. He was your friend."

"No, I promise. I won't even talk to Jamie."

"What kind of a faggot name is that anyway, Jamie? That's a girl's name."

Josh stayed on the bed looking at his father. Derrick took another drink from his glass and then turned and left the room. Josh turned onto his stomach and buried his face in his pillow and cried. He had never seen his dad like that. He knew his dad had been a bit distant since his mom had died, but he had never hit him like that. Sure, he had gotten a few whacks on his butt when he was younger, occasionally, when he had really screwed up. But never anything like this.

It took Jamie just a few minutes to get to Dylan's house. He dropped his bike on the front yard and went up to the front door to ring the bell. There was no answer so he rang it again and knocked as well. He waited and there was still no answer. His shoulders slumped because he really wanted to talk to Dylan right now. He didn't want to go home yet. He sat on the porch with his knees up and rested his head on his folded arms.

He was still in the same position when Dylan and his parents pulled into the driveway after having gone to some of the after Christmas sales. Dylan saw him as they pulled up and the car had barely stopped when he threw the back door of the car open and ran over to Jamie. He could feel a mixture of bad feelings flowing from Jamie, fear, hurt, sadness. He dropped down next to his friend as Jamie lifted his head. It was apparent that he had been crying.

"Jamie? What happened?"

"Josh's dad…walk…walked in on us…we we're just messing around a little. We weren't really doing anything, just cuddling really…and…and he called me a fag…faggot and threw me out of his house."

Jamie once again dropped his head on his arms. Dylan got up and put his hand under Jamie's arm pulling him up with him. His parents had gotten out of the car by now and started to come to them, but Dylan looked at them and shook his head. They nodded as Dylan got Jamie up and guided him into the house and to his bedroom. He guided him to a seat on the bed.

"Wait here a moment Jamie, I'll be right back."

Dylan left the room, closing the door behind him. Jamie didn't say anything. He just had his head in his hands with his elbows on his knees supporting his head. Dylan had gone to the bathroom to get a warm washcloth and a hand towel so that Jamie could clean his face.

As he was coming out of the bathroom, his parents came up to him. They kept their voices low, "Dylan, what's going on?"

Dylan was a little torn about telling them what had happened, but if he did, he would be breaking a confidence. He could feel the strong worried feelings coming from his parents and he could also feel what Jamie was feeling right now. Most of that was fear. He just shook his head.

"I think I can handle it Mom. I'll let you guys know if I need you. Trust me, I think I can take care of him."

"It's not anything at his foster home is it?"

"No, but I can't tell you what it is. I would be breaking a promise if I did."

"If someone can be hurt by keeping this promise, then you have to tell us about it."

"No, nothing like that. I swear, if it's something that I can't help him with, then I will tell you."

They looked at him for a moment more before nodding, after a quick glance toward the bedroom they left him alone. He went back to the room, making sure he closed the door behind him to give them some privacy. He nudged Jamie's hands with the washcloth which caused Jamie to look up.

"Here, why don't you wipe your face with this? You can dry it with the towel."

Jamie took the washcloth and gently rubbed his face to try to clear away evidence of his tears. Dylan said nothing, but he did try to send some feelings of comfort and friendship to Jamie as he rubbed his back. He could feel some of the tension leave Jamie's back.

"What happened Jamie?"

"Josh called me and asked me to come over, so I went. He said his dad was going to be gone until later, so we kinda…were messing around a little on the bed." Jamie turned a bit red at that, but he continued, "Then his dad came home and found us in Josh's bedroom. Then he grabbed me and dragged me off the bed. He then called me a faggot and told me to leave and never come back."

Jamie looked up at Dylan and the fear was evident on his face, he didn't need any empathy to tell him what Jamie was feeling.

"I'm scared for Josh. His dad looked so mad when he saw us. I don't know what he might do to him."

"But he's his dad, I don't think he'd hurt Josh. I mean they're family. With his mom gone, they are all the family that they have left for each other. He might be a little mad, but he won't hurt him. I know, I'll give his cell a call later. It might not be a good idea right now though."

Jamie nodded, "Maybe you're right. I guess I'll go home. Do you think I should call him too?"

"No, just in case his dad took his phone away and answers it."

"Okay. I guess I'll go home. Call me tonight after you talk to Josh."

"Sure. Take it easy Jamie."

He walked Jamie outside and gave him a quick hug. He watched as Jamie rode away. When he got back inside his dad looked up from the chair where he was sitting and watching TV.

"So, what was that all about?"

Dylan sat down on the couch. He didn't know if he should tell his dad everything, which would out Jamie and Josh. He didn't know how his parents would react to finding out Jamie and Josh were gay. He was also worried that it might make them suspicious about him as well.

"Josh's dad got mad at them, because Jamie was at his house, while he was gone. Jamie was a little scared about it and came over to talk."

His dad looked at him. David was pretty sure that wasn't the entire story, but he nodded, accepting it anyway.

"Why don't you go see if your mom needs help with dinner?"

"'Kay Dad."

Dylan got up and went to the kitchen to help his mom. She had him set the table and then let him off the hook until dinner was ready. After dinner Dylan went to his bedroom to try to call Josh. The phone was answered pretty quickly.

"Hey Josh, how are you doing?"

"I'm okay, did Jamie tell you?"

"Yeah, Jamie came by. He said your dad was real mad. You're okay, right? He was real worried what you're dad might do."

"Yeah, I'm fine.

"Oh, that's good."

"You'll tell Jamie, I'm okay and not to worry?"

"Yeah, I'll tell him."

"And tell him he shouldn't come by. I'll try to call him in a couple of days."

"Okay, I'll tell him. Bye bro."

Dylan put his cell down. He wasn't sure, because he thought that Josh was holding something back, but he wasn't sure. He knew Josh didn't sound like himself, but he didn't want to bug him about it. He'd call again tomorrow and see if they could get together. Then maybe he could use his gift to get a better idea if Josh really was okay. He picked his phone up again and called Jamie. It was like Jamie was just waiting for the phone to ring he picked it up so quickly.

"Hi Jamie."

"Dylan, did you talk to Josh?"

"Yeah, I talked to him. He says he's okay and he asked me to tell you not to worry."

"Should I call him?"

"I don't think so. Josh said he'd try to call you in a couple of days. I'm going to try and talk to him tomorrow."

"You'll let me know what he said?"

"Yeah, of course, I'll let you know what he says."

"Okay, thanks."

"Sure Bro, laters."

"Yeah, later."

On the other end of the line, Jamie put his phone down. He felt a little better about it, but he really wished he could talk to Josh himself, but Dylan had advised him not to call him yet. Maybe if Dylan could talk to him and make sure he was okay. Maybe he'd talk to Dylan about getting together with Josh, and maybe then he could try to talk with Josh. Jamie wasn't real happy about it, and he was still worried, but there was nothing he could do about it right now. He would just have to wait until he could get together with Josh.

In the backyard of a house on the east edge of Hemet, a lot of members of the Hemet Trece were there having a party. Some of them were watching the tangle of writhing bodies that was in one corner of the yard. The tangle was punctuated by flying fists and feet. Occasionally someone would fly back a little as if pushed away, but the person would always jump back in. There were shouts and swearing as they fought.

After a few minutes Victor walked over and started grabbing people and tossing them aside as he raised his voice so everyone could hear, "That's enough, Ese! Let him up, now! He's shown he's down with us."

The fists stopped and the other gang members cleared away.

Victor leaned down and held out his hand, "Hey little brother, let me help you up."

The hand that took Victor's hand was cut, swollen and bruised. Victor pulled his younger brother Enrique to his feet and put his arm around him. Enrique had one eye swollen shut, his nose and lips were bleeding and there was other visible bruising on his neck and arms. The large fourteen year old was doing his best to smile at his big brother.

Victor smiled down on him and hugged him, "Carnal, you a Trece now. Good job Ese."

Someone handed Victor a Corona and he took a drink before giving it to Enrique. Enrique took a drink and winced a little as the beer stung the cuts on his lips and in his mouth. Then it was party time for the Treces as they welcomed their new member. Toward the end of the evening, Victor was sitting on a couch in the living room of the house with Enrique sitting next to him.

Enrique was pretty buzzed and glassy eyed. He looked at Victor, "Hey Bro. Now that I'm a Trece, are you goin' to lemme help you get that gringo who shot you?"

Victor looked at his brother and nodded, giving him a conspiratorial grin, "You got it Carnal. You and me, we'll get that bendejo."

Enrique gave a sloppy grin and bumped fists with his brother. He couldn't wait to represent for his brother. He wanted to prove he was a true Trece.

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