Halo In The Snow

Author: Sara J. Miller
Genre: New Adult Gay Romance
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Excerpt:

Being an only child was difficult enough without the grandiose expectations for my success being piled on my shoulders on a daily basis by my father. He'd lectured me a thousand times over, "Dillon Walker. Failure is not an option, regardless of what you're partaking in or attempting to achieve." Grades, sports, even the friends I hung around with—everything was judged, measured, weighed, pruned, and perfected.
My dad was ex-military, so I guess that kind of attitude should be expected from him, but it didn't leave much room for me to be myself—not that there was much scope for that anyway. Even though I was legally an adult, having turned eighteen months ago, I still had to bow to the adolescent peer pressure governing my life ad nauseam in the halls of Mackenzie High.
I'd be free of the scrutiny soon though—sort of. This was my final year of high school, so come next September, I would be heading off to university with my anticipated 4.0-grade point average and pretentious rowing scholarship with all the other like-minded, well-bred young men. That was the plan my dad had laid out for me from the time I was born. My opinions, wants, dreams, and needs had no place in my dad's plan, and being that he was my one and only parent, his plan was law.
The details of the all-encompassing plan weren't on my mind at the moment though. My brain was fully occupied by searing pain radiating from an injury the ski patrol medic had assured me was simply a sprained ankle. I'd begged to differ, but she'd been quite adamant about it, discarding my protests, and tossing me a couple of painkillers to shut me up.
I'd taken them like a good boy and for a while, I'd felt a lot better, and in retrospect, considering the events that had led to my injury, the medic was probably right about the extent of the damage. But now the effect of the medication was waning and my mind was processing the sequence of events that would surround my explanation of said injury to my dad, the pain was back—full on, exacerbated by the fact he was going to kill me.
Doctor William Walker, my dad, had reluctantly agreed to let me take off to the local mountain for a few days with friends to do a little snowboarding. It was winter break, only three days until Christmas, and I'd wanted to do something different for a change. Being stuck at home, studying for finals while my friends were off having fun in what was our last school year together had pushed me to confront my dad and plead my case, promising I'd be careful.
First run.
We'd arrived at the mountainside hostel that morning and headed for the slopes as soon as we'd picked out our bunks.
Before I'd even started my first run, I'd wiped out.
Now, in my defense, I've never snowboarded before or even skied for that matter. I was a longboat rower. That was it in terms of sports for me unless you included the weight lifting and jogging that went along with it—and that was my dad's fault. Although I suspected he wouldn't see it that way.
So, lucky me …for the next three days, I was stuck. Relegated to a beer and pizza encrusted sofa in the common room of a run down, student infested hostel with my foot up on a cushion. I hadn't even managed to remove the extremely loud, skin-tight ski pants I'd borrowed from a friend. So now, adding to my misery, I was sweating to death in front of a stoked up woodstove.
The phrase fuck my life suited me perfectly today.
I'd made a pathetic attempt at hobbling along to my bunk to change but hadn't made it more than a few steps before I'd given up. I'd sworn profusely at the pain as I'd crawled back to the sofa. Now the heat was becoming unbearable. A fresh attempt had to be made to remove the suffocating article of clothing.
I stretched out on the sofa, shifted my ass around, and hooked my thumbs into the waistband of the ski pants. They were no longer damp from the snow, making it easier to haul them off my hips at least, which was a step in the right direction.
The difference in temperature was heavenly.
"Do you need some help?"
I tipped my head back to examine the upside down features of the helpful inquisitor staring down at me. My pulse ramped up, thundering through a series of escalated rhythms until it finally settled on one that would hopefully maintain my consciousness.
I sucked in a deep breath in order to be sure.
What are the chances?
I knew the guy from school. Well, I didn't actually know him. I knew of him. His name was Terry McDougall. His bright red hair and mass of freckles scattered across the palest possible complexion were recognizable even with the toque and scarf covering most of his head, because peering out through those dual, knit layers were the bluest, most incredibly seductive and innocent eyes imaginable. I would've recognized those eyes anywhere.
I'd never admit it to anyone but sometimes when Terry passed me in the hall at school, I'd allow myself to linger on those eyes …and I was fairly certain he'd caught me staring last week because he'd made a point of smiling at me.
Now here he was, hovering above my head, waiting for me to reply.
Breathe.
"Hey, Terry," I said as I tried my best to appear unfazed by his presence above me because aside from the lustful staring, crushing on him thing, I was legitimately surprised Terry was talking to me. Guys like Terry didn't generally talk to guys like me.
See, even though Terry was in my year at school, he was part of a completely different crowd. Not anything like the popular, jock crowd I ran with. Our cliques didn't mix and mingle. It was an unwritten rule of the schoolyard jungle so to speak.
Terry scrubbed a gloved wrist back and forth across his nose.
"Hey, Dillon."
A bit of an awkward start, but I didn't know much about Terry. Some things were obvious and I'd heard rumors. I knew he and his friends were often targets of ridicule, sometimes at the hands of my group of friends. Nothing serious though. My friends weren't bullies—not really. Well, maybe a little, but only because Terry and his friends didn't even try to get along with the rest of us. It wasn't a difficult thing to act like a normal person and try to blend in—I would know.
I did it every day.
Terry and his friends, they had no such agenda to conform and fit in. Terry, in particular, knew exactly who he was, and he wasn't shy about showing it off. One of the many reasons I'd never ventured to speak to him before. My friends would never understand …but right now—they weren't here.
"What happened?" Terry asked as he yanked the gloves from his hands to unwind the scarf from his neck. He tossed both onto the bench beside the woodstove. He appeared to be planning on hanging around for a bit. The prospect made me a little uneasy, but it was unlikely my friends would show up anytime soon, and there didn't appear to be anyone else around.
"I screwed up my ankle," I said, deciding to give Terry the full explanation of why I was squirming around on the sofa like a worm trying to gain freedom from the lime-green ski pants, because in addition to the heated flush coloring Terry's cheeks, his brilliant blue eyes were dancing with amusement. I was curious as to how much further I could draw out his break in clique protocol.
"First run of the day," I continued. "Didn't even make it to the chairlift. Wiped out trying to put my board on."
"You've never boarded before?" Terry asked as he peeled the woolen toque from his head, charging up his baby fine hair. An action immediately followed by an awkward striptease to remove his ski pants and jacket, which left him bending over, struggling to fix his socks in a woolen, body hugging cable knit sweater and thermal leggings. I gripped the arm of the sofa.
Just breathe.
"No," I replied sedately as I attempted to calm my reaction to his appearance, but I couldn't look away. He was even more beautiful than I'd imagined, his lean, muscular lines stretching from his socked feet right up to the strong set of his jaw.
"I'm strictly a rowing in the water kind of guy," I added.
Terry shrugged his shoulders, seemingly oblivious to my admiration, and hauled on the bottom of his sweater, pulling it down to mid-thigh and shielding my view, effectively thwarting my intention to peruse further.
He cut his gaze back and forth across the room.
"Your friends not here?" he asked.
"Nah, they dumped me and headed back out."
That was the truth too. They had dumped me roughly onto the sofa after carrying me in through the door. Thankfully, the ski patrol had given us a ride to the hostel or my so-called friends might've left me in the middle of the village square in a snow bank until they'd finished all their runs for the day.
"Do you need help with those?" Terry asked as he jutted his chin toward my partially removed ski pants.
"Yeah," I replied. "They're not mine and they're way too tight …maybe if we slip that leg off real slow—"
I clenched my eyes shut and grasped the cushions of the sofa. My fingers practically pierced the worn fabric in fearful anticipation as Terry attempted to ease the pants off my bum leg as carefully as possible, but despite his efforts, the elastic from the inner snow guard dragged across my ankle and sent it screaming.
I briefly considered whether or not it would be beneficial to allow my consciousness to slip but decided doing so would be extremely embarrassing. Thankfully, as fast as it came on, the pain waned and the soothing movement of cooler air sweeping across my sweat dampened long john bottoms encouraged me to open my eyes.
"Thanks," I said as I focused my attention back on Terry. He was smiling and his eyes had taken on a soft, twinkly effect as the firelight reflected in them. I bit my bottom lip and looked away in an attempt to quell my body's autonomic response.
Regardless of how Terry made me feel, I needed to keep my distance. Our worlds were too far apart. Plus, he wouldn't be interested in someone like me anyway. The principle—guys like Terry weren't interested in guys like me, because guys like me weren't interested in guys …period.
Terry motioned toward my ankle and crouched down in front of the sofa. "Can I take a look?"
I nodded. The ski patrol medic had cut away my snug, woolen sock and replaced it with a loose, fuzzy one after examining my ankle. Removing it shouldn't send me screaming through the roof, but I prepared myself. The sock slipped away without incident and was immediately replaced by Terry's cool hands.
"It's pretty swollen," Terry said as he directed me to sit up and stretch my leg out along the length of the sofa. He slipped the cushion I'd been using earlier back under my foot.
"I'm going to get some ice," he added then headed for the kitchen.
I released the breath I'd been holding as I watched the smooth, unguarded movement of Terry's hips as he left the room. There was something about the way Terry carried himself that screamed gay, making him his own worst enemy when it came to attracting unwanted attention, but he was a decent guy. That much was obvious.
I rested my cheek against the back of the sofa as I listened to Terry bumping around in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I tended to ignore my inner voice of reason and went along with whatever crap my friends were spouting. Call it stupidity if you like. I preferred to think of it as instinctual self-preservation. High school was no place to be strutting your individuality.
Terry crossed the room toward me. He really had no such hang-ups. Terry was all Terry. I'd always admired him for that. He'd seriously changed though. Terry had been attending the same school as me for years, but this year, after the summer break, he'd come back with a new confidence that had caught my attention.
Terry McDougall had left his gawky teenaged phase far, far behind, and the guy that had emerged was beyond sexy, making the promise I'd made to myself about keeping things straight for the duration of high school increasingly difficult to justify.
Keep it together, Dillon.
Using both hands, I raised my leg, so Terry could settle a towel underneath my foot to absorb any moisture that might come off the cold compress he'd put together. As he lowered the ice onto my ankle, the relief was palpable.
"Oh, yes—" I stretched out resting my head on the arm of the sofa, ignoring whatever nasty, sticky stuff might be lurking there. I could always shower later. "Thank you so much."
"No problem." Terry patted my knee and pointed toward the kitchen. "I'm making hot chocolate. Want some?"
"No thanks. I've been baking inside those pants for over an hour. I need to spend some time cooling down."
Terry winked at me. "Maybe you should consider cooling down with your oven door closed."
"What?" I followed Terry's gaze down the front of my body.
Oh, for fuck's sake.
Terry's high pitched sighs of amusement followed him out through the door as I attempted to tuck myself away and close the flap of my bright red long johns, the color in my cheeks becoming a serious rival for the shade of the thermal material.
It was going to be one of those days.
"Do you want anything to eat?" Terry shouted from the kitchen. "I'm making some raisin toast to go with the hot chocolate."
"Yeah sure," I replied. "I'll have some."
"Butter or margarine?"
"Butter please."
I wasn't sure why Terry was being so nice to me. Although I hadn't been an instigator in the abuse heaped on him, I certainly hadn't stepped in on his behalf.
He'll probably spit on my toast.
I straightened up, taking the plate Terry handed me.
"I didn't spit on it," Terry said, grinning. "Promise."
I shook my head, laughing. "I was just thinking that."
"Figured."
Terry lowered himself onto a chair across from me and arranged his hot chocolate and toast on the coffee table in front of us.
"Why are you back so early?" I asked, curious as to why Terry was back at the hostel without his friends. He couldn't have been out on the slopes for long.
"I'm not a big fan of the cold," Terry answered then set in on his toast, dispensing a shower of crumbs onto the floor. "I can only go for a few hours before I need to take a break."
I looked at my cell phone. "It's only ten thirty."
"Yeah, well …it's really cold."
I grinned. "Woos."
The snort of amusement from Terry warmed my cheeks and eased my anxiety somewhat. Terry was easy to talk to ...I regretted never having spoken to him before. Under different circumstances, we might have become friends.
"So," I said, wanting to direct the conversation away from snowboarding and hot chocolate, two things I wasn't the least bit interested in but suspected we might continue talking about. Neither one of us had any idea what the other was interested in.
"How's your first semester going?" I asked.
"I'm managing. I loaded it up kind of heavy with calculus, chemistry, biology, and computer programming."
"Sounds like mine," I replied as I attempted to arrange the cold compress back on my ankle. It had slipped off. Terry was immediately on it, dusting the toast from his fingers before sitting on the arm of the sofa to hold the compress in place.
Our hands brushed against each other in the exchange.
I may have lingered.
Yeah, I did—I lingered.
"Sorry," I whispered as I withdrew my hand.
What the hell are you doing?
"No, um—" Terry shifted around, fidgeting with the edge of the cushion beneath my foot. He adjusted his placement, deliberately brushing the tips of his fingers along my toes before settling them on the compress.
"This needs to stay on," he said under his breath.
"Yeah, thanks," I whispered back, unsure as to how I should respond. I wasn't even sure what had just happened.
"So, how'd you like the winter formal?" Terry asked as he glanced at me, refusing to hold eye contact.
"It was alright," I answered.
Terry sighed and shrugged in a strange undulation.
"Your date was pretty hot," he said. "I've never seen her before."
I smirked. There was a reason for that.
"She was visiting from out of town," I replied, wondering if I should be imparting the next bit of information. Even my friends didn't know the truth of my date's identity.
"She owed me for a stunt she pulled over the summer," I continued, undeterred. I wanted Terry to know. "My cousin is a serious contender when it comes to practical jokes."
Terry's head popped up and he looked straight at me. I'd never seen his eyes up this close before. I nearly swallowed my tongue when he blinked at me—and an image of his eyelashes fluttering in ecstasy briefly flashed through my mind.
"That was your cousin?" he asked.
"Yeah," I replied, managing to regain my faltering breath before I completely embarrassed myself. "Pretty lame, eh?"
Terry shook his head, attracting my attention to the dusting of strawberry-blond hairs descending from his hairline. I let my gaze trail down his chest and along the curve of his hip to his thigh…
I almost groaned aloud. Terry's sweater had ridden up, exposing the soft swell between his legs. I paused there, flexing my hand in and out of a fist as I defied my need to reach for him.
This can't happen.
"No," Terry said finally. "I don't think that's lame."
"Thanks." I cut my gaze away. The delay in his response meant he'd definitely caught my staring.
Dillon, stop.
"Who are you going to prom with?" Terry asked as he directed his attention back onto the compress.
"Not sure yet," I answered.
"Mm."
Terry flipped the compress over, molded it back against my ankle, and gripped it in place. A small smile pulled at the edge of his mouth, but he smoothed it away against his shoulder.
I gathered my arms across my stomach, uncertain, picking at the edge of my shirt.
"Haven't met anyone I want to go with yet," I added and watched Terry's expression change as he looked up to peer at me. I wasn't entirely sure what it changed to, but the fleeting look in his eyes excited a surge of possibilities.
"Should be someone special," I said.
"Yeah."
"What about you?" I asked. "Who you going with?"
"Probably my friend Amy."
He'd hesitated.
Yeah. There was definitely something there.
I think.
Maybe.
"The girl you took to winter formal?" I asked.
"Yeah, that's her." Terry's complexion flushed with color as he studied me. There was a level of what looked like anticipation building in his features—or maybe it was apprehension. I couldn't be sure. "We're just friends though," he added. "It's not like we're seeing each other or anything."
I had to pinch my lips together to temper the smile that leapt to burst across my face. I couldn't believe I was doing this.
"Do you know Amy?" Terry asked
I shrugged. "Not really. She's in a few of my classes."
"Chemistry?"
"Chemistry …god, no—"
I almost rolled my eyes.
Not between you and Amy, you idiot.
"I mean, yeah," I corrected. "She's in my chemistry class."
Terry pursed his lips, containing a smile.
"Thought so," he said.
My pulse thrummed heavy in my ears as I continued to take in all the little details of Terry's expression, his posture, the way he was reacting to me—everything.
I did not want to mess this up.
"Yeah, um …," I started then emboldened by sheer dumb lust, I pressed my good foot against Terry's leg, playfully digging my toes into the edge of his thigh. Relief coursed through my body as Terry shot me a shy smile, settled his hand on my foot, and began massaging it.
Oh, thank God.
Sad to say, but that was the biggest step I'd ever taken with a guy. I typically guarded my sexuality like Fort Knox during a gold shortage, but somehow I knew I could trust Terry.
And those eyes.
I could get used to those eyes gazing down on me as he…
Stop it.
"She's kind of hard to miss with all that hair," I continued after restraining my thoughts from wandering into all sorts of X-rated scenarios, most of which involved Terry going…
Oh my god. Cut it out.
"Especially since she added that pink streak last week," I finished. "The girl's not afraid to stand out and be heard, that's for sure. Something to be said for that."
Terry's body shook as he …chortled. There really was no other word for the snorting, breathy laugh erupting from him. It made me smile. It was nice to hear someone laughing for the right reasons. More often than not, my friends could only be found laughing when they were tormenting and humiliating someone.
"Yeah, she's an original," Terry replied.
"Smart too."
Terry nodded. "And vicious funny—but we're just friends."
"Yeah, I got that."
Terry looked down at the floor, avoiding what I'm certain was some unrestrained, anticipatory body language on my part. I couldn't help it. This was all new to me and I was excited by the prospect of it leading to something.
"You ready for exams?" I prattled on, nervous as hell.
"Mm, I don't know. My mom wanted me to study over winter break, but that seems awfully lame."
"Totally."
A silence fell between us and I wasn't sure what to say next. Terry released my foot to check my ankle then crossed his arms. His brow furrowed as he raised a hand to trace the remains of a fading bruise along his cheekbone with his fingers.
My stomach dropped.
Terry's face had hit the locker a lot harder than I'd realized at the time. The altercation had happened almost two weeks ago and I'd nearly stepped in to stop my friend Brian from harassing Terry, an action that might've exposed me and ruined almost five years of grueling and ultimately soul-destroying mimicking. My friends had absolutely no idea where my orientation lay.
And they never would.
The fact they were my friends wouldn't deter them in the least if they found out. They'd kick the shit out of me the same as they would any other faggot they came across. I'd witnessed enough of their corrections to know I didn't want any part of being on the receiving end of their bigotry.
Terry had come off easy.
I leaned forward and reached for Terry's arm.
"Terry, I—"
"No, Dillon—" Terry bolted up onto his feet. His brilliant blue eyes that had been sparkling with warmth earlier, clouded over with a hurt that struck me deep. "Forget it. I'm not doing this."
"Terry, I'm sorry."
"No, you're not. If you were sorry, you wouldn't join in on that bullshit in the first place. I don't know what I did to you and your friends to make you hate me so much."
I ducked my eyes away from his glare.
"You didn't do anything," I whispered then braved his attention by looking up. "And I don't hate you …you know I don't."
Terry exhaled an exasperated breath out through his nose. I could practically hear the wheels spinning inside Terry's mind as he watched me. Then he appeared to come to a decision.
"Do you want to watch a movie?" he asked.
Just like that, he'd switched gears. My stomach twisted, replaying all the nasty insults my friends and I had thrown at Terry over the years. Yeah, I'd been kidding myself earlier, painting myself as an innocent bystander. I was as bad as the rest of them. I'd done my share of shoving guys into lockers as well.
"Dillon?"
"Yeah." I cleared the guilt from my mind. It was never going to happen again. I was done. The guys could take me out and roast me. I wasn't putting up with their bigoted shit anymore. They could roam the streets and terrorize the villagers without me.
Being here with Terry had clarified things for me. I felt comfortable with him, wanted to be with him—needed to be with him.
"A movie would be great," I replied.
"Action, horror—" A goofy grin spread across Terry's face. "Romantic comedy?"
"Oh, you're funny."
God, he's adorable.
I settled into the cushions of the sofa as Terry flicked through the options on Netflix. I'd seen most of the movies on offer before, but I wouldn't be bothered by seeing something a second time if Terry wanted to see it. He stopped on a choice that made me a little uncomfortable though. I'd watched the film displayed on the screen a couple of times …purely for artistic reasons.
Or so I'd told myself at the time.
"Have you ever seen this movie, Lilies?" Terry asked as he turned around, his blond lashes batting with deliberate, provocative anticipation as he watched me.
Then he licked his lips.
Oh, good lord.
A small patch warmed between my thighs, forcing me to discreetly adjust myself.
Stop it.
Maybe this was a bad idea. Hooking up with Terry in the hostel was far too risky. If my friends came back and found us together, we'd be done for. I needed to back off.
"It won four Canadian Genie Awards," Terry continued, "back in the nineties, including best picture, I think."
I crossed my arms defensively. The tragic love story of Simon and Vallier had stuck with me for a long time after I'd originally watched the film. The storyline of two boys having a secret love affair while attending a Catholic boy's school, one confident with his sexuality, the other not…
The irony of their situation wasn't lost on me.
I shook my head. "I don't watch that kind of stuff."
"Alright." Terry turned back to scrolling through the movies, allowing the blush in my face to rise unnoticed.
"Not even Shank?" he continued as he scrolled through the movies. "Or Shelter? Maybe you've seen Beautiful Thing."
Terry was enjoying himself, taking the piss out of me. I couldn't help but smile. The guy deserved a little payback. Finding out I was gay was probably making his day.
"Shut it, Terry," I said jokingly.
"Alright, alright. Let's watch this," Terry replied as he pressed start on an action movie I'd seen before but would gladly watch again to avoid having Terry inquiring further into my movie viewing history. We needed to veer far away from the direction we'd been taking. Discussing the finer details of gay themed movies wasn't going to get us back to where I wanted to be.
Terry wasn't about to let me off that easy. He sat at the far end of the sofa, lifted my feet into his lap, and wrapped his warm hands around them. Throughout the movie, he didn't relent, massaging the soles of my feet and running his hands further up my legs to work my calves as he cast flirtatious glances in my direction. If I weren't so freaked out by the possibility of someone walking in on us, I would've been soaking up the attention.
"You alright?" Terry asked—more than once.
My standard answer. "Mm, hm. Yeah."
I tried to relax but by the time the movie ended, I was so confused, I had no idea what I wanted, or even where to look. I wasn't sure if I wanted to run and hide, remain where I was, or haul Terry off to my bunk to tear away his clothes and devour him.
Thankfully, Terry came to my rescue.
"You hungry, Dillon?"
"Yeah, sort of …but I need to hit the washroom first," I replied as I swung my feet out of Terry's lap and tested my ankle's flexibility by pressing my foot against the floor.
It appeared to be alright.
Until I tried to stand up.
The mewling whimper followed by a string of obscenities that spilled from my mouth sent Terry into a fit of laughter that I was hapless to resist joining in on. A full on rolling snort of amusement escaped me as I attempted to grab the back of the sofa.
"Oh, my god," Terry said as he pressed up under my shoulder to support me. "Are you always such a baby?"
"Apparently," I said as I fought to catch my breath. I hadn't laughed aloud like that in forever. The regimented life I lived with my dad didn't allow for a lot of humor.
Hanging with Terry had loosened me up.
It felt really good.
No, actually, he felt really good—solid and warm against me, his arm encircling my waist. He even smelled amazing. All crisp and clean like the mountain air. I desperately wanted to taste him, but I willed my body to behave. This was not the time or place to be exploring the intense craving I had for him.
I settled a hand on Terry's shoulder and allowed him to help me down the hall. The progress to the washroom was slow with my hopping along at his side, but we eventually made it.
He left me by one of the cubicle doors with promises of coming to retrieve me in a few minutes. He wanted to start making lunch.
Fearing my instability, I decided to strip my thermal bottoms off and lower my ass onto the freezing cold toilet seat, which was poignant because it gave me time to reflect on what an ass I'd been to guys like Terry over the years. Guys I really wasn't all that different from—guys I was hopelessly attracted to. Guys that, more than anything, I wanted to be held by—loved by.
Supporting my elbows on my knees, I lowered my head into my hands. I needed a minute.
Damn it.
My intention for the duration of high school had been to avoid becoming involved with anyone, to wait until university to explore a relationship far away from the prying eyes of my dad and my current group of friends. Of course, the possibility of a hookup hadn't been out of the question, but I was kidding myself if I thought that's all I wanted from Terry.
There was something about him that was drawing me in.
Terry was special.
His voice broke through my thoughts.
"Are you alright in there?" he asked.
"Yeah." I hauled myself up and flushed.
"I've started some grilled cheese sandwiches." Terry stepped back as I hobbled past him to the sink. "You good? I need to get back to them before they burn."
Clutching the edge of the sink, I turned the water on. It was predictably ice cold in stark contrast to what was happening inside me. I looked up in the mirror to see Terry watching me.
"Terry, I really am sorry about everything."
"I don't want to talk about that anymore, alright?" Terry's gaze wandered across my expression in the mirror's reflection.
I looked away.
There wasn't even a scrap of hatred in his eyes, only a hint of something else—something that was scaring the crap out of me.
I met his gaze again, holding it. I'd never felt as compelled to discard my reservations and leap headlong into something in my life. Terry's genuine warmth and willingness to forgive me had completely messed with my head.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
My high school crush was supposed to be static.
Terry stepped up beside me and tipped his head to get my attention. "Dillon. What is it we're doing here, you and I?"
I barely whispered an, "I don't know." But as I did, I glanced down at Terry's soft, full lips then back up at his eyes. I couldn't help myself. Those lips and those eyes were offering me a level of happiness I knew I couldn't find anywhere else.

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