Tenacious Contingency

Tenacious Contingency

A Story by cywsaphyre

Aaron was your typical playboy university student. Wesley was his socially inept best friend's older brother. Falling in love was never even supposed to be a passing thought. Too bad life didn't care.


Summary: Aaron was your typical playboy university student. Wesley was his socially inept best friend's older brother. They had probably laid eyes on each other less than a handful of times over the ten years they had known the other existed. Falling in love was never even supposed to be a passing thought. Too bad life didn't care.



Tenacious Contingency




Aaron had always considered himself a very open-minded kind of person. He had to be, with a best friend like Kalden. The musical genius, while admittedly prodigal in composing pieces and performing concerts, could hardly be lauded for his social skills.


Moody to the point of offensive, Kalden rarely talked, and when he did, it would always be a scathing insult or a sarcastic retort. He went everywhere without bothering to tidy up his messy raven locks, and Aaron often sighed at the way Kalden's hair stuck up every which way, as if it hadn't seen a hairbrush in years.


Secretly, Aaron was pretty sure that was the case.


His scrawny best friend also usually sported a baggy shirt and pants, mismatched socks, and a scruffy pair of shoes two sizes too large, and ignored the stares and giggles that followed him everywhere on campus.


There was also the fact that Kalden made it quite clear in a rather loud voice which sex he preferred, stating it in a flat voice to a girl who had batted her eyes and smiled suggestively at him the one time Aaron had managed to nag and argue and guilt trip him into a suit for a concert that happened to coincide with his birthday. Even Aaron had to admit Kalden cleaned up quite nicely.


But the news that he was gay had spread like wildfire across the campus, and while some didn't care, there was always the occasional clique that jeered and even tried to rough up the gangly music student. Luckily, while Aaron was nearly as tall as Kalden, he was also more solidly built. Still slender, but the muscles he had developed over the many years of swimming and soccer were nothing to laugh at. Anyone he caught laying a finger on Kalden usually ended up with at least a bloody nose.


None of Aaron's swimming friends understood their relationship, which was fine because Aaron had been dealing with this sort of general confusion since they were both kids. So whenever he managed to drag Kalden away from his notes and instruments and coerce him to a lunch with his other friends, there was always an awkward tension among the jocks, as if they were never quite sure how to act around the sullen man munching on a Caesar salad as Aaron secretly slipped as many pieces of chicken as he could from his own food into Kalden's way-too-green lunch.


Aaron ignored this as well. He had known Kalden since they were in elementary school. It would take a lot more than the disapproval of a couple jocks to break their friendship.


So, like he said, open-minded.


It also helped that he himself swung both ways. Of course, he had never actually dated a guy outright, but he had found himself appreciating the occasional male passerby who had sharp features or a nice a*s.


But mostly, Aaron dated girls. He had probably gone out with, and broken up with, half the cheerleading squad by the time he was halfway through his first year of university. Now a second year, he had recently dumped a sleek-haired brunette with doe-like eyes and an ample bosom. The relationship had lasted less than three weeks as even Aaron's patience, refined from years of dealing with Kalden's moods, wore thinner every time the girl clung to him and whined whenever he couldn't take her out to the mall or the theatre.


It was with these thoughts in mind when Kalden found him lounging under a large maple, arms folded behind his head as he stared lazily up at the cloudless blue above.


"Move over."


Aaron rolled his eyes but complied with the curt command, shifting to the left and leaving room for Kalden. The black-haired musician dropped down beside him, a half-completed composition already in hand, a pencil twirling idly in the other.


"Mom says come over for dinner."


Aaron tilted his head, studying his companion. Neither of them lived on campus as both their homes, conveniently only a block from each other, were only twenty minutes away by car, and that was in bad traffic.


Kalden's mother often insisted that Aaron join them for meals as Aaron's parents, a businessman for a father and an actress for a mother, were out of the country more often than not. He didn't really mind, having grown used to it over the many years, but he still found himself rather happy whenever he was asked to join them for a meal.


"Sure," Aaron responded. "But it's Tuesday. You're mom usually asks every other day and I just went yesterday. What's the occasion?"


Kalden grunted and didn't respond for a while, eyes glued on the papers in his lap as he scribbled in a few more notes. Used to the delayed responses, Aaron settled back again to wait. He preferred taking it easy, and as a psychology major, he had the luxury to do so.


"...My old man and brother's coming for a visit."


On hindsight, Aaron thought, to be fair, that there should have been a moment of complete silence or an explosion or his brown hair suddenly turning white or some sort of telltale sign that the end of his playboy lifestyle was drawing near, and life was about to deal him the biggest surprise in his entire twenty years. But there hadn't been, and Aaron had only felt a normal stir of mild curiosity at the mention of the other half of his best friend's family.


Kalden's parents were divorced, and while Kalden lived with their mother, his older brother had opted to live with their father. Both children had taken their mother's last name though.


"Really?" Finally sitting up, Aaron plucked a few strands of grass and absently knotted them together. "Why all of a sudden?"


A shrug. "Dad. Business meeting in town."


"Oh." Aaron considered this for a moment. "And your brother came too? Doesn't he have school or something? He's what, three years older than us?"


"Four," Kalden replied shortly. "Graduated from law school two years ago. He's dad's legal representative."


"What?" Aaron dropped the pieces of grass in his hands. "Why does your dad need a legal rep?"


"He's being sued."


"...Because?" Honestly, getting information from Kalden was like pulling teeth from a particularly obstinate dental patient.


"Probably 'cuz he's pissed off another client." Kalden glanced indifferently at him. "When is it anything else? It's just that this time, he's finally getting what he deserves."


Aaron blinked at the slightly bitter edge in his best friend's voice. Kalden's parents had divorced six years ago, and the callous way his dad dealt with other people in the business world, sometimes even Kalden, had been what had caused it.


"Oh," He paused. "Why's your mom letting him back in the house then?"


"'Cuz of Wes. Mom hasn't seen him in over a year since he was busier than usual. When she heard he was working dad's case, she insisted."


"What about you?" Aaron studied the musician carefully. "Do you mind?"


Kalden shrugged. "I can stand him if it means Wes will be there too."


Aaron nodded thoughtfully. Kalden and his older brother had always been close.


"You know, I haven't actually seen your brother in... six years?"


The musician nodded. "You two keep missing each other. He visits once a year, but you're always away with your parents or something when he comes."


"Huh," Aaron blinked. "Well, I'll see him this time. I wonder if he'll recognize me. I can't really remember his face, for some reason."


Kalden snorted indelicately, finally tucking his composition away. "You have a s****y memory. I'm done for the day. I'm leaving."


Aaron sighed at the abrupt end in their conversation before glancing down at his watch and making a face. He still had one more class. "Alright, I'll see you tonight. Six?"


Kalden grunted, already on his feet and walking away, shoulders slumped as his hands automatically stuffed themselves into his pockets.


Aaron would take that as a 'yes'.


Three hours later, at five-thirty in the afternoon, his last seminar of the day was over, and Aaron was left glaring grumpily at the sky as rain came down in buckets.


How the hell had this happened? It had been a perfect day mere hours ago. And wasn't it just his luck that today was a Tuesday (he was really beginning to hate Tuesdays), the only day that he and Kalden went home at different times. Kalden would take the car, since he always went to the music shop an hour away from their neighbourhood, leaving Aaron to take the bus.


With a sigh, he eyed the direction the bus stop was in. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, his bag slung over one shoulder, with not even a sweater to block some of the rain, much less an umbrella. He'd be soaked before he was halfway to the bus loop.


But there really was no helping it. He would just have to head home and change before heading over for dinner. Which would make him late and Borden Senior would not be happy. Kalden's father had never liked him to begin with, and Aaron would be made to suffer through dinner with glares directed at him every few minutes.


A whispering whirr of a car engine drew him out of his spiralling thoughts and his eyes widened in confusion as a sleek silver BMW pulled up in front of him. The passenger's window was rolled down and a pale angular face sporting a pair of sunglasses, raven bangs neatly framing the sharp features, appeared in his line of sight.


"Hey," The man's voice was pitched at a silky tenor and it made something stir in his stomach. "Hop in."


Aaron stayed rooted to his spot, blinking stupidly as the man stared back at him. At least, Aaron thought the man was staring at him. He couldn't see anything behind the sunglasses, and the stranger's features might as well have been set in stone.


"Uh, no thanks," He declined, finally regaining his usual countenance. "I can take the bus."


Aaron offered his usual easy smile that had girls fluttering and giggling around him before making to turn away.


"You are Aaron, right?" The man's question made him pause again and he turned back, startled. "Aaron Evans?"


Aaron frowned a little. Who was this guy? Maybe a senior he had talked to before? But he was sure he would remember if he had. There was no way he would forget a face like that. Even without taking into account the eyes, the man could easily pass as a model or an actor.


"Yeah, that's me," His cheerful demeanour taking over. "Have we met?"


Another long pause but Aaron found the atypical silence somewhat familiar as the drumming of rain filled his ears.


"You... don't remember who I am, do you?"


Aaron blinked at the man, absently noting the small funny tilt of his mouth and felt a slightly embarrassed blush rise in his features. He wasn't usually discomfited so easily, always able to laugh anything off, but this person seemed to be able to make him react without doing anything in particular.


"Er, no?"


The slightest quirk of lips upwards showed the first physical sign of emotions before a slender hand extended out the window in his direction.


"Wesley Lucas; nice to see you again."


A dramatic crack of thunder followed this statement and Aaron could only gape in a very unsightly manner as he mentally slapped himself for being an idiot.


"S**t!" He blurted out, before really blushing this time, his usual athlete's grace gone as he jerked forward to shake the proffered hand. "I mean, I didn't recognize you �" I mean-"


Aaron closed his mouth with a click before something even more ridiculous spilled out of it. He blinked and tried to ignore the abnormal flip his stomach performed as pale pink lips curved into a faint smile.


"Don't worry about it," Wesley pulled back before opening the passenger door. "It has been a long time. I shouldn't have assumed. Get in?"


This time, Aaron only grinned sheepishly as he slipped into the car. "Sorry, I'm just not good with faces."


As the car pulled smoothly away from the curb, Aaron chanced a peek at Kalden's brother.


The man was... beautiful. There really was no other word. High cheekbones and a strong jaw accentuated his facial features. He had a sharp nose and smooth lips that were currently set in a calm line. Long ebony locks tied back in a low ponytail finished the picture and Aaron's eyes traced the column of the older man's slender neck as he took in the rest of his apparel. Wesley was sporting a white shirt, top two buttons undone and sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and black pants.


"Something wrong?"


The tenor snapped him out of his observation and Aaron quickly cleared his throat, trying to shove down the blush threatening to rise in his cheeks again as he glanced up again to the man's face.


"Uh, I was just wondering why you're here?" He asked, before hastily tacking on, "Not that I'm not glad for the ride. I'd be soaked to the bone right now if I had to take the bus, but..."


Wesley inclined his head, taking a right before responding.


"I took a later plane than my father and I was just heading back home. My mother called and said my brother had taken the car and that you would be stuck taking the bus. Since the school was on my way, she asked me to swing by and pick you up as well."


"Oh," Aaron nodded and tried very hard to ignore the slight pang of disappointment in his chest. What was he, a girl? Wesley wouldn't have even known he was on campus.


A long silence followed as Wesley focused on driving and Aaron forced himself not to fidget in his seat. With Kalden, Aaron knew he preferred to sit in silence and he would naturally talk to fill in said silence, but with Wesley, while the man was quiet, Aaron could sense that he wasn't like Kalden in this aspect. So, true to his curious nature, he decided to try for a conversation.


"So I heard you were in town for business," He peered at the lawyer as the man glanced at him. "How long will you be staying?"


Wesley was silent for only a few seconds before responding. "As long as the trial lasts, but probably around two weeks."


Aaron nodded, casting for another topic to draw on. To his surprise, Wesley posed his own question.


"I heard from Kal that you are majoring in Psychology. Are you enjoying that?"


Aaron grinned. Wesley was a much better conversationalist than Kalden. While he didn't mind his best friend's silences, it was rather funny that the two brothers differed so much in this area.


"Yeah, I like it well enough. And it's easy enough for me to slack off after exams. You wouldn't believe how much time Kalden spends in the practice rooms all year round. Of course, that could just be Kalden..."


Aaron trailed off as he realized he had, quite easily, fallen back into the comfortable way he would usually reserve for Kalden. Wesley didn't seem to mind though, or he didn't notice, since he simply nodded again.


"Yes, my brother can be quite the workaholic. Gets it from me, perhaps. I used to study a lot as well. Do we turn left here?"


Aaron blinked, squinting into the darkness before nodding. "Yeah, turn left and then keep going straight. We're almost there."


Another few minutes of quiet before Aaron ventured another question.


"Do you like sports? Kal hates them but he doesn't really like anything nonrelated to music."


"I bike, on occasion," Wesley revealed. "But I mostly swim, if only for exercise, though I do enjoy it."


Aaron brightened visibly. "I'm on the varsity swim team, as well as the soccer team but I only play that when they need a sub. I love to swim."


Wesley spared a glance at him again. "Oh? When is your next competition then?"


"Tomorrow." Aaron stated. "Usually, I also have evening practice but Coach cancelled it today so we can rest up for the race tomorrow."


He hesitated for a moment before barrelling on. Wesley was a friend now and he had never really met anyone outside of his swim team that liked the sport. "Do you have some time tomorrow? You could come watch."


There was a slightly awkward pause before the lawyer inclined his head once more. "Perhaps if I have time."


Aaron ignored the unease in his gut and mentally berated himself. That had been too forward of course. His open friendliness only worked on Kalden, who mostly just ignored it, and friends he had gotten to know who wouldn't be scared off by his personality. He usually never revealed this side of him until later. It was a normal defensive measure, and he found it strange that he had forgotten that in the face of this man.


But the rest of the trip passed surprisingly quickly despite his sudden invitation, and Aaron had found himself quite at ease with the elder Lucas. As Wesley pulled up in front of the familiar Lucas house, Aaron grinned privately to himself.


Today hadn't been bad at all. He had never had a proper conversation with Wesley before and had always distantly pictured the man as being an older version of Kalden.


"Aaron," A finger tapped him briefly on the shoulder. "You're zoning out again."


Aaron just grinned. "Sorry. It's just, you're kinda different from what I pictured you to be."


A slender eyebrow rose in his direction. "Different? How so?"


"Well I thought you'd be all moody and reticent like Kal but you actually talk back without me having to nag."


The amused tilt of the older man's lips was back again. "You nag my brother to talk?"


"All the time," Aaron announced. "Honestly, if I left him alone, he'd become some musical hermit."


Wesley's mouth turned down at this and Aaron realized a second later how his words sounded. Before he could remedy them, the lawyer spoke up again.


"My brother does not know how to make friends and he is difficult to get along with. Thank you for staying by him."


Aaron blinked before huffing a breath. "He's my best friend. Why wouldn't I?"


This time, there was an air of approval when Wesley smiled at him and neither of them said anything more on the subject.


"You can go in first," The older man gestured at the house as they got out of the car, arms thrown over their respective heads in a vain attempt to shield themselves from the rain. "I need to carry my luggage inside."


"I'll help," Aaron quickly offered, slinging his bag over one shoulder. "If we hurry, we can both get inside before we get completely soaked."



Wesley seemed a little surprised but nodded nonetheless, moving around to open the trunk. It took them only one trip to carry two duffel bags and three cardboard boxes into the house where an anxious Ms. Lucas greeted them with a warm smile and two towels before bustling back into the kitchen.


Accepting one, Aaron snuck another glance at Wesley, only to find a pair of mismatched eyes, one onyx, like the rest of the Lucas family, the other a startlingly piercing crimson, watching him. He must have stared too long though because the gaze shifted away from and sunglasses were quickly replaced before he could say a word.


"My apologies," Wesley imparted, and the frighteningly neutral tone his voice had suddenly taken on made Aaron's gut tighten. "I did not have time to replace my contact after my flight�""


"No!" Aaron quickly cut in. "I was just surprised. You don't have to keep them on if you don't want to."


There was another long moment of silence as Wesley seemed to mull over his words. When the sunglasses were removed again, Aaron silently congratulated himself, allowing a bright smile to surface on his face.


"They're cool," He announced, before promptly flushing red. That just sounded dumb.


But the older man's angular features seemed to soften ever-so-slightly. "... Your swimming competition tomorrow," He eventually spoke. "What time is it?"


Aaron grinned and told him. He had never actually taken to someone so quickly before, but he honestly wouldn't mind getting to know this man a bit better.


The niggling suggestion at the back of his mind that perhaps he would like to know this man a lot better was forgotten as Kalden slid down the banister from the second level and bounded into the foyer, rare excitement painting his features as his gaze landed on Wesley.


The rest of the night was spent in relative peace and Aaron, quite happy with his unexpected friendship with the elder Lucas, was mostly successful in ignoring the obvious taunts and sneers directed at him from Mr. Borden.


He was thrilled when Wesley actually cut his father off when the man made a pass at Aaron's parents with a sharp but subtle reprimand, mismatched eyes hard as he pinned the businessman with a lethal glare.


Mr. Borden hadn't said much else for the rest of the night after that and Aaron was in high spirits as Wesley offered to drive him home after dinner, much to the confusion of Kalden and the displeasure of Mr. Borden. All Aaron got from Ms. Lucas was a puzzlingly knowing look as she sent them both on their way.


"Will you come tomorrow?"


Wesley blinked at the sudden question directed at him, but nodded after a moment. "I have something to take care of before that though, so I may be late."


Aaron just beamed. "That's fine. I'm going last anyway. See you tomorrow then?"


Wesley smiled faintly. "Yes, tomorrow. Goodnight."




For the first time in his life, the empty three-floored house that greeted Aaron that night didn't serve to faze him at all as he got ready for bed.


He would have to do well tomorrow. Perhaps he could even beat his last record. That would be something to see, wouldn't it?




"Kal, where is the swimming pool at your school?"


Wesley watched calmly as his brother looked up from his music with something akin to shock.


"You want to go swimming?" Kalden questioned. "Now? I thought you were working."


"I am finished for now." Wesley replied, ignoring the questions. "Where can I find it?"


"I'll come with you," Kal rose, reaching for his bag. "I've got class anyway. But we'll have to take your car. Aaron took our�""


Kalden paused. "Oh, wait. You can't use the pool. There's a competition today. That's where Aaron is."


"Yes," Wesley agreed, wondering offhandedly when his brother was going to catch on. "That is why I need the location of the pool."


A long silence followed as Kalden stared at him, blatantly dumbstruck. Wesley waited patiently for him to catch up.


"You know, I noticed it last night," Kalden finally spoke. "Are you... interested in my best friend?"


Wesley blinked once at his younger brother. "Yes," He replied bluntly.


Kalden looked faint, his mouth opening and closing several times with no sound coming out.


"You can't be," He finally concluded, much to Wesley's annoyance. "I mean, it's Aaron. He's my best friend and all, and I'd go to bat for him �" don't tell him that by the way �" but he's, well, he doesn't do exclusive."


Wesley stared at him. He hadn't known that. Aaron hadn't seemed the type, from what he had seen last night. But...


"Little brother, I am already late." He glanced pointedly at the clock in Kalden's room. "If we stay here any longer, I will miss the whole thing entirely."


Kalden snorted. "Fine, whatever. I didn't know you were into flings."


"I am not." Wesley frowned slightly at his brother.


Kalden scowled, irritated. "Aaron doesn't date long term. The longest relationship he's had lasted three months. And you're leaving in two weeks. Excuse me if I think happily-ever-after isn't in the foreseeable future."


Wesley reached out and pinched his brother's cheeks hard enough to make the younger man yelp. "You are being rude, little brother. Pack up, or I will leave without you."

Before Kalden could say anything more, Wesley turned and exited the room, grabbing his keys from the kitchen counter before slipping outside and into his car.


So Aaron didn't date long term. And he was leaving in a few weeks. Things would never work. Wouldn't even have time to start.


He rolled down his window, staring unblinkingly at a nearby bush, weighed down by droplets of rain. Before last night, when his mother had asked him to pick up the university student, he had been expecting that gangly fourteen-year-old, with the boisterous voice and the loud laugh. The slender but well-muscled man that had greeted him had not been what he had been expecting, and if it hadn't been for the familiar slightly spiky brown hair green eyes, he would have thought he had spoken to the wrong man. As it was, he had messed up his introduction and had ended up having to ask for the man's name anyway, much to his private embarrassment.


Luckily, Aaron hadn't seemed to care, and the ride back to his house had been... pleasant. Wesley had never cared for conversation. While he was nowhere near as bad at it as his brother was, he had always thought idle conversation to be meaningless, only talking when it was strictly necessary.


But something about the younger man had piqued his interest. He was no longer as loud, the exuberance from his early teens having curbed into something quieter, but still warm and friendly. He had admittedly lied a little last night, as Kalden rarely talked about anyone and had only ever mentioned Aaron in passing, but Wesley had caught sight of the Psychology textbook peeking out from Aaron's bag and had chanced a guess.


He had never put so much effort into striking up a conversation before, but he had been content with the enthusiastic answers he had received and hadn't put too much though into the why.


A sharp rap on the passenger window drew him out of his thoughts, and his features were composed as he turned to face his brother.


"Aren't you going to wear your sunglasses?" Kalden asked as he slid in and tossed his bag into the backseat.


Wesley paused, hands resting on the steering wheel as he glanced at the rear-view mirror.


"No," He decided, thoughts casting momentarily back to Aaron's compliment and grin last night before looking at his brother, taking in the shadow of stubble and uncombed hair with a frown. "Are you going to go out like that?"


Kalden glanced down at his scruffy shirt and baggy pants before pushing messy bangs out of his eyes. "Yeah."


The two siblings stared at one another for a long moment before simultaneously sighing, Kalden folding his arms and turning to stare out the window while Wesley started the car and pulled away from the curb.


"How exactly does Aaron put up with you?" Wesley questioned as he sped up on the main street.


Kalden shrugged. "The same way he's put up with me for the past ten years. He doesn't care what I look like or how I act."


"A miracle, then." A faint smile curved his mouth as Wesley remembered the retort Aaron had given him in the car.


Beside him, Kalden was, quite noticeably, gawking. "Are you smiling?"


"No," Wesley returned with a completely neutral expression once more.


Kalden snorted. "You're acting like a teenage girl. If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn't have told him to come over for dinner."


Wesley glanced at him as he slowed down for an oncoming stoplight. "...You would disapprove of this? If 'this' happened."


His brother scowled. "My best friend and my older brother. How does that even work? You two haven't seen each other in six years, and before that, the words you two have exchanged doesn't amount to one hand. I mean, Aaron's talked more to our dog than he has to you. Before last night, that is. I have never seen you talk so much in one sitting. I've never seen you talk so much in ten sittings. Did you see mum? She looked like she was on Cloud Nine. Probably already planning the wedding, for f**k's sake. This is the first time you've been so openly interested in anyone. And dad looked like he was about to have apoplexy."


"Father always looks like he is about to have apoplexy," Wesley commented mildly. "...Was I so obvious?"


"Yeah," Kalden informed him dryly. "If you had acted like that at a party or something, everyone and their grandma would've noticed. Except your object of affection, of course."


Wesley let his shoulders relax in relief at this, though he also felt a slight pang of disappointment. "He did not notice then?"


Kalden sighed, looking irritated and frustrated in turn. "He wouldn't notice unless it hits him in the face. You know his parents are famous right? Aida Vanstone, the multiple award-winning actress, and Shane Evans, the powerful business tycoon. Aaron comes from money, and that, and his looks I suppose, are all most people see. The girls he's dated are all airheaded bimbos who just want to be seen with him in public. That's why they never last. Aaron dumps them once he loses interest."


"...Then why does he date them in the first place?"


If there was one thing Wesley could say he was particularly good at when dealing with others, it was observing people through their expressions and reactions. Weaknesses were often shown through them, and as a lawyer, it came in handy whenever he was interrogating someone in court. Last night, he had seen the glint of sharp intelligence in Aaron's green eyes and, coupled with the fact that he was also a Psychology student, he didn't believe the younger man could be easily fooled by anyone.


Kalden shrugged. "Dunno. I guess he gave up trying to find someone who actually looks past his parents and his face."


Wesley nodded in understanding.


"...Just girls though?"


"He swings either way, but he's captain of the swim team, and gays aren't exactly the height of society. He doesn't exactly care what other people think of him, but not many guys have caught his attention, and he hasn't gone out of his way to find one either."

Wesley nodded again but said nothing more as he wheeled into the university parking lot.


"Now where is the swimming pool?" He questioned once more as they both stepped out of the car.


Kalden only grunted and gestured for him to follow, sending dark looks in all directions as students stopped and stared. Whispers and giggles followed them all the way across the campus until Wesley caught a whiff of chlorine as they neared a looming glass building.


"Pool," His brother muttered before setting off in a different direction. Wesley sighed as he watched the other students part in front of the brooding young man. There was just no changing Kalden.


Turning, he made his way to the glass complex, stepping inside and immediately drawing multiple gazes from all directions. This he was used to, since even as a teen, he had been accosted by females left, right, and centre.


A giggle drew his attention to his right and his gaze landed on a coy-looking blonde. She seemed taken aback by his eyes, as most people were, but the rest of him must have appealed to her more as she didn't let his heterochromatic eyes deter her.


"Hi," She fluttered her eyelids at him and Wesley absently wondered how many times the girl had had to practice to learn it. "Are you waiting for your girlfriend?"


Wesley briefly considered lying, but he caught sight of the vindictive line in the set of the blonde's jaw and knew that would simply lead to a catfight with some random girl. It had happened before.


"No," He replied curtly, hoping she had heard the dismissal in his voice.


Apparently not as the blonde's face became thrilled and she took a bold step forward into his personal space. Wesley had to wrestle down a grimace.


"Well then, waiting for a friend?" She placed a well-manicured hand on his arm. "I could show you around while you wait. Among other things."


At this, she pressed her chest forward and Wesley hastily stepped away, gently shaking her hand off.


"My apologies," He voiced quietly, pinning the blonde with a heavy stare. "I am already late. A friend will be swimming in the final round and I promised I would watch."


Only the manners his mother had ingrained in him since he was a child prevented him from walking away right then and there as the girl tried to step closer to him once again.


"I am not interested, miss," Wesley stepped smoothly away again. "Please excuse me."

With a curt nod, he turned and hurried away, slipping into the audience before the blonde could catch up to him again. Several more times, he had to shake off too-forward girls before a male voice called out to him.


"Hey, are ya Wesley Lucas?"


Wesley turned, shaking off a blue-eyed brunette as his gaze settled on a friendly-looking redhead, a towel draped around his shoulders even as he shook droplets from his hair. Wesley nodded cautiously and the redhead's smile widened, offering a hand.


"I'm Chris. Captain told me ta keep an eye out for you. Said ya might attract some unwanted attention." A quicksilver grin crossed his features as his eyes flickered briefly to the girls around him. "Dunno about unwanted though."


Wesley immediately took a step away from the girls and briefly clasped the slightly damp hand. "You know Aaron?"


Chris offered another smile as he motioned for Wesley to follow. "'Course, who doesn't? He's the swim team Captain after all. You're just in time. He's about to swim."


Wesley followed the athlete to a sectioned off part of the bleachers where a group of swimmers were gathered. He earned a few curious glances but most were focused on a figure positioned at one end of the pool.


Wesley's gaze immediately zeroed in on the accentuated muscles of the swimmer, and even from this far a distance, he could see the toned frame almost rippling with strength and excitement.


The gun went off and Wesley's eyes widened at Aaron's smooth sharp starting dive, surfacing near the halfway point of the pool before his arms came up, cutting through the water with effortless ease. Wesley had never seen anyone swim with such grace, and he really couldn't even imagine the other swimmers catching up. Aaron simply flew through the water, his arms almost like wings as they took him to the finish.


"Yes!" Beside him, Chris had jumped up, grinning ear to ear as the stands around them exploded with cheers and applause. "He beat his own record! He beat Andrew Cliff's record!"


Wesley blinked, unable to hide his own faint smile. "...Beat who?"


"Andrew Cliff: fastest university varsity swimmer in the States for the 800 meter freestyle. Holy crap, Captain was flyin' today!"


Not waiting for Wesley to respond, the redhead leapt off the bleachers and headed for the group of swimmers already gathered around the brown-haired swimmer. Wesley smiled after him, feeling a puzzling spark of pride in his chest as he sat back down. He would offer his congratulations later, perhaps after the other swimmers dispersed.




Aaron was grinning exuberantly as he gasped for breath, surrounded by his cheering team. A hearty slap on the back almost sent him tumbling back into the pool and Aaron turned to see an exultant Chris mirroring his expression.


"You were great out there!" His Vice-captain shouted above the voices around them. "Never seen ya swim so fast before!"


Aaron's grin widened. He hadn't been aiming for the State record today, only his own, but somehow, the thought that Wesley might be watching his race had pushed him on and he had concentrated on giving nothing but his very best.


"Did you see Wesley?" He shouted back above the din.


Chris just smirked knowingly. "Your boyfriend came just in time. He's in the stands."


Aaron ignored the implication and followed Chris's line of sight instead. His heart jumped when he caught sight of familiar black hair and he took an involuntary step towards the figure, only to pause as he turned back to his team.


"Go on! What are you waiting for?" Chris pushed him towards the bleachers. "You've got him to thank for the record today, don't ya?"


Aaron nodded distractedly, already turning back to Wesley and barely hearing the amused snort from his Vice-captain. Pushing through the crowd and accepting the many congratulations along the way, it was several minutes before he finally reached the bleachers.


"Wesley! You came!" Aaron clambered up the steps, limbs heavy from the race but lightness in his steps as the older man stood and greeted him with that rare faint smile.


"Of course," Wesley stepped down a few steps to meet him. "I said I would."


Aaron just stood there, still breathless from the race but grinning widely. Wesley seemed to hesitate for a moment and Aaron watched, puzzled, as the older man's mismatched eyes shifted from his face to his body, a slight strain suddenly surfacing on the sharp features. Did the lawyer think he was hurt or something?




Wesley's gaze moved back up to his face and Aaron's breath caught in his throat as he just managed to glimpse something hungry, almost feral, flicker through the onyx and crimson before it disappeared behind the typical shuttered gaze.


"You were amazing today," Wesley told him, and Aaron could hear the genuine warmth in his voice. "You looked like you were flying."


Aaron blushed and thanked every god he didn't believe in that his face would still be red from the race.


"Thanks," His grin faltered a little and he hesitated as his mind teetered on his next options. To his shock, Wesley took the decision right out of his hands.


"Are you done for the day?"


"Um, yeah. No classes either. Why?"


The lawyer paused, and Aaron caught sight of the miniscule line of discomfort in his shoulders as he forged on.


"Would you like to join me for dinner then?"


Aaron's jaw dropped. He had sensed that Wesley was more straightforward than most, but the man took blunt to a whole different level.


"Are you asking me out?" He blurted out, before contemplating why his mouth recently seemed to spill words into the open before his mind could catch up.


"...Yes," Wesley had pinned him with a steady gaze. "Would you be opposed to it?"


It was with tremendous effort that Aaron managed to prevent his jaw from dropping again. How could the lawyer say all that with a straight face? But hell if he was going to turn the man down. He hadn't been able to stop thinking about the elder Lucas since they had met last night.


"Yeah!" Aaron nodded, trying to tone the excitement in his voice down. "Yeah, I'd like that."


This earned him another faint smile and Aaron grinned back happily. "Just wait a bit. I'll need a few minutes to shower and I'll meet you outside?"


Wesley inclined his head. "I will wait by the entrance then." His smile took on a slightly uneasy edge. "Do hurry though. Your fellow students do not seem to know their manners when it comes to personal space."


Aaron chuckled at this. "I'll be quick then. See ya!"


He turned and hurried to locker room, exhaustion forgotten as he bounded to his locker.


"If possible, you look even happier, Captain."


Aaron turned to meet Chris's amused smirk. "I'm going out to dinner with Wesley. Don't wait up. You'll have to have the after party without me."


"A party for the man of the hour without the man of the hour," Chris nodded, mockingly grave. "Yeah, I can see how that'll work out."


"Chris, he asked me out," Aaron hurried into the showers. "No way am I gonna turn him down."


"Hmm," The shower curtain moved as his Vice-captain idly flicked a finger against it. "Have you actually ever been asked out before?"


"Yup, of course."


"But you turned them all down."




"But you didn't turn him down."




"Sooo... does that mean this might be permanent?"


Inside the shower, Aaron stilled, his hands soapy with shampoo. Could it be permanent? He had never tried for permanent. And Wesley was leaving in two weeks.


"Dunno. Besides, I just met him properly yesterday. There's still tons of stuff I don't know about him."


"So get to know him. And he'll get to know you. That's probably why he asked you out." Chris replied easily. "He seems like a nice guy to me. And he couldn't take his eyes off you the entire time you were swimming."


Aaron tried to hold back the pleased smile that curved his lips at this revelation.



A wry snort answered him and Aaron could just imagine the eye roll. "Yes, really, you smug b*****d. Don't let it get to your head. I could just as easily tell him that you couldn't stop looking for him every five minutes during the entire meet."


Aaron turned off the water and grabbed his towel, throwing back the shower curtain. "Don't you dare. That's an order."


Chris just grinned at him and sauntered off. "Okay, captain. Have fun on your date. I'll tell the others you couldn't make it."


Five minutes later, Aaron was dry and dressed and hurrying out of the pool. Once outside, he looked around, easily catching sight of the tall figure standing in the midst of a flock of girls. An immediate spark of jealousy flared up inside him, and it would have been worse if he hadn't caught sight of the uncomfortable tension setting the older man's shoulders.


With a huff, Aaron stalked forward, clearing his throat to gain their attention before pasting on an easy smile. He looked straight past the females and met Wesley's gaze confidently.


"Thanks for waiting; let's get outta here."


Wesley looked almost visibly relieved and Aaron felt a spike of vindictive satisfaction wash over him as he tried not to glare at all the females around them. They pushed their way past the flock of girls and headed for the parking lot.


"Let's take my car," Wesley murmured in his ear, and Aaron barely suppressed a shiver at the sound of the man's low tenor. "I have already called Kalden. He will take your car back."


They managed to make it to the silver BMW without much more trouble and Wesley quickly pulled out of the parking lot without further ado. Once they were speeding away from the campus though, Aaron couldn't quite hold back a laugh as he recalled what had just happened. Wesley's inquiring gaze prompted his elaboration.


"Sorry, it's just that I have never seen them so... enthusiastic about anyone, even me. Guess you're just a novelty to them."


Wesley's mouth quirked up. "It was quite annoying. I have never met females with such proficiency at ignoring what I say."


"It's your face," Aaron announced. "You're too pretty for your own good."


There was a startled pause after his words and Aaron just felt like banging his head against the window. What was with him these past few days?


He turned to apologize, only to blink at the intent gaze studying him.


"...So you think I'm pretty then?" Wesley eventually asked.


Aaron flushed red, hesitating briefly as he considered what to say. He glanced at the older man and, upon finding only patience and mild curiosity, offered boldly,


"I think you're beautiful."


The reaction was instantaneous. Mismatched eyes widened noticeably before Wesley's gaze quickly snapped back to the road, narrowly avoiding an oncoming Mazda and almost tailgating a minivan onto the sidewalk.


Aaron barely noticed any of this. His attention was completely focused on the older man's face because, for the first time in all the years he had known the elder Lucas, Wesley was blushing.


It was faint, but still evident on the pale skin, cheeks tinged with pink, and Aaron found himself unable to look away. Like this, Wesley looked almost shy.


The blush quickly faded away though, leaving a blank mask behind, much to Aaron's disappointment, but he tucked the moment away, knowing it to be rare and precious.


"So where are we going to eat?" He asked, pretending not to notice Wesley's embarrassment as the man composed himself again.


"...I was thinking Italian." The tenor was as smooth as ever, but Aaron thought the man sounded almost pleased, and he wondered if Wesley had ever been told he was beautiful before by anyone else. Aaron couldn't understand how anyone wouldn't think that, and Wesley didn't seem to mind the admittedly feminine compliment either.


"Italian sounds good." He agreed, and Wesley nodded in acknowledgement, taking a sharp left before pulling up in front of a small but elegant-looking restaurant several minutes later.


It was quiet inside, and the lights were dimmed to give the restaurant a peaceful feel. Aaron noted this immediately and resolved to find as many restaurants as he could that would be similar to this atmosphere. All his past dates had insisted on going to fancy upscale restaurants that were adamant on dress codes and were filled with pompous rich people. The Italian restaurant Wesley had brought him to had an almost soothing feeling to it, and as they were led to a table, Aaron wasn't quite sure whether to blush or scowl when Wesley reached out and pulled out a seat for him. He settled for a little of both as Wesley settled down across from him.


Wesley must have sensed his discomfort though since he didn't offer to order for him, and when their waters came as they waited for their food, Wesley leaned forward and levelled an even gaze at him.


"I am afraid," The older man started quietly. "That you will have to tell me when I make you uncomfortable. I am not familiar with relationships. And I would... I would like this to work."


"Do you �" you want this to be a relationship?" Aaron stammered out, feeling his face heat up. This was ridiculous, but he didn't have any experience dealing with a male date. With girls, he knew exactly what to expect, what they wanted. But with Wesley, Aaron was pretty sure treating the man like the girls he normally dated would only serve to offend him.


Across the table, Wesley was studying him with an unwavering concentration, and had it been anyone else, even Aaron would have felt unnerved by the piercing black-and-red.


"I find you interesting," The older man admitted abruptly. "So yes, I would like to try. But I will have to leave in about two weeks. If you would agree to... keeping in contact while I am away, perhaps..."


Wesley trailed off and Aaron watched dismayed irritation chase itself across the man's face.


"I am sorry," The lawyer continued stiffly. "I sound like I am trying to negotiate a business contract."


This startled a laugh out of Aaron and he grinned back freely. "No worries. I know what you mean. And, yeah, if you don't mind, I'd like to keep in touch."


A small soft smile was his only answer but it left him happily content.


"So then," Aaron started again. "Why did you become a lawyer? Was there a particular reason?"


By now, Aaron had realized that delayed responses were the norm for the Lucas brothers so he simply waited patiently for the older man to respond.


"...For Kalden," Wesley replied eventually, and the careful way he was being watched told Aaron that this was probably the first time the man had ever confided his reason to anyone. "Father disapproved of my brother's preference for music. He wished for Kalden to quit and join him in the business world. But you know Kal; he dislikes anything unrelated to music. At the time, I had no specific plan for my future. I proposed building a law firm attached to my father's business, one that I would head but would essentially be under his jurisdiction if he left Kalden alone. He agreed."


Aaron just stared, mind racing. In his opinion, Mr. Borden had always been a downright b*****d. In the four years he had known the man before the divorce, Aaron had seen him berate Kalden with a cold ruthlessness that had always infuriated him. He had always wondered why Wesley, a great brother in Kalden's opinion, had left with their father after the divorce.


"But that's not fair!" He retorted angrily. "He's got no right! You should be allowed to do what you want too!"


Wesley looked almost surprised, still studying him with that same intensity that would normally have others squirming. His features softened and he smiled at Aaron.


"Being a lawyer is not so bad. As I said, I had no specific plans for my future; becoming a lawyer was as likely as becoming a painter for me. And I do enjoy the work now."


Aaron let himself relax a little but persisted, "So you're not unhappy with your work, then? You like being a lawyer now?"


Wesley nodded, smile becoming a little more visible. "Yes, I do. But do not tell Kalden. He does not know, and I believe he would be quite upset if he were to find out."


Aaron nodded in agreement. He could just see his best friend lose his temper at his father if he ever knew what his brother had done to shift their dad's expectations away from him.


"You're a good big brother," Aaron decided aloud, and grinned when Wesley's features took on a pleased countenance.


"And you?" Wesley questioned. "Why are you majoring in Psychology? You seem to prefer swimming. With your speed, you could easily compete professionally."


Aaron tried not to frown at this as his gaze darted down to his water. A lot of people had asked him this, especially when he had been approached by dozens of admirers and recruiters for national swim teams alike, but he had always smiled and answered with vague misdirection, insisting on his preference for Psych. But Wesley had answered him truthfully so he should probably...


"Do not feel obliged to answer if you do not wish to," Wesley's voice drew him out of his thoughts and his cheeks coloured as he realized the older man had read him perfectly. "I am not pushing. If you feel uncomfortable, perhaps another time�""


"No!" Aaron cleared his throat, glancing at the other tables as he controlled his volume again. "It's not that I don't want to tell you. It's just that I've never put it in actual words before. I..."


He paused, considering his words. "I don't want to be famous," He explained carefully, fidgeting a little as he fiddled with the glass in his hands and not quite meeting the lawyer's eyes. "I mean, if I ever want to raise kids, I don't �" I don't ever want to put them through that."


It was an incomplete answer and was Aaron really expecting anyone to understand? But he couldn't quite find the words to expand any further and hesitantly glanced up instead. Thoughtful consideration stared back at him and Aaron found himself holding his breath as he wondered whether the older man really could interpret what he was trying to say.


"I think," Wesley started slowly. "It is your choice. You could become just as distinguished as your parents, but still choose family over fame. No one could make you do otherwise if that is what you want to do."


Aaron stared silently at his dinner date, mulling the words over in his mind. He had never thought of it that way before, and couldn't understand how a few struggling explanations had been able to earn him an opinion that made sense, and one that he actually cared about to boot.


"I... suppose so," He agreed. "But I'm twenty now and..."


Wesley looked more than a little amused. "After today's race, I do not believe there would be no one knocking at your door to offer a contract within the next few weeks. I saw quite a few reporters at the meet; word will no doubt get back to recruiters."


"...I'll think about it," And he would, because Aaron had always preferred sports to books, and while he was nowhere near stupid, academics had never interested him as much as the thrill of flying through the water in the races he had been in.


Wesley smiled and said nothing more as the food arrived, and both of them enjoyed their food in companionable silence. Aaron had always been one to talk to fill up any stillness around him, but he found himself puzzlingly content sitting quietly across from Wesley.


The rest of the evening passed almost too quickly, ending with Wesley's adamant refusal to let him pay for half the dinner, and Aaron soon found himself being driven back to his house, chatting amicably once again with Wesley, who always listened intently and answering when Aaron could coax him into more animated discussions. He secretly thought not even Kalden had ever been able to get the elder Lucas to talk so much.


When Wesley pulled up in front of his house, they both got out and Aaron suddenly found himself inexplicably flustered as he wondered what he should say. He had enjoyed today immensely; the date with Wesley had been far better than all the dates he had had so far combined, and he was pretty sure the older man had liked it as well.


"I am busy the next few days with the trial," The lawyer had stepped in front of him, features carefully schooled into a neutral expression but Aaron caught the anxiety fluttering behind the mismatched gaze. "But I have some free time over the weekend. Would you like to go out for dinner again then?"


Aaron didn't think he could be any happier at this point in time, and he let a wide grin spread across his face. "Sure thing. But next time, I get to take you out." He was already racking his brain for knowledge of a restaurant the older man would like.


For the first time Aaron had known the lawyer, Wesley's features completely relaxed, eyes becoming unguarded and warm, and Aaron suddenly realized why Kalden had always held this man in such high regard, even when they were kids.


"Very well," Wesley agreed. "I will be looking forward to it."


The lawyer hesitated then, shifting almost nervously on the spot before taking a step forward, and before Aaron could quite process what was happening, Wesley had leaned down, head dipping towards his and a warm pair of lips had brushed his in a gentle feather-light kiss.


And then the man stepped back again, and Aaron couldn't quite suppress the disappointed scowl from marring his features as he realized he hadn't been quite fast enough to reciprocate. Wesley seemed to notice this as a slightly teasing glint flashed through his eyes as he watched him.


"Goodnight Aaron," Wesley only told him, smiling once again. "I will see you on Saturday."

Aaron huffed, but couldn't suppress another grin from surfacing as he realized the older man had said his name for the first time since their reintroduction yesterday.


"Alright, see you Saturday," He agreed. "With a last grin, he headed for his house, an involuntary bounce in his step as he reached his front door. Glancing back, he waved, and a thrum of delight flashed through him as Wesley returned the gesture.


Slipping inside and making sure the door was shut behind him, he let out a gleeful whoop and ignored the fact that he was probably acting like a girl at the moment. No one was here to witness it anyway.


His fingers reached up to brush his own lips, a contented smile stretching them.


Well, he would just have to be faster in returning it next time.




Wesley was smiling as he reached his own house, unlocking the door and slipping quietly inside. He had had fun today, something he hadn't remembered having in a long time.


"...That's it, isn't it?"


Wesley blinked and turned to face his scowling brother, arms crossed and onyx eyes accusing.


"You've gone completely insane."


"...Were you waiting for me, little brother?" Wesley asked blandly, ignoring the insult as he took off his shoes.

"You were smiling," Kalden persisted. "When you came in. Do you know how creepy that was? I almost had a heart attack."


Wesley sighed. "Am I not allowed to smile now, Kalden?"


His brother ignored the question, posing his own instead. "Where were you?"


Wesley barely suppressed another smile from surfacing. He was fairly certain his brother wouldn't take it well if he didn't.


"On a date," He replied, breezing past his now thunderstruck brother.


"With who?" Kalden followed him into the kitchen as he reached for a glass and turned to the sink.


"With Aaron." Wesley would never dare admit it, but he did very much enjoy the dramatic expressions his brother showed in these times.


Kalden groaned, slumping into a chair. "You have got to be joking. You can't be with him!"


Wesley paused, water halfway to his mouth. "Why not?"


His brother shot him a dark look. "'Cuz you're leaving in two weeks. 'Cuz Aaron's never been with a guy before. 'Cuz he might as well be going on his first date since he's never been serious about a relationship in his life. 'Cuz I'm not blind and I can see him getting attached to you. 'Cuz I'm goin' ta have ta kill you when you break up with him eventually, and then I'm goin' ta have ta kill him for making me kill my own brother. How many reasons do you want?  I can keep going."


Wesley raised an eyebrow as he took a sip from his glass. "I will not break up with him when I leave." He returned quietly.


Kalden snorted. "So, what? You two going for a long-distance relationship then? Wes, I honestly can't see that happening. Neither of you are good at this sort of thing."


"We will try."


Kalden stared at him in complete disbelief, but before he could start ranting again, their mother breezed in, smiling ear to ear, completely focused on Wesley.


Wesley could feel a migraine coming on.


"Dear, how was your date?" Sophia chirped, dark blue eyes glinting.


"It went well," Wesley replied cautiously. "We have agreed on a second date on Saturday."


Sophia positively beamed even as Kalden blanched behind her, looking horrified. "Aaron is such a good boy. I am glad you chose him. Of course, he's already like a son to me, but it wouldn't hurt to make it official."


This time, even Wesley had to hide a wince. Kalden looked ready to keel over at the dinner table.


"Mother, I met him yesterday."


"Nonsense, dear. You two have known each other for ten years."


"I met him properly yesterday."


"Yes, yes," Sophia forged on cheerfully. "But you clearly adore him already, and that's good enough for me. We must invite him over for dinner again. I would like to take pictures. Or even better; Kalden!"


Wesley watched his brother shrink away from their mother as she advanced on him. It would have been amusing if this entire situation didn't revolve around him.


"You must follow them on Saturday," She declared determinedly, much to both Lucas siblings' dismay. "I want you to fill up at least one roll of film."


"Mom!" Kalden was already shaking his head vehemently. "You can't be serious! If I get caught, I'll be pulled up on stalking charges! And you're asking me to follow them in front of Wes!"


Sophia turned to smile sweetly at her eldest son. "You wouldn't mind, would you dear?"


Wesley would like to say that yes, he would mind very much, but this was the Lucas matriarch he was speaking to, and he knew how to pick his battles.


"No mother," He sighed. "But perhaps only a few pictures? I'm sure Kalden would grow tired of following us around the entire time."


He felt it prudent not to reveal that they would only be sitting in a restaurant for dinner and maybe a walk afterwards.


Sophia looked disappointed, but she had gotten her way so she would let it go. "Alright dear, that will work. Oh, my darling son is finally growing up! Now we just need to find you someone, Kalden."


Horror and panic crossed his face even as Sophia bustled out again, muttering about finding the camera. Kalden spun and glared accusingly at Wesley.


"This is all your fault," He snapped. "Now she'll want to marry me off to some idiot before my next birthday! My life is over!"


Wesley blinked. "Exaggeration does not suit you, little brother."


Kalden swore violently under his breath before stomping out.


Wesley sighed when he heard a door slam shut before downing the rest of the water. He sincerely hoped Aaron would never hear of this conversation. The poor man probably wouldn't react well.


As he headed upstairs to his own room, his gaze shifted to the closed study door where his father was staying. He had heard from Kalden that his mother had tossed the man a few blankets and ordered him into the study before he had gotten one foot through the door.


He would have to leave in two weeks, and he didn't need Kalden to tell him that a long-distance relationship would not work for them. Perhaps later on, but at the moment, neither of them could make it work at this point in time.


Something would have to be done about it since Wesley had no intention of letting go.




The two weeks flew by and Aaron had gone out with Wesley on three more dates during that time, in addition to all the dinners Kalden had grudgingly perstered him into that Aaron was pretty sure had something to do with his best friend's mother.  Not that he was complaining, and Wesley had seemed perfectly content with his company. They had gone out twice more for dinner, and the last time an entire afternoon and evening together.


Chris had accused him of being too happy and the rest of the swim team had teased him about it. Interestingly enough, none of them seemed to mind the fact that he was gay. On the contrary, they had coerced Aaron into opening his house for the party he had never participated in and had insisted on having Wesley over as well. Aaron had even managed to drag Kalden out of his room and Wesley had managed to order him to clean up a little before arriving.


The swim team had taken to Wesley like bees to honey, immediately charmed when the lawyer demonstrated his efficiency with mixing drinks for them like a pro bartender, and they had commented more than once that Aaron had the luck of the Devil to find someone like the elder Lucas. Aaron had scowled and threatened them with laps, but had secretly agreed with his team. It had been pure luck that had thrown them together.


Currently, Aaron had dragged Wesley to the zoo for the day as the lawyer had some free time before the final day of the trial tomorrow. The man was wearing jeans and a simple white t-shirt, raven hair tied back in his customary ponytail. He was leaning forward over the glass and peering at the otters with an almost childish curiosity on his usually expressionless face.


Aaron found this downright adorable. When Wesley had revealed to him that he had never been to the zoo, Aaron had immediately made plans to go. At first, he had spent most of his time glaring away the females that had tried to flock around Wesley, but the older man hadn't paid them any mind and, upon noticing his displeasure, had kissed him in broad daylight right there in the zoo in full view of the public, firm and almost possessive at the same time, leaving Aaron breathless and blushing.


The females had fucked off after that, and Aaron thought the feeling in his chest after that had been something very close to love.


"Have you never seen otters, Wes?" Stepping up beside the lawyer, Aaron propped an elbow on the edge of the glass, not quite hiding his amusement as he watched the older man.


Wesley glanced absently at him before returning his gaze to the marine animals below, seemingly mesmerized as the otters dipped playfully in and out of the water.


"I haven't," He confirmed. "Never had a reason to. It isn't as if a lawyer needs to go to the zoo or aquarium to work, and none of my clients have ever had anything to do with them either."


Aaron frowned. "What about just for fun then? You know, with friends."


Wesley finally looked up to face him fully, a slightly awkward smile on his face as one hand reached up to ruffle Aaron's hair. The older man had taken a liking to the gesture and Aaron hadn't really found anything wrong with it.


"I do not have many friends Aaron," Wesley stepped down from the otter exhibit, hand dropping away to slip into his. Aaron was privately thrilled at how automatic the gesture had become. "Only coworkers."


Aaron frowned at this, tightening his hold on the other's hand. "Well my entire team likes you so you have lots of friends now." He said stubbornly.


Wesley just looked faintly entertained. "I am twenty-four already. I hardly need friends."


Aaron snorted. "You could be sixty and you'd still need friends."


Wesley only smiled indulgently at him and Aaron scowled grumpily before dragging him to the food stand.


"Let's eat," He muttered. "I sulk better on a full stomach."


Wesley actually chuckled at this, and Aaron smiled. The first time he had heard the man laugh had been at the end of their third date, when Aaron had caught Kalden of all people with a camera in hand behind a tree and had chased him all around the park. Kalden had tripped and Aaron, hot on his heels, had crashed right into him and both had ended up headfirst in the fountain at the centre of the park. He had almost given himself whiplash when he had heard soft, unfamiliar laughter behind him, and had gaped for a full five seconds as Wesley had made his way over to them, mirth clear on his face.


As they ordered hotdogs and took a seat at an empty bench, Wesley's peaceful expression suddenly sobered, his gaze heavy when he glanced at Aaron.


Aaron blinked back, lowering his hotdog. "What's wrong?"


Wesley didn't answer right away, turning to stare out across the zoo.


"...I am leaving tomorrow afternoon," The older man finally voiced, and Aaron felt his chest tighten. He stared down at the hotdog in his hands and suddenly didn't feel very hungry anymore.


Well what exactly had he expected? Wesley didn't live here, he had a job and a house and a life elsewhere, and the man had warned him from the beginning that he would have to leave. Just because he didn't think a long-distance relationship would work didn't mean he could ask the other man to stay.


"The trial is all but finished," Wesley continued. "The final evidence and conclusion will be presented tomorrow. It will be an easy win for me. Father wants to take the earliest flight back."


"...Oh." Aaron tried not to let the bitter disappointment leak into his voice. "Well that's good, isn't it? You'll have won another case."


Not having much else to say in this situation, Aaron quickly took a bite out of his hotdog, pretending not to notice Wesley observing him quietly from his right.


"Come on," Aaron jumped to his feet, tugging Wesley up beside him. "We can eat while we walk. There's still so much to see. Have you seen giraffes before?"


He would at least have one more day with Wesley before the whole thing fell apart. That was something, and it would be enough.


It had to be.


Eight hours later, after a late dinner at a Japanese restaurant they had both agreed on, Aaron found himself in Wesley's car again, zooming back home on the highway and he silently wished the older man would slow down as much as he could. A glance at the speedometer told him they were already going as slowly as one could on the freeway. Either Wesley didn't feel like driving too fast after the Sake they had had for dinner, or the lawyer wanted the trip to be over as much as Aaron did.



He hoped it was the latter.


All too soon, Wesley was pulling up in front of his house, and Aaron silently moved to get out. For the first time since their first date, the earlier awkwardness was back, and Aaron fidgeted a little even as Wesley stepped silently over to his side.


The older man hesitated, watching him with a searching gaze as if waiting for something, before leaning down for their usual goodnight kiss.


This time, Aaron thought there was almost a touch of goodbye in the slow press of lips, and his hand tightened involuntarily in Wesley's t-shirt, only letting go reluctantly when the lawyer pulled back.


"Goodnight," Wesley offered softly, and Aaron forced himself not to wince at the neutral tone his voice had taken on.


"'Night." He returned, trying to keep his voice steady.


He headed for his front door as usual, only looking back once to give a brief wave before slipping inside and closing the door behind him. The sound of the lock clicking into place rang loudly in the empty house, jarring and final, and for a second, Aaron couldn't quite remember how to breathe.


Hesitantly, he toed off his shoes and made his way to a window overlooking the front yard and street, twitching back the curtain a few inches and catching sight of Wesley still standing at the front gates, back to the house. The older man would usually have driven off by now, but he was leaning against the car instead, one arm resting on the hood, his head tipped forward and cushioned on his forearm, his shoulders slumped as raven strands danced from side to side in the light breeze.


His hand constricted around the cloth he was still holding back.


Two weeks. He had known Wesley Lucas for a grand total of two weeks but the man had already overtaken his life in almost every aspect.


And now he was leaving, and Aaron was just standing here, watching him go. It was the right thing to do, wasn't it? It wasn't like he could�"


Wesley finally stirred from his spot and Aaron was moving before he even thought about stopping himself, sprinting back to the front door, almost ripping the deadbolt aside as he threw it open and hurtled out of the house, shoeless and frantic.


"Wes! Wait!"


The raven-haired man froze, one hand on the handle of the car door. He didn't turn around, but his entire body was so still that Aaron was willing to put money on the fact that Wesley wasn't even breathing at the moment.


"I �" wait, just wait." Aaron skidded to a stop behind him, heart racing, mind scrambling to find the right words.


"Look," He started again, startled at how strained his voice sounded. "I �" I don't have any right to ask you this, I know that, but, if �" if at all possible, could you �" I mean, would you be willing to�""


Aaron stopped, jaw clenching as he steeled himself. Screw being selfless. He had never been that in the first place.


"...Can't you stay?"


Dead silence filled the street and Aaron wondered dimly if he had gone too far, been too greedy in his request, and the older man would be upset with him.


And then Wesley turned, and Aaron only had one bewildering moment to take in the blatant relief written all over the usually reserved lawyer before strong arms were pulling him against a lean body and all he could do was cling to the man who had become so very important to him.


"Three months," Wesley whispered into his ear, and Aaron blinked, confused.


"Three months." The lawyer repeated. "Could you wait that long for me? I will come back in three months' time."


Wesley pulled back slightly, making eye contact. "Please wait for me."


And how could Aaron possibly say no when Wesley was staring down at him with a look of open tenderness?


"Yeah," He croaked out, his voice suddenly hoarse with emotion. "Yeah, I can wait that long. But you have to come back."


Wesley nodded and then Aaron was being kissed again, fiery and possessive, tongues tangling, and this time, Aaron could taste promise instead of heartbreak, forever instead of goodbye.


"I will be back," Wesley reassured him as he drew back, leaving Aaron almost dizzy in the wake of the kiss. "I promise."


And Aaron could only nod mutely; licking his lips that still tasted of the dinner they had had earlier and something that was uniquely Wesley's.


The lawyer turned back to his car, mismatched eyes still focused on him as he opened his mouth to say something, only to seemingly think better of it and closed it again.


"I will be back," Wesley repeated, sending him a fleeting smile before slipping into his car.


Aaron watched him go, taillights speeding away into the darkness.


He would believe Wesley; he would wait.


There had been determination and resolve in the older man's gaze as he had left, and Aaron knew he would keep his promise.




"Mother, where is father?"


Sophia turned away from the kitchen sink where she had been washing that night's dirty dishes. She paused as she caught sight of the man standing before her, and for just a second, her mind took her back to earlier years when she had first met Dominic Borden, and he had still been kind and compassionate, gentle but with a resolve like steel.


And then she blinked, and her first son was in front of her again, radiating his own unique brand of calm inner strength, and she couldn't help but smile.


Ah, she thought with a touch of wistfulness. They grow up so fast.


"In the study, dear," She replied cheerfully. "Have you finally made up your mind then?"

Wesley was already turning away, but paused at her question, meeting her knowing gaze steadily. "Yes mother, I have."


Sophia nodded approvingly and watched him disappear down the hall. She didn't envy her ex-husband when he was faced with a determined Wesley.


Wesley strode down the hallway to the room at the end and paused at the door.


Barely five minutes ago, he had thought it all to be over. He had seen Aaron to his door, had watched him disappear from sight, and had felt the crushing regret close around him as the door clicked shut behind him.


It had been selfish of him, he supposed, but a tiny, insecure part of him had wanted to know, for sure, that Aaron wanted him by his side, wanted him enough to ask him to stay.


And Aaron had, at the very last minute, had asked him to stay, voice cracking with unrestrained emotion and Wesley had known, in that one shining moment, that there would be no other person he could or would ever love for the rest of his life.


He had wanted to say it, just before he had left, but had decided against it. He would say it when he came back, three months from now.


Taking a deep breath, Wesley knocked sharply on the study door, not waiting for verbal permission before pushing his way inside.


"Father," He started stiffly as he shut the door behind him. His father was seated in an armchair by the fire, and Wesley wrinkled his nose distastefully at the heavy smell of alcohol permeating the air.


Dominic glanced up at him, eyes already bloodshot. "What do you want?"


"About the trial tomorrow," Wesley continued, only to be interrupted with a derisive snort.


"What's there ta talk about?" His father slurred. "What a waste of time. The idiot going against ya never stood a chance."


Once upon a time, Wesley would have glowed at the praise. Instead, he only waited for a moment to see if his father had anything else to say before taking a different approach.


"I would like you to sign my law firm under my name, father."


This time he got a slightly bigger reaction as Dominic actually straightened up from his slouch. "What? Why?"


"I would like to start my own business, instead of branching off from your company," Wesley replied easily.


Dominic was rapidly turning redder by the second. "And why would ya want to that?" He growled.


"That is none of your business," Wesley countered coolly. "The only thing you should be considering is giving up your law branch. I have no intention of working for you anymore."


Dominic jumped to his feet, staggering a little before hurling the bottle he had been holding at Wesley. Having expected it, Wesley easily ducked to the side, ignoring the crash behind him.


"Did you forget our agreement, boy?" His father snarled. "Your brother�""


"Kalden is no longer a child," Wesley cut in calmly. "He is legitimate adult and you no longer have any right to force him into anything. I could have quit two years ago, but you are my father when all is said and done, and I realized my law firm has always been a big help to you."


A muscle jumped in Dominic's jaw. "So why quit now?" He asked, voice gravelly with fury.


"I have found something more important," Wesley answered simply. "I know you have the papers with you. Please sign them over to me now."


"And if I refuse?" His father sneered at him.


Wesley's gaze never wavered. "I will throw the trial tomorrow. Your company will then go bankrupt."


At his words, his father's face turned almost white, swaying a little on the spot, and Wesley had to force down the instinctual desire to reach out and steady the man.


A long tension-filled silence descended on them, and for several long minutes, Wesley engaged his father in a staring match, with only the ticking of the study room clock in his ears.


And then Dominic swore, low and angry, before stalking over to the desk and drawing out a briefcase from under it. Throwing it open, the man rifled through the folders before withdrawing ones from the stack and hurling it at Wesley.


Wesley caught it, slowly lowering it to a readable level before flipping it open. His eyes widened as he realized that all the necessary papers had been signed, his father's signature scrawled in all the proper places.


He glanced up, eyes flickering in confusion. "This is..."


"I'm yur father, boy," Dominic snapped heatedly, already staggering over to the mini-fridge and withdrawing another beer. "I knew the moment I saw you come in with that brat. Now get outta my sight."


Wesley stilled, watching his father make his way back to the armchair. Sometimes, in moments like these, he would remember that it was this man he had once looked up to, had learned from, had idolized above everyone else.


With a near inaudible sigh, Wesley bowed for the last time.


"Thank you father," He murmured. "I wish you the best of luck with your company."


His father gave no sign that he had heard and Wesley silently excused himself from the room, closing the door behind him with a soft click.


Now all that was left to do was finish dealing with any remaining clients attached to his firm and tell his employees about the move.


His mind cast back to Aaron and a soft smile stretched his lips. He wouldn't mind starting anew if it was for that man.




There was only a week left until Wesley's promised three months were up and Aaron was about as anxious as anyone could get. The many offers of contracts with different swim teams he had gotten weren't exactly helping his nerves either. They were damn persistent, but he hadn't wanted to make up his mind until he could talk to Wesley properly.  The lawyer had been the one to make him reconsider his career options after all.


He had tried emailing the man, and he had always gotten emails back, but there was nothing really concrete on what Wesley was doing. From what Aaron could tell, the older man was still working in his law firm.


He had tried asking Kalden and even Sophia, but Kalden had only grumbled something vague and Sophia had been tight-lipped and smug and even more vague than his best friend.


He sighed as he meandered down the street. His parents were coming home soon, or so they had said, but they had cancelled many times before, and Aaron could count the number of times the two had been home at the same time and still have fingers left over.


"Hi Aaron," A breathy voice sounded from his left and he almost groaned aloud.


Most of the school knew of his relationship with Wesley since his swim team didn't exactly make ideal secret keepers but once the general female population had realized that Wesley had left town for a while, they had all redoubled their efforts in making him their boyfriend.


"Hi Sharon," Aaron turned and flashed a fake smile. "And before you ask, no, I'm not interested."


Aaron was pretty sure most of the girls at his university had selective hearing since the blonde simply ignored everything but the 'hi'. She pressed closer, not-very-subtly pushing her breasts forward.


Aaron hastily moved away, an annoyed scowl already on his face.


"Not interested," He grounded out, even as Sharon pouted and reached for his arm.


"Oh don't be like that, Aary," She shrilled, and Aaron winced. He hated that nickname with a passion.


Before he could retort or push her away though, slender but strong arms looped around his waist and pulled him against a familiar body, and Aaron froze, suddenly finding all the air in his lungs gone as his breath froze.


"You heard him," A silky tenor sounded above his right shoulder, and Aaron shuddered as warm breath tickled his ear. "He's not interested. Leave."


Aaron didn't need to look to know that a pair of piercing mismatched eyes had levelled itself at the girl, and Sharon paled visibly before turning and hurrying away, no doubt off to spread the word that a certain someone was back in town.


"Wes!" Aaron twisted in the man's arms, catching sight of familiar angular features and raven locks and that rare faint smile for a moment before yanking the lawyer down for a kiss.


He had nearly forgotten how good it felt to be near the man, and for a long moment afterwards, Aaron simply allowed himself to relax against the taller figure.


"You're back early," He mumbled softly into the white button-up shirt Wesley always seemed so fond of as he breathed in the man's familiar scent. "You said three months."


Aaron felt the lawyer's throat vibrate against his cheek as the man hmm'ed in agreement. "I finished early, so I thought I would surprise you. Did it work?"


Aaron laughed, though it came out more relieved than happy. A part of him had been afraid that even three months apart would put a wall between them. Apparently not.


"Yeah, it worked. I'm glad you're back."


Wesley finally pulled away, smiling down at him, and Aaron thought they might as well have been the only two left in the entire world as he stared back at the unwavering focus the older man directed at him.


Aaron hesitated a little, but knew he had to ask. "What happens now? How long will you be staying?"


Wesley looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well, when does your summer break start and where would you like to go?"


Aaron's breath caught as his mind processed the implication.


"You're staying?" He breathed out, and his heart almost leapt out of his chest when Wesley smiled and nodded. "But what about your work?"


The lawyer slipped out of the embrace only to reach for his hand.


"I have my own law firm now. It will be based here." He glanced down, expression humorous. "And I believe I will also need a place to stay. I stopped by my house, but my mother claims that both my room, the guestroom, and even they study have mysteriously become unusable for the time being.  And apparently, the living room couch is suddenly too old for anyone to so much as sit on."


Aaron grinned and made a mental note to buy something extra nice for Sophia this Christmas.


"You can stay at my place then," He offered quickly, already grinning. "You can take your pick from six different bedrooms."


He blinked when Wesley's expression became somewhat mischievous. "Does that include yours?" The man purred, and Aaron's face flushed a light red.


"You�"!" He scowled, but couldn't quite stop his smile when Wesley laughed, warm and free.


They walked hand-in-hand in companionable silence for a few minutes, unconsciously entering the park they had frequented almost three months back before Wesley drew him close again.




Aaron blinked at the sobriety in his boyfriend's voice. "Yeah?"


Onyx and crimson stared down at him as they came to a standstill under a large maple.

"I was going to tell you before I left," Wesley murmured softly, gaze earnest. "But I wanted to wrap everything up first."


He paused, and Aaron stayed completely still, remembering the hesitation Wesley had shown the last time he had seen the lawyer.


"...I love you."


Aaron's eyes widened at the almost-whisper, and for a long moment, all he could hear was the wind blowing in his ears and all he could see was the sincerity and hope glinting in Wesley's eyes as the man waited for his reply with signature patience and bated breath.

"...Love you too," He finally managed to croak out, hand tightening around Wesley's. "Of course I love you. Think I'd ask just anyone to stay?"


For a moment, Wesley's expression seemed to melt a little with relief before a contented smile curved his lips.


"Good," The lawyer murmured, tugging him close again. "I'd have to change your mind if you didn't."


Aaron smiled into Wesley's shoulder as strong arms wrapped around him again. Who knew such a reticent man could be so affectionate?


Relaxing against the taller figure, Aaron thought that perhaps they should go tell Kalden about this new development, or let Sophia have her way with them with her camera, or go back to his house and unpack. There was still so much to do, and two weeks of seeing each other and almost three months apart hardly meant anything long-term.


But under the near-cloudless blue and surrounded by the sound of distant traffic and people's voices and the soft whisper of wind slithering through the trees, Aaron couldn't really picture his life with Wesley as anything but forever.

© 2011 cywsaphyre

Author's Note

Reviews are very much appreciated, but no flames please!

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Featured Review

It's beautiful and very sweet. I thought the dialogue and interactions between the characters was very realistic, and I like that Kalden wasn't in love with Aaron as well (love triangles like that make me want to hit something). I liked the appearances of the characters, but sometimes it did seem a bit unrealistic to me.

For example, the girls? It usually doesn't matter how hot someone is. Most girls won't go near them, so the continued hitting-ons kind of seemed unrealistic to me. Also, the whole thing was a bit cliched, although it was still incredibly sweet (especially the ending part). I like that the dad wasn't a bad person, though the ending seemed a little too perfect.

All in all, I really enjoyed it and it made me 'awwww' quite a few times.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


It's beautiful and very sweet. I thought the dialogue and interactions between the characters was very realistic, and I like that Kalden wasn't in love with Aaron as well (love triangles like that make me want to hit something). I liked the appearances of the characters, but sometimes it did seem a bit unrealistic to me.

For example, the girls? It usually doesn't matter how hot someone is. Most girls won't go near them, so the continued hitting-ons kind of seemed unrealistic to me. Also, the whole thing was a bit cliched, although it was still incredibly sweet (especially the ending part). I like that the dad wasn't a bad person, though the ending seemed a little too perfect.

All in all, I really enjoyed it and it made me 'awwww' quite a few times.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Added on November 12, 2011
Last Updated on November 12, 2011




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