"Tell me again, why we're doing this?"

"To build strong muscles?"

Trent snorted as he threw a bale of hay onto the passing truck. "You have enough muscles for both of us." Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he silently admired the bronzed physique of his best bud.

Fuck! Trent shook his head, dislodging the image of Blaine's naked chest and washboard abs. He had been admiring his friend's body way too often these past few months. So much so, that he had started jerking off at night thinking of Blaine. And to say he was as confused as hell about this growing attraction for his best friend would be the understatement of the century.

"Hey!" Blaine waved a can of soda in front of Trent. "You in there?" Blaine yanked free the t-shirt that was hanging out of the back pocket of his jeans and scrubbed the sweat off his face, chest and abdomen. He waved as his father drove by in a truck piled high with bales of hay. "Time to take a break."

Hoping to God, Blaine hadn't noticed him staring like an idiot, Trent took the offered beverage and popped the top, his sunburned cheeks darkening with a blush. He had enough shit going on in his life without his friend finding out how much he lusted after him.

"Thanks for asking me along, Blaine. No way in hell was Dad gonna come up with the money for me to go to the Fall Harvest Social… not with him just losing his job."

Blaine slapped the younger teen on the back. "Hey! No problem. Gramps needed to get his hay up and he always pays good money to those who come and help him." Taking a seat on a nearby bale, he motioned for Trent to sit next to him. "I know things are rough right now for you and your dad. And with this dance coming up, I thought you might need some extra cash.

Trent stripped off his own t-shirt before collapsing to the ground at his friend's feet. He lay back in the freshly cut grass and tucked the dusty garment under his head. "You have no idea. Sarah is turning out to be an expensive date."

Taking a large swallow of his Coke, Trent missed the shadow of sadness that briefly darkened Blaine's blue eyes. "She wants me to rent a tux and a limo for the dance. I told her I might be able to swing a tux but no way in hell was I putting out good money for a limo. It's only a dance."

Trent rolled over on his side and tapped his friend on the foot. "You taking anybody?"

Glancing up at the sky, Blaine avoided Trent's curious gaze. "Hadn't really thought about it."

"Well, you should. In fact, you might consider asking Chris Bower. I caught him checking out your ass in Physics last week. Shit, half the class has been checking you out."

"Does that include you?" Not waiting for an answer, Blaine stood up, slipped his t-shirt on and strolled toward the nearest truck, tossing his empty Coke can in the back.

Trent scrambled to his feet and followed after him. "Yeah, I been checking you out," he whispered to himself. "Not that you'd notice."

Trent had started to question the nature of his relationship with Blaine the day they had gotten their tattoos. He had caught sight of the hard-on his friend was trying to hide after Blaine had seen him without his shirt. And the next day, when he had gotten a true close-up look at Blaine's tattoo, Trent recognized his initials had been cleverly hidden in the scrollwork that was on the shield the dragon was holding. Didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

Finishing off his Coke, Trent stopped a few feet short of where Blaine was talking to his dad. He knew the older boy was gay. In fact, he had several black eyes to prove it, having acquired them while defending his friend's sexual preference. And it wasn't that Trent had anything against gays. He just wasn't ready to join their ranks.

To tell the truth, he was fucking frightened about being labeled as a fag. Too many stories about gays being beaten to death, treated like scum had Trent scared for not only himself but also for his friend. Blaine was definitely more courageous when it came to honestly admitting who and what he was. Trent was still floundering in denial, jerking off while fantasizing about his friend, hiding his sexual needs by dating girls, struggling to be normal.

"If you plan on getting that tux, you better haul ass and quit daydreaming." Blaine threw his arm around Trent's shoulders and shook him slightly. "It's time to move the hay into the barn."

Trent hesitated for a few seconds, a strange sensation flip-flopping around in the pit of his stomach when Blaine slung his arm around him. It wasn't like it was the first time. Blaine was always touching him in some way or another. It had only been since Trent had begun to question his feelings about the older boy that he had started noticing how touchy-feely he was.

"Sorry about that," Trent apologized as he stepped away. "Got some things on my mind."

"Anything I can help you with?" Blaine reached out and gripped Trent's arm, his eyes filled with concern.

Trent chewed on his bottom lip and shook his head, denying not only his friend's offer but also the sudden shudder that threatened to swamp him at the feel of Blaine slowly brushing his thumb back and forth over his tattoo. Pulling free, he pointed across the field. "Better get going. Your dad's waving at us."

Trent took off, running as fast as he could, afraid Blaine would pick up on his confusion.

"Not yet, Blaine. Not yet."


"Let me call GQ and tell them to send their photographer over pronto."

"Angel." Blaine smiled at the petit brunet brushing the fuzz off the back of his tux. "I'd prefer it if you called Freshmen. They're a little bit more to my taste." He licked his lips before grinning roguishly at the older of his two sisters.

"Why don't I just call Trent? I'm sure you'd love tasting him." Angel jumped back when her brother twirled around, surprise and annoyance etched on his face. "Oh, puhlease. Don't act so surprised." She laid her hand over Blaine's heart. "Did you think I wouldn't notice Trent's initials carved on your chest? It's a pretty good camouflage job, but I know you, dear brother. I know how you feel about Trent."

Blaine lightly gripped Angel's hand and removed it. "I wasn't trying to hide anything."

"Oh, yeah?" Angel took a seat on her brother's bed. "Then why don't you show Trent how you really feel? Go to the dance tonight and plant a tonsil-searching kiss on him. Tell him you're in love with him."

"I think Trent's date would object to such behavior." Blaine grabbed up his baseball jersey and walked over to his closet, tossing it onto the heap of dirty clothes littered across the floor. Before closing the door on the mess, he took a moment to stare at the collection of framed pictures he had hanging on the back wall. Pictures of Trent, intimate snapshots of their friendship over the years.

Slender arms embraced Blaine as he continued to stare at the only face that haunted his dreams. "Do it, big brother. Tell Trent tonight,' Angel whispered.

Blaine turned and faced his fifteen-year-old sister. "What if my confession freaks him out and he tells me to fuck off? I don't want to lose Trent's friendship. He's my best bud."

Angel straightened the deep emerald cummerbund Blaine had chosen to wear with his tux. "If you want my opinion... I think Trent just might surprise you." She hugged her silent brother one last time before slipping out of the room.

Reaching for the pale yellow rose bud boutonnière his mother had gotten for him, Blaine sighed as he carefully slipped it into place. He then stepped toward the window and looked down the street, wishing he could catch a glimpse of Trent's house through the trees.

"I love you, Budman." Blaine rested his forehead against the window's glass pane. "Don't hate me for it."


"Would you look at Nina Spencer? That dress makes her look like an absolute cow."

Swallowing his sigh of boredom, Trent collected his and his date's empty glasses. "I'm gonna go get us some more punch."

"Thank you, Sweetness. And do you mind bringing me a few of those yummy shrimp stuffed canapés?"

"No problem, Sarah." Trent sent a swift prayer for patience heavenwards as he walked toward the refreshment table. Handing over his empty glasses to the woman behind the punch bowl, he took a moment to survey the crowded dance floor. He made eye contact with several friends but not one of them was the person he was searching for. "Your ass better be here, Blaine Matthews."

Trent grabbed two fresh glasses of punch and headed back to the table where his date sat. He was instantly chastised the moment he took his seat.

"Trent," Sarah whined. "You forgot the food." The blonde pouted as she lightly slapped Trent on the hand. "I've been starving for the last two days just so I could fit into this dress. Now, I'm on the verge of fainting, I'm so weak. Please, Sweetness. Go back and get me a plate of those canapés."

Muttering his apology, Trent pushed away from the table and stomped back over to the refreshment table. He was reaching for a plate when he heard a familiar laugh. Turning to his left, he caught sight of Blaine talking with several of his friends. Thoughts of Sarah and her imminent weak spell completely disappeared as Trent checked out his best friend. Damn. Blaine sure did know how to wear a tux. The guy was looking 007 sharp and Trent had the boner to prove it.

Shit. Shocked beyond disbelief at his thoughts, the fifteen-year-old wiped the sweat off his brow as he nervously shifted his gaze down to the floor. Here he was at a dance with his girl and all he could think about was hauling Blaine over to their treehouse so they could talk things out. He hated feeling confused, afraid, unsure of everything he thought he knew about himself and his best friend. He needed Blaine to make it all right again, even if that meant swallowing his fears and accepting the fact that he loved Blaine as more than just a friend.

A passerby jostled Trent, shaking him loose from his thoughts. Freeze framing the image of Blaine leaning forward to kiss him, Trent walked over to where his friend was. Blaine was now standing alone, sipping his punch, his blue eyes focused on the couples moving across the dance floor.

"Hey, Budman. What'cha doing hanging out with the stags?" Trent threw his arm around Blaine and gave him a quick hug. "Please tell me you're not here solo. Tell me your date went to go take a leak and will be right back."

Blaine studied Trent for a few seconds, taking in the long tail tux and the snowy white shirt he wore. "You clean up pretty good, Trent. In fact, you almost look as good as ole Dougie over there." Blaine pointed to where Doug Hughes, the most popular male student in their high school, stood.

"You asshole." Grinning, Trent punched Blaine in the arm. "Seriously, where's your date?"

Blaine turned his gaze back toward the dance floor. "Don't have one."

"What?" Trent turned and stood in front of his friend, blocking the older boy's view. "You, who could have any girl or boy at this school, came stag? Why didn't you ask somebody?"

Blaine hesitated a moment, gnawing on his bottom lip nervously. Taking a breath, he answered quietly, "The reason I didn't ask somebody was because the somebody I wanted to go with already had a date."

Trent reached out and gripped Blaine's arm. "And just who in the hell was that?"

With his heart in his eyes, Blaine looked straight at his best friend and simply said, "You."

Tightening his grip, Trent stepped closer to Blaine, searching the older boy's face, trying to figure out if he was telling the truth or just pulling his leg. Sincere blue eyes stared back, never wavering from Trent's intense scrutiny.

"Dammit, Blaine. Why the hell do you spring this on me now? Do you have any idea how...."

"Trent Anderson! I've been ignored long enough!" Sarah tugged on Trent's arm, attempting to pull him away from Blaine. "I did not pay one hundred and fifty dollars on this dress to be a wallflower at this dance." She angrily stomped her foot. "I'm your date, not him."

Irate at being interrupted, Trent shook Sarah's hand off and pointed his index finger at her. "If you'll close your fucking mouth for one minute, I'll be right with you."

Ignoring his date's sputtering words of outrage, Trent grabbed Blaine's hand and stopped him from walking away. "In one hour I'll meet you at our place." Trent released his friend's hand and shifted his grip to the back of Blaine's neck, pulling him close. "Be there. Please."

Blaine closed his eyes and covered Trent's hand, mutely nodding his head.

"It's gonna be okay, Budman." Trent tipped Blaine's head up and brushed his thumb over his cheek, smiling when the sixteen-year-old opened his eyes in surprise. "It's definitely gonna be okay."

To be continued...