Pulling out his cellphone, Blaine watched as Trent danced across the floor with Sarah in his arms. The petite blonde was still fussing at his best bud, not that Trent was paying any attention to her tirade. His gaze was firmly focused on Blaine, its intensity almost making the older boy blush. There was no mistaking the message in Trent's green eyes, nor in the way he had touched Blaine's face earlier.
The sixteen-year-old traced the tips of his fingers over his cheek with one hand while hitting speed dial with the other. He knew his sister would be waiting to hear if he had found the courage to share his feelings with Trent.
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Emporium. Angel speaking."
Seeking a quiet spot, Blaine stepped closer to the deserted bleachers. "Hey, it's me." His sister's laughter came over the line loud and clear.
Blaine pulled his cell away from his ear and stared in amazement at it for a few seconds. "How in the hell did you know?" he asked once he returned the phone to his ear.
"Brother Blaine, I can hear your smile all the way over here."
Blaine looked across the dance floor and found Trent flashing him the thumb's up sign. He acknowledged his friend with a shy smile and a nod of his head before answering his sister. "I guess you could say I scored. Trent wants to meet me at the treehouse so we can talk."
"I take it it's going to be a good kinda talk?"
Blaine touched his cheek again, wondering for the umpteenth time what good deed he had done that would have influenced the angels to have fulfilled his greatest wish. "Yeah. I'm pretty sure it'll be a good talk." Angel went quiet for a second, prompting Blaine to ask, "You still there?"
"Do you know if Dad bought new batteries for the camcorder?"
"Angel Matthews! Don't you dare even think about spying on me and Trent."
Angel laughed. "Oh come on, big brother. I gotta get a picture of you and Trent kissing. Just think of the blackmail potential."
"Angel! Don't make me hurt you." Blaine motioned to Trent, indicating that he was heading out. The younger boy waved his hand at Blaine before turning his attention to his date and escorting her off the dance floor. Blaine frowned slightly when Trent was forced to detour around Doug Hughes and his always present fan club, the group of boys laughing and making faces as they flipped Trent the bird behind his back. "Angel, I'm serious. This talk is really important to me and I don't want anything to screw it up."
Angel laughed again. "Don't get your underwear in a knot, bro. You know I'm just kidding. I want the two of you together just as much as you do. You guys are a perfect match for each other and I wouldn't do a thing to jeopardize that. Although…." The fifteen year old paused. "… if Trent does anything to hurt you, I promise, Blaine, I'll kick his ass into orbit."
Ignoring the rude gesture aimed his way by Doug, Blaine turned his back to the high school senior and prepared to leave for home. "I doubt you'll have to do any asskicking, Angel, but thanks. I do appreciate your support." The teen pushed through the doors guarding the rear exit of the gym. "I'm leaving now and should be home in a few minutes. Not only do I want to get out of this monkey suit but I thought I'd grab some snacks to take up in the treehouse."
"I'll fix something for you," Angel offered. "That way all you'll have to do is grab it on your way out."
"You're the best, sis. See ya in a few." Blaine snapped his phone shut and slipped it in the inside pocket of his jacket. Fishing for his keys, he strolled across the parking lot, whistling his favorite Creed song. His name was called out just as he unlocked the door to his midnight blue Dodge Dakota.
With a smile on his face and Trent's parting words echoing through his mind, Blaine turned to greet the person walking toward him.
"Don't tell me he forgot the snacks?" Angel looked at the tray of untouched sandwiches and cold drinks she had prepared for her brother. "I swear that boy forgets everyone and everything when Trent is around." Giggling, she picked up the tray and headed out the back door. "I guess it must be truuuue love."
Angel reached the base of the great oak that was home to the family's treehouse. The light from the back patio fell across the lower part of the ladder that led up the tree and the teenager stopped abruptly, the tray of snacks falling to the ground when she saw the bloody handprints on the wide wooden rungs.
"Mom! Dad!" she screamed as she scrambled up the ladder and found her brother crumpled on the floor of the treehouse. A wave of nausea hit her at the bloodied side of Blaine's face and she clapped her hand over her mouth in an attempt to keep from throwing up.
"Blaine, Blaine. Can you hear me?" Swallowing the bile that had risen to the back of her throat, Angel gently turned her brother over, her heart shattering when she saw how badly Blaine had been beaten. His starched shirt was ripped, the torn strips covered with blood and, even in the dark, the young girl could see the cuts and bruises on his chest. Both sleeves were missing from his tux jacket and it appeared his trousers had been slashed repeatedly with a knife.
"Oh my god," Angel whispered as she shakily tried to clean the blood off Blaine's face, using the hem of her t-shirt. "I'm going to kill whoever did this to you." She brushed the matted hair out of her brother's face. "Blaine? Can you hear me? Who did this to you?"
Angel nearly screamed with fright when Blaine reached up and grabbed the neckline of her shirt. He coughed several times, the blood in his mouth splattering his sister's face as he attempted to answer her. "The… the dance… parking lot. Drove… drove home. Had to get home."
Blaine attempted to push himself upright but fell back, hitting his head on the wooden planks and groaning in agony. "Trent," he said hoarsely. "He's…." The teen's eyes rolled back in his head as he slipped into unconsciousness.
"Trent did this to you," Angel asked in disbelief. Her words of protest died on her lips when she saw her brother had passed out. Rushing to one of the treehouse's windows, she once again called for her parents. "Mom! Dad!" A noise from behind caught her attention and she looked over her shoulder and found Trent standing just inside the doorway staring at his blood-stained hands.
"Why you bastard…."
Blaine twisted his head to the side and burrowed his face in the pillow. His head hurt like shit and the loud snoring in his ear didn't help matters, whatsoever. Hell, his whole body hurt like someone had parked an 18-wheeler on top of him and forgot to move it. He thought about slapping whoever was snoring but the slightest movement of his arm made him want to puke and, all of a sudden, he decided he could live with the snoring.
Somebody had grown a new crop of cotton in his mouth and it took him several seconds before he could speak. "Would… shit! Would someone get Dad to… to stop snoring? It's giving me a fucking headache."
A chuckle greeted his grouchy complaint. "It's not Dad, Blaine. It's Trent."
Trent? Snoring? In his ear? Groaning, Blaine forced his eyes to open and, even though his eyesight was blurry and his field of vision severely limited, he could still recognize the head of curls resting just beneath his chin.
"Trent," he croaked. A straw was gently placed against his lips and Blaine drank thirstily for several seconds.
"Trent hasn't left your side since they moved you to a room four hours ago, big brother. In fact, it's a toss-up as to who bullied the ER staff the most, Dad or Trent. Both of them were quite loud in their demands to see you."
"Hospital? Angel?" Blaine blinked until his sister's face slowly came into focus.
"I was wondering when you were going to make the connection." Angel returned the glass of water to the table by the bed before holding her hand in front of Blaine's face. "How many fingers, handsome?"
"Very funny. Where's Mom and Dad?" Blaine moved his head just enough to allow him to bury his nose and mouth in the softness of Trent's curls. Silently cursing the pain that ripped through his chest, he inhaled deeply, savoring the fresh shampooed scent of his best bud's hair. He wanted so bad to sink his fingers in those curls that he was seriously considering the risk of moving his arm. Just as he was about to bite the bullet, he realized his sister was still talking to him. "Huh?"
Angel shook her head and rolled her eyes as she tapped a finger against her brother's forehead. "The ER doc said there was no brain damage but maybe I should get him to check you over again."
"Now that's more like it." Angel carefully slid her finger across Blaine's bruised cheek. "As I was saying… after Dad finished talking to the police, he took Mom home. With her being pregnant, he said it was too much for her to be hanging around here all night. He'll be back as soon as he tucks her safely in bed." The 15-year-old traced the dressing that covered Blaine's busted chin. "I'll hitch a ride with Trent's dad when he comes to take him home."
"Blaine! That growth on your chest just spoke. Alert the media!"
Flipping Angel the bird, Trent eased off the bed and stood staring down at his best friend. With a tight smile on his face, he searched under the covers for Blaine's hand and squeezed it. "How ya doing, Budman?" Trent asked, his voice still husky with sleep.
Blaine couldn't believe how his pain seemed to disappear the moment Trent's hand slipped into his. He lifted his gaze to the younger boy's face and frowned when he saw Trent's black eye and swollen nose. "Maybe I should ask you how you're doing? Who the hell gave you that shiner?"
Angel started whistling as a blush crept across Trent's face and he ducked his head to keep Blaine from seeing his embarrassment. Taking a step back, she cleared her throat and quietly confessed, "I hit him."
"What? You what?" Blaine tore his gaze away from Trent's face to search for his sister. "Why in the world did you hit Trent?" Gritting his teeth against the pain in his shoulder, he touched a finger to his friend's bruised eye. "I can't believe she hit you. Did you forget to duck?"
Trent grinned and then cursed when his smile re-opened the split on his bottom lip. "She came at me out of nowhere, hissing and scratching like a wild cat. Before I could even move, she laid one on me."
"Hey! It's not my fault." Angel crossed her arms over her chest. "If you want someone to blame," she said to Trent, "blame big brother. He's the one who said you beat him up. I was just defending him." Angel lifted her chin in the air.
Blaine pushed Trent to the side so that he could see his sister better. "Why in the hell would you think Trent did this to me? It was Doug Hughes and his buddies."
The 15-year-old blew a strand of hair out of her eyes. "I know that now. But back at the treehouse, when I asked who hurt you and you said Trent and then he shows up with blood on his hands… what was I supposed to think?"
"I never said Trent beat me up."
"Yes, you did."
"There was blood on the hood of Blaine's truck and I touched it," Trent said in his own defense. His quiet remark was ignored by the feuding siblings.
"No, I didn't."
"I know what I heard and you said Trent."
"Read my lips. I... did... not."
"Listen, you… umph."
Trent slapped a hand over Angel's mouth while carefully placing his fingers against Blaine's. "Will the two of you shut up! It don't matter, anyhow."
Angel jerked her head back and glared at the two boys. "I'm going to get a Coke," she announced suddenly. Spinning on her heel, she exited the room but before Trent and Blaine could say anything, she poked her head back in and declared, "You did say Trent's name. So there!" Having had the last word, Angel disappeared from sight.
Trent moved closer to the bed and, once again, sought out Blaine's hand. "You're sister is certifiably nuts."
"Tell me something I don't know." Blaine pulled Trent's hand to his chest and closed his eyes, taking a moment to enjoy the simple contact.
"You hurting, Budman? You need me to call the nurse?"
Blaine opened his eyes at the touch of Trent gently rubbing his arm. "I'll survive."
Silence reigned for a while as the two teenagers just looked at each other, their eyes communicating what they couldn't say with words.
"Uh… Blaine?" Still holding his friend's hand, Trent hooked a finger on the neckline of Blaine's hospital gown and pulled it down, nervously playing with the scattering of chest hair that was revealed. "I don't know for sure if you did or didn't call my name before you passed out in the treehouse but I do know you were saying it in the ER. You kept saying it over and over, like you needed me, wanted me to be there." Trent noticed Blaine was looking down at his chest, his gaze focused on the finger touching him. Blushing to the roots of his hairline, the 15-year-old jerked his hand away and stuffed it in the pocket of his pants.
Blaine automatically reached for Trent's hand but at the sight of his friend's embarrassment, he let his own drop back on the bed and groaned softly when the move jarred his injured shoulder. "I'm sorry if me calling your name like that embarrassed you or made you feel weird. I was kinda out of it and didn't know what I was doing."
Trent turned to the side and pretended to examine the painting hung near the window. "I kinda liked it," the teen whispered. A sudden thought occurred to him and he nearly stumbled over his own two feet trying to turn back to Blaine. "Not that I wanted you to get beaten up so that I could hear it. I mean…." Trent gripped Blaine's hand. "I thought it was kinda cool, you calling for me but no way in hell…."
"Trent! It's okay. I know what you mean." Blaine grinned at the babbling teenager, his smile turning into a grimace when his body decided to remind him that the pain medicine given in the ER was wearing off. "You mind hitting that nurse callbutton? The pain's really starting to kick my ass."
Trent did as he was asked and relayed his friend's request when the call was answered. He stood as close to Blaine as possible, moving away only long enough for the nurse to give the medicine and do a quick assessment of her patient. As soon as she was finished, Trent resumed his post, his green eyes doing their own personal evaluation of his best friend.
"You were damn lucky, Budman. No broken bones, no internal damage. Just that dislocated shoulder, a concussion of sorts and a shitload of cuts, bumps and bruises."
"Ain't that enough?" Blaine shifted in bed, trying to find a comfortable position. "I think the only spot on my body that doesn't hurt is my left big toe."
Grinning, Trent wiggled his hand under the covers at the foot of the bed and pinched the pain free digit. "Can't have your brain feeling left out."
"You dickhead," Blaine laughed.
"Takes one to know one."
Trent's innocent comeback stopped Blaine's laughter cold and he moved slightly away from the younger boy, sighing quietly as he turned his face to the wall. "You know, Trent… considering what happened tonight, maybe you should forget what I said earlier at the dance. I think it might be for the better."
"Better for you or for me?" Trent tugged on Blaine's ear until he turned his head back and was, once again, facing him. "I'm gonna be honest, Budman. I'm chickenshit scared about what I'm feeling for you and can't even begin to understand how it's gonna affect me and my life."
Trent held up his hand, stalling Blaine's protest. "But as scared as I am, I know getting together with you… being your boyfriend or whatever the hell it is you call it, is the one and only choice for me." The 15-year-old cupped the side of Blaine's face and thumbed away the solitary tear that had escaped down his bruised cheek. "I think I love ya, Blaine. And yeah, I don't know squat about doing it with a guy. But I can tell you this… once I learn, you can bet your ass, you'll be the best loved boyfriend in this whole United States. In fact, there's no time like the present." A wicked smile spread across his face as Trent took a seat on the edge of the bed and leaned down over Blaine. "How 'bout you start teaching me now… give me a lesson in… ummm… kissing?"
Blaine gripped the younger boy's shoulder, preventing him from moving closer. "You sure about this? Are you absolutely, one hundred percent sure about this?"
Trent removed his friend's hand and closed the distance between them, lowering his head so that his lips barely touched Blaine's. "I'm so sure, I'm gonna go back and get that Mr. Samuels to put your initials on my tattoo. Like you've got mine on yours." Trent searched the startled dark blue eyes staring up at him. "Is that sure enough for ya, Budman? If not, I could always get the old geezer to give me a new tattoo. Maybe something on my chest, something like… Trent's got the hots for Blaine Matthews. Or better yet, something on my butt that says… Sole property of Blaine Matthews. How's that for being sure?"
"You are such an asshole." Blaine finally gave into the temptation and carded his fingers through Trent's curls.
"As of right now, I'm your asshole." Trent blushed as he sealed his promise with a shy, hesitant kiss.
Blaine smiled as he returned the kiss, the simple mating of their lips more than he could ever hope for. "Oh yeah, most definitely. Most definitely mine, Trent Anderson."
To be continued...