~*~Kevin~*~

It was a good party. A little bigger than I usually like, too many eyes. AJ likes lots of people around and doesnít mind if his business is all over the Internet. I hate that. I do what I need to in order to make sure that doesnít happen. I liked being here "with" Tracie. Nothing had changed, yet everything had changed. She still made me laugh with her stories, and her way with people. We both did the things we always did. We werenít suddenly joined together. She went her way I went mine. I didnít have to see her every second, and she didnít watch me. The differences. When our paths crossed one or both of us made sure to touch the other. Casually, but known to the other, and driving me insane. There were times when I found myself watching her. Noticing how good she looked wearing my old swim trunks and tank. The white looked good on her, very good. Maybe I should make a rule that she canít wear white. Like sheíd pay attention. Sometimes Iíd remember the past eighteen hours and smile.

Things were in full swing and I saw her sitting just outside a circle of friends. She was in the conversation and laughing, her chair was just a little out of the group. I walked over, "Scoot over." I sat down next to her and joined in the conversation. I had missed part and had to ask questions to get caught up. No problem. I was tired. I leaned back in the chair behind Tracie and kept on talking. It was great. I could see this line of skin between my shorts and my tank. I kept on talking and ran my finger along her. It took about thirty seconds before she leaned back on me, which was what I was going for.

~*~AJ~*~

Sitting in the same chair. Now, heís laying back. Now she is. And now his arm is wrapped around her stomach.

Lee walked over, "Itís not eleven yet, I have to stop them."

"Heís touching her. Not in a friendly sort of way." I laughed.

Nick joined us, "Iíd be having a shitty time if it wasnít so damn fun watching them. I feel like a private detective looking for clues. Did they or didnít they?"

"Oh they did." Lee laughed.

We both looked at her, "You sure."

"One hundred percent. Confirmed by the woman in question."

Nick and I both yelled "yes" and high fived. They didnít notice. "If this keeps up youíre gonna loose a hundred bucks."

"Itíd be worth it. This is fun."

His hand rested on her stomach and when he thought no one in their circle was looking her would tickle her. We were looking.

~*~Tracie~*~

He is teasing me. Two can play at this game. I leaned back on him and whispered where only he could here, "You know youíre only going to cause yourself pain with this game."

"Na, Iím fine. I like the goosebumps though."

"Youíre fine now. Did you really think I wouldnít play back . . . Kevlyn?"

"Thatís not fair." I felt him shift his hips behind me.

"Didnít say anything about fair." I stood up and walked away.

I headed toward Lee, Nick, and AJ, "Shows over. Stop staring." AJ and Lee turned and walked off in opposite directions. "How are you, Nick? You look annoyed."

"I am annoyed. Pam is pissing me off. Same shit, but Iím about done. I donít know why I canít leave now. Something is keeping me here."

I put my arm around him, "You have to wait until youíre ready. I knew Scott was wrong for weeks before I ditched. Had to be sure there was nothing worth working for."

He kissed my cheek, "Iíll be fine. Good friends to see me through. You need to go back over there to Kevin. Iíve been getting a lot of enjoyment watching you two. Last night and tonight."

"Glad to amuse you." I laughed.

"Not amused really. Trace, itís good. You two are great are friends. You two stand by the other no matter what. I want that. It only seems right, to me anyway, that if youíre that good of friends and attracted to each other, you gotta go for it."

I guess I was gonna talk about it, with Nick, "What about the friendship?"

"Only get better. You make it work. You already have that foundation. You make it work."

"When did you get so relationship savvy?"

"The past month watching mine die. Seeing everything thatís wrong and what I want and donít have."

Talk about looking sad. I was careful about hugging Nick. Not because I gave a shit about Pam getting pissed, but because I didnít want Nick to get shit from her. Tonight I glanced around and saw her watching and intentionally hugged him long and close. "Iím sorry, Nick. I know itís hard, but youíll be ok. You know that Iíll stand behind you."

"What do you think I should do?"

"Get out, sweetheart." I kissed his cheek and hugged him again.

He laughed a little, "Trace, donít let him go. You guys are too good as friends, and youíll be even better lovers. But I bet you already know that one."

I laughed with him.

~*~Kevin~*~

Has she always been this good with my friends? Iím watching her cut up with AJ, then sheís in what looks to be a pretty serious conversation with Nick. Hell, theyíre not my friends. Theyíre her friends too. Completely independent from me. She and AJ have hung out longer than Iíve known her. Sheís been a friend to all of us at different times. No one more than me. And when did I forget that sheís a girl? Too long thinking of here as my guy friend has fucked up my brain. Sheís a girl alright. All the parts are there, and work. Well.

I walked over to them, "Can I talk to you a minute? Outside."

She looked confused, "Sure."

I took her hand and headed outside. I could see lightning in the distance, but for now it was dark and private. Little did I know there were five pairs of eyes inside watching us head outside.

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