I stopped breathing. He felt it. He didnít let go of me, "I love you. I donít want you to say anything. You donít need to say anything. I felt it, so I said it."

I held on tight. I didnít know what to say. What to do.

He started singing, "Look into my eyes, you will see, what you mean to me. Search your heart, search your soul. When you find me there, youíll search no more."

I did a quick search. Itís too soon. This is ridiculous. But . . . dammit, there he is . . . sitting right smack in the middle of heart, my soul. Maybe itís wanting to take care of him, maybe itís wanting to be in love, maybe itís some post-orgasmic thing, maybe itís that I like how he looks at me, how he treats me. Whoís to say any of thatís wrong? And is there really a time limit here? God, heís so young and his heart is so open and trusting. He doesnít have scar tissue. I imagine that someone with a heart like his takes it in stride, realizes that how it turns out isnít as important as just feeling it. I remember when I used to be like that. Maybe heís gonna teach me. I pushed him away enough to "look into his eyes". Blue, blue, and more blue. I kissed him, I needed his strength, "I think Iím falling in love with you too."

"Thatís more than I ever hoped for."

"Take me to bed, Nick."



I didnít wake up until I heard banging on the door. It was late afternoon. Lee and I had stayed up all night. Very good. I was wide awake when I opened the door, "Good afternoon, Kevin! How are you?"

He looked at me like I was nuts. I was used to that, "Iím fine, Nick. How are you?"

"Excellent. What can I do for you?"

He frowned, "Iím gonna ruin your good mood, we need to talk about Brian."

I shut the door and followed him into the family room, "I figured youíd be the one to start patching this up. Beer?"

"Definitely." We drank a little before he started. "I just came from his house. You two need to talk this out. Preferably before we leave for LA."

"I agree."

He stared at me, "That was easy."

"Pamís done enough damage. Weíll work it out. Move on."

"You can trust him?"

I laughed, "Hell no! Heís gonna have to earn that back. But weíll work on it. I mean could you trust him?"

"I donít trust him. If he did that to you, what would he do to another of us? Heís your best friend. I told him that. He didnít like it, but tough shit."

I took a long drink, "Ya know, maybe this is a good thing too. I thought I was making the right decision when I left her, but I still felt sorta guilty. The crying and shit. Now, no guilt. Sheís a bitch and a fruitcake. Good that I ditched. Iíve moved on to much better things." I felt the smile creep across my face.

Kevin laughed, "When did you grow up?"

"Umm, a few days ago when my girlfriend tried to kill my dogs, trashed my house, and was fucking my best friend." It felt good to laugh about this.

"You get over shit quick."

"Because I donít have to think them to death, Kevin."

He shook his head, "Something I wish I could learn."

"Your way works for you. Mine works for me. I guess I should call Brian."

"I told him to wait for you, had to be on your terms. Since heís the jack ass in this. Iím going home." He stood up and headed toward the door.

Lee came down the stairs, "Hey, Kevin. How are you, and how is my girlfriend?"

Now he got a big smile going on, "I am great, and she is great. We spent last night at the beach. It was great."

Lee laughed, "You seem to like the world great."

He hugged her and kissed her, "The world is brighter when youíre in love. Bye, bye, bye." He walked out laughing.



Nick called me about two hours after Kevin left. He wanted to come over. Shit, that was fast. I wasnít really ready to deal with this, but like Kevin said, itís not about me. Nick jumped back a little when he saw me. Guess he didnít realize how heíd gone off on me. Please remember, I know I deserved it. We sat down. Both of us looked at the floor for a long time. "You want a beer or something?" I handed him one and we sat for a while longer, "Nick, man, I realize thereís nothing I can say, but I am sorry."

This time when he looked up it wasnít anger I saw, but hurt. I think I liked the anger better. "Bri, I never even dreamed you would betray me like that. None of you. But especially you. Lee read her diary so I know how it happened. I want you to tell me why."

I took a deep breath, "This will sound lame. It is lame. Nick, thereís no excuse. No reason. I swear to you . . . I didnít mean to sleep with her. I guess I rationalized that if she felt better about herself you guys would be ok. She said that I made her feel wanted and desirable. So I fed her ego. I thought. Maybe I was just feeding mine."

"How were you planning on transferring her new found ego onto me?"

"Hadnít thought that far. I guess I hoped sheíd feel better and it would just work. It doesnít even make sense to me. I wanted you to have someone to love and who loved you. Maybe I wanted it so bad that I didnít see how wrong she was, I kept trying to make it right. Hell, maybe I just wanted to get laid. It felt good that she felt better, that I made her feel good."

Nick almost laughed, "Youíre just as big of a fucking sucker as I am. Trying to save the poor weak girl, make her see what she could be. Sheís more in control and stronger than we gave her credit for. She works it to get her ego feed, as you say." We sat there silent. I didnít know what to say and I waited for him. "Bri, donít think that I donít blame you for this too. I donít know how you could do something like this too me, but thatís yours to figure to out. I do know first hand how manipulative she is, and how easy it is to fall into that. But for our friendship, you should have stayed the hell away. She had me thinking I was doing everything wrong and it wasnít about me. Something is very wrong with her that I, or you canít fix. In some weird fucked up way I can almost understand how this happened. Because I know her and I know you. Just cause I can almost understand it doesnít mean itís ok. Iím pissed at you, and hurt. The whole thing is fucked up."

Now I really feel like shit. "Nick, I . . . I . . god, what do we need, do I need to do to make this right. Iím pissed at me for what I did. I hurt you, and Iíve screwed up our friendship. The rest of the guys are pissed at me, and you all every right to be."

"I wouldnít be expecting any of us to let you too near our girlfriends, thatís for sure." He did laugh now. I was afraid I might never hear that again. "Pam caused enough damage. Iím not gonna let her trash the group or trash our friendship. Itís gonna take some time and youíre gonna have to earn my trust back. You gotta deal with the rest of the guys, and yourself."

"Thank you, Nick. I am sorry." I was also relieved. I love this kid like my own brother. What the hell was I thinking?

"You know, she left me feeling like I didnít know how to treat a girlfriend, that I didnít do anything right. She was wrong. Iím not gonna walk around feeling sorry for myself, and being angry wonít do anything but make me feel like shit. Iím happy, Brian. I want all this gone and done. Iím moving on. Iím choosing to let it go. You need to do the same thing. Learn from it and move on."

I looked at him strangely, "When did you grow up and get so philosophical?"

"Kevin asked me the same thing. I told him a few days ago when my girlfriend tried to kill my dogs, trashed my house, and was fucking my best friend. Give Lee some credit here. Weíve spent a lot of time talking."

"You guys are dating now? Iím sorry, I shouldnít have asked." Too soon, Brian, you dumbass.

"I told you I want to move on. We get back to normal. Yes, weíre dating. Iím staying there while my house is put back together. That is far as Iím willing to go with that right now. Iím gonna go home now. See you in a couple of days." When we got to the door he turned, "Oh, sorry about your face."

"I deserved it."

He shook his head, "Yeah, Brian, you did."


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