Chapter One

Dyllan Long lived just down the street from me for as long as I can remember. We'd gone to grade school together and had been pretty tight with a group of boys that, until recently, I still hung out with. Mike, Andy and Carl were my best friends in the world when high school started. When we were in grade school, Dyllan's name would have been added to that list, but he stopped hanging out with us right before we started high school. I wondered why for a long time but after a while I just let it go. He seemed to have new friends and, though I felt left out, I understood it.

I did notice that he and Mike seemed to talk to each other at least. What I didn't understand was the look on Dyllan's face when I'd see them talking. He looked almost afraid each time. I wondered if he was afraid of Mike or if he was afraid of being seen talking to Mike. Neither of those ideas made any sense to me, but Dyllan being afraid while talking to Mike didn't make much sense to me either. I was always one to try and figure out anything that confused me and this was one confusing situation. Naturally I decided to investigate. Today I'm glad I did.

"So what's with Dyllan Long?" I asked Mike one day, just after football practice. We were leaving the locker room and heading for my car. I thought it was a safe time to bring it up in case there was going to be anything said that Mike didn't want heard by other ears.

"What do you mean?" he asked. "Long stopped hanging with us two years ago."

"I know that," I said, refusing to be put off. "But I see you talking to him from time to time."

"Oh," he said, smiling. "I just check up on him from time to time. We were friends once."

"Why aren't we friends with him anymore?" I asked, not letting it go.

"Well that was his choice, and he's never told me why," he replied. "Dyllan just stopped coming around. You know all of this."

"Yeah, but what I can't figure is why he looks so afraid when I see you guys talking," I said, and I was putting the key in the driver's side door before I realized that Mike had stopped walking.

"When was the last time you saw us talking?" he asked, and now he looked a little nervous.

"Yesterday," I replied. "Outside the locker room in the hall after fifth period."

"Oh," he said with a sigh as he started walking again.

We were both quiet as we got in my car and I started the ignition. As we pulled out of the parking lot I wondered what he was so nervous about and why he wanted to know when the last time I saw them talking had been. Something was definitely going on there, and I wanted to know what it was. Whatever it was that was making Dyllan afraid and Mike nervous had to be something important.

"So what were you guys talking about yesterday?" I asked.

"Nothing in particular," he said after a long pause. "I was just asking him how he was doing, you know?"

I didn't know. I did know from the tone of his voice that Mike was lying to me. What I didn't understand was why. It wasn't a big deal to me that he talked to Dyllan. I just wanted to understand why Dyllan looked afraid every time I saw them talking. It seemed that Mike didn't want to tell me any more about it, because he changed the subject by asking me about Melissa.

Melissa Reevy was my girlfriend at the time. We'd known her since grade school, too. Girlfriend was a really strange thing to call her though. Our parents had always said we made such a cute pair and gone on about how sweet it would be for us to get together when we were older. I think that's why we did. We didn't particularly like each other much. It was more to make our mothers happy than anything else. Still we were known around school as a couple. People liked us that way, so we never bothered to tell anyone anything different. We talked about Melissa all the way to his house.

When I got home, Andy was sitting on my front porch. I wondered what he was up to. He rarely ever came to my house anymore. His parents had moved all the way to the other side of the city and Andy had no car. I wondered how he got here. He smiled at me when I got out of the car and even walked over to help me carry my gear in the house.

"How was practice?" he asked as we made our way into the house.

"Brutal as always," I replied, putting my books on the kitchen counter. "Just put that stuff in the hall."

"Ok," he replied as I went to the fridge to get us both a Coke. "Where's Mike?"

"I dropped him at his house," I replied. "I've got a date with Melissa tonight so I didn't invite him over."

"Want me to leave?" he asked.

"No, you're fine," I said. "Date's not till seven anyway."

Andy Morlin was a good looking boy. He was just a hair shorter than me with dark blond hair and green eyes. He worked out with the team from time to time and his physique was really starting to show it. Out of all of us, Andy and I were probably the closest up until the day they moved across town. We usually came home from school together every day. Finding him on my porch wasn't an unwelcome event.

"So where are you taking her?" he asked, sitting on one of the bar stools in front of the kitchen island.

"More like where am I being led to," I laughed. "There's a new movie she wants to see and then I suppose we'll head over to the Galaxy."

"You'll probably run into Rhonda and Carl at the diner," he said. "Carl told me he was taking her out tonight. What is it with you guys and the Galaxy?"

"I don't know," I replied, thinking about it. We'd all been going to the Galaxy since our mothers would let us cross the street without holding their hands. It just never occurred to me to stop going as I got older. I knew the cooks and the waitresses pretty well and I never had to order. They just knew what I wanted when I got there. That was something that pissed Melissa off to no end. She had to tell one of the waitresses what she wanted every time we went there.

"The Galaxy is just home," I said, thumbing through my Calculus text. "What are you doing tonight?"

"Don't know," he said. "Rents are out and I don't have my key, so I guess I'll run over to Mike's when you leave for your date. He's probably got nothing to do."

He was right about that. Amy Miller had broken up with Mike last week. He didn't seem too broken up about it, but he never did anything unless one of us came after him now. Andy had never had a girlfriend that we knew of, so he was always available when the boys wanted to get together for anything. Thinking of Mike got me back to Dyllan and the fear I saw in his face when he was talking to Mike earlier. I decided to see if Andy knew anything about what was going on between them.

"I saw Mike talking to Dyllan Long today," I said. "I've seen them talking off and on all quarter actually. Dyllan looked like he was afraid of something when they were talking today."

"I wouldn't worry too much about Dyllan and Mike," he said, looking away from me.

I got the distinct impression that Andy was intentionally not saying something. I also knew that pushing Andy would do no good. He'd either tell me what was going on or he wouldn't and that was that. I decided that I'd find out what was going on one way or another. The more my two best friends tried to get around talking about Dyllan was making me nervous.

I didn't bring it up again, and Andy left around five or so. I finished my homework and hopped in the shower to start getting ready for my date with Melissa. I dressed in the type of clothes that she would approve of after my shower, made sure my dark hair wasn't too wavy, rubbed my fingers over my chin and decided that shaving wasn't necessary and even put my contacts in even though I hated them. Melissa didn't like glasses and I didn't like listening to her bitch. Dating her was getting to be more and more of a bad time for me.

I picked her up at ten minutes before seven, happy with myself for being early. She wasn't happy though. She said that I should have come earlier. She told me that my shirt was the wrong color and my pants weren't baggy enough. I just sighed and headed for the theater. Tuning her out was the only way to get through these dates. I was starting to think about telling her to fuck off and just going home. It would mean the end of us, but I kind of wanted that anyway. It would also mean a nasty confrontation, but that could be fun too. She'd talk at school, but I didn't think anyone would listen. Everyone knew what a bitch she was already.

We bought our tickets and I bought her soda and popcorn before we went in and took seats. She complained about the seats, saying we were too close. There were no seats available that would put us further from the screen and she told me that if I'd come on time then we wouldn't be having this problem. I just glared at her.

Everything about her irritated me lately. Her perfectly curled blond hair irritated me. The way she wore her make-up irritated me. I especially hated it when she would touch up her make-up in my car. She wasn't careful when she did that and twice she'd spilled something called concealer on my interior. She was dressed in a pink shirt and white skirt. I was even irritated about that.

She bitched throughout the entire movie and I decided it was time to leave when people started to glare at us. I didn't wait for her or tell her what was happening. I just got up and walked out of the theater into the lobby. She stormed after me a few minutes later with fire in her eyes. I just smirked at her and started for the door.

"Just where the Hell do you think you're going, Sebastian?" she hissed as I got closer to the door.

"I'm not going to sit in there listening to your shit, Melissa," I said. "People were getting upset."

"Who cares about them?" she asked. "I want to watch this movie!"

"So go watch it," I said. "Seems like if I'm not here you'll have a better time."

"You're not going to leave me here," she said icily.

"No, Melissa," I replied, smiling sweetly. "I'm not that stupid. Believe me. I'll wait for you in the car."

"You can't do that," she spat. "What will people say?"

This was where our main problem could be found. Melissa was a born snob and always worried about what other people had to say. I didn't think about things like that. I got along with everyone. There was no reason not to, in my opinion. Melissa constantly berated me for the people I talked to. She despised Andy even though she'd grown up playing tag and kick ball with all of us, including Andy. She thought Mike was a disgusting pig, and she only tolerated Carl because Rhonda was her best friend. In truth, the girls couldn't stand each other. They pretended to be best friends because they thought it made them popular.

"I don't worry about what people say, Melissa," I said. "You go watch your movie. I'm going to sit in the car and blare my music until you come back."

"No," she said hatefully, her eyes going wide when I mentioned blaring the music. "We'll leave. We're going to the diner so I can talk to Rhonda."

"Fine, whatever you want," I told her, pretending not to notice the theater employees watching us.

The drive from the theater to the Galaxy was an endless bitch session. She was livid over my walking out of the theater. She talked about the waste of money and I nearly lost my tongue for a moment and told her that she wasn't out a dime. I kept silent though. She kept finding more things to bitch about. I just sighed and drove faster which made her bitch more.

"You're not ordering a chilli dog either," she said as we entered the diner. She hadn't stopped bitching.

"I'll order what I damn well want, Melissa," I said, heading for 'our booth'.

"Are you going to argue with everything I say?" she demanded as we got to the booth.

"I've hardly said a word since we got in the car at the theater," I pointed out. "That's not arguing much at all."

"Don't get smart with me, Sebastian Landry," she said with fire in her eyes.

"Whatever, Melissa," I said with a sigh, wanting this date to be over so I could get away from her mouth.

She didn't get a chance to say anything because Carl and Rhonda joined us before she could form words. Carl and I bumped fists while Rhonda touched Melissa's arm. I was very happy to see Carl's buzzed head. I thought that we'd stop this bitch match with them sitting at the table. I was wrong though. She was far from finished with me.

"Don't think this is over just because they're here, Sebastian," she said. "You treated me wrong, and you're going to hear about it!"

"You can say whatever you want," I said, glaring at her. "If I treat you so badly then maybe you should find a new boy to terrorize. I'm so sick of you it isn't funny. I can't do anything right, and you bitch all the time! My God I'd choke the shit out of you if I wouldn't get in trouble for it. Do us all a favor and just shut up!"

I didn't know where that came from, but I felt so much better. I even smiled when two of the waitresses began to applaud. People were laughing and staring at her, but I didn't care. I just looked into her hateful face and watched her eyes burn with hatred. Another smile found my lips as I looked at her. If she didn't like what I had to say I decided she could just leave. There was no way she was getting back in my car.

"I don't fucking believe you!" she snapped, just as one of the waitresses brought me and Carl chilli dogs and fries.

"Honey, you can't talk like that in here," she said, eyeing Melissa. "Act like a lady."

"Who the Hell do you think you are?" Melissa spat with wide eyes. "You have no right..."

"Well I do," said a male voice. I turned to look at Daryl, the owner. "I don't want to see you in here anymore, Miss Reevy. In fact I don't want to see you in here now."

She glared at him for a moment while Carl and I looked at each other and then back at her. It seemed like they stared at each other for an eternity, but it was probably only a few seconds. I did notice that the entire diner had gone quiet. Everyone was paying attention to us. I'm sure that pissed her off to no end. I just thought it was funny.

"We're being kicked out now, Sebastian," she said, glaring at me. "Are you happy with yourself?"

"Miss, I'm not throwing Sebastian out," said Daryl. "I told you to leave. Sebastian and his friends have been coming in here since they were thirteen years old. Not one of them has ever caused a problem. You cause problems every time you come in here. Now go."

I nearly choked on that one. I wanted to laugh so bad. Now I know that's not a good thing, but I wanted to laugh at her just the same. Of course this meant the end of us. That was a given. I was relieved about that. This was our big scene. She could at least take comfort in the fact that we'd had one. Never mind the fact that she was the one who came out looking stupid. I'm sure she'd have plenty to say about that Monday at school.

"Come on, Rhonda," Melissa said as the two of them slid out out of the booth. "We'll leave these two idiots to amuse each other."

"Where are you going, Rhonda?" Carl asked quickly.

"Away from you two," she spat, following Melissa out of the diner.

I have to say that I was really happy about the way they applauded her as she left. This time it wasn't the waitresses. It was the other kids in the diner. There was no way in Hell she'd be able to spin this one on Monday. There were too many people in the diner to witness what had really happened.

"Dude, I think she broke up with me," said Carl with a chuckle as they watched the girls walk out of the diner.

"And you seem so broken up about it," I replied with a smirk.

"Oh, I am at least half as broken up about Rhonda dumping me as you are about Melissa dumping you," he said, his blue eyes sparkling as he smiled.

"So we're single now," I said with a sigh. "That's a relief actually."

"I've been wondering when you would finally grow a pair and stop letting her run over you," said Carl. "You have to know you were turning into quite the pussy, man."

"Oh, I'm well aware of it, thanks," I laughed. "But that's over. No more Melissa."

"Something tells me that won't be the end of it for you and Melissa, bud," he said.

"Well it is as far as I'm concerned," I replied. "I don't want anything to do with her ever again. My mom will just have to deal."

"Your mom?" he asked.

"Well what no one ever knew is that Melissa and I only got together because our mothers wanted it to happen," I said. "They kept saying how cute we looked together and finally they got their wish. It was more to shut them up than anything else. I mean, Mel was cool when we were kids. She grew up though. And now she's one of those."

"I hear you," he laughed. "Rhonda turned into a grade-A bitch shortly after we started going out. Looks like Mike and Andy have the right idea after all."

"What idea is that?" I asked not really paying that much attention.

"Well you remember Dyllan Long, right?" he asked, and then he had my complete attention.

"Sure," I said. "He used to be one of our closest friends."

"Well not anymore," replied Carl. "Which sucks in its own way, but what Mike and Andy are doing to him isn't exactly right."

"But you said it looked like they had the right idea," I prodded.

"Right, but I was talking about the easy sex with no strings," he said. "I would never do what they're doing."

"What are they doing?" I asked.

He was quiet for a few minutes as he looked me in the eye. I knew now that something sexual was going on between Mike, Andy and Dyllan. From the sounds of what Carl was saying it wasn't something I was going to like. I have nothing against homosexuals at all. If they were doing something to hurt Dyllan then I didn't think I would stand for it. Dyllan used to be my friend. For whatever reason he decided to end that friendship, but I wasn't about to forget that we used to spend alternate weekends at each other's houses until we were thirteen years old.

"All right," he sighed. "You have to promise you won't tell them I told you. It's like they're fucking freaked out that you'll even hear about it at all."

"Done," I said quickly.

"Well when we were kids, Dyllan used to suck Mike's dick," he said. "Mike told me and Andy about it one day when he was suspended from the football team. We were sitting there in the stands watching you practice. Dyllan walked by with one of his friends and that's when Mike told us. Well I didn't believe it at first, but Mike was adamant. Then Andy started asking all sorts of questions about it. Mike said he'd set it up so Dyllan would suck us all of, but he made us swear not to tell you."

"So Dyllan's gay, and they're having oral sex with him," I said with a shrug. It didn't answer the question of why he seemed afraid to talk to Mike, though. "What's wrong with that? I mean, I may not get into it, but it's their lives not mine. Why were they so adamant that I not find out?"

"Are you kidding?" Carl laughed. "Mike told us about the day you beat the shit out of that gay kid in the mall."

"I know what you're talking about," I said, remembering the boy. "I didn't kick his ass because he was gay, Carl. I kicked his ass because he was disrespecting Timmy Clark."

Timmy Clark was a boy that lived three houses down from me. He was suffering from a mild form of Muscular Dystrophy, and the boy, John Andrews, thought it was funny to trip him and laugh. I'd stepped in and things had gotten out of hand pretty quickly. It had nothing to do with John's sexuality, though. I hadn't even known he was gay until the talk started around school the following Monday.

"That's whacked," said Carl. "Cool that you didn't beat him up for being gay though."

"What do I care if he's gay?" I asked. "He doesn't sleep in my bed, so I don't have to worry about it."

"Good attitude," he said. "And at least you aren't blackmailing him for sex."

"Come again," I said quickly.

"Yeah," he said, playing with his fries. "Mike and Andy are blackmailing Dyllan into having sex with them. Mike told Dyllan that he'd tell everyone what he did to him when they were kids unless he agreed to suck his and Andy's dicks whenever they wanted."

I could only sit there and stare at him. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open. I couldn't believe that Mike or Andy would do something like that. I couldn't believe they'd hurt a friend like that. Dyllan was our friend! I had to put a stop to all of this as quickly as possible. I just didn't know how I was going to do it. I had to think.

All I Want For Christmas
Saving Dyllan
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