Chapter 1

My drive back home from college for winter break was a nerve racking one. All I could think about is how I was going to tell Wes…and Mom…and if Kristy had already told anyone. I had told her that in complete confidence, but she is after all Kristy.

The first place I went when I got back in town was home. It was around five, so I wasn't counting on Mom being home, but I figured on the off chance she was, it was best if I saw her first. Not tell her first, but at least saw her.

As I suspected, Mom wasn't home. I texted her and said that I was there, but she just texted back that she was at work, that I should go see my friends. We'd have dinner tomorrow night and I should spend the evening with Wes.

Deciding to take her advice, I headed over to Wes and Bert's place. They happened to be sitting out on the front porch, Kristy and Monica with them. I could see Delia next door, doing something in her garage with Avery and Lucy running around.

"Mace, you made it," Wes said, standing up as I got out of the car. He hugged me, having to do so awkwardly because he had a soda can in his hand.


"Great," Delia said, walking over. She gave me a hug before saying, "We have a gig in two hours. Can you help out?"

"I think that Macy and Wes should spend some time alone," Kristy said, seeming to try to nudge me closer to Wes with her eyes.

Wes frowned. "Well, I have to work. Macy knows that. You can help out, right, Mace?"

"Yeah," I said, nodding a little while trying to communicate to Kristy with my eyes that she needed to lay off. I think something got lost in translation though, because she didn't back down.

"Yes, but don't the two of you want to talk? About stuff?" Kristy continued. "Macy?"

"We have all winter break to talk," I said, smiling for appearances.

"Yeah," Wes said slowly, now eyeing us both. "All Christmas break."

"Hi, Macy!" Lucy came running over, Bert's dog, Heath, chasing after her. "Heath says hi."

I smiled at her and gave Heath a pat on the head. He immediately investigated my shoes before walking off, apparently giving me the all clear. I saw Delia roll her eyes. She had hated the dog from the beginning and I was glad to see she hadn't wavered from her hatred while I was gone.

Avery made her way over, but didn't say anything to me. She was normally shy around me for a little while when I came back before warming up to me. Wes picked her up when she came to him.

"What are you doing over there?" I asked Delia, trying to change the subject. "In the garage?"

"I'm trying to look for the parts to Avery's old crib. Peter took it apart and stashed the parts away somewhere."

"Why do you need them?" I asked, making a face at Kristy.

"One of my friends is about to have a baby. I don't need it now and figured I could give it to someone who needs it."

"A lot of people needing those these days," Kristy commented.

"Are needing," I corrected. Bert sighed from his spot on the porch step.

"You know, if it wasn't for this stupid gig, I could be getting ready for my date that I had to cancel right now," he said. "Although, now that you have Macy…I mean, would it be so out of the question to suggest…I wouldn't want to ask too much…"

"Just go, Bert. I know that you never canceled it anyways," Delia said, shaking her head as she walked back to her home, Lucy and Heath following.

"I should probably go home," Kristy said, sighing a little. "Stella needed some help with something. Come on, Monica."

Her sister was clearly not thrilled by the walk that awaited them, but followed nonetheless. Bert ran off into the house, probably to get ready for his date. That left Wes and I. Plus Avery, who was hiding her head in his neck.

"Sorry we couldn't be alone tonight," Wes said, bouncing the toddler a little when he started to whine. "After work though, I'll make you dinner, okay?"

"Make me dinner, huh?"

"Sure. It's the only way to get you back to my place without coming right out and asking to have sex."

I reached out and took Avery from him, wanting to change the subject. "How have you been, Avery?"

She whined for a second before allowing me to hold her. Wes finished off his drink before going into the house, apparently expecting me to follow.

As always, Wes' house was immaculate. I had mentioned to Kristy once how weird it was for me that two teenage boys were able to keep a place so clean, but she told me that Wes had this thing about the house being perfect and presentable. She said that his father had been that way and it was basically ingrained in Wes.

"Thirsty?" Wes asked me as I shadowed him to the kitchen.

"No," I said, setting Avery down. She immediately ran back into the living room. I watched her absently as I went to stand near Wes. "She's so cute."

"Who? Ave? She's alright." Wes leaned against the island in the middle of the kitchen. "So you've been good, Macy? I haven't seen you since Thanksgiving. And that wasn't even very long. The last time we really got to be alone was when I drove up to see you a few months ago."

"Yeah," I said, frowning a little. Wes saw it and asked what was wrong. "Huh?"

"You frowned."


He shook his head. "Well, anyways, we still have sometime until work. What do you want to do?"

"I think Avery has already picked for us."

Wes looked passed me and saw the little girl had dragged her box of toys out from the corner and was playing.

"What are you doing, Ave?" He asked, going to walk in there. "Huh? Are you playing?"

"Yes," she said, making her Pikachu attack the red Power Ranger. I think the toys were Wes and Bert's when they were younger, given they all seemed to be the stereotypical boy toys. From Goku to Superman, they were all in that box.

"You're so smart," he said, going to sit down next to her. I watched for a second before doing so also. Wes handed me a Scooby Doo toy. I gave him a look and he just shrugged. "We're playing, Mace. You get to be Scooby. Be happy. That's an honor."

"Oh, is it?"

"Yes." He picked up Batman and made it knock over one of the Power Rangers. Avery yelled at him, setting it back up. He just knocked it down again.

"Play nice, Wes."

"I am."

Avery began to hum as she banged two toys together. Wes rolled his eyes, clearly taking his playing very seriously as he dug around for a suitable bad guy for Batman.

"Okay, Wes, what do you think? I'm going for a casual look."

We both looked up to see Bert now standing before us in jeans and a t-shirt.

"Its fine, I guess. I mean, what did you want me to say?"

Bert huffed. "Macy?"

"You look cute, Bert."


"Um…" I looked at Wes, but he just shrugged. "Hot?"

Rolling his eyes, Bert walked away, back into the hallway. "You guys are no help."

"At least he's cut down on the cologne," I said, smiling at Wes.

"Only a little."

We played with Avery for awhile before helping her clean up. Wes had to sing some sort of song to get her to participate, but it was cute at least.

"I need a white shirt," I told Wes. "Unless you want me to go home and get one."

"Yeah, I need to change into work clothes too. Come on." He led me to his room, Avery in his arms. He opened his closet. "Which shirt is white, Ave?"

"Mmm…Dis." She pointed to one of his dress shirts. Wes pulled it out.

"Good job. Pick another one for Macy to wear."

She pointed one, but it had a design on it, so he told her to pick a different one. She did so again and this time it was a plain white shirt.

"How come you have so many white shirts?" I asked as he sat her down to pull his current shirt off.

"I need work shirts, Mace." He pulled on the dress shirt and buttoned it up. "Here, you wear this one."

Wes and Avery left the room while I changed and when I finished, we started to leave.

"We're leaving for Delia's, Bert," Wes called out as we headed out. "Have fun on your date."

"I will, no thanks to you guys!"

"He seems to forget that if I didn't agree to work, he couldn't go on it," I said as we walked out the door.

Wes shook his head. "So, anyways, what do you wanna do after work tonight? For real?"

"Dinner is fine, Wes."

"Good. I'm kind of low on money right now."

I frowned. "What's been going on?"

"Nothing, really, just, uh, haven't been selling as many statues these days."

Great. We finally need money and he's going belly up…

"Maybe you should think about getting a real job."

He gave me a look. "I have a real job. Wish Catering."


"I also delivery pizzas now. Owen got me the job."

"That's good."

"Yeah." He switched Avery to his other arm. "People do not know how to tip though."

"Are you supposed to tip a pizza guy?"

"Uh, yeah. Duh. I freaking drive all the way to your house and you're not even going to slide a buck my way?"

"Tipping is stupid. It's not the person's fault that your employer doesn't pay you enough."

Wes just patted me on the head with his free hand. "Ah, young people. They think they're so smart and can just change the foundation of this country. You can't change old things. You just can't."

"Okay, number one, you are only older than me by a year, if that. Number two, slavery existed for a long time before it was abolished."

"Don't try to use that college intelligence on me, Mace," Wes warned. "It will not end nicely."

"Not my fault you're stupid."

"No," Avery said suddenly. "No-no."


"That's a no-no word, Macy," Wes said. "We're not allowed to say the S-word."

"…I didn't say that word."

"Not that one, filthy mind. I meant stupid."

"No!" Avery frowned at her cousin. "No, Wes."

"I know. I'm explaining to Macy," he said as we walked to the catering truck. Heath, who was sitting patiently by the garage, barked as we sat Avery down next to him. The dog was Jack Russell mix and about the size of the two year old, so he liked to play with her the best.

"Good, you guys can help load," Delia said as Wes and I got to work doing that. "Where did Kristy go?"

"Back home. She's meeting us there."

Delia sighed as she pushed a food cart into the back. "I can't believe that Bert is going to leave us tonight. Of all nights! This is one of the biggest jobs we've had recently. I don't even like this girl. Haven't I told you that, Wes? That I don't like her?"

"Yes," he said. To me, he added, "Multiple times."

"What's her name?" I asked as I put a box of forks into the truck.

"Kitty. Well, Katherine, but she goes by Kitty." Wes shook his head. "They've only been together a week and she's already planned their children's names."

This baby thing was going to keep coming up, huh?

"Maybe she just likes certain name, Wes. I mean, it might not matter the guy."

He glanced at me. "Yeah, well, that doesn't change the fact that she's psycho."

"She is, Macy," Delia assured me. "Just wait till you meet her."

Wes and I drove his truck to the place, so that we could go on our date afterwards. We left after packing up while Delia was busy getting Avery and Lucy settled with Pete. The whole time that we were driving, I couldn't help thinking about what I had to tell him and when. True, I had all break, but I wanted to do it soon.

"You alright, Mace? You've been real quiet."

"Yeah, I'm fine," I said, glancing at Wes. "It's not like I've had a lot of time to say anything."

"Well, we'll have all night to talk after work."

"Yeah," I sighed, messing with the radio, which had been turned down. I found it wouldn't work. "What happened to your radio?"



"It's old. Just gave out, I guess. Lucy said that I should ask Santa for one for Christmas."

"You know now if you don't get one for Christmas, she'll think you've been naughty."

"Eh, I'll tell her that Santa couldn't fill the order so close to Christmas." Wes looked at me for a second. "And there is nothing wrong with being naughty."

I groaned as my stomach began to hurt. Wes frowned.

"You sick, Mace?"

"Just not feeling well today."

"You gonna make it through work?"

"Yeah. I'm fine, Wes."

"If you say so. Just don't puke in front of the client. I hear they don't like that."


He just smiled.

"Monica, if you do not hurry up, I will come over there and do it myself."

Monica continued with her slow, deliberate placing of the shrimp puffs. I shook my head, pulling a pan out of the oven. Quickly, I put my stuff on a serving platter and walked out of the kitchen.

Wes was clearly having fun over by the bar, where he was showing off for some women as he tossed bottles and caught them. When he saw me looking, he wagged his eyebrows, making me roll my eyes.

Catering today was pretty easy. Given I was also absent minded the whole time, worried more about talking to Wes later. And then my mom…

The job was a party, which was always less fun than just doing a dinner. Kristy was keeping herself in check though, so that was good. We had no issues of her stomping on anyone's foot. That's not to say things went smoothly either. Like always, something went wrong. Something always goes wrong.


I frowned when I heard that come from the kitchen. For once, it hadn't been preceded by a bang of crash. So if Monica hadn't dropped anything, why was Delia screaming? Wes got my eyes again and nodded towards kitchen. Bracing myself, I slowly bowed out of the party and back into the kitchen.

"What happened?" I asked, frowning as Monica held a paper towel to Delia's finger.

"I cut myself," Delia said, grimacing. She pushed Monica's hand away and held the paper towel to herself. "It's nothing serious. Go back out there, Macy. And take those crab cakes this times."

I nodded, switching serving platters before going back into the living room. Kristy and Wes both looked at me and I nodded a little at each of them. Kristy moved to get closer to me.

"What happened?"

"Delia cut her finger. She says it's nothing serious."

Kristy nodded a little before making her rounds one more time and heading into the kitchen. Besides Delia cutting herself and a few minutes later when we ran out of napkins, the gig went down the way it usually did. Afterwards though, as we were all standing around the catering van, Kristy threw a curve ball.

"So who's going to the party tonight?" She asked then grimaced when she remembered I wanted to talk to Wes tonight. "Or, uh, you guys are going on your date, right?"

"Yeah, but what party?" Wes looked at me, planning on explaining. "I haven't gone to any recently. I've been busy delivering pizzas after normally, but I took off because you were coming down."

"No party," Kristy said, looking away under the scrutiny of my glare. "I mean, it's just a party at the Arbors. Who wants to go there?"

"Are you kidding?" Wes frowned at her. "If it's in the Arbors, we're so going. Those rich kids throw the best parties."

"Yeah, but…" Kristy looked to me, now needing me to find a reason to not going. I internally refused because if I did make him not go now that he was all excited about it, when I finally did tell him, he would already be in a bad mood.

"Let's go," I said, smiling at Wes. "I mean, I'm here all December. We'll go out another time."

"See?" Wes wrapped an arm around my shoulders. "You need to go home, Kristy? And change?"

"Yeah," she said, nodding. "And you need to go home and feed Heath."

"I thought that was Bert's dog?" I asked Wes a few minutes later as we got into the truck.

"I thought so too."

I was uncomfortable at the party. I never liked parties, really. Well, I did when I started to drink, but that was out of the question now. That didn't stop clueless Wes from asking about me though.

"Why aren't you drinking anything?" He asked, frowning. "College beers only for you, Mace?"

We were sitting out on the back porch of the house, talking. Not 'talking' talking, but just talking.

"No," I said, rolling my eyes. "One of us has to be sober enough to drive home."

"One beer won't do anything to me, Mace. You can get wasted if you want. It makes it easier to bone you later tonight."

I frowned before realizing no one around heard him. Leaning closer to him, as we were both sitting on the railing around the porch this wasn't hard, I whispered, "Are you, like, extremely horny or something? You keep mentioning sex."

"I haven't been with you in awhile. I went away for Thanksgiving and came back the same day you were leaving. The only time we've been together was before that."

"Thanks for the update."

"Your welcome." He took a sip of his beer. "So yes wasted or no? Because I know how much you like vodka and I saw some in the liquor cabinet in there."

"I do not."

"That's how I always get you in bed. Or do you not remember your first time?"

"That was whiskey," I mumbled, looking away.

"Same thing. Get a little of the hard stuff in you and you lose it. I better not find out that you're hardcore drinking up at college, because I know that will only lead to infidelity."

"Wes." I elbowed him a little. "I don't even drink that much anymore."

"Then what's the point of this party, huh?"

"I don't know. You're the one that wanted to go so bad. Parties do nothing for me."

Wes sighed. "Well, you wanna get out of here then?"

"No. You want to be here, so it's fine."

"Macy, if you're not having a good time-"

"I'm having good time, Wes. It's cool, okay?"

He shook his head. "Fine."

We stayed for awhile, Wes getting drunk and me watching. I decided that I couldn't tell him that night, not with him being drunk and all. When it was time to go, I told Kristy bye before taking Wes to his truck.

"You talk about me being wasted," I mumbled to Wes as we got in. "Hand me your keys."

He fumbled around in his pocket before handing them over. "Be careful with my baby, Macy."

Irony. I shook my head. "What? The truck?"


"Then you need to wash your baby. It's dirty."


I took Wes home and checked to make sure Bert was home. He was. After bidding them goodnight and giving Bert his brother's keys for safekeeping, I went home. The house was mostly dark, except for the light coming from my mom's office. I knocked on the door before opening it a little.

"Hey, Mom."

She smiled, getting up to hug me. It was quick, but it was still a hug. "Hi. Did you and Wes go out?"

"No. He was going on a catering gig, so I went with them. We went to a party afterwards."

Mom talked to me for a minute before telling me she had to get back to work, so I just went back up to bed. I was only asleep for about two hours when thunder woke me up. Great. It was raining. I rolled over and reached out to grab my cell off the nightstand.

Wes had been drunk texting me. If I hadn't been with him all night, the fact that he now spelled my name Mazy would have been clue enough. I sighed, sending him a text that told him to go to bed before following my own instructions.