Chapter 3

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Reed can't stand a slow burn romance. He falls fast and gets his heart broken many times because of it. But he gets around well until he expresses his feelings to his partner. They leave him after that.

He loves harder than everyone else and harbors more passion than they do. And for that, he is cursed.

So, when given their first mission as a team of three, Reed plans to keep his head straight and focused. He cannot afford to get caught in another love affair. He knows it won't end favorably.

Though, that means he should end the one he's caught in right now. With number nine.

Beck. That's his nickname.

Reed strolls out of his home the next morning after receiving news of his new team and breathes in the fresh air from outside. He's headed over to Beck's place at the moment and hangs his head down as he walks. This isn't typical behavior for the usually happy fellow but he knows Beck only lusts for him. The love isn't and will never be reciprocated.

Reed straightens out his black t-shirt, a poor choice for the steamy day, and knocks on the door to the younger boy's home. Soon enough, Beck pulls the door open and Reed welcomes himself inside. Beck doesn't greet him with words and silently leads Reed up to his bedroom.

It's lavish. He has a wide bed with many pillows and tall walls painted gray. A long window overlooks the property that stretches far with trees and an inground pool. Beck is well-off and Reed wonders why he bothers with the organization Boss created.

Beck sighs as he runs a hand through his curly brown hair and Reed forces out a question to rid of the awkward atmosphere.

"So, uh, how do you feel about the whole partnerships thing?" Reed asks.

Beck takes a seat on his bed as he looks up at Reed.

"I'm fucked," Beck says and Reed laughs. "I'm stuck with Flynn."

Reed grins and sits beside Beck. "She's a tough one."

Beck's hand soon finds Reed's thigh and he softly rubs it. "Mhm."

It isn't long before the two begin roaming their hands in those otherwise restricted areas and steamily making out. But that's all that ever happens between the two.

It seems as if nobody is capable of loving Reed. They only seek his body.

It's unfortunate, but once the two finish their session, Reed retrieves his clothes and throws them back on. Beck leans back in his bed and the inevitable conversation arises.

"You," Beck begins when Reed steps into his pants. "You're in love with me."

Reed stills, the pants halfway up his long legs.

"Not quite," he denies. "Don't flatter yourself now."

"Whatever," Beck says. "You're aware I'm only in this for the sex then, right?"

Reed sighs and pulls up his pants with a little jump. "As am I."

"We're both on the same page then," Beck says and smirks. "Good."

Reed rolls his eyes. "Sure."

But this isn't quite true. You see, the two have been meeting up together for a few months now. And Reed is in love with the guy who only yearns for his body. Of course, he hasn't the pride to reveal this to Beck and continues burdening himself through this one-sided love affair.

It's exhausting but Reed cannot get Beck out of his thoughts. Even though he knows it's wrong.

Reed takes his leave from Beck's home and trudges home as a pang of guilt weighs down on him. He keeps his head lowered again and focuses his attention on a rock at his feet. He kicks it and follows its path down the narrow street. It travels to the side and Reed stretches out his leg to kick it when it is suddenly shot back at him. He quickly looks up as he recognizes the figure with the dark black hair standing across from him.

His arms are folded across his chest and it appears as if he's scowling. But he's not. His lips are just pursed.

"Where were you?" Trip asks as he looks up at Reed who forces out a nervous laugh.

"Got caught up in something," Reed replies. "Why?"

"You've already forgotten?" Trip asks and steps closer to Reed. "We had a mission this morning."

Reed's eyes widen and he curses. "That was this morning?"

"Yeah," Trip replies. "Gaze and I took care of it though."

Reed puts a hand on the back of his neck. "Sorry," he offers.

Trip scoffs. "Don't let it happen again. And to think you've claimed to never fail to complete a mission."

Reed grins at the angered boy. "Thanks to you, I haven't."

Trip narrows his eyes. "What was more important than this mission?"

Reed places his hand on top of Trip's head and ruffles up his hair. Trip swats him away.

"I'm assuming you already know," Reed replies as Trip's eyes had already examined his neck.

"She really gets to work," Trip says as he turns his back, planning to head home.

"He sure does," Reed says and Trip turns around, raising an eyebrow.

"You bat for the other team?" Trip asks.

Reed shrugs. "I've batted for both. Is that weird?"

Trip kicks the dirt beneath his feet softly as he looks down.

"No," Trip answers. "My brother does too."

Reed smiles. "Is that so?"

Trip nods his head and Reed suddenly slings an arm around Trip's shoulders.

"You're a good kid," Reed says as Trip looks at Reed's face beside his own.

"I'm not," Trip says.

Reed dismissively waves his hand at Trip's comment.

"Where's your brother now though?" Reed asks.

"You don't know?" Trip asks as Reed removes his arm.

"What do you mean?" Reed questions, scrunching his eyebrows together.

"Boss hired him a few years ago," Trip replies. "That's how I got in."

Trip hauls himself onto his bike as he slowly pedals. Reed walks beside him and asks, "Which one is he?"

Trip looks up at the bright sky.

"He's number nine," Trip answers and Reed instantly stops walking.


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