Chapter 30

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Trip lays beside Reed in his bed and stares at the ceiling while the time on his clock reads 11:30.

His birthday is almost over and yet his brother hasn't said a word to him. But then again, he hasn't reached out even though they share the same birthday.

Trip sighs as he reaches for his phone, trying not to wake the sleeping boy beside him who's arm is draped over his stomach.

He doesn't text often because his ancient cellphone is difficult to use and it's painstaking to press the buttons over and over. Even so, he knows he needs to talk to his brother.

Trip flips open his phone and the bright light causes Reed to shift beside him, squeezing his stomach tighter.

"Sorry," Trip says softly. "I have to text Taylor."

Reed squints his eyes. "Is something wrong?"

"No," Trip says. "It's his birthday, too."

"Oh," Reed says. "What a coincidence."

Trip clicks the buttons a few times as he begins to type a message to Beck when a message pops up on his screen. He raises an eyebrow as he opens it and is surprised when he sees a two-word message from his brother.

Happy birthday.

Trip smiles to himself and replies back with two words as well.

You too.

He closes his cellphone and drops it to the floor before turning his body to Reed. Reed's eyes are closed and he pulls the younger boy to him, draping his arm over his back. Trip reaches his arm out and envelopes Reed as well as the two fall asleep in each other's arms again.

———

The next morning, Beck sits alone at Monica's marble counter and takes a few bites of cereal, wiping his mouth after. He waits for his wife to return home after visiting her grandparents as he thinks it's the right thing to do.

It seems as if everything he does is only because he knows he should, not because he particularly wants to.

But ultimately, he made a decision and now he has to deal with the consequences.

And he's slowly figuring out that money can't buy happiness. Because he'd be happier with love now than he would with riches.

Especially since he's figured out his feelings for Reed, the boy who quickly turned from a sex partner to a lover to him.

In fact, he doesn't know if it was ever about the sex. Because back then, he believes he was truly making love.

He knows it's too late now and he circles his bowl with his spoon as he hears the front door open.

He lifts his head as Monica walks in and she's wearing a blue flowing dress and her blonde hair is slightly curled. Beck thinks she looks like Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

She happily walks over to him, a smile spread on her face.

"Hey," she says as Beck forces a smile.

"Hey," he replies simply.

She tucks her hair behind her ear and smiles warmly at her husband.

"I was thinking we should celebrate your birthday today since we couldn't yesterday," she tells him, standing across the counter.

Beck nods his head. "Okay."

"It was Damien's birthday too, right?" she asks. "You should ask him to come. Oh, and Luca too."

The excitement in her voice makes it difficult for Beck to decline her idea so he doesn't.

"Where do you want to go?" he asks her as he stands up from his chair to bring his bowl to the sink.

"You pick," she says. "It's your birthday after all. Not mine."

He settles on Sadie's Place and sends a text to Trip, inviting him to come along.

The four arrive a few hours later and are seated by the girl with the purple streaks in her hair as she rolls her eyes.

Monica grins at Trip and Reed and they do the same back. It's difficult for Reed to hold Beck's gaze and it seems as if Beck is struggling as well.

An awkward tension rises between the two but goes unnoticed by Trip and Monica.

Trip glances over the menu and looks over to the side of the restaurant where he catches sight of a familiar, short boy.

Trip snickers as Reed turns to him with an eyebrow raised.

Trip continues to laugh as the small boy glares at him, sending imaginary darts to him.

"Moose is here," Trip says. "Alone."

Reed smirks. "It's about time he became a big boy."

Gaze walks over to Moose's table and he looks up at her as his face flushes. It makes Reed and Trip giggle again and Moose flips them off when Gaze leaves.

"What's so funny?" Monica inquires with a smile.

"Someone we know is here," Trip tells her.

"Who?" Beck asks, glancing around.

Trip nods his head in Moose's direction and Beck's eyes follow along. "Moose."

It makes Beck laugh too.

"I thought they were over each other," he says.

"Apparently he's not," Trip says. "But she is."

"That's unfortunate," Beck mutters as Gaze comes over to take their orders.

Monica stays quiet for most of the dinner and it strikes Trip as odd. She's normally very talkative and overly friendly but she just stares down at her food in silence.

A figure soon comes by their table and Monica turns her head in the other direction as he approaches. Her heart speeds up and she refuses to lift her head from the table until she hears him speak.

Trip, Beck, and Reed look up at the boy with confused expressions as they've never seen him before. His eyes are trained on Monica though, and he speaks directly to her as she timidly lifts her head.

"Monica," he says as she slowly brings her eyes to meet his.

"Fancy seeing you here."

———
pls read my new book called Arlo John lol
i'll update this one if you do haha

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