Chapter 33

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Dishes clink against Trip's kitchen counter and it wakes the sleeping boy. He groans as he stretches out his entire body, his bones cracking in some places. He rolls over until he falls onto his floor and lays there for a moment as he does every morning.

Yawning, he trudges into his kitchen, his eyes widening upon discovering another body beside his older brother's.

"Didn't you leave last night?" Trip asks as he looks over at a particular messy, blue-haired boy.

"No," Nakota says as his lips spread out in a grin. He watches as Beck prepares eggs and Trip looks over as well.

"Why?" Trip asks him, falling into the lone chair in his kitchen as he's still exhausted.

Nakota shrugs and Trip notices he isn't wearing the shirt that he had washed for him.

"Where's your shirt?" Trip questions as Nakota's eyes shoot over to Beck again. Beck shakes his head and Trip sees his brother's back move as he puffs out a laugh.

"It was hot last night," Nakota says, running a hand through his hair.

"Hm," Trip says. "Where'd you sleep? I only have one couch."

Nakota grins again and places his pointer finger to his lips. "Shh."

"I see," Trip says, watching his brother.

Beck places three plates down on Trip's small table and divides scrambled eggs onto each one.

"Thanks," Trip mumbles as he pulls one of the plates to him and devours the food almost immediately.

It's the least Beck can do for his brother as he free-loads at his apartment.

"Oh, Damien," Beck says as Nakota takes a bite.

"Damien?" Nakota asks after he finishes his bite.

"His name," Beck says. "Is Damien."

"What's yours?" Nakota asks.

Beck breathes out. "Taylor."

"Shit," Nakota says as he smiles. "Hot."

Trip rolls his eyes. Is Nakota becoming another Reed to Beck? Does Beck only seek someone to fulfill his sexual desires?

And what about Nakota's ex? Trip sighs.

"Monica called," Beck says as Trip looks up at him.

"And?" Trip asks.

"We both apologized for everything again," Beck says. "And she wants to remain friends."

"Good," Trip says. "As long as you're both happy."

Nakota remains quiet as he doesn't know what the brothers are talking about.

After a few minutes, Trip dismisses himself and heads into his bathroom to clean up. He brushes his teeth, fixes his hair, and throws on a clean pair of clothes before he leaves his apartment without a word to Beck or Nakota.

He pulls out his bike and straddles it before he takes off, pedaling quicker than usual. His hair blows wildly in the wind and he feels exhilarated as he rides through the small town. The dirt beneath his tires crackles and he speeds up.

His heart speeds up because he's about to say words he's never spoken to anyone before and he's nervous.

So when he knocks on the door to Reed's home, he shoves his hands into the pockets of his shorts, keeping a cool front.

The door opens after a moment and Reed smiles at Trip as he welcomes him inside.

"What're you doing here?" Reed asks.

"I told you I was coming," Trip tells him. "When we spoke last night."

"Oh," Reed says as he walks to his bedroom. "I was just taking a nap."

Trip laughs as Reed plops down on his bed once more, taking a seat directly across from him on it.

"How's Nakota?" Reed asks, refusing to meet Trip's eyes. The younger boy reaches out and slowly trails his finger under Reed's chin, lifting it up, and it sends shivers down Reed's body.

Trip's eyes narrow in on Reed's lips as he speaks and it makes the twenty-three-year-old freeze.

"Luca," Trip says softly as he removes his fingers from Reed's chin. He lifts his eyes to meet Reed's and looks at him for a second before speaking again.

"He got in a fight," Trip tells him.

"What? With who?" Reed asks. "Over what?"

"I don't really know the details," Trip says, reluctant to expose Nakota. "Beck cheered him up, though."

Reed raises an eyebrow. "He did?"

Trip nods his head before he pushes off the bed and practically lands in Reed's lap, wrapping his arms around Reed's back.

"Cheer me up," Trip says into Reed's neck who's arms instantly pull Trip to him.

Reed places a hand on the back of Trip's head and he rubs it softly, running his fingers through Trip's hair.

"What's wrong?" Reed asks him.

"I don't want you to be mad at me," Trip says, keeping his face in Reed's neck.

"I'm not mad at you," Reed says, his voice quiet. "Why would you think that?"

"The whole Nakota thing," Trip answers, squeezing Reed tighter as warmth courses through both of their compressed bodies.

"I'm not mad," Reed says as he sighs. "I just got a little jealous."

"Why?" Trip asks, pulling his face out of Reed's neck. His legs are wrapped around Reed's waist and he presses his forehead to Reed's.

Reed's eyes fall to Trip's lips and Trip swipes his tongue across them.

"Because," Reed says, angling his head.

Trip feels his heart begin to race as he too, prepares himself for what is about to happen.

Reed pulls Trip's t-shirt and presses his lips to Trip's, the twenty-year-old instantly melting into him.

But Reed only kisses him for a brief second before he pulls away, leaving Trip yearning for more.

"I love you," Reed finally finishes, beating Trip to the words he had wanted to say.

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