Kato’s long legs moved him slowly in the swing. The sand at his feet grew to a mound each time he pushed with his feet. Sad eyes stared down.

“What’s up?” Noah found him.

“Nothing,” he shook his head.

Noah watched. Watched the way Kato’s hair moved softly against his cheeks. Watched the silent, internal storm brewing within those dark eyes. Watched the way his hands curled into each other upon his lap.

“You suck at lying,” Noah took a hold of the swing chains. “What’s going on?”

In his lap, Kato’s hands balled into fists. The thoughts tumbling about in his mind clouded his expression.

Until surprise lifted that face when Noah’s arms slid around his shoulders. His chin came to rest on Kato’s shoulder. And his warm hands held Kato’s chest.

In response, Kato held those hands. His thumb lightly brushed over Noah’s. Finally, his gentle voice emerged, “I’ve spent my life in the dark. Always hiding who I am. Now, I don’t think I want to be in the dark anymore. I don’t want to hide you.”

Noah held him.

Kato’s temple lightly rested against Noah’s forehead, “but I don’t want to embarrass you either.”

“So, that’s what this has been about?” relief flooded his voice.

Kato shifted to look at Noah.

“You gorgeous dummy,” he smiled!


“I snagged me the hottest guy in school,” he laughed. “You think I don’t want to show you off?”

“But,” Kato shook his head, their hands still holding tightly to each other. “Hottest?”

“Oh my gawd, you are adorable!” Noah laughed, his breath brushing over Kato’s neck. “I know how hard it is to come out to the world. And your story makes it harder.”

Kato stared ahead sightlessly, “that’s why…”

“No,” Noah breathed the word just as he kissed Kato’s neck. “Whatever stage you’re at, I’m there with you. You choose the pace.”

“Noah,” the breath moved over Kato’s lips. Their hands gripped tighter.

“Just be warned,” Noah kissed his neck again. “The moment you tell me I can hug you in public, I’m not letting go.”

Kato smiled.