Pride in Who You Are

Kato stood behind Noah, a long-held hesitation keeping him back. Noah’s careless laugh reached out, “I told you guys, when I’m ready to share, I’ll share. Until then, tough shit for you guys.”

“That’s not fair,” Aimee pouted. “We’re your friends and you’ve been keeping secrets from us. How long have you been dating this person? Who is it? Do they go to our school? Is it someone outside of school? Are they older? Younger? Which is it this time, guy or girl?”

“That’s a lot of questions,” unconcerned laughter narrowed his vision.

“We’re not letting you get away until you give us something,” Jesse placed his arm across Aimee’s shoulders. Arms crossed over her chest said she was backing Jesse up on that claim.

As were Laura and Lance. They weren’t willing to let another moment go by without having some tidbit of gossip to tide them over. Their determination meant there was no getting out of this.

Noah was ready for the challenge.

“Kato!” Laura slammed her hands down on the desk. “You’ve been spending a lot of time with Noah. You’ve got to know something. Who’s he been talking to? What is he doing after school?”

“Uh actually,” Kato moved closer.

Noah figuratively waved the matter off, “would you guys back off and stop hounding the poor guy! He’s new, and not used to you.”

“No way, Kato you know something. That’s why Noah’s trying to get us to back off. What is it?” Jesse pressed, his gaze turning fierce.

“Spill everything!” Aimee encouraged with a wicked smile.

“Guys,” Noah sighed.

But Kato’s hand taking his stopped all talk. Noah was taken by surprise. Kato was blushing with that look of determination that said he was facing his fears. It took the others a moment to figure out what was going on. By then, Noah pulled his hand away. The look of pain which flashed over Kato’s face was quickly replaced when Noah pulled Kato’s back to his chest so that he was hugging him, hands holding onto him possessively. A small kiss brushing Kato’s cheek and their embrace revealed the truth.

“I warned you,” he grinned at the embarrassed young man. “The moment you let me hug you in public I’m not letting you go. Phase four, baby!”

The final words had come out on a seductive breath. Shock was around the room. Their friends were speechless. Kato was breathless.

Noah held his faculties, “so I guess you could say that Kato’s what I’ve been doing after school!”

“Seriously?” Kato squeaked!

“Dude,” Jesse’s jaw finally snapped back. “That’s awesome!”

“You two are dating?” Laura was still wide-eyed. “When did this happen?”

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Lance demanded.

“Wait, what happened to Tricia?” Aimee thought to ask.

“What happened to my chances?” Laura wailed!

“Stop,” Jesse threw out a hand. All eyes turned to him. “What are we wasting time at school for? We’re going out to celebrate!”

“Accost, I think you mean,” Noah was grinning.

“Call it what you will. You two owe us all the details,” he waved the group out of the classroom.

Noah put his arm around Kato’s shoulders as they moved in step. “Careful what you wish for. There’s some juicy details.”

“One word and I’m walking out,” Kato bit under his breath.

Noah whispered into his hair, “then I’ll just see you at home later. In our room.”

Kato’s face went bright red!

“What are you two lovebirds whispering about?” There was a sigh from Jesse, “we may regret getting them to admit this.”

“I already do,” Kato scowled!

Special Preview:

His dad was looking for a fight. That became evident the moment he’d walked in the door. Like an oppressive aura that choked the life out of his spirit even before a word was spoken.

“There’s the f…” The screen door shut loudly behind Kato cutting off his father’s words.

Kato’s eyes closed at the slur his father used. It wasn’t like he hadn’t used it before quite often. And yet, the pain never lessened any. The fear only grew.