Chapter Forty-Two: Nerves and Love:

Lenard got lost in his gaze towards Tai. How could someone so perfect be real? Tai was always there for him. Even towards the end of their high school days.

How did I get so lucky? Lenard didn’t get it. What did he do to get such a good man? He couldn’t help but smile.

“I like you vest,” someone said behind him. Lenard turned his head. Ryo stood behind him with a drink in hand.

“Where did you get it?” she asked.

“Oh,” Lenard said. “Just bought it from a thrift shop.”

“You like those?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Lenard said. Usually, he’d try to run when he was along with girls. His eyes shifted back and forth. Ryo gave him an odd look.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Huh?” he asked. She reached out to touch his forehead. He froze up.

“Can you please not?” Lenard asked. “Just… don’t.” Ryo drew back her hand.

“I apologize,” she said. He shivered. She raised her eyebrow.

“Is something wrong?” Ryo asked. Lenard shook his head.

“It’s nothing,” he said. The man grabbed his arm. He turned and walked away.

“Lenard?” Ryo asked. He raced over to Tai. His roommate looked up.

“Lenny?” he asked. The blonde man moved in closer.

“What’s the matter?” Tai asked. Lenard looked down at his hand.

“What’s wrong?” Tai asked.  “What happened?” His roommate shook his head.

“Do you want to leave now?” the Japanese man asked. Lenard shook his head.

“No?” Tai asked. His roommate shook his head again. The other man looked confused.

“Okay… Do you want to stay with me for a bit?” he asked. Lenard nodded once. His roommate put his arm around his shoulders.

“Alright,” Tai said. “You can stay by me.” Lenard bowed his head.

“Thank you,” he whispered. He rested his head on Tai’s shoulder.


-Six Years Ago-

Lenard kept to himself during his school years. He never fit in. At the time, he hated himself. He hated his body. He hated his name. He hated how guys tried to touch her. Yes, “her”. Lenard used to be a girl named Shelby.

But Tai was different.

He looked so free. Tai drew people to him. He was comfortable with himself. Everything Lenard wasn’t. Two paths that shouldn’t cross, right?

But they did.

-Present Day-

Lenard looked up at Tai. Something about him always put him at ease. The American man couldn’t help but smile.

“Better?” Tai asked.

“Uh-huh,” Lenard said. He looked at his empty cup.

“I think I might need another drink,” he said.

“Do you want me to go get it for you?” Tai asked. Lenard shook his head.

“Nah,” he said. “I can go get it myself.” His roommate raised his eyebrow.

“You sure?” he asked.

“Yes, I am fine now,” Lenard said. “I can do this.” Tai shrugged.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be right here.”

“Thanks,” his roommate said. He bowed and walked to the kitchen. This would have to do for now. At least he had Tai at his side.