Sniff! It's... the final chapter! Here we get to find out why Adam went so off the rails, and if they'll be a happy ending!

And guess what? I've got an idea for a sequel, and I'vestarted it too. I have no idea when it will be finished. I hope quite soon... I'll perhaps work on it in my Easter Break and start posting it in the next month or so. I hope you'll look out for it!

And now, on to the last chapter of Every Single Way...

Alex didn't talk to Adam for the rest of the week. He simply couldn't do it. At first, it was just the burning anger that stopped him. The fact that Adam would accuse him for a second time of cheating on him…! It was just too much. But soon, the anger gave way to another feeling; one of flat, grey acceptance. What was the point? It was better to get out now, while he still could. Before it became even more serious, and Adam lost interest and inevitably broke his heart. But whenever he thought this he realised it was too late; his heart was already broken. Then he would turn his face into his pillows and cry himself to sleep.

On Saturday, Alex was lying on his bed, staring hazily at his wall. There was a knock on his door.

"Go away," he said dully.

"Alex sweetie…" Val's voice came through the door. "There's someone here who wants to talk to you. I think you should…"

Alex's heart leapt wildly. It was Adam, he knew it had to be him. He jumped off his bed and wrenched open the door. But then his stomach dropped, because it wasn't Adam at all.

"I'll leave you alone," Val said quietly. He walked away.

"Hey, Alex," Dom said.

"Hey," Alex answered awkwardly. He didn't know what to say as he shifted slowly from foot to foot. "Um… is there something you wanted?"

"I'm going home," Dom said, gesturing to the bag over his shoulder. "You might have guessed that. I wanted to talk to you before I left."

"What? Why?" Alex said unconvincingly, his voice sounding distant to his own ears, avoiding Dom's eyes.

"You know what about," Dom said, shaking his head. "Man, I really can't believe I'm doing this. After I found out about you, I spent hours sticking pins in my homemade Alex doll…"

Unexpectedly, Alex found himself laughing slightly. "Well, when I found out that you were coming to town, I devised about a hundred different ways of murdering you and then hiding the body."

"Yeah, well," Dom sighed. "I guess that's because we're both in love with Adam."

Shocked, Alex didn't say anything.

"I knew you knew that I still loved him the moment we shook hands," Dom continued, slightly shaky. "Because you know exactly what someone in love with Adam looks like- you see it every time you look in the mirror, don't you? And I was so scared that I was going to see pity or contempt all over your face. That maybe you were going to rub it in all night. But all that was there was sympathy… and understanding. You're a good person, Alex. I could tell that right away."

"Thanks," whispered Alex. "And you seem… you seem like a nice guy too."

Dom snorted. "Yeah, well… I guess that's why I'm saying this to you," he sighed again. "Alex… please forgive Adam. I can't bear to see him like this. He needs you. I know he's said and done some stupid things, but it's only because he loves you."

Alex laughed again, almost bitterly. "You don't know that. He's never said that to me."

"Well, it's true. I can tell, everyone can tell. I don't want to see him with anyone else, but I can't leave knowing he's like this, Alex. And I've missed enough school already."

"I don't know…"

"You really think you're so undeserving of his love, don't you?" Dom said. "You think that one day he's going to realise that he's made a mistake and then he'll leave you."

Alex gaped at him.

"Thought so," Dom said. He sighed. "You know that I love him. But- I also want to see him happy. And he only is with you. Think about it."

"I will," Alex whispered.

"Bye," muttered Dom, turning around slowly. He didn't want Alex to see the tears in his eyes.

I have to see Adam- I have to.

This was all Alex could think as he methodically pulled on his sneakers, doing up the laces. It went round and round in his head, making him go out the front door, close it behind him, and walk quickly to Adam's house.

As he rang the doorbell, he noticed that his hand was shaking. He almost decided to run away, but then it was too late. The door was opening and then Adam was staring at him, blankly.

Alex didn't know what to say. "Well… I said I'd come over," he managed.

Adam stared at him, warmth creeping into his eyes. "Alex," he said softly. "I am so, so glad you decided to come here. I can't tell you… come in."

He motioned Alex inside, closing the door behind him. "Come up to my room," he said. "We won't be disturbed there."

Alex did as he was told, but every step made his stomach sink even lower.

Adam sat down on his bed, and after a moment's hesitation, Alex followed suit.

"Don't worry," Adam said. "I know you just want to talk. So do I."

There was a long pause. "I don't know what to say," Alex whispered.

"Let's start by agreeing to be honest," Adam said. "We have to tell each other the truth, or there's no point in sitting down to have this conversation."

Alex gaped at him. "I- alright."

There was another silence. Then Adam sighed, and then began talking. "I am so, so sorry about what I said. I can't believe I even thought those things, let alone said them out loud. But I'm- I'm going to try and explain why it happened. If I can."

Alex didn't say anything. He couldn't, his throat had closed up. He nodded instead.

Adam was silent for a minute, and then began talking again in a rush. "I'm terrified, Alex. I'm absolutely terrified. Can't you tell? Here I am, a happy, average guy. I've been in a couple of nice, easy relationships, and then one with a complete bastard- but then I see you, and that's it. You're it for me, Alex, can you understand that? Then I torture himself for months about it, until I finally manage to get you to give me a chance."

"Well, you've got me now!" Alex exclaimed. "So what's the problem?"

"Don't you get it? I'm the one who did all the chasing. I kissed you first, I'm the one who asked you out, I've shown you from the very beginning how much I liked you. You know what? Just after I asked you out, when you hesitated, those were the longest seconds of my entire life."

"But- I don't understand! You know I lo- like you, Adam. Surely you know that by now!"

"Do I?" Adam said, almost despairingly. "All I know for sure is that I had to practically beg you to go out with me. You think I'm a nice guy, but I sure as hell don't know for sure if you feel anything deeper. You didn't even notice me in school before I began tutoring Val, and I was practically stalking you. I was in the library so much of the time I think I've read all the books in there!"

"You think I didn't notice?" Alex had tears in his eyes. "I remember the first time I ever saw you. The first Tuesday of the year. You helped a girl pick up her books. You had jeans on, a yellow t-shirt, and blue All-Stars. I remember, all right."

Adam looked truly pained. His eyes closed for a few seconds and he swallowed heavily, before continuing. "Then why didn't you ever tell me? Why did you make it seem like it was only a bit of fun for you? Why do you always laugh, or make a joke when I'm seriously trying to tell you how I feel? It… It hurt me so much."

Alex drew in a long, shaky breath. He didn't know what to say. He hadn't realised he had been hurting Adam in this way. He started to clam up again, the instinct to protect himself very strong. But then, suddenly, before he could even think about it, the truth began pouring out. "Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I'm scared too?" He paused. "Not much has gone right in my life, Adam. I lost my mother, and then my dad. I didn't have anyone, not really. And then the one thing I wanted comes along, and he want me? It's- it's too good to be true. It has to be… it wouldn't make any sense otherwise." A solitary tear ran down his cheek as he closed his eyes. "I never win. I'm just lucky enough that I've caught your attention for a while. You… you're far too good for me, and it won't be too long before you realise it. I have to… I have to protect myself. What else can I do? I have to protect myself for when you leave me."

"Don't you dare talk about yourself like that, Alex Gaskell!" came Adam's outraged voice.

Alex jumped.

"I never want to hear you put yourself down ever again!" Adam continued. "Ever, Alex! You're the most special person in the entire world! And I'm determined to spend the rest of my life proving that to you!"

Alex leaned into him, smiling slightly; but it was tinged with sadness. "You don't know that," he said softly. "You can't make promises like that. You don't know what will happen. You'll be going away to college soon, and it'll be like a whole new world is opened up to you, Adam. You might feel differently then…"

"I won't," Adam said, with utter conviction. "There you go again, putting yourself down. Why do you do it?"

Alex wavered. "I… I…"

"This has been the worst time in my whole entire life, being without you. And that was only for a couple of days. Why would I ever want to feel like that again? I don't like the person I am when I'm not with you, Alex. I'm horrible, angry, and mean. I need you now. I can't ever do without you. I lo-"

Alex pressed desperately into him. "Don't say it," he said, dangerously close to tears again. "Just don't."

"Why?" Adam asked, his voice astonished. "Why can't I say it?"

Because… because…" Alex gasped.

"Why, Alex?" Adam asked, gently now, tentatively wrapping his arms around Alex. "Why won't you let me love you?"

"Because…" Alex couldn't take it anymore. The tears began to course down his cheeks. "Because everyone who loves me leaves," he whispered. As soon as he had said these words, he realised with a crashing shock that this was truly what he believed. This is what he had always thought in the bottom of his heart, and now he was being forced to realise it. It was an epiphany at its most fullest. He continued in a rush, "they all go, Adam! Maybe… maybe deep down they all want to leave me."

He began sobbing, and Adam rocked him back and forth, making hushed, soothing noises.

"Oh, honey…" Adam whispered. "I'll never leave you."

"How do I know that?" Alex whispered, into his neck.

"Because you have to trust me," Adam said, leaning back so he could look at Alex's face. "That's one of the most precious things we have. I abused your trust when I said those things to you. But that's because I was scared, and I wasn't honest with you. And you were scared too, and you weren't honest with me."

"So all we need is trust and honesty?" Alex whispered. "You make it sound so simple."

Adam smiled at him. "It's the hardest thing you can do," he said. "Give yourself up to another person, and have them give themselves to you in return. It has to be something really special. Like us, Alex."

"I love you, Adam," Alex said, finally. The expression on Adam's face when he heard this was amazing. "I… I always will."

"And I love you," Adam whispered back. "In every single way."

"We're so young to be doing this," Alex said, suddenly overwhelmed.

"Love, honesty, and trust," Adam whispered back, pulling him close. "That's all we need. And you're never too young for that."


I want to dedicate Every Single Way to everyone who read and commented on my story. It has really meant a lot to me, and has spurred me on to think about a sequel. Thanks so much you guys! You're the best!