Ely opened his eyes.

"Finally," I said, pulling him out of the bed.

"What the fuck?!" he cried, looking alarmed.

"Get dressed."

"'Kay," he said, just sitting there staring at me.

I grabbed a shirt and shoved it over his head.

"Ew I'm not in the mood for that color," he said. "Too bland."

"You won't be wearing it long anyways," I said, forcing his jello arm through it.

"Ooh," he said but it didn't sound too enthused. "Why?" he asked as an afterthought.

"Because you're going as my…plus one to my nephew's birthday party."

"Really?" he asked, looking up at me. "Not in this I'm not," he said, looking down at his clothes then over at me who was dressed nice.

"That's why we're going to stop on the way there and find you something to wear."

"Ooh shopping! This day just keeps getting better, now carry me, since I bested you yesterday."

I pulled him into my arms and he kicked me. "Faster! Faster I tell you!"

"I can drop you."

"I'm hurt," he said, pouting.

I made him walk out the car though, because Rob was staring at us like we were freaks.

"No."

"Why in the hell not?" he asked.

"It has glitter on it. Do you even know the meaning of subtle?"

"Boring," he said.

"I need you to look older."

"And less flamboyant? Yeah whatever, take a seat and keep your mouth shut, I'm going to pick my outfit out and I'll try it on for you but I'm getting it even if you piss yourself. Ma'am is there anything in here under twenty dollars?" he asked, flagging down a worker.

"Uh...I think there may be some socks?"

"Ely, don't look at the price tag just grab it. Go full out I don't care," I said. "If it doesn't cost at least two hundred when you're done, I'm not buying it."

"Hmph! I only know how to work cheap," he stated, rummaging through racks of clothing.

"Well, sorry, but I want you to look…expensive."

He laughed. "I am expensive, have you seen my medical bills?"

I laughed. "Good thing I had you on my workers insurance, huh?"

While he was rummaging through all the clothes like a madman I wandered off to the girl who had told Ely there wasn't anything under twenty dollars. "Could you help me for a sec?"

"No we have no sales," she said.

"Uh…good for you?" I asked. "I need help looking for a perfume."

"Oh, you realize they're not under twenty dollars?"

"If I was poor I wouldn't be in this store, now help me or send someone my way who can."

"Hmm…alright. A bit feisty aren't ya?"

"Uh…no?" I'm scared.

"You have a girlfriend you buying it for?"

"No, just a friend for a thank you present."

"Oh," she purred, running a finger down my arm.

She's going to eat me. "What about this," she said, spraying it on her throat.

"Uh…"

"Smell it," she ordered yanking my head down to her throat.

The overpowering smell of the perfume and some musk she had on sent me coughing and reeling away from her. "Uh…no? That's alright, I think I can handle it from here."

"Tough boy," she said. "I bet I could rein you in."

"Uh…no thanks?"

"I bet there's a stallion in there rearing to get out," she said, dragging her finger up my thigh toward my groin.

"Excuse me whore, hands off the studmuffin," Ely snapped.

"Go next door to the Dollar General, little boy," she said, trying to shoo him away with her hand. "Now where were we?" she purred.

"You were leaving I think?" I said.

"You're so cute!" she snarled, I think she thought it was sexy, it wasn't.

Ely sprayed a perfume at her face. "Down Bessy, down!" he said.

The woman jumped back, thankfully wearing glasses so the perfume wasn't too much in her eyes. "Who are you?"

"This is mine," he snapped, cupping my groin. I yelped and smacked his hand away.

"We're in public!" I hissed.

"You touch him again and I'll—"

I drug him away leaving the woman trying to rub her eyes clean.

"I'm going to go try my clothes on!" he said, excited.

"Ely?"

"Yes?"

"Make sure you don't do anything like that at Jeffry's. Okay?"

"Gabe, give me credit. The chick was trying to grope you in the middle of the store, hopefully there will be no groping and I will not have to resort to a crotchial grab."

And he slipped into the changing room.

My phone beeped. I pulled it out and checked my text message.

Is he coming?

Yes. We're getting clothes for him right now.

Well hurry up! How long of a drive do you have left?

Three hours.

Oh lord have mercy.

The party doesn't start until two. We'll be early as it is.

I know. ;)

The door opened. "You ready?" Ely asked.

"No, I'm not sure I am," I said.

"Give me credit Gabe," he said, coming out of the changing room.

I took a double take and just stared.

"So…?"

"Uh…" My eyes ran over his black boots, and up his black skinny jeans, the belt buckle placed off on his hip. He wore a gray stripped button-up shirt under a silky gray vest. A bright turquoise bow tie, and black fingerless gloves. He wore a more casual black shinny coat over it.

"Was that a bad 'uh' or a good one? I couldn't tell," he said.

"Oh god," I said, standing up.

"Uh…what?"

"Uh…yeah. I…uh…like it," I said, my eyes running over him again and just eating it up.

"Is that sarcasm."

"Ohhh no," I said, walking up to him. I ran my hands down the silky vest. "I don't even care you look like you're seventeen. Although…maybe you should change since all the hot guys and girls will be staring at you," I realized, eyes twitching.

"You scared I'll leave you?" he asked, eyebrow raised.

"You'll leave me for someone younger."

"Oh god no. I have a hot, rich man why would I leave you?"

"For some reason I had hoped something about you actually liking me was in there," I said.

"I don't like you. I love you!" he said. "Now, I guess I'll go change back."

"Alright," I said, sitting back down and watching him go.

When he returned laden down in clothing, I took them from him, and headed over to the cash register. I caught Ely looking over at a couple in their twenties, laughing and holding hands and he looked away when he realized I was watching him. I bit my lip and sighed. Dammit, why does this have to be so hard? Why does he have to be a guy?

I took a breath and ran my hand down his wrist and slipped my fingers between his. Startled he looked up at me, his fingers wrapping over mine.

"Gabe, you don't have to," he said.

"I know I don't, I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to," I said.

He was smiling when I looked over at him. When he saw me looking, he blushed and looked away but I drug him after me and threw the clothes on the counter. The woman with now red eyes glared at me as she rang the clothes up. She vigorously shoved the clothes in the bag and shoved it across at me. Ely was twitching at the price even though it was a lot cheaper than I had thought it would be.

"Thanks," I said with a sweet smile.

If looks could kill.

I drove down the road as Ely changed in the seat beside me and fixed his hair until he was satisfied. Then he fell asleep on my lap as I drove the last two hours in silence. At least he never complained much, probably had to do with having an abusive stepfather who'd beat him if he ever did anything wrong.

My brother's house was coming up on the left, I watched it as I drove past then made a U-turn and forced myself to pull into the driveway. "We're here," I said, tapping him, careful of his shoulder.

"You should have told me earlier!" he said. "I probably look horrendous."

"No you don't," I said, fluffing his hair with my fingers. "See? Perfect."

He snorted and pulled the mirror down and fussed over a single hair that was off to the left instead of right. "Ah! I smudged my eyeliner!" he cried, pulling it out as I sighed. "Stop worrying. I'm not going to be flamboyant!"

"I'm not worrying," I said, looking down at his nail polish.

"Yes you are. Just give me some credit, okay? I had to live with an asshole and had to pretend like I was the fucking straightest man in the world for five years. If I'm doing something wrong, just pull me off somewhere and tell me, okay?"

"I'm sorry," I said. "You're not doing anything wrong."

"Good. Now stop procrastinating. If you are it'll make people think you're nervous about something and question…us all the more. I realize they don't need to know anything, I don't care. Okay?"

"Yeah."

He smiled and looked utterly fuckable in that gorgeous outfit. "Yay!" And out he jumped. "Ow…no jumping."

I got out of the car and walked after him until we were side by side. "Maybe I shouldn't have let you get tight pants?"

"Why?"

"Two reasons. One, I think it'd hurt your leg, doesn't it?"

"Kind of, but sweetheart, it hurts to look good," he said with a grin. "So what's two?"

"Uh…they make me horny," I admitted.

"Goal accomplished!" he laughed watching me.

"Stand behind me," I ordered.

"Why?"

"Because the woman who's coming out the door is far too eager to see you and I can't let her be happy now can I?" I asked, pulling him behind me. The front door flung open and Jessica leaped out.

"Let me see him."

"Who?" I asked, innocently.

"Dammit, you bitch, let me meet this little boy."

"He's not a little boy."

"Seventeen?"

"Fine, he's a boy, but don't rub salt in the wound."

"Wait…she knows?" Ely whispered.

"Yeah," I said, scratching my head.

"I wanna meet someone you told!" he said, trying to rush out, but I held him back.

"No, both of you need to calm down first."

"Fine, I'm calm," Jessica said.

"He is hurt, do not attack him with hugs."

"I won't."

"Alright," I said, stepping to the side.

She froze. "Oh my god, I'd become a pedophile for him too. He's gorgeous," she said, rushing up to him.

"Huh?" Ely asked.

"I'm rich too, honey, won't you come home with me?" she asked.

"I'm being pampered way too much. Can you believe he spent over three hundred dollars on these clothes?" he asked.

I don't think she was paying attention to him, her eyes were eating him alive.

"Well, I'm Ely," he said.

"I'm Jessica," she said, holding a hand out.

"I don't shake sweetheart unless it's some scary ass man," he said, hugging her.

She grinned as she looked over at me, arms wrapped around Ely's small frame. When she let go, she dissected him with her eyes again. "Did you pick the outfit out?"

"Of course."

"It looks gorgeous on you. Why can't straight men dress this nice?" she whined.

"Don't be getting any idea's Jess, he's mine," I said.

She pouted. "I can look can't I?"

"You can look all you want, sweetheart," Ely said. "Because you're beautiful yourself."

"I love you," she said. "It took my husband five dates to tell me I was beautiful."

"Good thing he's now your ex," I said. "Because even a blind person could tell you're beautiful."

"Nu uh. Gabe, you're not completely converted, you are not allowed to call women beautiful," Ely said.

Jessica laughed. "Don't worry honey, I tried to take him when he was younger, but his eyes were all for my sister."

"Oh…oh," Ely said getting the connection.

"So, are we going to go inside?" Jessica asked.

"Uh…it's kind of nice out here," I said.

"Gabe's kind of scared," Ely said.

"Gabe?" she asked, eyebrow raised.

"Huh?" I asked.

"No I was surprised about Gabe instead of Gabriel. You only let Alice call you that."

I shrugged. "Yeah? I know."

"Oh…should I not call you that?" Ely asked, thoughtfully.

"I don't mind if you call me that," I said. "It's fine really."

"Are…are you sure. I don't want to…"

"Jessica, see what you've done now?"

"It's adorable. I just wanted to see if he actually cared about you or your money like normal people," she said.

"He's too nice," I admitted.

"Come on," Jessica said. "Let's go inside."

Together we walked into the house. I stepped inside and everyone fell silent, but I knew it wasn't because of Ely, they hadn't even noticed him. It was because the last time they'd all seen me I was a complete mess. I was depressed and I…I just need to forget about that.

"Um…hello, good to see you guys too?" I asked, smiling softly.

They relaxed under my smile. "Gabriel!" My nephew ran up and gave me a hug. "Did you get me something? You always get the best stuff because you're rich!" I handed him his present. "Yeah!" And off he ran.

"Richie, that was rude," my brother said. "Apologize."

Richie was ten as of yesterday and a pretty good kid. He thankfully took after my brother rather than his mother who was a bitch. "Oh…I'm sorry."

Everyone was gathered in the living room, which was half the size of mine. I really did have all the money in the family but I wasn't greedy with it. If anyone needed money for things, I was eager to help. About fifteen people were in the room. Three of which I didn't know, including the woman attached to my father's arm. I hadn't seen her before and my dad hadn't mentioned her when I'd called to say I was coming. They were standing in the doorway to the kitchen, dad had a beer in hand.

The rest of the family was sprawled on couches and the floor. A few of my cousins were playing Monopoly in the corner. "Hey Gabriel! Long time no see!"

"Yeah," I said, biting my lip.

"It's good to see you again, Gabriel," my brother said, smiling. "I'm happy to see you doing better." He wrapped his arms around me hugging me.

"Yeah. I'm doing better," I realized. All because of him. Because of Ely.

"Good. Who is this?" he asked, noticing Ely.
"Oh this is my friend," I said.

"It's nice to meet you sir, my name is Ely," he said holding a hand out.

"Um…yeah, I'm Jeffry. Hey Gabriel maybe you should learn some politeness from your friend here."

"Na, I don't like being nice." Everyone was now looking at Ely but Ely seemed really casual about it. He really did as he had told me he would. As the women in the room tried to molest him with their eyes.

"Well, I'm Angela," she said.

"A pleasure to meet you," he purred and she swooned.

I glared at Ely and he continued to smile charmingly at my cousin.

"Well, I'm Rosa," another said. "Want to play with us?"

"Uh…maybe later."

"How'd you to meet," Dad asked.

If anyone would have been skeptical, I knew it would be Dad.

"I'm Gabe's cook," Ely said.

"Oh," Dad said. "Gabriel can I talk to you in the kitchen?"

"Not now, I'm talking to people," I said, quickly looking for someone to talk to.

"Now Gabriel," he hissed.

"Lord have fucking mercy," I whispered.

"You're fine," he said, patting my back. "I'm just glad I get to stay out here. Jessica, if his dad kills him, I will take you up on that offer to go home with you though."

"You're an ass," I laughed, leaving my spot by the door and walking into the kitchen with Dad.

The second the door closed he looked right at me. "Start talking," he ordered.

"About what?"

"Why you bring a faggot to a family get together with you."

I glared at him. "I brought my friend with me because I can."

"A faggot?"

"Don't call him that."

"You fucking him?"

"No I'm not," I said. "Damn, you're just as bad as Mom! My friend. What's wrong with a friend?"

"You aren't gay, Gabriel."

"You don't know what I am."

"Your wife just fucking died. Shouldn't you be morning her instead of fucking some male kid?"

I froze. "I knew coming here was a bad idea."

"I…I didn't mean that Gabriel."

"Fuck you," I said, turning around.

"Gabriel, come on, I didn't mean that. You aren't gay—"

"You don't know what I am or am not."

I headed through the living room but the tears were already falling by the time I even made it to Ely. Ely wasn't looking at me though, his eyes were on my father.

Before I could grab him to drag him out the door, he was storming across the floor. "What the fuck did you say?" he asked stepping up close to him.

"I didn't say anything," he lied, pushing Ely back, which was pretty easy since the boy probably didn't weigh one-twenty as it was.

"Really?" Ely asked. "The only thing that can make him cry is if you talk about Alice. Now why would you bring up that topic?" Ely asked, not looking so small when he didn't want to.

"I just…said what he needed to hear."

"What he needed to hear huh? Really? Where were you when he needed to hear that he should fucking shoot himself because he was so depressed? I didn't see you telling him to drop the gun. Where were you when his whore of a mother didn't give a shit? Where have you ever been? Looks like you were off whoring around, is what it looks like. Would it have killed you to have been there for him? To tell him that even though the greatest thing in his life is gone it doesn't mean his life should end to? That he could pull himself back onto his feet and start living again. Where were you?" he asked.

My dad took a step back even though his 6'5" frame over powered Ely's 5'7". "I…I…" His eyes dropped.

"Your son is a greater man than you will ever be. Even though I get to meet him after he's been broken, I still realize how great of a person he is. If none of you are good enough to even give a shit, than none of you deserve to be around him," he said, accusing everyone with his eyes.

Ely spun around, grabbed my hand and drug my frozen body from the house.

Did my precious sweet, Ely just do that? I think I'm going crazy. My angel could not have just done that. Could he have?

"What an asshole," Ely snapped, storming toward the car. I stopped and he yelped when he was snapped to a stop. He turned around. "I'm really sorry, Gabe. That was kind of assholish of me to do too when I didn't really know what was going on."

I grabbed him, careful of his stomach and held him to me. "I love you so fucking much. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry?" he asked. "I'm the one that completely bashed your dad in front of your entire family. I hope I don't have to come to anymore family get togethers," he joked.

"Why are you so perfect? I swear Alice turned into a fucking angel, hunted you down and threw your crossdressing ass at me," I said.

He laughed. "I hope she did," he said. "I also hope she comes out of heaven with her little white wings and whisks me away because here comes your papa and I'm scared he's going to kill me. I have a fear of men, Gabe," he said, actually sounding scared. "He's going to kill me."

"You just told him off in front of my family how can you be scared of him?"

"I really am," he said, really sounding so.

"What do you want?" I asked, as Ely pulled away from the hug.

"Gabriel…I'm really sorry. About everything. I don't know…I don't know what got over me. I just…saw you like that I didn't know what to do with you so I…I guess I just thought you could figure it out yourself. You always could do everything yourself but…I guess…that doesn't mean that you can do everything alone," he said. "I'm so sorry Gabriel. Oh god I really am. If I could turn back time I'd do everything different. And…and I don't have a say in anything you do since I was never there for you," he said. "I'm so sorry. And…Ely right?"

Ely was hiding behind me. "He's going to kill me," he whispered.

"Uh...thank you. I really…needed to hear that. And…thank you for being there for him when I was too stupid to be. You were right. I couldn't have jumped to conclusions. I'm sorry to both of you."

I stepped sideways so Dad could look at Ely and the apology didn't go wasted.

"Thank you," Dad said, holding a hand out for a shake, but Ely cringed away and slipped behind me. Dad looked up at me his face full of confusion.

"Ely he won't hurt you," I promised. "Well, I guess we're going to be going."

"No, you can't," Dad said. "Please don't go just because of me. If you want I'll go, but…Jeffry, and Richie, and everyone else was really excited to see you again. And see you were doing better."

I bit my lip and looked back at Ely. He gave a quick nod and I sighed. "Are you sure?"

"Gabe, you need family just as much as you need air, don't forget that."

"How old are you you wise old man?" Dad asked.

"Uh…Nineteen?"

"Bullshit. Seventeen I bet. Well, come back in…I can leave if you want."

"No. Just refrain from saying much to me and we'll be okay," I said, grabbing Ely's hand.

How will you ever forgive me for being late? I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Please continue to love me! PLEASE REVIEW! lol. I've just been really busy. I had to interview my friend on gay discrimination, then I had to memorize three minutes of his 30 minute speech and pretend to be him in front of my class. Can I just say it's really hard to pretend to be a gay man? Much easier to write from their point of view.