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When Nick pulled back, Dean was breathing fast and shallow, but he did not move a muscle. Swallowing hard, Nick leaned forward again and sealed his lips onto Dean’s mouth, capturing him in a warm, soft kiss. As warm and willing were the lips that returned Nick’s efforts. It lasted for far too short a time before Dean started to push away.
“It’s all right, isn’t it?” Nick asked softly while searching Dean’s face, looking for the answer he craved.
“Well, it’s not not all right,” Dean whispered. “I mean, it was wonderful. It’s just that things are kind of complicated right now.”
Nick brushed lightly at the bandage on Dean’s cheek. “Right. Your boyfriend. You deserve better. Why do you stay with him?”
“There’s a lot that goes on in this town, and I don’t want you to get hurt,” Dean said and moved to sit where he was out of Nick’s personal space.
“Right, the homophobia thing. I get it,” Nick said in a disappointed voice.
His heart broke for Dean when he saw the profound sadness on his face. “No, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
“If you’re afraid that boyfriend of yours is going to give me a beating, I can take care of myself. You can’t deny what we felt when we touched each other,” Nick said with quiet determination.
“There’s more than that. I can’t go into it now.” Dean had an expression that pleaded with Nick not to ask any more questions. Taking his seat next to Nick again, Dean took both of Nick’s hands in his. “Look, I like you a lot. Your friendship is the best thing I have going right now, and I really care about you. Let’s not mess up what we have, okay?” he told Nick.
Nick felt as if someone had kicked him in the chest. “Sure, Dean, if it’s what you want.”
“Thank you. I really need you to do this for me right now,” Dean said in a relieved voice. He gave Nick a tender kiss on the cheek and whispered, “Please wait for me. I just need some time to sort some things out.”