Dare to Breathe
door frame. Through the glass door I see the shapes of Ben and Nathan fumbling around. One of them must see me through the light as I hear a drunken, “Sam, baby, can you please open the door?”
    I hesitate for a second, vaguely remembering my dreams and what happens when people are drunk but I shake myself out of it. This is Ben and Nathan after all. I open the door and step back as they both fall into the house. Ben has his hands on Nathan’s back trying (and failing) to hold him up. I close the door and turn to look at both of them with mock disgust.
    Ben’s red eyes look up at me as he tries to get serious and straighten up.
    “Well…er…good night then,” he says, leaving a very drunken Nathan lying on the floor face down.
    “Ben!” I shout as he stumbles up the stairs, “What the hell am I meant to do with him?” I point at the mess lying on the floor, which is Nathan.
    Ben just shrugs, mumbles a ‘dunno’ and staggers off towards his room. I stand there frozen until I hear his door slam. Okay . Now what ? I look down at Nathan, who has rolled onto his back and is looking up at me with a dorky expression. “Ish my little bird,” he mumbles looking at me strangely and trying to reach a hand up to me. His endearment shocks me to my core. How does he know my pet name? “Don’t fly away from me,” he mutters. I roll my eyes in mock disgust, trying not to laugh at him but also sincerely touched.
    “Can you get up and walk?” I ask, pulling at his arms, trying to calm my beating heart as I feel his hands wrap around mine.
    “Noo…too far,” he mumbles. I look up the stairs hesitantly, he is over six foot and at exactly five foot five and a whole lot lighter than him, I know I can never get him up those stairs.
    I point an accusing finger close to his face, “Okay buddy, just because I can’t leave you here—in good conscience—in this state; you can come and lie in my bed but don’t get sick in it and don’t try anything!”
    He closes his eyes and continues to smile with a hazy look on his face.
    I drag him up and he protests the whole time. When he is finally upright, we shuffle into the kitchen towards my room. My heart is beating erratically as I feel his body up so close to mine.
    “Hmm, you smell so good,” he murmurs into my ear.
    What is he doing? “Excuse me?” I say to him, trying to drag-push him into the room.
    “I like touching you. You’re so soft,” he continues.
    “Nathan, shut up.” I finally get him to the bed and push him down. His hands hold onto my waist as he falls and I end up on top of him.
    Now I get scared, really scared. “Please stop. Just stop!” I beg.
    I feel him freeze and even through his drunken haze he notices my reaction. “I repulse you that much?” he asks, quietly letting me go and sounding hurt.
    “I’m sorry. You don’t repulse me at all. It’s just…” I reply quickly standing up and moving away from him.
    He tries to track me with his eyes but he has problems focusing. “I would never hurt you…I think…I think I love you,” he says. Finally he gives up the battle, closes his eyes and starts snoring. I watch him closely, frozen to the spot. What the fuck? He is drunk, my mind screams at me. He didn’t know what he was saying or who he was saying it to, I tell myself as I look at him sleeping peacefully.
    I look at him again and damn him but he looks so sweet, so peaceful, lying there with all his clothes on. His long lashes frame his beautiful, handsome face and his hair sticks up in all directions. His last words come back to me and I feel broken. I know Nathan is an amazing person, someone special I could cherish, but I can’t even let him get close. Knowing I can’t sleep with him tonight, I shut the door, walk out and find a comfortable place on the sofa where I pretend to sleep for the night.

Chapter Sixteen
    “What are you doing for Christmas?” I ask Mandy the next morning, yawning as I watch her cook porridge in the

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