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Peripheral Vision

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Peripheral Vision



It’s a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon when Andy’s ball takes an unfortunate bounce over a fence and into his neighbor’s yard. He’s not supposed to cross the fence - his mom said - but he needs his ball back. It’s going to double as a boulder later, for when Woody is escaping from the evil Dr. Porkchop’s temple of doom. It’s important, and Andy doesn’t do make believe by halves.

There’s a wiggly plank near the corner of the fence that Andy will be able to squeeze through, and he’s sure he’ll be in and out before anyone notices him.

He forgets about the dog.

Andy’s halfway across the scrubby yard when he sees a squat, barrel-chested dog come trotting through the dog door. Andy freezes, and for a whole two seconds, he thinks the dog will ignore him, but then the animal’s beady little eyes find him, and a low growl rolls out from his throat.

Andy panics. He doesn’t have time to make it through the fence again, but there’s a woodshed a few paces to his left. He leaps for it, just as the dog lunges for him, barking more ferociously than Andy’s ever heard a dog bark before.

He makes it, barely, and the door he’s just slammed shut bows as the dog throws himself at it.

“Oh, no,” Andy whimpers. He doesn’t know what he should do - if he should stay huddled here, or if he should call for help, pounding his fist against the flimsy walls until someone comes.

He hasn’t actually made up his mind when he hears the door to the neighbor’s house slam, and a boy’s voice carry through the air.

“Scud, shut up! You stupid dog!”

Andy hears something thwack into the woodshed’s door, like maybe the boy - Sid, that’s his name - threw a stick or a stone, something to frighten Scud into behaving. Scud quits barking, but he’s still whimpering, probably pacing along the other side of the door.

“What is it?” Sid asks, and before Andy can call out, the door’s flying open, bright sunlight spilling into Andy’s dark cave of a hiding place. He cowers, too afraid that Scud will dart at him again, and this time he won’t have anywhere to run.

“You’re the boy who lives next door,” Sid announces, his arms crossed in a menacing fashion across his chest. Andy nods, taking a tentative step forward, but he goes rigid when Scud growls.

“Careful,” Sid says with a smirk. “Scud here is trained to devour intruders whole.”

“But I’m not an intruder,” Andy protests. “I just came over to get my ball.”

“Your ball?” Sid asks, lifting a single eyebrow. It sparks a small flare of jealousy within Andy; he’s been practicing for weeks, but he still can’t manage that particular trick. “I think it’s my ball now,” Sid continues. “It’s my ball, and you’re my prisoner.”

With that, he slams the woodshed’s door shut, leaving Andy in darkness once again. It’s so unexpected that Andy can’t find his voice at first.

“Hey,” he says, then again, “hey!” and he throws himself at the door, pounding at it with his fists. “Let me out!”

Sid laughs as he walks away, and Andy can hear him praising Scud for being such a good guard dog.


It feels like Andy spends all afternoon cooped up in that stupid shed. It’s hot, and he’s thirsty, thinking longingly of the fresh lemonade his mom had made for lunch. He’d drink three big glasses of it right now if he were at his own house, in his own kitchen. His knee stings, too, a scrape there from when he’d walked straight into a piece of wood, the murkiness of his temporary prison making it too hard to see.

He wishes he had Woody with him, or Rex. Then they could pretend this was just another one of Dr. Porkchop’s sinister schemes, and it would only be a matter of time before they devised a clever way to escape. He’s all alone though, getting hotter and thirstier and sweatier by the minute.

Still, Andy decides he should make the best of it, and after awhile, he starts exploring. The shed’s mostly filled with wood and tools, things his mom would scold him for if he tried to touch. If there were more light here, Andy would probably play around with them some, but he’s heard one too many warnings about all the things that could happen to his fingers if he’s careless enough to mess with something dangerous.

While he’s investigating his surroundings though, he finds a pile of old toys. A thrill runs through him, because it’s always great to find new toys, and here, at last, is a way to pass the time. He scoops them up and brings them into the patch of sunlight that’s filtering through the crumbling roof, but as soon as he can properly see them, he recoils.

They’re toys, but they’re all wrong. Wrong and creepy, like something out of the horror movie he and his friend, Jake, had watched, last time Andy spent the night. He recognizes a GI Joe’s legs, which have replaced the tail of a gruesome-looking shark. There’s a toy train, too, but instead of wheels, it has Barbie heads.

Just as he’s dropping the toys to the ground and hurriedly backing away, the door opens again, and there’s Sid. “Okay, Prisoner,” he says grandly. “It’s time to - ”

“What’d you do to your toys?” Andy blurts out, his horror evident in his voice.

Sid takes a quick look at the pile on the ground, and he whoops joyfully. “I’ve been looking for these!” he says, grabbing at them with both hands.

“But you ruined them!” Andy exclaims. “They’re all messed up!”

The look Sid gives him is deeply scornful. “I improved them,” he says loftily. “They’re my experiments.”

“Well, I don’t like them,” Andy says, pushing his way past Sid while he has the chance. He breathes a sigh of relief to find the yard empty of Scud.

“Where’s my ball?” he asks, keeping plenty of distance between himself and the shed.

Sid steps into the light, arms full of his awful creations. “I told you, it’s mine now,” he says firmly.

“No way,” Andy argues. “That isn’t fair. It’s mine, it came over here by accident, and I need it back.”

“Scud!” Sid yells. “Scud, quick! The prisoner’s escaping! Here, boy! Go get him!”

It’s a dirty tactic, but effective; Andy races for the fence, squeezing through so fast he’s pretty sure he gets a splinter. He can hear Sid’s laughter ringing through the air behind him, and it’s a more maniacal cackle than Dr. Porkchop could hope to manage on his very best day. It makes Andy shiver, and he doesn’t stop running until he’s back inside his own house.

If he does a really good job on all of his chores, maybe his mom will buy him a new ball.



The first time Andy sees two guys kissing, he’s at the park, hiding out behind the drinking fountains because he’d wanted to play with Woody and Buzz, and he’s old enough now that some of the kids his age will give him a hard time for being more into action figures than video games and sports.

He’s pretty well-hidden to begin with, and he tucks himself further into the bushes when he hears footsteps coming closer. He desperately hopes it’s not Trevor. Like Trevor doesn’t give him enough trouble for the fact that Andy’s the shortest kid in their class - the last thing Andy needs is for Trevor to catch him playing some little kid game of make believe.

It isn’t Trevor though; it isn’t even anyone Andy knows. It’s two boys, both dark-haired, one with a buzz cut, and one with his hair grown so long it covers half his face. He’s wearing a skull shirt that looks kind of familiar, but it’s two sizes too small on him. They’re both older than Andy, maybe fourteen or fifteen - teenagers, but if they’re at the park, they’re probably too young to have their licenses.

They don’t talk at all - or if they’re talking, their voices are too low for Andy to hear them. They just flop onto the ground, picking out a private, tucked away spot of their own. For a minute, Andy thinks they’re just going to look at the clouds or something, but then the long-haired one rolls on top of the guy he’s with, and just like that starts kissing him.

Andy can’t see much, but what he can see looks like something straight out of a movie. His mind goes racing back to the time he kissed Marissa Hawkins, and how it’d been awkward and wet and kind of awful.

This doesn’t look awful. This looks like... like something Andy might actually be interested in trying some day, and his stomach does a funny flip when he hears one of the boys let out a moan.

As quietly as he can, he slips out from the bushes, his face feeling hot as more sounds reach his ears. It’s too private, what the boys are doing, and it’s none of Andy’s business. Getting them out of his head, however, is another matter entirely, and Andy feels miles away for the rest of the day, night, week - replaying over and over what he saw. It fills him up with feelings he doesn’t even have words for, but he’s pretty sure he isn’t going to be kissing Marissa Hawkins again.



The first time Andy kisses a boy, his hands are shaky, and he’s dizzy off too much pop and birthday cake. It’s clumsy and unpracticed, but it’s still better than any other kiss he’s ever had. Not that he’s had many of those either.

“Andy!” his mom calls from downstairs, and Andy jerks away from Brian, feeling caught. “Can you come here a minute?”

“Coming!” Andy yells back, his voice strangled. His gaze is locked to Brian, to Brian’s mouth, and he feels like he can’t catch his breath.

“I’m sorry,” he says weakly. “I have to - my mom - I have to go see what she wants.”

Brian shrugs, red-faced and nervous. “I could, um, wait here?” he suggests tentatively, gesturing to Andy’s room. They can hear the rest of the party downstairs, ten other boys shouting at each other over the sounds of a video game.

“Yeah,” Andy says, gaze straying to Brian’s mouth again. “I’ll come back, okay?”

That birthday, he spends more time in his own room, snuggled up to Brian, than at his actual party.



Andy never seems to have much trouble finding a boyfriend. His mom says he’s still too young for boyfriends, but she doesn’t actually try to stop him from dating, so Andy, more often than not, has a boyfriend.

They haven’t been serious relationships so far, but it’s different with Matt. Matt’s the first boyfriend Andy’s had since he got his license, and it means they can go on actual dates. They both have summer jobs, too, their paychecks large enough that even nice restaurants are on option, without having to ask their parents for money.

Matt’s also the first boyfriend that Andy’s done more than hold hands and make out with. The summer’s great, because Andy’s mom has to go to work, and Molly goes to day camp, which means Andy has the house to himself. Which means it’s ridiculously easy to sneak Matt up to his room.

The air conditioning goes out in early July, just as the days are starting to get hot. Andy doesn’t mind though. It’s the best thing in the world, lying on his bed with Matt, skin hot and sticky, mouths moving together, lazy and slick, like they have all the time in the world.

On Friday afternoons, the sheets always end up smelling like chlorine, since the both of them are fresh from a lifeguarding shift at the local pool, and Andy smiles, nuzzling against Matt’s neck.

The hazy, sleepy spell that’s settled over him is broken by the sound of his cell going off, and Andy grabs for it with a groan.

“H’lo?” he mumbles.

“Andy,” his mom says, and just hearing her voice makes him sit up, suddenly nervous, like hearing her voice means she could come bursting into his room in the next breath. “I forgot to put the trash out this morning - could you grab it for me? They should be picking it up any minute.”

“Sure,” Andy says quickly, taking a quick glance out the window. He can see the garbage truck stopped at the far end of the street. “No problem.”

“Great,” his mom says, sounding relieved. “I’m picking up pizza for dinner, do you want pepperoni?”

“With extra cheese,” Andy adds, reaching out for his shorts and dragging them back up over his boxers. Matt’s watching him from the bed, his eyes half-lidded and dark, like he’s enjoying the view. “I’ll see you later.”

“Thanks, love you,” his mom says and hangs up.

“Help me get the trash?” Andy asks, looking pleadingly at Matt, who grins.

“I’ll do it for a blowjob,” Matt says cheekily, and Andy throws a pillow at him.

“C’mon, up, put on some clothes,” he urges. “I’ll be in the garage.”

Gathering up the trash doesn’t take long, but the garbage truck is still pulling away from his house by the time Andy and Matt are dragging the trash bags to the curb.

“Wait!” Andy calls out, jogging forward a little. He can feel the heat coming up off the driveway, making him break out in a sweat. “Hang on, sorry - can you take this?”

The trash guy jumps off the back of the truck and reaches out to take the bags from them. He’s tall - taller than Andy, with strong, lean muscles in his arms. Andy can’t really see his face, because he’s wearing goggles and a hat, but he’s got a strong jaw, some stubble, and incredibly straight teeth.

“Thanks,” Andy says, handing his bag over. The guy pushes his goggles up, smirking, and Andy flushes as he realizes the guy is blatantly checking him out. Which Andy’s made easy for him, since he neglected to put a shirt back on.

“No problem,” the guy says, his gaze briefly flicking over to take stock of Matt. He’s got really intense grey eyes, almost silvery in the bright sunlight.

Andy feels himself start to flush, and the guy notices that, too; Andy watches as one of his eyebrows ticks upward. “You have a very good day,” the guy says smoothly, before grabbing the trash bags and turning back to the truck, tossing them pretty effortlessly in, even though Andy knows one is filled with all the old, broken, incredibly heavy junk his mom cleaned out from the basement three days ago. Then he jumps back onto the truck and gives it a thump with his fist, prompting the driver to resume easing down the street.

“Your garbageman is hot,” Matt muses, wrapping his arms around Andy’s waist and hooking his chin over Andy’s shoulder. “Also, he was totally checking you out.”

“No he wasn’t,” Andy protests, sidestepping the issue of whether or not he thought the guy was attractive. “Besides, he was looking at you, too.”

“Not like he was looking at you,” Matt says, his voice low. He presses his mouth to Andy’s neck, sucking lightly as he watches the garbage truck wend its way down the street. It makes Andy shiver, even though it’s got to be at least eighty degrees outside. “I think we’d better get back to your room,” he continues. “I kind of feel like reminding you that you’re all mine.”

It makes Andy smile, makes him feel wanted, and he’s the one to take Matt’s hand, drag him all the way back to his bedroom.



Andy’s only been at this stupid party for an hour, and he already has a headache.

It’s not just the pounding music and the sweaty crush of people. It’s the fact that he’s three and a half beers in, when normally he just sticks to stealing the pop that everyone else is using for mixers.

There’s a reason he’s drinking, of course, and the reason is that he’s ninety-five percent certain he’s about to be dumped.

To be fair, he’s not entirely sure that’s a bad thing. He and Matt have been fighting a lot lately, and it’s gotten mean a couple of times, more vicious than they’ve ever been toward one another. So maybe it’s time, and they’ll both be better off for it. But thinking back to the shivers that had raced through Andy the first time they’d kissed makes him want to hold on, keep their relationship from crumbling - by sheer will, if he has to.

Tonight though, he might be coming down on the side of breaking up. Matt’s been in a rotten mood since he picked Andy up, and Andy had almost been glad when he’d ditched him to shotgun some beers with his friends.

Andy tosses back the rest of his drink, fighting his way toward the kitchen so he can throw the cup away. When he crosses into the living room though, he pulls up short. There’s Matt. And he isn’t alone.

The guy Matt’s grinding with has to be in college - he looks at least twenty-one, which makes Andy’s stomach flip, tightening with jealousy. Andy’s never been the jealous type, but there isn’t anything innocent about this. Matt’s eyes are half-lidded, the way he looks when he’s trying to talk Andy into parking somewhere, so they can move into his backseat for some fun. His hand is in the other guy’s back pocket, clearly pressing him closer, and there’s a dark spot on his neck that Andy would bet anything is a hickey.

As he watches, Matt flashes the guy a slow, wicked grin, and when he leans close enough to start whispering in the guy’s ear... that’s when Andy hits his breaking point. He slams his empty cup down on a nearby table, then shoves his way through the crowd to Matt’s side.

“Are you serious?” he demands, pushing between Matt and his stupid college boy. “What are you doing?”

“I found someone who wanted to have some fun,” Matt says. He doesn’t look even the slightest bit sorry.

“You didn’t even give me a chance to be fun,” Andy splutters, which is the exactly wrong tactic to take. It puts him on the defensive, makes it sound like he agrees he’s the least fun person on the planet.

“Oh my God,” Matt fires back. He sounds so irritated, and he’s frowning, clearly pissed off. “You complained the whole way here, you hate stuff like this. At least let me have a good time!”

“Let you have a good time sneaking around with some other guy?” Andy snaps. His gaze drops down to Matt’s neck, and what he finds makes him scowl. “You have a hickey,” he says roughly. “That’s not a good time, that’s called cheating.”

“It wouldn’t be cheating if you weren’t my boyfriend,” Matt says, and a sudden rushing noise fills Andy’s ears, drowning out the sound of the party.

“Fine,” he hears himself say, his voice flat, just a little choked. “Then I’m not your boyfriend anymore.”

He doesn’t wait to hear Matt response - doesn’t even wait to find out if Matt might protest, because he has an awful, sinking suspicion that Matt won’t. He just turns around and walks outside, feeling dizzy and aching and awful.

It’s much cooler out on the deck, and Andy takes a great big gasping breath, relishing in the rush of all that brisk air filling up his lungs. He exhales, hard and fast, then closes his eyes and drops his head. He needs to figure out how he’s going to get home. Matt drove him, and he was the one who had a friend who could pick them up. There’s no chance Andy’s calling his mom. She’d kill him at least twice - once for being at a college party when he told her he was spending the night at Jake’s, and once for the alcohol that’s on his breath.


Andy whirls around, registering for the first time that there’s someone else out here. The guy’s tall and dark, enough in the shadows that Andy can’t really make out his features.

“Um, no,” he says quietly. “No thanks.”

There’s a long beat of silence, while the guy takes a puff on his cigarette, then stubs it out on the railing, no doubt leaving a scorch mark. “You here alone?” he asks, tilting his head curiously.

“I... yeah,” Andy says. “I guess. Now I am.”

That answer makes the guy grin, and when he steps forward into the light, Andy’s eyes widen.

“You’re our garbageman,” he blurts out.

“I prefer sanitation engineer, actually,” the guy says. His voice doesn’t give much away, but there’s a sharp glitter to his eyes that makes Andy think he might be amused. “You sure you’re here alone? I passed your boyfriend in there earlier.”

“We’re broken up,” Andy says firmly. Recently, but Andy doesn’t feel like sharing that.

“Then what you need,” the guy says, his voice dropping to a low murmur as he leans in close to Andy’s ear, “is a rebound.”

Andy’s pretty sure rebounds aren’t supposed to follow quite this quickly on the heels of a breakup, but if he’s being honest with himself, he’s more than a little bit into the idea.

“Yeah,” Andy says, almost breathless with the sudden flood of want that flows through him. The beer he was drinking earlier might be helping with that. “That does sound like what I need.”

He follows the guy back inside, swallowing just a little when he goes straight for the stairs. It’s quiet on the second floor, too early in the night for people to be sneaking up to the bedrooms. They bypass the first few doors, head for the one at the end of the hall, and they’re rewarded with what looks to be a guest room.

The guy smirks, and he tugs Andy in after him, smoothly closing the door and turning the lock.

“Wait,” Andy says, even as the guy crowds him up against the door, hands settled comfortably on his hips. “What’s your name?”

“Sid,” the guy says, attaching his mouth to Andy’s neck, somehow immediately finding a good spot, one that makes Andy’s eyes flutter shut, makes his back arch.

“Oh, I,” Andy starts to say, trying not to get too distracted as Sid’s hands slide up underneath his shirt. “I knew a Sid, once.”

“Fascinating,” Sid says, in a way that suggests he doesn’t find it very fascinating at all. It makes Andy laugh, a sound that turns into a quiet gasp when Sid lifts him up, forcing Andy to wrap his legs around his waist.

“He was kind of a jerk,” Andy mumbles, and Sid makes an amused sound.

“Maybe I’m kind of a jerk,” he murmurs, laying Andy down on the bed, then climbing on top of him. He doesn’t give Andy a chance to respond, just takes his mouth in a searing kiss before Andy can even formulate real words.

It’s a good kiss - a really good kiss, even though Sid tastes like smoke. It’s hot and fierce and demanding, and Andy surprises himself with how ardently he responds. Sid makes a pleased noise, one arm sliding underneath Andy’s waist, his other hand slipping down to grope at Andy’s ass.

“Do you like getting fucked?” Sid says, voice low and dark, and Andy groans, shuddering.

“I - yeah,” he says, hips jerking up sharply. Sid’s hard - he can feel it, and he’s sure Sid can feel how hard he is in return. “But I’m not - I won’t. Not with someone I don’t - “ He breaks off, unsure what word he means to supply there - know, love, trust, all of the above, or something else entirely.

“Yeah, but I’d make it really good,” Sid murmurs, and it makes Andy shiver again, makes him want.

“N-No,” he says. “I’m sorry, I - next time, maybe.”

That prompts a laugh out of Sid, rolling his hips in a well-practiced motion against Andy’s. “Not that I’m gonna say no to a next time,” he says, his words a soft rumble, “but don’t turn this into something it’s not.”

Andy gets it, knows enough to take this for what it is and nothing more.

And what it is - or what it turns out to be - is some incredibly fantastic sex. Sid’s got a very talented tongue, and if he maybe sneaks some fingers when Andy is distracted, well, it’s not like those fingers don’t bring him off to a pretty spectacular orgasm.

“God,” Andy pants afterward, still trembling a little bit against Sid’s chest, which has proven to be nicely big and broad. “That was - you could teach classes.”

Sid chuckles, and Andy can feel the vibrations against his skin. He doesn’t say anything, but it’s kind of nice, Andy thinks, lying here in the quiet together, the only real sounds their mingled breathing and the shift of the sheets.

Still, he can’t push it for too long. There’s a slow creep of guilt building low in his stomach, just thinking about how this would hurt Matt, if he saw Andy right now. Andy shouldn’t care - Matt was being a huge jerk to him earlier, and he’s been purposely pushing Andy’s buttons for weeks now. So Andy shouldn’t care, but he still does, a little, and that’s what makes him sit up, finally, reaching for his boxers, which got thrown onto the nightstand.

“I should get going,” he says, real regret in his voice. He only stills when Sid’s arm snakes around his waist, pulling him in close.

“Stay,” he murmurs. “M’gonna keep you my prisoner.”

That makes Andy freeze, a long-forgotten memory coming back to him all at once.

“Sid?” he asks, voice filled with disbelief. “Sid Phillips?”

Sid makes an irritated noise and cuddles in closer. “Took you long enough,” he says, voice kind of muffled against Andy’s skin.

“You stole my ball,” Andy blurts out, and that’s enough to make Sid glance up at him, one eyebrow carefully cocked, and Andy still can’t do that, which is infuriating.

“That was a long time ago,” Sid says. “I think it’s time you moved on.”

“You - shut up!” Andy exclaims. He’s still looking at Sid in pure astonishment, like he can’t believe what he’s seeing. “You knew who I was? All this time?”

“You look exactly the same,” Sid says, and in one swift movement he flips Andy, pinning him to the mattress. “You’ve got freckles,” Sid continues, tracing a careful fingertip across Andy’s cheeks, the bridge of his nose.

“Lots of people have freckles,” Andy grumbles. “Why didn’t you tell me who you were?”

“Well,” Sid says, his voice mock serious. “I thought you might still be carrying a grudge over that whole stealing your ball and locking you up in my shed thing. Which might’ve interfered with the fantastic fooling around we just did”

“Shut up,” Andy says again, his voice a mumble. He shifts under the weight of Sid’s body though, exhaling quietly. It’s a good weight, warm and heavy, pressing Andy into place, and he’s starting to think what he really wants is a second round. A second round that’s a little bit more than just a talented tongue and sneaky fingers.

“Do you, um,” Andy begins, fumbling the words. “Do you have - anything? If you did, then... then I was thinking maybe we could... um. You know. That maybe I’ve changed my mind about... that.”

It takes Sid a minute to understand, but when he does his eyes get very, very dark. He doesn’t ask Andy if he’s sure, or protest that they don’t have to; he just leans in and takes his mouth again, slick and hot and amazing. Andy moans, arching up into him, and yeah, he definitely wants a second round.

He tells himself he deserves it, after the crappy night he’s had, no guilt or second guessing necessary. It doesn’t have to mean anything, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. They can just have this, and then maybe Andy won’t forever associate this night with a bad break up.



The first time Andy has sex with someone who isn’t a boyfriend, it’s at a party in some stranger’s guest room, with Sid Phillips, the boy who used to live next door - who once stole his ball, then held him prisoner for an afternoon.

For the next week, Andy reminds himself over and over that it wasn’t anything more than a one night stand, that he can’t turn it into something it wasn’t. Sid didn’t seem to want him to, didn’t bother to ask for his number, and it’s not like Andy would ever want to date Sid, anyway. He remembers those creepy toy creations of Sid’s, remembers the way he’d tried to sic his dog on Andy.

Sid isn’t even Andy’s type, except for being tall, dark and handsome, with deft fingers and a wicked tongue and a seeming sixth sense for what’s going to get Andy off hardest.

There’s a part of him that still can’t believe he hooked up with someone. Andy has boyfriends, he’s not a one night stand kind of guy. It’s harder still to believe that his hot garbage man - sanitation engineer - has been Sid Phillips this whole time. He looks completely different now, with his hair grown out from that severe buzz cut, his braces long gone. It’s no wonder Andy didn’t recognize him.

By the time Friday rolls around, Andy’s spent days trying and failing to get Sid out of his mind. He should probably be mourning his ended relationship with Matt, but it’s like he doesn’t even have room in his thoughts to be sad about the break up - or to feel guilty about immediately jumping into bed with another guy. It all pales in comparison to his new preoccupation with Sid. Besides, things with Matt had been so bad for awhile now, that even if Andy feels sad, he's almost resigned about it, like deep down, he knew it was inevitable.

The trash is already out on the curb Friday morning, but Andy spends the first few hours of his day fidgeting, wondering if there’s anything else he can scrape together, to give him an excuse for heading outside once he hears the garbage truck.

He deliberates right up to the very last second, then finally goes in a completely different direction and pours a tall cup of his mom’s homemade lemonade, darting outside as quickly as he can without spilling any. He’s got a folded scrap of paper, too, with his phone number scrawled across it.

Andy reaches the end of his driveway just as Sid does, and his chest goes tight just seeing him, remembering all the things they did together last weekend.

“Hi,” Andy blurts out, awkwardly extending the cup and the paper to Sid. “I - so, it’s hot out. Really hot. I thought you might be thirsty.”

Sid pushes his goggles up onto his forehead, his piercing eyes locked to Andy. His mouth is curved, but it’s friendlier than his usual smirk. “Thanks,” he says, taking the cup, and it’s only as he reaches for it that he notices the note. He unfolds it, his eyes scanning the numbers, then his gaze flicks back to Andy, who shifts nervously.

“I’ve actually got something for you, too,” Sid says, and he reaches into a bag he’s hooked onto the side of the truck, scoops out a ball and tosses it to Andy. Andy catches it, eyes going wide.

“This was mine,” he says blankly. “You still had it?”

Sid shrugs, his mouth curving more solidly toward a real smile. “I went through some old boxes last night,” he says carelessly. “And I wanted to make sure you weren’t still holding that grudge.”

“Consider yourself forgiven,” Andy says, turning the ball over in his hands. Sid kept it, all this time, and it makes Andy grin, makes him feel flush with something like giddiness.

“So,” Sid says, holding up the scrap of paper, “this looks like a phone number.”

“It is,” Andy says boldly. “And - and you should call it. Me. If you want.”

“I want,” Sid says, and his gaze is just as intense as Andy remembers, leaving him breathless. “I’m thinking giving you back your ball probably isn’t really enough to make up for locking you in that woodshed anyway. I’m thinking I should probably take you out to dinner, too.”

“Love dinner,” Andy says immediately. “Dinner sounds great.”

Sid grins, and he keeps his eyes on Andy as he downs the lemonade, finishing it in three big gulps. He drops the cup into Andy’s trash can, then settles a hand on Andy’s waist and drags him in for a kiss. He tastes sugary sweet and sour all at once, and Andy closes his eyes, his one hand curved around Sid’s neck, the other still clutching the ball Sid gave him.

“Sid!” the garbage truck driver yells, startling Andy away from the kiss. “What’s taking so long?”

“One minute,” Sid shouts back. “Sorry,” he says in an undertone, ducking in for one more quick, firm kiss. “Duty calls. But I’m calling you - today. As soon as I get home.”

“Good,” Andy says breathlessly, forcing himself to keep from chasing after Sid’s mouth. “Looking forward to it.”

Sid flashes him another grin and gives a little salute as he gets back to work. Andy doesn’t want to linger and make things awkward, so he just lifts a hand in a wave, and jogs back up his driveway.

He can tell Sid’s eyes are following him though, and it sends another happy thrill through him as he heads inside, Sid's gift still cradled to his chest.


-The End-