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Chapter 21 – The Years continue

The summer months came, Aikrii's dad had grown spiritually as well as emotionally. He learned to accept what he couldn't change and change those he could, with the support and guidance he had. Aikrii was happy to be back in Halifax visiting; as he got to see those changes in his dad, it made his visit seem more meaningful when he could hug his dad and not remember hate.

He remembered that his mom wanted to move and they had found a place in Ottawa so they could be closer. So in the next few weeks they were packing Aikrii's childhood home to make the trek to a new beginning. He looked around his childhood room and poked at all his old books. He picked up a teddy bear he had as a kid. He realized his parents were moving away and all the memories, both good and bad were being left behind. To him, it hurt to see them go but as he matured, he realized he can make good memories of his own. A future was more important to him and Mani. He smiled as he started to pack things from his room. Mani came in behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist nuzzling his neck, breathing on him and sending shivers up his spine.

"Penny for your thoughts sexy." Mani said.

Aikrii showed him the teddy bear. "He was my best friend when I was little. I'm glad to have found him. Maybe I can give him to someone who will love him as much as I did."

Mani grinned. "How about we talk about that notion after I give you what I have in my pocket."

"Aww. Mani, don't go getting all horn dog on me, I was in a reminiscent mood." Aikrii said, turning around only to be stopped dead in his tracks.

His mom and dad were standing at his bedroom door. His mother was holding back a laugh. Mani had a look of sheer smugness on his face.

"Oh really? You think I only think about, is getting lucky? You hurt my pride darlin'." he pouted as he shoved his hand into his pocket.

Aikrii's mom was roaring now, laughing so hard.

"Ma! What's so funny!"? Aikrii said.

"The look on your face when you turned around after he mentioned what he had in his pocket and you saw us, that's what was so funny."

Aikrii put his hand on his hip and scowled. "OK, what's so important that my parents are standing at my door laughing at me making an ass over a comment you made that I obviously took wrong."
"This." Mani said pulling the small box out and cupping it in his hand. He gingerly passed to Aikrii who opened it and squealed, his hand flying to his mouth in shock as he looked at it.
"Oh! It's gorgeous!" Aikrii started to tear up "Is this for me?"

Mani nodded yes, then added, "But there's a question to go with that gift, and it requires an answer before you can keep it."

Aikrii was dumbfounded and sat down hard on his bed. His heart was going sixty miles a minute. Mani got down on the floor in front of him, "You alright?"

"Umm yeah!" Aikrii said snapping out of his shock, looking at Mani who had taken the box and the gift from him.

Mani took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto Aikrii's finger. "Then say yes and we can plan a family. We can get that teddy a new friend, to be given to." Mani held his hand and waited, Aikrii's parents were still standing at the door. Aikrii's mom had tears in her eyes, she was so over-joyed.

Aikrii looked at Mani, tears brimming in his eyes, reached for his cheek. "You remember how you said I am you Ki?" he asked, smiling at Mani. Mani nodded and smiled. Aikrii kissed him, pulled back and said, "Then let’s open new doors together, my heart. Yes."

Mani was so excited; he jumped up grabbing Aikrii at the same time. He took him cleanly off his feet, hugging him so tightly, Aikrii thought he was going to squish him.

Aikrii's dad, Philip, walked over to him and congratulated him. Marie had tears in her eyes and hugged her son.

"Oh baby, I'm so happy for you!"

"Thanks, mamma." He smiled at her, "Wait till the others find out!" he said, remembering everyone back home, chuckling to himself, they would definitely woud be surprised.

Mani walked up to him and wrapped his arms around his waist, and whispered into his ear, "Hey, want to talk about that family I mentioned?"

Aikrii turned around. "You mean that? Kids of our own?" His eyes widened.

"Yes, I do." Mani said very seriously, "I always wanted kids of my own. I hope that's not a problem. Just because we're not with a woman, doesn't mean we have to forgo children. We can wait though if you're worried, there's no rush. I just want you to know I do want kids."

Aikrii was ecstatic; Mani didn't know the half of it. Hearing him say he wanted kids was a thrill. "I want three." Aikrii blurted out. Mani shook his head, shocked himself at the quick response.

"Wow, that was easier than I expected." he laughed and looked at Marie, who was still so happy. "Why three?"

"We can use a surrogate mom Mani. One biologically yours, one biologically mine and adopt one." He replied making it sound so easy. Mani was impressed but it still didn't answer his question. "Why three Aikrii?"

"I want one of my own too; you know, biologically mine and yours. Something that's tied directly to me or you as a parent. As for one being adopted; we could adopt first.

Our first would be ours, tying us together as a family." He smiled at Mani hoping that it didn't sound selfish but it was how he honestly felt.

"I think that's a wonderful idea babe." Mani kissed his cheek and hugged him tightly.

"Now when, shall we have this wedding?" Marie was the one to jump on that.

"July twenty-seventh!" she blurted out. Both the men turned and looked at Aikrii's mom.
"Why then?" Mani asked before Aikrii could.

She blushed and answered, "It's the day last year that your dad came back to me with a plan to change and asking for help. He made a leap and you two will be as well. I think it's only fitting." she smiled, hoping they understood that to her, it would be a good time to celebrate a joining of two souls.

Mani looked at Aikrii and raised his eyebrow in question, waiting to see what he said.
"Sure, sounds good to me, but that leaves for a quick and short notice scramble, you know that right?"

"Five weeks isn't that short of a notice and if we apply for the license today, it will only take three to four weeks to get here anyway, so no biggie. The rest will follow at its own time, as we get closer to the date. Besides, I like a challenge." Mani said smiling.

Marie was thrilled. "I'll start making calls as soon as you tell me where you are going to have it, in Halifax? Or in Ottawa?"

"Halifax!" They both said and started to laugh.



They had only been married for about three weeks when she realized she was pregnant. She danced around the bathroom with the test stick in her hand, Cleo was giggling with glee.

"Oh my God Sefron is going to be beside himself!" Cleo said smiling.

Mardi stopped and looked at Cleo, "Oh shit! How do you think he'll take this?"

"He's going to be ecstatic. I remember him always saying he wanted kids of his own, and he's great with kids too. You should see him at the do-jang when he's working."

Mardi sighed in relief, then smiled. She looked at her belly and placed a hand tenderly on her still flat tummy.

"I'm going to be a mom!" She grinned, "I have to call my mom and tell her!" Mardi skipped off to use the phone. She didn't even get the chance to dial out, as it rang under her hand. She jumped then giggled. Picking up the receiver, she answered it.

"Hello?"

"Mardi hey!" She recognized Aikrii's voice, "How're things there?" he asked her.

She was still bubbling with excitement. "I'm pregnant!" she blurted out.

"Congratulations! Oh my God! Mani!" She could hear him yelling for his boyfriend, "Mardi's pregnant!" She giggled at the enthusiastic excitement on the other end of the line.

"We have some good news for you too," Aikrii said to her. "Mani asked me to marry him, I said yes."

Mardi gasped and screamed. Poor Aikrii had to pull the phone back from his ear, wincing from the shrill sound. He laughed when she started to talk so fast. Cleo could now be heard in the background as Mardi relayed the message to her.

Aikrii looked at his boyfriend, "I think they are excited."

"OK, what gave that away? The scream or the fact that I think I can actually hear them jumping up and down!" he laughed, pulling his head away from Aikrii's and the phone receiver he was holding.
Aikrii shouted over the bubbly nature of the two girls, "Where's Nye and Sefron?"

Mardi stopped "They’re are both still at work." She answered.

"Tell Nye to call us; don't tell him yourself. I want to hear his reaction. Yours was pretty damn good, don't know if I'll hear his later but hey!" Aikrii laughed as Mardi was bouncing with excitement.

When Nye heard of the two sets of good news, he damn nearly fell to the floor when Mardi told both him and Sefron that she was expecting. Nye DID hit the floor, he fell clean out of his chair when he heard from his big brother, that he and Aikrii were getting married.

"Oh my God, will the excitement never end?" He asked, delirious over the news.
He looked at Mardi, "So what names have you and my wonderful girlfriend picked out by now?" He knew Cleo too well.

"Actually none." She said, "Sefron will pick the name." She lovingly looked up at him, touching his arm and smiling.

Nye sighed, he sure hoped he and Cleo had what his pal Sefron and Mardi apparently have and what his brother and Aikrii have together. Cleo kissed him on his cheek snapping him out of his world and he turned and grinned at her.

"I think it's our turn next." he wrinkled his nose and pushed on hers, "Think another wedding will knock mom on her ass?"

Cleo laughed "Let her recoup from Mani's first before you get any notions of tying your cute ass to mine." She knew he wanted to make her his wife and just the notion was enough to keep Cleo very happy.

The wedding for Aikrii and Mani was done at the same church where Sefron's sister was laid to rest. July twenty-seventh was a warm breezy day. Everyone that Aikrii and Mani knew was there. Their parents, their friends, and people they knew from work in Halifax and in Ottawa and many others from all over. The news was also covering the event considering Aikrii was now becoming a "Married man."

The minister officiating was very happy to have been chosen to be involved in the ceremony and he made sure everyone was comfortable.

"This is a binding ceremony, one that unites two loving souls in matrimony." He smiled at the two men standing before him. Aikrii was smartly dressed in a dark purple tux, the same color as Mani's eyes, while Mani was dressed in a dark green tux, also reflecting the eyes of his loved one. It was their way of reflecting a bit of the one they were committing to.

"Should there be any objections to this binding, let the one who holds an aversion for this joining, speak now or forever old their peace."

No one uttered a sound. Aikrii reached for Mani's hand and smiled. He gently pulled him forward, bringing him closer to him. Both were so happy at that very moment, knowing that their futures would be bright with each other to hold.

"Each partner has written a piece depicting their emotional attachment to the other, their vows of love to the other. They will now read them."

Mani looked at Aikrii and spoke. "The day I saw you, I knew you would change my world. Ever since, life has been a blessing, having you in it. Fate has taught me sorrow, patience, joy and above all, love. There isn't a day that I don't thank the Gods of fate for bringing us together. Aikrii, I don't think life would be complete without you. You make me the happiest man in the world and I can't wait to continue our lives together.

Aikrii smiled and he took his turn speaking. "I don't have something as wondrous as what you said. I wrote a poem, my way of saying how I feel." He pulled out the paper he had in his breast pocket. He unfolded it and he started to read.

"I am thankful I found you, you were someone always by my side. Beautiful eyes with a smile. Special, neat, smart and sweet. Someone I knew I could enjoy.
I met you that day and knew right away, our meeting was meant to be.
I wanted you for me. To touch, to hold, to cherish, to enjoy.
It's funny how things happen, how fate steps in, but as far as I'm concerned with someone as unique and special as you; with fate on my side. I win!"

There was a round of Awe’s from over half the attending audience. The Minister continued on with the ceremony and pronounced them united partners in life.

"You may now kiss your partner." The minister announced. Mani grinned and did so, picking Aikrii clean off his feet. Aikrii had his arms around Mani's neck hanging on for dear life, laughing under his lips and having the time of his life. The congregation all applauded, the wedding was a success.

The reception to follow lead to much singing, (including a trio with Sefron, Mardi and Aikrii, all singing) dancing and having fun. Aikrii and Mani took off for Italy on their honeymoon, about 7 hours after the wedding, Sefron, Mardi, Cleo and Nye made sure the rest of the reception went off without a hitch; it was a hell of a wedding.

"This is going to be talked about for weeks in the news you know." Cleo said looking at Nye, "Not only is your brother married to a very wealthy handsome guy, you’re now part of that family and will be a target for photos, think you can handle it?"

Nye looked at her and laughed, "So long as I can kiss you senseless each time as they take my photo, then sure I can handle anything." He giggled, swept her off her feet in a graceful bow and kissed her senseless, just like he said he would. Cleo came up breathing heavy, "OK babe do that again and I'll jump you right here, then we'll give them something to talk about!" she laughed harder at his expression; it was that of daring and surprise.

Aikrii and Mani were looking out the window of the plane, watching a beautiful sunset over the water they were flying over, Aikrii was nestled into Mani's lap. Their private flight made the rush off to their destination smoother. He was happy to be just lying here in Mani's arms, listening to the music floating over the speakers in the cabin.

"I love you," he said to Mani, who was stroking his hair. He looked up to the beautiful violet eyes smiling back at him.

"I love you to Ki." he said back to his husband.

Aikrii sat up, turned around and tucked himself against Mani's chest. He listened to his heart beating. "Thud...thud...thud..."

He raised his head and ran his hand through Mani's hair, pulling him towards him, kissing him firmly, both getting lost in the sensations, Whether it was the altitude or the euphoric emotions they were both experiencing, neither one wanted to come to earth anytime soon.
"Care to join the mile high club; I hear it can be fun." Mani said, daring Aikrii who snickered so hard he got the hiccups.

Cleo looked over at him, running a finger down his chest. Snuggling into his arms. "I wish this moment would never end." She said.

"All things end at sometime dear, doesn't mean we can't start it all over again though." Nye laughed rolling over on to her. Looking down into her beautiful eyes, he leaned down, running both hands in her hair and kissed her neck; she arched, it made her tingle all over. He pulled back and smiled at her. He loved her so much.

"I was serious when I said it was our turn next Cleo, I want you to marry me, next year." He looked at her serious like but with a cute grin on his face, he prayed she would say yes.
She looked at his cute goofy grin. "Anything to make you smile that wonderful silly smile baby," she said kissing his nose.

He smiled again, flipped to the side and took her with him. He tucked her against his side, and told her of the plans he wanted for their big day and who he wanted there. She viewed his ideas in her mind and told him it sounded beautiful. She was very happy. They both drifted off to sleep, knowing fate had plans for them too and eager to meet it with open arms. Steppin' out to meet the world as a special couple that had a loving family, who understood and loved everyone as equally as they did.

The End.
Steppin out - Chapter 21- End
Copyright © to the Steppin' Out series is held by
Sylvia White/(Pen name)Lila Mosher July 2017 All Rights Reserved.
Reg#'s: 1142030, 1142338, 1142339, 1142340, 1142341 under the
Intellectual Property Office, Government of Canada
No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means –
by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise –
without prior written permission to lila_is@live.ca



I OFFICIALLY own the copyrights to my own stories. PLEASE do not take them I WILL pursue legal recourse!

This bit of literature contains mature male/male romantic content, DO NOT read if you're not a fan! WARNING NOW!
This is "The Beginning Years" to my  "Stepping' Out" story/series.
For those who like it please by all means comment.
Those who don't keep it to yourself I really don't want to hear your bashing.
Links to pages will be provided in due time. A legal notice will be displayed at the beginning
of each book and again at the last chapter.

Thanks. Sylvia AJ White (Lila Mosher)

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Chapter 11 – Confrontation

Aikrii’s father, Phillip, slinked out of the much hated building. He looked around glad to be free once again to continue his search. He was getting closer and now he knew exactly where he was going to be. Off in the distance, he spotted the bridge, a church steeple and a few dozen auto shops. He headed towards the bridge with only one thing on his mind.

The minister was still talking to the friends and family of Chev Nairs. Her mom, Susan was being held by her dad, James, who was still in a state of shock. Sefron was sitting with his friends and a few of his band mates. He was watching the funeral officiating with a numb heart. His baby sister was gone and now he had lost one of the few people that mattered the most to him. She had been his rock when he was having a tough time. His sister, though younger, was always the wise one and helped him along when he needed guidance.

She was also the one who had informed him about the bands lead singer’s issue with drugs. She helped him write three of his songs and she was the one who introduced him to Cleo, who had introduced him to more new faces then he'd ever had the pleasure to meet. He never was one to make many friends, now he had many.

He sighed; he was feeling so cold inside. He had to get more info to on the accident. He had been told the driver who had hit her wasn't considered legally drunk. When they arrested him, due to the laws, he was allowed to refuse the breathalyser testing for up to four hours before he had to take it, or be charged with refusal and impaired driving. Apparently he managed to nail the near four hour mark and passed the test, making it hard for them to charge him with her death till they had more proof from witnesses at the accident scene. Eyewitnesses were the one thing the authorities were lacking.

He reached over and squeezed Cleo's hand who had laid it on his knee trying to get his attention. Everyone was heading out from the funeral and moving out to her grave site. He sighed, placing his head in his hands. He took a deep breath before getting up to follow the crowd. God so help him to be strong, he thought. Not only for him and his family but for the man who killed his baby sis. All he wanted to do now was make him pay for what he did.

Mani and Aikrii were leaving the church steps when Aikrii spotted him. He gasped and gripped Mani's arm so hard Mani thought he was going to break it.

"What's wrong?" he looked in the direction Aikrii was staring at, frozen solid in place. Then they noticed something else. A very pissed Sefron marching towards the same direction Aikrii was staring. Sefron grabbed a tall brutish dark haired man who had been walking up the churches parking lot.

"What's fucking going on Aikrii?" Mani said panicking.

"That's my dad!" he said, still frozen.

"How does Sefron know him?" he was confused and looked over at Aikrii.

"He doesn't." he said confused then it clicked and he gasped, "Oh God, Mani let's go!"

He grabbed Mani's hand and dragged him towards the ensuing scuffle in the parking lot.

"You bastard you killed her! You fucking killed my baby sister and you have the nerve to show up here?! I'll kill you!" Sefron hauled back to nail the man but Aikrii stepped in between them and stopped Sefron.

"No! He's my dad!" He yelled, praying Sefron wouldn't hit him. Sefron released the man he so hated.

Phillip snarled, "I don't need no faggot fighting my battles!"

Aikrii stared at his dad and was disgusted at what the man had become. "First of all! I am YOUR son! Whether you like it or not! Blood is thicker than water dad! So get over it!"

Phillip made a swing for his son's head, however; Aikrii’s training clicked in like an automatic switch. He ducked low and leg swept his dad; knocking him off balance. Before Phillip could hit the asphalt of the parking lot, his son had him by his jacket. He was dangling mere inches from the ground.

"I'm not scared of you anymore dad. You can't hurt me anymore either." He said giving the dangling man a shake. "I have people who do love me no matter what!"

Aikrii easily lifted the scruffy ill tempered man he called his father to his unsteady feet.
Phillip spit on the boys' shirt and muttered. "You're not my son. My son would be normal not some fucking flaming queer." He jeered his face all ugly with hate. "People like you should all be shot, the whole lot of ya."

"Just like your brother?" Mani and Aikrii heard Marie who had shown, speak up. Phillip was shocked to see his wife, let alone have her speak of his twin brother, Francis.

"You leave him out of this!" Phillip hissed, as he stood up. Now outraged at the mentioning of the brother, who had not only hurt him when he was a child, but his own disowned son as well. "That thing wasn't my brother!" He screamed trying once again to hit Aikrii. He lost it; his rage taking over.

Aikrii wasn't trained to fight in this manner, so he just used what he had been taught. Low duck, from a swing. Left leg extended, right leg under him, knee bent. Attackers exposed belly. One! Two! Rapid succession with a closed fist to gut. Pull back; lean to side as his attacker landed face first on the pavement, clutching his stomach. Aikrii straightened up; unscathed. Mani staring in astonishment at what had just played out before his eyes. He rushed to Aikrii's side taking his hand so he knew he had someone at his side to help if he so choose to ask for it.

"You’ve  already ruined your own life dad, you will not ruin mine as well." He straightened his jacket "I'm still your son, whether you like it or not and I will still love you as my dad but I've lost all my respect for you. Hate is a nasty thing and so is intolerance." He looked down at the man who had rolled over on his back. He had so much hate in his face, so much disdain for all that was around him, he wasn't the man Aikrii had grown up respecting as his dad. The man he knew got lost years ago with the first bottle of alcohol he had picked up after losing his job.

The police had shown by then and arrested Phillip again, only this time for causing a disturbance and then asked Aikrii if he wanted to press charges. Aikrii said no it was just a waste of time as far as he was concerned. He held his mom's hand as she cried and watched her husband get placed in the back seat of a cruiser.

Sefron walked up to them and spoke. "I'm sorry Marie. When I seen him all I wanted to do was kill him. I just wanted to hurt him so bad. I know my beating him won't get back my sister, but I sure wanted to make him pay."

"He still got beaten though." she said, placing a hand on Sefron's face giving a sad smile, "By his own hate. For the demons he holds."

She sighed, dropping her hand "He just doesn't understand that sometimes life doesn’t give you a choice on the way one is born, like being born black or white, it's not something you can convert." She felt so defeated. “It shouldn’t matter who you love. I still love him, even if he’s on a bad path.”

Mani and Aikrii went on either side of Marie and each wrapped an arm around her shoulder and then Sefron joined too. All four walking back to the remaining funeral procession. James was happy to see his son join them. They sat up front. Sefron noticing all the peach, white and pink flowers all around him. All were Chev's favorite colors of roses and carnations. The minister continued and the funeral went on without anymore troubles. The family, each, tossed a rose on her coffin, saying their good-byes.

James and Susan also laid a teddy she used to have as a baby on her coffin and sadly walked off. The somber moment leaving everyone feeling like the world just wouldn't go on.

Phillip was booked and put into a cell with three others; he was more angry now than he ever had been. The boy had beaten him, where did he learn to do that?

He let the comments his son had said float through his head. He hated everything that was happening. He bellowed a curse on top of his lungs. His fellow cellmates looked over at him and jeered, they could have fun with the well dressed bum. Phillip never knew what hit him, and it was over in an instant.

The next morning Aikrii was sleeping when he heard the phone ring. Not wanting to move or get up he just groaned. He didn't have to move though, Mani had been right there watching him sleep. He had been sketching him and was disappointed that the phone had waken his sleeping beauty. Mani picked up the phone. More bad news. It was Marie, she was frantic. She wanted to pass on news to Aikrii, it was about his dad.

Aikrii opened a sleepy eye looking at Mani who was frowning.
"Uh huh" he paused, noticing Aikrii was awake. He passed the picture he had been working on to Aikrii and continued talking to Marie motioning to Aikrii to shh.

Ki looked at the picture and was stunned to see what was there. It was awesome. He never realized just how much of a good artist Mani was. Mani was talking low tones on the phone when Aikrii realized something was up. He called over to him, "Hey, what's going on?"

Mani hesitated, then passed him the phone. Aikrii could hear his mom on the other end of the phone in a state of distraught. "Mom! What's wrong?!"

She started to tell Aikrii about what had happened to his dad while he was being detained at the precinct; the fight that had happened and the injuries he had sustained from the beating he had received from the other inmates being contained with him. Aikrii didn't know what to think at first, till his mother told him.

"He might die Aikrii, because of all his drinking; his liver was damaged and with this beating, it only made the damage worse. The Dr’s are saying he’s in need of surgery." Aikrii was shocked to hear this.

"Oh my!" He got pale; considering how dark his complexion was, Mani knew it was very serious to see such a dramatic change.

He got up frantically, leaving the sheets in a disheveled mess on the bed. He passed Mani back his drawing. Mani followed the nude body heading to the closet. Listening intently to the one sided convo knowing most of what was already being repeated. Aikrii grabbed a pair of boxers and his blue jeans, stuffing both on in a hurry.

"Yeah, I can be there." he paused listening "Uh huh...ummm no. Yes, OK, I love you too mom." He hung up not looking at Mani, tossed the phone and then rummaged for a shirt from his own kit bag of clothing, which still remained stuffed at the bottom of their closet. He hauled out a wrinkled white shirt and hastily stuffed himself into it. He ran his hands through his hair and turned around to be greeted by a confused Mani, who was holding the pad that contained the picture he had been working on.

"I have to go." he said to Mani

Mani knew Aikrii's dad was injured but he didn't understand where he was going, so he asked. "Where?"

"To the hospital, mom wants me to see him and I can't turn my back on him Mani, even after all he put me through." His eyes held so much sadness knowing his dad could die.

"You mean even after what he put everyone through, don't you?" Mani said. Aikrii thought he knew where this was going and really didn't want any part of it.

"Mani, understand this; regardless of his stupidity, his dangerous actions, and his hate for me because of whom I've become." he paused and then moved on "Regardless of who he's hurt, he's my dad first. Always was, always will be and that won't change, no matter what." he looked up with tears in his eyes.

"If you can't understand that then I guess you're not the person I thought you were either. Since you're still judging him the same way he judges me...us, with a closed mind."

Mani was angry, shocked, and most of all hurt at the words that spilled from Aikrii’s mouth. All of them feeling like burning water, searing his heart in a painful grip. He sighed and watched the love of his life walk out the door of their apartment, not knowing where the turn of events would take them next. When the door clicked shut, he looked down at the picture in his hand and then cried.

He entered the room; looking at the man he called his father. He was hooked up to a respirator and iv tubes. His heart beat registering on a monitor, slowly beating. It was the first time Aikrii had really looked at his dad without him seeing him like the drunk he was so use to seeing the last few years.

He sat beside his bed. He knew his dad was sedated but it didn't matter. He would still be there for his dad even if hated him. A nurse walked in and he started asking questions on his dad's condition and what could be done to help. She explained some of the info she knew but told him it was best to speak to the physician who was taking care of his dad's needs. He got up and followed her to the nurses' station and waited for the doctor after she had paged him. When the doctor showed, Aikrii was surprised to see Chev's mom.

"Susan, why are you here?"

"I have to do my job Aikrii. It's the only way to keep me sane." She replied flipping through a chart. "Why are you here?"

"I need information on what I can do for my dad." he said. She knew the man he spoke of was the man who very likely killed her daughter, but she also had standards as a doctor and understood why Aikrii was there.

She took him to her office to explain what was required in regards to the liver surgery his father needed. She explained how things would be done. Aikrii had to be one hundred percent sure he wanted to help, since the surgery that his dad had to endure could be potentially life threatening due to a transplant rejection. Aikrii knew he wanted to help in any way he could. She handed him a form to fill out. He looked at it, stood up and shook her hand.

"Thank you." he said

"No Aikrii, thank you for showing me even a man, like him, regardless of all the injustices he's done to those around him, he's still is loved and tolerated." She sighed and looked at him "You’re an amazing son,  he's lucky to have you. It's just too bad he's too damn blind to see that. I hope this step you're taking to help him isn't thrown into your face later."

Aikrii nodded his thanks and left the office to fill out the forms. Hours later when he finished talking to the hospitals shrink he realized all he had been trying was in vain. He’d been informed; that because he wasn’t legal age, and his mother hadn’t consented, he couldn’t make that decision on his own. He left frustrated, saddened and with no direction to turn.

Cleo and Nye were only at Mani's place no more than an hour when Mani got the call from Susan. He asked what was going on, as Aikrii seemed really upset. She explained what happened and what Aikrii was trying to do, only to have him leave her office again, saying something about losing again. Mani had no idea what was going on and asked Susan if he was still at the hospital. She said she wasn't sure and said she could have him paged. While he was on hold, he got Nye to use his cell to try and call Aikrii on his. "Ring, ring..." five times he allowed it to do its double ring. Nye got nothing. He shook his head at Mani, who was once again speaking to Susan. She said he wasn't in the hospital any longer.

Mani looked at his baby bro and his girlfriend and said, "Stay here, if he calls, call me and tell me where he's at. I have something to do." He rushed out of the apartment grabbing his keys and jacket.

Susan took the forms from him. Another potential living donor, only this one is over eighteen and healthy. She looked over at Mani and asked "Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Susan, it's his dad. Aikrii's crying out for help in the only way he knows how. If this is what I have to do to help him help his dad then so be it. I love him too much to see him hurting like this."

"But this is dangerous. Aikrii could end up losing you both!" she said with all the seriousness she could muster. Frankly, she could care less about Phillip, but as a doctor she had her duties to stick to first and foremost. She did care for Aikrii and Mani and they were the last people she wanted to see hurt.

"I trust you to not let that happen Susan" he said kissing her cheek as he walked out of her office, leaving here standing there stunned.

She decided if this was how things were going to be then she had some quick changes she had to make and fast. She got on the phone and started making some serious inquiries on how to get the required info, surgeons and teams set up so she could get things moving. This was going to be one challenge she wouldn't pass up.

Marie was at Mani's apartment when he came back for the fifth time that day. He had been out looking for Aikrii. It had been three days he had no idea where he was and he was so desperate to find him. He flopped onto the couch exhausted, scared and sad. He started to cry into his hands. Marie rushed to his side and hugged the young man who sobbed like a boy who lost his best friend. "Shhh, Shh baby he'll come home soon." she said not believing even her own words.

"You make a horrible liar Marie." he hiccupped. Wiping his tears, pulled back, and looked up at the wonderful Italian lady before him. She was so much like his mother.

"But I still love you for trying." She smiled sadly and touched his face and said, "He'll come to his senses sweetie; he just needs time to think."

"Marie, the boy is a freaking genius. How hard is it for him to think about how much we all love him? He should know we'd be looking for him. I want him here to, so I can tell him what I plan on doing for him, for you, for us!" He shuddered in while breathing, trying to control the tears from reaching his eyes. She hugged him again. "It'll work out baby. I know it in my heart."


Josh was astonished at how much weight Aikrii had put on in nearly a year.
"Good God darlin'. You're a sight for sore eyes." He said to his pal when he had shown up on his doorstep, four days ago. Aikrii didn't tell him much, just said he needed a place to think and asked if he could stay.

"You're more than welcome to hang out if you want." he said with unanswered questions flying across his face faster than the local subway.

"I don't want to get into it." Aikrii said. The look of sadness staining his face, literally made Josh's own heart feel like it was breaking.

"Ok baby boy. I won't pry but if you need ears to listen, I have two. Pull on one; I'll lean your way." He said patting his friends shoulder.

Aikrii woke up on the fourth day of being at Josh's and decided it was time to call his mom. When he rang at the house, there was no answer. Still depressed, he closed his phone and sighed. Raking his fingers through his hair, he crawled off the couch which was painfully uncomfortable to sleep on and headed to the small bathroom. He had just finished using the facilities when he heard Josh fly frantically through the door of his place, panting and all excited.

Aikrii poked his head out of the bathroom, and saw that Nye was with him. "SHIT!" he thought, just what he didn't need, a baby brother to poke where he had no business to be.

"Aikrii get your God damn ass out here right now!" Nye yelled. Aikrii was shocked. Nye never spoke to him like that before. He sauntered around the corner like he was a cool cat without a care in the world. He looked down at Nye as if he was a mere annoying child. Nye looked at him and did what any baby brother would do, took a tantrum. He soundly stomped on Aikrii's foot and yelled "Don't be a fucking ass!"

Aikrii was thrown off guard at his reaction and hopped around holding his foot. He certainly wasn't expecting that. "This facade doesn't work on me, so stop with the act. You're coming with me NOW!" He grabbed Aikrii's arm and tugged.

"WHOA squirt!" He said in a raised tone and with a touch of annoyance, "Who died and made you boss?"

Josh just watched what was playing out before him and interjected to the scene with his own comments; "Mani could if you're not there for him."

Those words were enough to make Aikrii drop to the floor like all the life had been drained from him. "What do you mean!? What's wrong!?" he asked terrified of the answer to come.

"He's trying to save your selfish father’s life, you foolish little ass! Now get up and let's go! I'll explain on the way." Nye grabbed him more forcefully, yanked him to his feet and started to head out the door.

"Nye, I'll call you later!" Josh yelled. Aikrii still confused, followed Nye down to the waiting car. Sefron was behind the wheel. "For a famous little fella you're some friggin hard to track down." He said as Aikrii buckled into the seat. He hesitated in mid buckle while looking at Sefron and asked, "Famous?" Nye, who was now in the back seat, passed him a newspaper from that very day.

On the front page is a picture of him and Mani. Under it, the caption says,
"Boy genius missing as father lies dying in hospital." He started to read the story and was surprised to hear people call him famous, even in the paper. There was a public plea for information on Aikrii's whereabouts. 'Anyone having information on this young man is urged to contact Halifax Police so he can return home as soon as possible, as his partner is being hospitalized in preparation to help save his very father’s life.' The paper continued by quoting Mani. 'In the words of Mani Tskii;'
"Just tell him I still love him. My Ki; we beat as one." Aikrii slowly laid the paper into his lap and swayed with the car as it veered in and out of traffic. He was nearly as white as a sheet, after reading the news.

"Oh shit. What have I done?"
Steppin out Chapter 11
I OFFICIALLY own the copyrights to my own stories. PLEASE do not take them I WILL pursue legal recourse!

This bit of literature contains mature male/male romantic content, DO NOT read if you're not a fan! WARNING NOW!
This is "The Beginning Years" to my  "Stepping' Out" story/series.
For those who like it please by all means comment.
Those who don't keep it to yourself I really don't want to hear your bashing.
Links to pages will be provided in due time. A legal notice will be displayed at the beginning
of each book and again at the last chapter.

Thanks. Sylvia AJ White (Lila Mosher)

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Chapter 10 – Tragedy

Nine months had passed since the beating. Aikrii got his last two credits from high school and restarted his courses for his third year studies at St. Stephens. Mani's studio took off and he was teaching more now that the Halifax semi finals were coming and a lot of his beginners; Aikrii included, were competing in their first matches. Nye and Cleo were getting closer as well. Cleo's mom had a bout with cancer and was still hospitalized so she was at Mani's place more with Nye then at home. She tried to avoid the sadness at home by giving her Stepdad, who wasn’t always so nice to her, more space. He had enough going on but then again it wasn't like she was totally missed anyway.

Mani closed his cell and looked pissed. "For fuck sakes!" he jammed his cell into his pocket. Nye peeked around the corner of the studio.

"What's wrong?"

"Damn courts rescheduled...AGAIN!" he slapped his fist on the desk."Why the hell can't the damn justice system work better?"

"It would be too easy if they did." Nye said.

Mani ran his hand through his red hair mussing it.
"Almost." He said. Nye was half distracted, smiling and looking over his shoulder at the beautiful girl he loved, kick ass.

She has been to the practice sessions everyday now for the last six weeks straight. After nearly two years of training her she was getting closer to her blue belt. Mani got up and looked out of the photo studio's door to the dojang floor. He tossed his arm over his baby brother's shoulder. His brother was gleaming as he watched Cleo spar with an opponent.

"I really think she's going to clean up at the competition," Mani said.

"Her and Chev; I think." Nye said in agreement still watching with admiration.

"You got a hell of a girl there bro. Just watch out for that first blow to your heart it maybe a doozie." Mani put in.

"I was already hit bro, and I got plans on enjoying what ever she dishes out in a few years time." He said grinning. Nye looked at his brother. "I plan on marrying that girl one of these days; mark my words."

Mani smiled at his brother’s comment. He knew how determined his baby brother could be; believed he'd do it too. He looked over again, spotted his camera and got an idea.

"Hey watch the phones OK? I have a five o'clock appointment and I need to make sure they don't think I forgot them. So if they call or show up tell them I will be with them shortly. Alright?"

"Aye aye, captain!" Nye said saluting to his brother.

"I want to get a few pictures of the students who are here. I have to get change too though. Be back soon."

He grabbed his camera and his instructor's uniform and headed to the changing room. Ten minutes later he was taking shots of some of the parents with their kids. Some were a few students sparring. He also got a few pictures of Cleo and Chev together. Asking one of his student's parents if they could take a picture, he got Chev and Cleo along with himself together for a photo. He figured Cleo and Chev would be his star pupils at the competition, so might as well get a picture now. All of his students were having fun with the pictures being taken. Not long after Mani finished up and his students started to head out, his baby brother bellowed from Mani's office, "Yo! Bro! Phone!"

Mani said he goodbyes to his remaining students and parents; pardoned himself and went to answer the call waiting for him.

"Hello?"

"Ahhh." The deep voice on the other end said. "I so needed to hear your voice."

"Hi hun," Mani beamed "How's it going in Ottawa?"

"Presentations went down without a hitch." His voice expressed his joy over the potential investors for the products he'd created.

"When do you find out who's investing?" Mani asks him.

"I could be receiving bids in as little as twenty-four hours." Aikrii said "But I'm not sure I'll accept anything as of yet. I want to make sure the software is running at its best."

Mani shook his head in agreement although Aikrii couldn't see. He knew Ki was doing what was best.
"I miss you." Mani said softly. He propped his head on his hand and looked over that his picture of them on his desk.

"I miss you too. I can't wait to get home." Aikrii's voice held a twinge of sadness in it but it was because he was so far away. His flight home wasn't for another two days but he'd be home in time for the tournament.

"How are things down there?" he asked trying to keep a positive tone.

"Great actually. I did some random shots of some of the students who were practicing here today. I'll email a few to you if you want to see them." He turned to his computer grabbed his camera and started to upload the images from his camera to his computer. As he did this, Aikrii spoke of who was attending the programming convention and how he got excited over the opportunity to meet one of the head CEO's to the newest computer operating systems, Nessix's; Troy MacKinnon. Mani was impressed. That was a big deal considering he was the current top computer operations software supplier in the world. Aikrii received the email on his portable system and he opened the first picture, which was of Mani, Chev and Cleo.

"Oh..." he said softly. “Oh, hun nice picture. You look so good to these eyes." Aikrii reached for the picture on his screen and outlined Mani's jaw in the picture. Damn, he missed him. He sighed. "I wish I was there with you."

Mani could hear the longing in his voice. He was definitely looking forward to his return. Their convo wrapped up. At least in two days he'd see him again but that also didn't leave much alone time for them, since the competition was the next day.

"WHAT!" he was absolutely devastated when he got the news. "Oh just bloody wonderful." He raked his fingers through his brown hair; his head was ready to explode from frustration and the nagging headache that was coming on. He left the airports' customer service desk. The storm outside was really putting a damper on his plans and most of all he may end up missing his first tournament.
"Man this sucks." he thought, "Now what do I do?" He called Mani's cell but all he got was a busy signal. "Damn it." He leaned forward and placed his hands on his head, looking at the floor. He tried to brainstorm but the weather outside made his brain freeze up. He started to go through his address book on his phone.

"Attention all passengers. Flight 221 to Halifax, Nova Scotia is now delayed till 10 pm. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for flying with Air Canada." The speaker announced the disappointing news. Aikrii groaned, looking at his watch he realized he had four hours to now kill.

"Well might as well do some shopping for Mani's birthday while I'm here." He got up and left the terminal and headed into the snow.



"I called three times Mani. I can't get through. It keeps saying that the service is out of order." Mani's mom frowned and put down the phone.

Nye popped into the room. "He'll call just give him time!"

Mani gave his baby brother a dirty look. "If he was able to call he'd have done it by now but I'm sure if the services are out then he can't."

He was so depressed. He had called the airport asking when the flight was supposed to be in, only to learn that there was a delay due to a storm in Ottawa.

Nye looked at his brother. He was just as frustrated too. He knew the team would have difficulties getting high scores if they were missing a team member, but his brother didn't have to snap at him. It wasn't his fault the damn airport was holding back flights. Tossing the phone to his brother, he stomped off across the studio to his girlfriend. His pride needed some loving to fix up his hurt. He got to her and she was kicking pads one of the other students was holding.
"Babe, break?" he asked making puppy eyes at her.

Cleo stopped. "Uh oh...Someone has put a pout on that face. Did big bro get on your case again?"

"Not really, he's all snappy and pissy because of the storm in Ottawa. The airports are delaying flights." he ran his arms around her waist and nibbled on her neck and sucked up a deep breath of her sweet smell. "He snapped at me and it's not my fault they are delayed...right? It's not like I can go POOF here he is." he pouted.

Cleo looked up at him "Aww baby, he's missing him... wouldn't you feel the same way if it was me?"
"Well of course, but it still doesn't give him the right to take his frustrations out on me."

He really looked hurt over the whole thing and well being Cleo she just couldn't let anyone hurt her baby. She grabbed a fist full of his hair pulled his head back ever so gently and then kissed him; hard. He loved it when she got forceful like that and he got excited every time she did. "I'll fix this in two minutes" she nipped his ear lobe, sending shivers through him; then sauntered away.

She walked up to Mani and hugged him. He smiled and said "Thank you."

She sat beside him and looked at him. "Now sweet cheeks, your turn to do me a favor." she said, "I'm learning to control my temper; the least you can do is say you're sorry to Nye."

Mani looked at her and gave a quizzical look. She sighed; apparently, he had no idea why she was telling him this.

"You snapped at your brother when you were speaking and all for something he has no control over. It's not like he can make things any different" she tried to look in his eyes as he lowered his head.

"Ah dammit..." He was so miserable. "I just want him home Cleo. I hate not having him around. It's killing me." Mani looked like he was going to break down and cry right there.

Cleo reached over and hugged him again, "It's OK, but you should still say you're sorry."

"You're right." he got up and looked back. "Good job on not ripping off my head by the way."
As he headed off to say his apologies he heard Cleo say, "Anytime."



When he found the gift; he was wishing he were home; snuggled with Mani in front of the TV watching a good movie. The weather was crappy but at least the mall was warm. His eye was caught by the display case contents. A flash of white gold; he stopped and looked closer. It was perfect. Silver in color, each linking band of precious metal was just what he wanted to see on Mani.

He entered the jewelry store to find out some more info about the piece he saw. When he left he was contented that Mani would love his present when he'd give it to him. He headed back to the airport with a more of a positive outlook. By the time his flight was actually able to taxi out of Ottawa’s International Airport, it was well after two a.m. Aikrii watched as the lights dissipated in the distance aching to be home. He drifted into a restless sleep, his phone, in his brief case, off...


"Ok I don't know what to do. I've called the airport they said all flights were either delayed, redirected or passengers were put up in a hotel."

Mani paced the floor frantically. Worried and in serious need of more coffee to keep him awake.
"No, I don't know where he is, that's why I'm calling you to check the GPS on his phone. I want to know if he's in the air or still on the ground!"

The one sided convo kept it's frantic pace up while Mani's dad passed him another cup of coffee and patted his worried son on his back."Oh great! ...Thanks..." He frowned looked at the phone he was holding in his hand; then turned it off and set it down. Sighing loudly in defeat.

His dad looked at him with eyebrows raised, "So..?"

"They don't know where he's at. His cell is off." Mani flopped on the leather sofa about ready to burst into tears. His coffee sloshed out of its cup, landing on the floor.

Marie, who was also there, rushed over and cleaned up the mess and then patted Mani's cheek,
"Sweetie, he'll be home soon, just you wait and see. I know he's OK... He's possibly as frazzled as you, but my boy will be here to make you smile again mighty soon. A mama knows these things." She smiled, stood up and headed off to the kitchen.

Mani's mom, Alice, was nodding in agreement to Marie's comment and added "She's right you know."

"We have a competition starting in eight hours, and he's still not here. If he's still in Ottawa, he won't make it. If he's in the air he's likely going to be too exhausted to participate, and I don't want him to hurt himself. You all know how he's always trying to please everyone."

Marie looked at Mani and spoke up, "Mani, you my dear man worry too much. You're going to make yourself mighty sick doing that. I'm sure my Aikrii will know what's best for him and him alone. If he didn't, he wouldn't be with you right?"

He was shocked to hear her speak like that but she was right.
"OK now off to bed, we all need sleep." She shooed everyone off to their respective rooms at Mani’s place. Mani's parents were in the spare room next to his own. Nye in his room on the cot and Aikrii's mom said she'd stay up and doze in the lazy boy chair, if she heard any news she'd wake Mani.

He walked to his room, his brother already curled up on his cot gabbing on his cell to Cleo. "I love you too baby. Yes; you'll kick ass tomorrow. Sweet dreams, goodnight."
He closed his phone and looked at his brother who was holding the picture of him and Aikrii at his sixteenth birthday party.

"Sleep Mani, the Do-Jang needs you tomorrow to you know."

Mani shook his head yes and put the pic beside his bed on the nightstand table. He crawled onto his bed and stretched out still fully clothed, laid back, staring at the ceiling. He fell asleep. It was just after 6 am when the phone rang. Marie was awake. She picked up the phone at the first ring, and she had a looming fear of dread when she lifted the receiver to her ear.

"Hello?" She said into the receiver.

Is Mr. Mani Tskii there please?" The official voice said. "He's sleeping at the moment, is there a message?"

"Can you please inform Mr. Tskii that there's been an accident and the family of Chev Nairs would like for him to call them immediately. They are at the Halifax Infirmary."
Marie was relieved to hear it wasn't her son that was in trouble but still distraught over this bit of news.

"Thanks Ma'am. I'll pass it on to him as soon as possible." Marie said then returned the receiver to the base, just as Mani walked out of his room.

"I have some bad news," Marie said. Mani's eyes went wide; he was terrified on what he would hear next, when he heard keys in the door.

Aikrii, worn and tired, looking like something the dog dragged in, walked through the door. He was the best looking thing Mani's sore tired eyes could see. He grabbed Aikrii and hugged him so hard, Aikrii thought he would break a rib.

"WHOA! Big fella!" He said laughing, "I missed you too; but let me get in the door."
Mani kissed his forehead his cheeks and squeezed him again saying over and over again. "Damn I missed you, and I'm so glad you're home."

Most of the apartment dwellers were already awake and in the living room when Marie cleared her voice to get Mani's attention.

"Mani, there's still some bad news." He stopped and looked at her confused. "How can there be, he's home!"

"It's not Aikrii, hun. It's Chev Nairs’ family. They want you to call them at the Halifax Infirmary. I was told there's been an accident."

If Mani could have gotten any whiter, it was at that very moment. "Oh God no!" He rushed to the phone and punched in the number to the front desk of the hospital and made his inquires on the family. James; Chev and Sefron's dad came on the phone.

"God James, I just got the message what's wrong?" He could hear the grown man crying on the other end. "It's Chev." He sobbed loudly. "Sh-she's gone!" He hears the phone exchange hands as the man wailed louder. Sefron's voice was the next that Mani heard.

"Mani. Sis was killed! Drunk driver hit her as she was heading home from her boyfriends. She was two blocks from home." The anguish in Sefron's voice was more than Mani could bear. He was so devastated.

"Oh God Sefron, I'm so sorry! If there's anything you need, let me know."

"Yes, uh- huh." Mani paused, listening to Sefron’s request. "Will do, hang in there." he said, then hung up the phone.

The room had enough tension you could cut it with a knife. Mani told everyone of Chev's passing. Nye who had been walking out of Mani's room stopped dead in his tracks.

"Oh no!" Total and complete shock covering his face. His chest tightened, "Cleo! I have to call Cleo..."

"Ummm," Aikrii poked into the distraught fray of bodies. "Mani, maybe we should cancel the competition in light of the news we've just received."

Mani was sitting on the couch when Aikrii sat next to him. Mani fiercely hugged his boyfriend looked at him and said "I still thank God it wasn't you, but no we can't cancel now."

Aikrii was shocked to hear that. "But why?"

"Because it's not something Chev would have done." He simply said.

Nye was speaking with Cleo as he walked around his phone, resonated the wails of a young girl who lost one of her best friends in the whole world. She asked if she could come over. Mani told his brother to tell her yes. Today was going to be a hell of a day and all of them needed the support of each other.

The competition center was packed when Mani's team entered; those who had already heard of the tragedy gave their condolences to the team. Mani contacted an official and told them of the lost member. He was informed that if they had a student to stand in for her that could do two rounds then they could continue. He informed his team of the changes and Cleo stood up. She spoke. "She was my best friend in the whole world; I think if anyone should fight in her place it should be me." Mani looked down at the saddened but sincere girl with the purple hair and oddest colored orange eyes.

He put his hand on her shoulder and said. "You can fight in her place but remember this; you're not perfect and no one here expects you to be. She knew that too and was still your friend anyway. So if you think you have to call it quits, no one here will think any less of you." He looked at his team as they all murmured their agreements.

Cleo had a tear in her eye and looked at Mani and said, "Thanks. I'll do my best, but it won't be for the team sir but for the memory of Chev."

"Do what you think you need to do OK?" Mani hugged the girl and then got his members up to warm up.

The speaker in the area crackled. "First up, Halifax’s East side Do-Jang, teams, Tigers and Cranes, with instructors Tskii and Master Chan."

Mani looked around, it was now or never. Neil was his first student on the floor. They did their customary bows and the competition started. By the time Cleo got to the floor though, she was a different person. She was focused and determined.

"Char-yot" she stood at attention as the ref got them ready "kyong-re" she bowed; then assumed her stance. "Say Jak!" the ref yelled initiating the start of the sparring. Her opponent struck first but being as good as she was; she blocked his blow with ease. Then lightening fast, she had him down on the mat in 3 hits. The ref yelled, "Go mon!" she backed off, stopping as told. The ref pointed to her side as he rewarded the earned point. Her opponent got up and commented.

"Wow, you're good."

Panting from the exertion she eyed him and said, "I have to be; but thanks." Two rounds later, with her rate at two to one, she won her first series of matches and was placed to continue into the next level.

Aikrii made his way to the mat for his division rounds for the yellow belts. He was very nervous as it was his very first time fighting even if it was only the Regional Division Competition. He wanted to do well. Mani was there on the sidelines, watching.
His opponent was a flyweight like him but he was still scared. He took a deep breath and chanted to himself. "He'll still care whether I win or lose."

His opponent bowed. He did likewise, and his belly flopped from tiredness and nerves.
Aikrii's nerves played a role in his first pin.
He was on the mat under his opponent in about five moves. He was disappointed but he still got up, brushed himself off and continued for his next two rounds. He ranked third in line over all and he was in the final picks for the last rounds, he was very pleased with himself. Never in a million years did he think he'd ever be able to get this far nor the confidence to defend himself.
The last and final rounds for the Regional Division’s Competitions left Cleo nearly exhausted but she was determined. Her wrist hurt from the last rounds and it was swelling.
She was icing it when Mani checked on her.

"I'll be OK." she said when he gave her a disappointing glare at the purple mark he saw.

"Cleo, you do not need to be the hero" he said, "I'm going to pull you, it's too much."

"Mani if you're my friend you'll let me do this."

"I am your friend. I'm looking out for you." He said "But I'm also an instructor here first." He got up from the bench and looked down. "If it's any worse in an hour; you're not fighting."
Cleo panicked. She had to finish, it was for Chev. She didn't want it to be, all for nothing. She searched the crowd for the one face she knew could help.

About an hour had passed since the beginner’s rounds had been completed. Aikrii was beaming, his last rounds got him ranked as a silver standing for the fly weights. He was jumping around all excited. He ran to Mani who managed to catch his flying hug.

He was cheered by the rest of his team. "See I told you, you could do it." Mani lowered him to the floor. Others patted his back and congratulated him. "I have to go check Cleo on OK? I'll be back soon." He ruffed his hair. "When this is all said and done, we'll celebrate OK?" He then headed off to the second circle, where the blue belts were getting ready for their finals. He checked in on Cleo. When she showed him her wrist it looked OK, in fact it looked like it was getting normal again although it was still swollen. He went to reach for it, she pulled back. She said it was fine and wanted to get going.

"OK, I have no issues. What did the officials say?"

"Just to ice it." which was in fact the truth but she still didn't look him in the eyes when she told him this.

"Well Alright." Mani stood behind her, rubbed her shoulders as she jostled herself back and forth, hyping herself up for her last match. He gave her an encouraging jostle before she headed to the floor. He told her. "Do your best; it's all anyone expects."

She nodded her head and went to the floor to compete in her friends place.

"Say Jak!" The ref backed away after signaling to start. She usually waited for her opponent to attack first but this time, as if she was Chev, she did the opposite and was off like an arrow and got a quick flying hit to her opponent's chest. She was down in one shot. Her teammates cheered loudly when the ref stepped in and yelled, "Go mon!" and pointed to her,  rewarding her the point. Cleo waited to see if her opponent would get up. She did. Again, the ref signaled the start of the fight and they were both off.

She was kicked twice; her swollen wrist taking the brunt of the two hits as she blocked them. Doing a low leg sweep she tried to throw her opponent off and succeeded with the sweep, but as her opponent jumped to avoid the sweep, she inadvertently left her stomach opened to an attack. With no thought to her injured wrist, she reacted automatically and nailed her opponent with a full force blow to the gut. There was a sickening crunch that vibrated through her whole body as her wrist broke. She screamed out as her opponent landed on the floor in a doubled over ball.

She grabbed her wrist with her uninjured hand, only to have the makeup she had Nye help her apply rub off on her hand. Her opponent was as stubborn as she was. Injured, she was still moving and wished to continue. Cleo was gritting her teeth through the pain, her head swimming. Two times her opponent went down; two times she was awarded the points. She had to win. Driving herself, she continued. Her opponent knowing she was injured, tried to take advantage of the situation and immediately aimed for her injury, but being prepared, Cleo raised her right leg up mid level, using it to block herself.

It was a wise move on her part as the other girl landed a blow to her kneecap. There was a very loud sickening crack which even the audience heard and they all cringed at the sound. Cleo though didn't feel a thing. She reacted now. Down went the right leg, no longer needed as a block but now as a swivel point. Round she went up went her left leg as she spun backwards. TWACK! Connection. Her heel hit a shoulder and her opponent went down screaming. "Go Mon!" the ref screamed. It was over. The point was awarded to Cleo. The ref went to her to raise her arm in victory. It was the last thing she remembered as pain shot through her and she passed out.

"But you deceived me!" she could hear the words being yelled. Then she noticed paramedics were taking care of her and wrapping her now badly busted wrist. "Look; it was her choice!" She heard Nye’s stress. "All I did was what she asked. I helped her!"

Nye was standing over her. She reacted by reaching up with her good hand and tried to touch his face. He took her hand and looked down at her; smiling in relief to see her awake.
"You were amazing!" he said softly over the hubbub around them "You won! Gold too. But, Mani's pissed we tricked him."

She frowned. Again she did her best but someone was still pissed over her actions. She started to cry; then her ever familiar temper flew off. She yelled at Mani, who was still ranting over Nye's deception.

"Shut the hell up will you!" She screamed at him, sitting up and pushing off the paramedic, who was trying to finish the sling for her arm. "Where the hell do you get off blaming him for something I choose to do?" she asked him.

"He..." he pointed to his baby brother "knew what you were doing and covered things up. He should have told me instead." Mani seethed. He hated being deceived or lied to.

"He did what he did because he respects my choices and my abilities to judge how far I can push myself."

“You put yourself at risk." Mani threw back at her.

"Don't you think after all the medical training I've had over the last three years; I don't know what I am capable of doing, even with an injury?" She waited to see what he would say. When he didn't respond, she continued "You're over reacting. I did what had to be done to finish the tournament." she looked at him again waiting for a response and once again she got none.
"Hey!" she interjected "I won us gold! For our team! Doesn't that count for something?"

Mani was too pissed to continue with the conversation, "You were foolish and reckless!" he gruffly replied as he walked away.

Nye looked down at her, "He'll cool off. He's just worried."

"Yeah I know," she replied. She still cried though knowing again she let someone else she cared about down. It didn't seem to matter what she did. If it wasn't at home, it was now with her friends.

The papers the next morning had two articles. One on Chev's death and the other on the Do-Jang's wins. "Winning two out of the five possible medal standings for their division. It was a bittersweet win considering the team's loss." Mani quoted from the paper. Aikrii looked over his own pages of the paper. He was still sad about Chev's death.

"Did Nye call back yet?" He asked.

"No, and right now I don't care to speak to him. What he did was wrong." Mani said frustrated.

"Hun, what did he do that was so terribly wrong?" He looked at his boyfriend but continued before he got an answer "He did what the love of his life requested. She wanted help...would you turn down helping the one you loved?"

Mani looked back at the one he did love and thought. "No" he answered. "But it also doesn't mean I'd be reckless either." he paused "He put her in danger by going with her plan. You just don't go covering an injury like that with make-up just so you can go on. It only prolongs the injury."

"He proved he'd do anything to help because he loves her and because he trusts her. She didn't cheat to get her win. She just suffered instead. She made a sacrifice out of love and needed to prove herself. What part of that is so hard to understand?"

Mani raked his hands through his hair. "None I suppose, but it was still foolish and she's suspended till I decide otherwise."

"Suit yourself; I agree it was foolish. I never said I didn't agree on that part, BUT" he stressed, "If you think punishing her for trying to do the right thing, then, by all means, do so. However, I think her injury is punishment enough for making the decision she did. Your choice to punish her also won't stop her from making the same decisions again if she needs to."

"Touché!" Mani said. Aikrii grinned. Ahhh, point made. Score one for him; he won that round he thought. "Gee I best call Nye and let him know everything will be OK." he chuckled to himself as he got up and went over to Mani and wrapped his arms around his waist.

"You know you're proud of her and how much she sacrificed to be her best, so let it be."
Mani groaned, "Yeah; you're right...again."
Aikrii laughed, kissed his cheek and then smiled. Now that was the Mani he knew.
Steppin Out Chapter 10
I OFFICIALLY own the copyrights to my own stories. PLEASE do not take them I WILL pursue legal recourse!

This bit of literature contains mature male/male romantic content, DO NOT read if you're not a fan! WARNING NOW!
This is "The Beginning Years" to my  "Stepping' Out" story/series.
For those who like it please by all means comment.
Those who don't keep it to yourself I really don't want to hear your bashing.
Links to pages will be provided in due time. A legal notice will be displayed at the beginning
of each book and again at the last chapter.

Thanks. Sylvia AJ White (Lila Mosher)

Previous Ch 9
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Chapter 7 – A love like none before

The hour drive home from Mani's parents was a fairly quiet one to some degree. Mani listened to the disk his brother Nye had made him while Aikrii sang to the tunes, making funny dirty notions to some of the lyrics in the songs. This was making Mani laugh repeatedly.

"Hey, want a coffee?" He asked as they pulled into downtown Halifax. Aikrii looked around debating, "Sure," he said, "How about from Jay’s?"

"OK." Mani maneuvered the Mustang into Jay’s parking lot and stepped out of the car. He went to Aikrii's door and opened it for him taking his hand as he stepped from the car.

"I'm gonna start feeling like some pampered little prince at this rate." he said laughing as they strolled arm and arm into the coffee shop.

They found a corner booth and waited for the waitress to show. When she did they ordered their drinks and asked for some apple pie as well.

"What do you want for your birthday? Turning sixteen is supposed to be a big deal, was for me." He looked at Aikrii and smiled waiting to see what he was going to say.

"Family and friends around me," he said. "That's a starter, and maybe some new clothes."

"Fair enough." Mani said, "I think we can swing that."

Aikrii looked at Mani and said "OK. You know my birthday is on April 15th, when's yours?"

"Mani smiled, "A ways away yet. Mine passed already, on the fourteenth of February."

Aikrii was grinning like crazy now. It made Mani wonder just what that wonderful little head had flying through it.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Aikrii looked up and said, "A Valentine’s boy. You really are my heart. You even have the red hair to boot." He reached up and touched his hair. Mani caught his hand. He smiled, love, flowing from every pore of his body. He found it so hard to contain himself even in public. They finished their drinks and pie in record time. Aikrii could feel the tension in the air and it wasn’t all that bad. He chuckled to himself as Mani grabbed his wallet and left twenty bucks on the table and walked out with Aikrii in tow, who was totally amused at the urgency in Mani's need to leave.

"What’s wrong?" He asked; a cocky grin painted his face.

"Not a thing," Mani said looking back at him grinning just as widely.

The drive to the apartment from New Glasgow was a slow and impatient one for Mani. He was so frustrated he could scream...Instead, he turned up the tunes on the CD player and stomped on the car floor making everything vibrate.

Aikrii was chuckling inside at the frazzled mess he could feel vibrating from Mani. He knew he was frustrated he could see it in his hands. His knuckles all white with tension as he gripped the steering wheel of the car. Aikrii decided to go with the flow. He wasn't stupid. He realized Mani wasn't mad, just sexually frustrated. Grinning he started to sing on top of his lungs.

It had been nearly two and a half hours since they had left Mani's parents home and they were still stuck in traffic. They managed to get to the apartment and Mani hadn't wrapped the car around anything nor did he jump Aikrii in the car either; much to his disappointment.
Giving the town a porn show would have been a highlight to any young guy’s dreams. Chuckling he sauntered into the apartment and looked back at Mani who looked a mess with his hair all sweaty and messed up.

"Take your coat?" He asked slowly sliding it from Mani's shoulders, lightly breathing on his neck as he did so. He watched the red hair stand on end near the nape of his neck, skin prickling with goose bumps. He watched Mani shiver. Grinning, he put Mani's jacket on a hook and walked to the fridge, bringing back two Pepsi for them to drink. He took Mani's and rubbed it across his tight belly moaning about how warm the apartment was, and how cooling the can was. He batted his eyes in a mock of innocents and asked if he could open a window. Mani bit his lip as he opened the soft drink, looking at the clock on the wall, quarter to twelve.

"Sure, open a window if you want." Mani put down his drink and escaped to the bathroom. He splashed cold water on his face, trying to keep his wits about himself and mumbling to himself;
"Keep yer pants on man. Still, need to go slow, he's still just a kid...rational thinking Mani old boy." He shook his head. He slapped the sink, who the hell was he fooling?

"Ah fuck it!" He opened the door only to be greeted by Aikrii who was now shirtless.
Mani sported an evil grin. Shocked to see Mani have the look of the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary; Aikrii let out an "Eep," Shortly followed by a slight jump.

Mani growled softly looking at him with the hunger of a starving tiger on the prowl. Aikrii's eyes opened wide with awe, he knew what was coming next. Him if he had his way. He laughed in his head and decided to play with the stalker in front of him.

Aikrii took off through the apartment like a flash laughing. Mani was in for a challenge and if this was how Aikrii wanted things then that was fine with Mani. He enjoyed a good game of tag anyway.

Aikrii looked at the clock it was already past twelve. He knew that's what Mani was waiting for. He slipped into the kitchen and grabbed the bow he had found on Friday and quickly slipped past Mani who was in the spare room looking for him. He shucked his drawers and crawled into their bed and stretched out. He put the bow on his belly and waited.

Mani walked back into their room confused on where Aikrii could have gotten too. It was the sight of him lying there grinning like a Cheshire cat from ear to ear with nothing but a bow on his belly that made him groan. He climbed on to the bed crawled over Aikrii, straddling his naked body.

"You’re wearing too many clothes for this ride, please get off and try again," Aikrii said like a robot trying hard to stifle a giggle with no luck.

Mani looked down at Aikrii he licked his lips and smiled "You’re more entertaining than a PlayStation 3" He latched onto him and slyly smiled, "See joystick and all!"

Aikrii sucked in a deep breath. Having his hands around him was pure delight. He panted and arched encouraging Mani to play some more.

Mani leaned forward, and let Aikrii's manhood slid against his covered body. Aikrii moaned and tried pulling at his shirt to get it off. Mani helped him. He wanted to feel his skin next to his own. Aikrii nipped and kissed any skin he could get his lips on while Mani lost his shirt.

Exposing his nipples to the cool air in the room made them pucker which only encouraged Aikrii to play with them. Mani sucked in sharply and moaned. He latched onto Aikrii's manhood again stroking him in a gentle rhythm causing Aikrii to pant more and more wiggling in anticipation. Mani slid sideways off of the bed but not losing contact and lost his drawers on the floor with the rest of the clothing that had kept him confined.

He hastily returned to the bed and struggled to get the duvet around them both while keeping Aikrii entertained. Mani was excited and trying so hard to maintain some self-control. He slid down and kissed his neck working his way down towards his belly stopping to nip lick or kiss some part of the dark tanned skin on Aikrii's sexy body. He took Aikrii into his mouth and savored him like a lolly pop. Aikrii gasped in sheer pleasure and arched gripping the sheets around him Mani chuckled with his mouth full and smiled too.

He continued to please Aikrii in a way Aikrii would never forget. Getting a steady rhythm going and urging Aikrii on; he brought Aikrii to an earth shattering climax. He yelled out Mani's name as he brinked over the top and shuddered as he came. He convulsed and collapsed; Mani gently licked and kissed his way back to Aikrii's lips. Mani's kisses only encouraged him to get aroused again. "Wow, frisky aren't we?" Mani said as he watched Aikrii grow with enthusiasm again within minutes.

Aikrii got brave and rolled on his side looking at Mani and kissed him. Shoved against his shoulder and flipped him on his back. He straddled him. Now it was his turn to bring Mani to his peak and he knew just how he planned on doing that.

Mani watched his eyes as he straddled over his belly. He ran his hands down his sides and then to the front of his belly to the tuft of hair that nestled above his arousal. He continued to stroke his skin and Aikrii reached down to stroke him. He fumbled some as he grabbed a small container of lube he’d put under his pillow when he hid in the room.  

Mani gritted his teeth, trying to hold his resolve he could feel his hot little finger wrapped around him and shifted trying to give him easier access. Aikrii delightfully slicked Mani down and moved over him. He lowered himself over him slowly; taking him into his own body, gasping as he filled him. He was so big! Whimpering at the satisfaction of getting him totally in place he leaned forward gasping and rocking.

Giving the rhythmic sensations Mani was feeling ten times the rippling effects. Mani panted and held his hips trying to slow Aikrii down he didn't want to go off like a cap gun. Aikrii looked down into his violet eyes and knew the effect he was having on Mani, he leaned forward, and whispered,

"I love you." and kissed his temple and then rocked to a faster rhythm, catching Mani off guard and overwhelmed him with the mind blowing sensations he was causing. Mani couldn't hold back gripping his hips he pulled down as he arched up both let out a joyous climatic yell. Mani hit his crest and rocked with Aikrii still on top.  They both collapsed into each other’s arms. Out of breath yet sated; they relaxed.

"I love you too Ki." Mani said stroking the sweaty head of Aikrii. "Happy Birthday darlin'." He kissed him again. Aikrii was so happy. He had what he ever wanted; he finally got to experience the wanted unforced pleasures of loving someone. It seemed to push all the bad that had ever happened away. He felt this was a night he would treasure and cherish for a long time too. Mani encouraged Aikrii to get up and go to the shower with him. The warm water slid over them both. Mani scrubbed Aikrii's back and let him relax against him as they swayed in the shower, listening to the radio he had in the room playing one of the many CD's that Nye had created. A ‘Savage Garden’ song was playing; ‘I knew I loved you’ Mani kissed his neck and got a now obviously mellowed Aikrii out of the shower. He towel dried him off as well as himself. He picked Aikrii up and brought him back to their bed.

Laying Aikrii down, and tucking him in he slid in beside him. He reached over and flicked the light out. Aikrii snuggled into Mani's side; in turn, Mani wrapped a protective arm around him thinking to himself he will never allow anyone to hurt him again if he could help it.

They both drifted off to sleep oblivious, to the world playing out below them, on a street where one drunk man scours the streets for the child he now called a poor excuse for a son, vowing to get back at the fruity little bastard that had put him in jail for eight months. Phillip seethed in a drunken rage; he knew he'd have his day.
Steppin Out Chapter 7
I OFFICIALLY own the copyrights to my own stories. PLEASE do not take them I WILL pursue legal recourse!

This bit of literature contains mature male/male romantic content, DO NOT read if you're not a fan! WARNING NOW!
This is "The Beginning Years" to my  "Stepping' Out" story/series.
For those who like it please by all means comment.
Those who don't keep it to yourself I really don't want to hear your bashing.
Links to pages will be provided in due time. A legal notice will be displayed at the beginning
of each book and again at the last chapter.

Thanks. Sylvia AJ White (Lila Mosher)

Previous Ch 6
Next Ch 8
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Chapter 6 – Growing

The two-day visit with Mani's parents had been an eye opener. He learned that Mani's parents were the most understanding people he ever had the fine chance of meeting. Being able to be so laid back with them was as natural as talking to his mom and the dad he wished he had. Nye was a hoot. Since Mani had moved out he sort of took over Mani's old room with his computer stuff and music equipment. With his dog Flip at his feet, Nye had tunes pumping like mad and his parents just boogied along with it all. Aikrii was impressed when he heard Mani's dad belting out the words to a Nickelback song like it was something you'd hear from 1978. He smiled at it all. There was lots of love here and he felt blessed to be a part of it.

The bed in Mani's old room was small but it was good enough for the night they stayed. The night they were to head home, they were all enjoying plans for a party at Mani's and were curled up together in the den watching a movie. Mani's dad, Danny brought in a blanket for them.

"It's chilly tonight. I'm sure this will help some. I'm going to go down and light the fire. When are you two heading home?" he asked Mani, "You know you can always stay another night."

"Thanks, dad." Mani said "We'll be heading out around nine. I have classes tomorrow and I have a photo shoot at 5. I want to get other things done for the rest of the week, besides I have a birthday present I have to get someone tonight." while he mentioned the present he looked over to a slouched Aikrii who was laying snuggled between his legs engrossed in the movie.

"Huh?" he said looking at Mani, he had no idea what had been said.

Mani laughed. "It's OK dear, watch the movie."

He looked back up at his dad, "Why don't you pop over to the house tomorrow? It’s Aikrii's birthday and I would love it if you stopped by."

"Sure. Want me to get your mother to whip up a cake?" He smiled knowing how much of a sweet tooth Mani had.

"Cake?!" Aikrii perked up at that and looked around. "Where?" He was smiling at Mani and his dad.

"Man, you have a one track mind there." Mani laughed hauling the sheet over Aikrii's head.
Aikrii popped his head out and blatantly blurted out; much to his own embarrassment "Keep doing that and my one track mind will find another track to play on!" He then remembered where he was and turned so red he ducked back under the blanket, butting poor Mani in the stomach with his head causing him to curl in reaction. Once again if they could see him, Aikrii went redder than before, since the reaction Mani had and where he was laying at, caused him to get a face full of Mani's lower extremities. He groaned in defeat.

"Ohhh damn it!"

Half sitting with a blanket over his head Aikrii sat there mumbling to himself. "Why is it I always mess up? Stupid, stupid Aikrii! Be an ass now..."

Mani and his dad both roared in laughter. His dad vacated the den while Mani took the blanket off of Aikrii's head.

"You’re far from stupid." He said as he tugged on Aikrii's arm to get him to slide closer to him.
"I can't believe I blurted that out, and with your dad here! My God! Talk about a total dork moment! I must have sounded like a deprived pervert!” He said in exasperation and throwing his hands up.

Mani laughed. He looked at Aikrii. "Dad thought you were adorable. You know he says you remind him of his baby brother."

"I remind him of your uncle..ummm...Eww?" He made a face.

Mani looked at Aikrii again and snorted trying to stifle the loud laugh he almost let out. Then in a serious but playful tone to he continued.

"I never knew my uncle. He died when he and my dad were teens. Dad says you remind him of his little bro because of your fun nature. Your honest, innocence and energy. Dad thinks if his brother had lived I'd more than likely have been a lot like him too; with his influences. Dale was a good guy according to dad; it's just too bad he died so young."

"How did he pass?" Aikrii asked out of sheer curiosity.

Mani lowered his head."Back in the early 50's homosexuality was even less tolerated than it is now. He; like you; was beaten only he wasn't so lucky. He was killed and no one ever paid for the damage they did to my dad's family."

Aikrii was shocked. History had repeated itself in a semi similar way with Mani as did with his dad's own family. It was odd how fate had a way of bringing people together.

"Man, I'm so sorry to hear that Mani. I guess it would have been tough."

"It's how things happened back then. Now a day’s there’s a lot more understanding, more tolerance, and acceptance. It's a shame some had to go in the name of free choices, but every war has its victims, and sadly we’re included."

Aikrii looked at Mani and was so thankful to know he was there to make Mani smile instead of sitting there reminiscing of what could have been.

The movie ended and Aikrii got up and stretched his legs. Mani still sitting on the couch hugged him from behind. Being the smart ass that Aikrii had hiding in his funny nature he bonked Mani in the nose, with his ass. He got a good nip in the butt cheek for it too. He yelped and then turned around and tackled Mani laughing like crazy, spilling popcorn all over the floor.

Both of them sprawled out on the couch. A tangled mess of legs and arms, wrestling and laughing. Mani's mom, Alice walked in. She tisked them for the mess all over the floor while they laid there a jumbled mess. Aikrii grinned and snickered and then with brazen tenacity and moving like lightning; flipped over and had Mani pinned. He started to tickle him Mani squirmed and tried to catch his breath.

"Right at his hips on his sides is where he's most ticklish." Mani's mom put in while she continued picking up like this was a normal play fight she seen her boys do before.

"MOM! Don't encourage him!" Mani gasped between squeals and wiggles as he tried to get Aikrii's hands. All the wiggling he was doing was causing some friction and he assumed Aikrii could feel the results of his playful banter.

His mom just chuckled and left the two to their play as she walked out. Aikrii's eyebrows did their evil little "I know." dance and he continued to tickle Mani making him squirm more. Through the laughter and play, Aikrii got a bit over zealous and forgot where he was. Leaning down with Mani's arms pinned at the wrists he kissed him with the fierceness of a starving man.

He wanted him so badly! Groaning and trying his damnedest to not give in; Mani got swept up in the moment also forgetting where they were. Aikrii wasn't holding his wrists anymore they had snaked around his neck bringing him closer. The heat they created together dizzied their senses made them slick and left them panting for more. The harsh words "Get a room!" was enough to make them crash.
Mani grabbed a pillow and threw it with all of his might at his baby brother. "GET OUT!" he yelled.

Aikrii shrank against Mani's chest. He felt so foolish. Panting and still warm from their playing he mumbled, "Sorry..."

Mani only hugged him harder and stroked the top of his head. "No. I'm sorry. I should have known he'd come in and ruin it. I shouldn't have lost my head there either; keeping us both in check is harder than I thought."

"In check?" Aikrii asked.

Mani put his eyes down, "Yes, in check. You’re still only fifteen Aikrii." looking at his watch he continued "Legally and technically; I have ten more hours to wait. I intend to TRY and keep it that way; for both our sakes." He looked back at Aikrii and ran his hand along his cheeks and through his hair, "Understand it's nothing to do with you personally. It's the morals I was brought up with, and respect is one of them."

"But we can still...umm…play?" Aikrii asked with childlike eagerness.

Mani chuckled then the laughter grew as he hauled Aikrii down to him he growled: "Bring it on, babe!"

He kissed him, throwing him off balance flipped over and had Aikrii pinned. He nibbled his ear and licked down his neck.

Aikrii squealed and panted "Oh my God!'

Arching, he pressed against Mani's straddled hips. Mani was totally aware of his arousal. Grinning he got off and said, "OK, time to go home."

"Aww damn it, Mani! You left me hanging!" Aikrii pouted crossing his arms.

Mani went over grabbed his hand, pulling him to his feet. Kissed his cheek quickly and whispered, "We can play; undisturbed; at home."

Aikrii's eyes widened. The promises of some release there, he scurried to get his jacket.
They both left happy and with a round of hugs and promises of visits tomorrow afternoon for Aikrii's sixteenth birthday celebration, they left Mani's parents home.
Steppin Out chapter 6
I OFFICIALLY own the copyrights to my own stories. PLEASE do not take them I WILL pursue legal recourse!

This bit of literature contains mature male/male romantic content, DO NOT read if you're not a fan! WARNING NOW!
This is "The Beginning Years" to my  "Stepping' Out" story/series.
For those who like it please by all means comment.
Those who don't keep it to yourself I really don't want to hear your bashing.
Links to pages will be provided in due time. A legal notice will be displayed at the beginning
of each book and again at the last chapter.

Thanks. Sylvia AJ White (Lila Mosher)

Previous Ch 5
Next Ch 7
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So today I decided to write a journal on my journey to getting my book published. I was asked to think about how far I’ve gotten as I am being interviewed by one of the local vloggers here in Halifax.

So I figured the best way to do that is to write out where I started as to where I am now; which I might add is a LONG way from where I was.

So back in 1997 no long after my son was born, I had a moment where I realized I was more like my uncle who’d come out to me a few years prior than I’d realized. And even though he’d decided I wasn’t part of his family anymore I felt a certain sense of pride in who he was and how he decided to be himself. I’ll always be thankful to him for that, even if he has this tendency to be hateful to those who support him. Sometimes I believe those who lash out only do so because they too have difficulties accepting even themselves. I hope one day he finds peace within himself.

So my journey of self discovery began when I realized that all the relationships I’d ever been in were never about the sexual attraction, but of romantic attachment and I wasn’t just attracted to guys but gals as well. So over the years it took me a LONG time to learn I wasn’t just Bi but I was Ace as well. (Which I might add is VERY damn confusing considering I have kids!) So the long and the short of it is this. Asexual people don’t necessary abstain from intimacy. We just don’t have that same “feel” to attraction as most straight CIS folk do. Most of the time an attraction to another is mostly physical before it’s mental. For me it’s solely just the romantic attraction to one’s personality and their smarts. Physical attraction I realized at about twenty eight or so wasn’t part of who I was. Oddly enough though I had a few kids by this time.

Why? Well because to me the act of intimacy wasn’t at all part of my relationships but a means to satisfy my partner. To put myself out there for their needs. Sadly most didn’t understand that sacrifice (and this is why many of my relationships failed, because they were purely physical while I was purely mental) I seen intimacy as a duty, a past time, a sacrifice to my partner to give them joy (I mean come on now, guys do shit they hate for us all the time … right?) and even though my partners had heard my thoughts on this I didn’t understand until I was about twenty eight what it all meant. To most guys; sex was all about showing love and caring… to me it wasn’t any more important than doing dishes or cleaning the house; which I might add;  ALSO showed you cared, loved and respected someone. (something you don’t have to do, but do anyway because to me actions speak louder than words)

With this now more clear to me I became even more attached to the LGBTQ community. I’d already been part of it for quite some time and was learning more and more. Self discovery was amazing and things clicked more than they didn’t. One evening I’d been sitting down and was thinking of something to do. Being the creative type I decided to tackle a story, but not any old story. I wanted something that was fanciful, magical, true to life, coming of age, self realization with a twist of faith, queerness, and a dash of romance.

It took me a few days to decide how I was going to create my characters.  I had people I knew in my circle of friends. Throughout my life as well within the queer community and those I’d crossed paths with as a foster child in the relentless system of foster care. I decided to create characters with different traits, personalities and looks of several people I knew. Some who’d passed due to suicide as I felt those “What if’s” (They survived, how would their life had turned out?) needed to have a story. Some I knew were part of the LGBTQ community. Others I had no idea but their orientation wasn’t of my concern, I wanted the person I knew, or their looks, or their quirks, or brains as part of my characters life. So I delved into bringing those characters to life.

Aikrii was based on 3 different people I knew. One who had passed due to mental health issues but he was SO damn smart it hurt to learn that all the bullying he’d faced in Jr High and most of high school caused him to give up in the end. This person was Aikrii’s brains.
Another young man I met in Sarnia Ontario was Aikrii’s looks. Standing at about five foot six he had a very nice dark complexion and resembled the Italian heritage very strongly, oddly though he’d green eyes; which threw people off. I found him rather pretty. Aikrii also contained a bit of me. His abuse he’d faced in the story were small parts of things I myself had faced as a child. (Although not all of it)
His character comes to life at about fifteen going on sixteen and he’s already “Out” but to his family, where as in the book he’s tossed “Out” to his school and it caused a HUGE upheaval in his life.  However without it he’d have never met Mani the 2nd character I’d created.

Mani was based on a few people. NOW… I didn’t have his defined looks till much later; Just that he was a red head with purple eyes. It was when I stumbled across a vine video creator that I realized he was what I was what I’d envisioned all along. When I saw him I actually yelled. “Oh my fucking God! He looks JUST how I vision Mani! Only Mani has red hair.” I was absolutely delighted, (like seriously tickled, I giggled like a school girl!) it’d taken sixteen years for me to find Mani’s face. He was a SPIT of Thomas Sanders, except Mani has red hair and a fictional condition called Alexandria Genesis which causes him to have pale skin and purple eyes. Something my character Mani had, and his hair and eye coloring were actually based off of another person I knew and his looks were mixed to create this character. Mani’s artistic abilities although more pronounced than my own were a combination of my own and another artist I knew as a teen. Her abilities stunned me and I felt that my character needed the same ones so that ability was put into him as well. Mani’s compassion comes from a foster parent I had growing up and it’s with all of these that his character came to life.

Now people ask me all the time. “What’s your book about?” 

Well that was a difficult thing to answer as it’s not about one thing. It’s about a lot of things. Self discovery is part of it but more along the lines of growth while living in the queer community and above all ACCEPTANCE which is something I’ve always had a problem getting myself. (although I didn’t require validation, acceptance was a different matter to me) Some people find me overbearing, loud and “too happy” as I’ve been told more than once. (yes, too happy) I’m me, I’m happy with who I am even if others aren’t. I’m best in small doses. ;)

I am one who’s happily excited for a friends accomplishments. I would defend them with every ounce of UMPH I had. (yes sometimes even when I know they might be wrong) but that comes back just as strong when you’re an enemy. I’m a person who lacks tact when I speak… not something I’m proud of but it’s my main weakness and I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I come off as a bitch. (It’s actually not intended for the most part…mines just the verbal aspect to resting bitch face LOL) Hey what can I say, ya can’t please everyone; and frankly I don’t think I wanna try either. (It’d be exhausting!)

Anyway back to my book. I decided that with my characters they needed friends. Passions, career paths, family of their own either parents/siblings or ones that they “chosen” or ones that came from personal growth. I also decided that my story needed to be told in sections so a series was settled on and for me it started off with three books. I focused the towns on Halifax NS and Ottawa Ontario. I HAD decided into book 2 to change the cities names to Curre and Kearney (A lake in Halifax, but used in regards to Ottawa) It wasn’t until I was on book five I decided to change the cities back to their intended origins.

ANYWAY, a good friend Michie (you nut bar, I love you!) told me I couldn’t end with three as we didn’t learn about the other brother (Sam) from the second book. That there were too many unanswered questions in my stories that just had to be answered. SO it grew, to five books. (on her encouragement ALONE) Four which are completed and the fifth about seven chapters away from being done.

My first two books start off with the main characters, then go to their two friends Josh and Dante. It progresses to the third book that involves the other family members and the straight CIS side of the two main characters lives, although they are still part of the series as a whole. It shows acceptance, growth, love and a splash of the mysterious and spiritual. It brings forth acknowledgment to mental health, bullying and then some. The 4th book focuses on the twin brother of Dante from the 2nd book; (Sam) and his relationship with someone in a position of authority. (Xavier) and their own life struggles with back lash on them for being part of the queer community and hate crimes. The fifth book is more for the ladies and centers around two characters briefly mentioned in Josh and Dante’s story, the owners to their build; Joane and Claire; who end up part of their family dynamics by choice. (You’ll have to read it to learn how ;) it’s quite a sweet and huge sacrifice to say the least) I have plans for other books. I believe the 6th will focus on everyone as a whole as the main outline. Their lives as they have progressed over a span of approximately fifteen years. Aikrii will be about thirty years old and Mani about thirty-two or so. The fundamental aspects to this one will be on family, how their children cope with those in their community who will bully them for having two fathers. The support they get from those around them and then some. The last one of my books will ultimately be the ending with my main characters lives closing after being followed for over twenty years and how their family grew. The trials and more they had all faced and the spiritual aspect I had spun into the first three books will be brought to the front once again. *Hint… if you’ve read them, think of the angel from book 3*

I started all of this with the notion I’d one day get published. Even if it was on line. I checked over and over again on self publishing. It was costly. VERY costly. I had started a Gofund me account with NO luck. (It has since been edited to encourage support on my 2nd book!) I had to save a LONG time once I finally put my mind to doing it. TWENTY years after I had written my 1st books outline (by hand) and 11 years after I had typed it up on the computer.

I started with a thought. Out lined it for six years. Put in points/ideas/details on characters/looks/personalities. (some characters visual looks and aspects took longer than others) Devised a plot.
Thought of a story line to follow. Gave it some romance and a spiritual yet magical touch and kept it to the queer community.
I started writing the whole thing in 2006 and it took me three weeks to finish the 1st book. (with spelling mistakes, poor grammar and all)

I continued with the 2nd book a month later. I took my time and finished the second one in 3 months. (that too with the mess the 1st was in, BUT it was much better) I posted it in Nifty. Within weeks of that I had fans writing me. Some pouring their hearts out and telling me my story struck a cord with them and thanking me for keeping it “real” and not all smut. This kind of fan mail and feed back encouraged me to write my 3rd. I was working full time by now and getting ready to move back to NS so I wasn’t on line to write as much but I did when I could. A year after my 1st book was done my 3rd was completed and even though I had spelling issues the corrections were made easier than the 1st book which I was then editing to be better than it was.

Now book four took a turn… mainly because I got sick, then I had a little one. It took me FOUR YEARS to finish that one *I had lost the SD card everything was on. (In the mean time I had also written several fan fictions when I was dealing with being ill and raising a new baby)
I did finish it though. Thankfully. NOW I’m working on Joane and Claire’s story. My BFF Clara is my main character in this book and YES she’s well aware. (I had to make my fav gal into one of my characters, and with a touch of sassy I also gave her red hair LOL) Now this book is only about seven chapters from being completed. I haven’t done much writing on it but I will be once my 1st book is re-edited.

NOW back to my 1st book. I approached a few Deviants about doing the cover for my book :iconsigeel: (Linda Sejic) was my 2nd one on my list and I got a hold of her back in May of this year and asked her if she could help. She happily accepted and I was MORE than thrilled because I had her on my top 3 artists that I was considering (All unknowingly vying for that #1 spot on my fav list but I couldn’t decide 100% on who it was because I loved all their work.) Now I could have done the art myself. (although I’m no where near as good at the ones I’d considered to ask) but I wanted to focus on my writing.

So needless to say I was over the moon when I got the rough drafts and elated when I got the final piece. Linda had outdone herself. I wish I could have said the same for the editor I’d hired. (My friend Nancy who is NOW working on my 1st book re-editing it, she is a SAINT!) said it’s obvious the 1st person did NOT read it at all mainly due to the horrible grammar/punctuation issues throughout the book. (Now I will be the 1st to say my grammar/punctuation SUCKS. This is why I needed an editor in the 1st place) but I was happy to know there wasn’t any spelling mistakes although misplaced words or missing sections (Opps) from when I 1st edited it myself back in 2010. *ugh. So now comes the printing aspect.

I approached a friend of mine (Shaun) who is a printer. He agreed to assist me but I had to pay several of the costs in regards to this (some costs were cut on a one time deal) and I happily agreed. I’d been saving for a YEAR to do this. $140.00 CAD to pay my Artist. $100 total towards editing help and yes I’m still paying for that… and $925 to get my books printed and perfect bound. ISBN number was free. :) YEAH.

So I had my books done in about a weeks time. NOW I had to do the hard part. Sell them. (OH joy!)
I sent in two to the Library Archives of Canada in Ottawa. (This is required to prove copyright, and for legal deposit on written works you sell.) and then I took that risk of sending one to Nimbus a publishing company here in Halifax. (I shook when I did this… fear of the rejection letter is something I had to over come when it came to doing this.) I also submitted my works to four other major publishers. I sent it to Amazon/Kindle as well (and it got accepted even in it’s unpolished form) I then decided to reach out to local shops. Venus envy a sexual health shop also now carries my book.

Needless to say I chased a dream. I also took that dream and ran with it hoping it would fly. What started off as an idea blossomed into a full blown book series; 20 years in the making. There have been some bumps, but all in all I’m SO very pleased with what I started out to do. The start of my number one bucket list item has been done. Now this isn’t to say it was easy.

I’ve had MORE naysayers than I care to recall. People who scoffed or laughed at my ambitions to see this book succeed. Even a person I worked with laughed at me when I said IF my book takes off “I want to stay living in my community I’ll just move down further from where I am now” and she laughed at me saying “Good luck, even we can’t afford a place there.”
My thoughts that evening on her negativity was this. (and yes I damn well hope she sees this)

Look dear, I don’t care if you have a wonderful life or a shitty one, you don’t need to bring me down with you. It’s all in how you make it. Sure maybe you can’t take me being all sunshine and rainbows thinking I’m blowing it outta my ass; but you know what? I had a dream. I followed it and I SUCCEEDED! NOW if my book takes off and does well, that;well that would be a bonus for those in MY community. People I’d help… IF and only if I became successful past publishing my story. (and yer damn straight I will buy a home in your area as cost likely won’t be an issue.) Now you can be negative Nelly all you want, BUT let me ask you… when was the last time YOU successfully chased a dream?
My dreams are just that…a wonderful dream; if they succeed then so be it. If not well so what I accomplished the MAIN part of my goal. It’s a HELL of a lot more than I can say for someone who’d rather put a person down than pick them up.
Jealously is a ugly thing to wear… but I got to admit. You wear it well.
I pray life gets better for you so you don’t have to walk around with that ugly outfit on for the rest of your life. Cause you know… people notice.

On the opposite end of the spectrum in regards to people; I have nothing but respect and I am HUMBLED by the support I’ve gotten from my friends along the way.

Nancy for being there and helping when I needed an editor. God love you girl you are a SAINT!
Nan for being SO DAMN encouraging (even though she hates my cussing… you do wonderful putting up with my bullshit Nan and I love you for it!) Thanks :heart:
Shaun, because without him; There’d be no book in the first place.
My kids Satisha, Bryan and Ḉamaya – for being supportive.  (yes even Satisha, for when she was..even though she’s not now.) They did their part while they endured my writing. They either raved or raged about what I was doing in regards to my books. Cried at me killing off characters and gave me some amazing ideas. Thanks :)
Shelley and Clara for being amazing people, my best friends. Without either of  them I wouldn’t be who I am now.
and yes…Darren – Because you taught me that you have to be true to yourself and even if you hate me… I STILL admire you for teaching me that. No one else did and I’m so sorry for the struggles you’ve faced. I wish I could have done more for you, but at least you gave me TWO wonderful characters for my books, both your good and bad sides ;) Dante and Sam breath because of your personality. Thanks for that as well, and I still love you, even if you can’t love yourself.

All in all my dream has turned into a wondrous journey. I’m always surprised every day about the progress I’ve made with my 1st book. It’s beyond amazing some days. I feel so small compared to the success of others but that feeling of each tiny successful step no matter how little it is; is actually so very HUGE to me. (and overwhelming sometimes) It makes my head spin.

I want to do SO much for those in my community if things take off. My main goal IF the dream flies; is to give people a reason to smile. No really… because people here are poor/low income most can’t afford dental work. So many go without. Many; like myself in the past; that I know won’t smile because their teeth are just too far gone. The costs are horrendous. I pray all the time that this book goes somewhere so I can help people, because what says you care more than putting a smile on someones face.

My future goals in regards to all of this is to see my whole series published. Maybe one day it will happen. Maybe not. It all depends on how far I’m willing to run with it, and you can’t take off if you stay still on the ground.

So if you can support my dream, donate $5. (or more if you wish). <<< The link is here And bless you! :heart:

Jaide

  • Drinking: water

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Amiliha

Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
Canada
I am an artist who appreciates those who love a multitude of different art forms. MANY of the artsy crap I do is for a virtual pet site I go to ...

Below is my link to that BEST freaking Virtual pet site this side of earth! It's free, fun and SAFE as hell! *And if shit gets stolen or your hacked, they FIX it!*

unlike that OTHER site (Neo) that tells you... Oh I'm sorry... you're screwed... you shouldn't give your PW to people (and not all hackers NEED your PW to access your damn account...) hell a keystroke logger can get that shit... either way this site is AMAZING!!!! Join me OK and once you're in there and I get an alert you joined (VIA my LINK!) I will mail you and give you a welcome gift for joining on my link! :)
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:iconkelkor:
kelkor Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, thanks for adding 'Sunstone' to your collection. I'm glad you like it.
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MandyB82 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015
Thank you so much! :iconiloveyouplz::iconplzhug:
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:iconamiliha:
Amiliha Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcomed hun! I Just want to see you smile :) so enjoy the membership and know you're important to many people :) HUGZ!!!
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280077s Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm a friend of MandyB82, what would it take to get a premium membership?
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:iconamiliha:
Amiliha Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You have to buy them. You need a credit card to get one. 
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