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Eia au, eia 'oa

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"In high school I knew I was gay, and I was fine with it. I'd had a few relationships and I really liked sex. Then I met her. I never knew I was bisexual until I met Catherine.

"She was everything I never thought I wanted but had always looked for in men. She was smart and athletic and tough and didn't take shit from anyone. We fell into a relationship and it was like puzzle pieces coming together.

"I waited until our first time to tell her I'd never had sex with a woman before. She asked and so I told her no, I wasn't a virgin. She knew what I meant and it didn't even phase her. We were together until her first posting. I learned everything about her body and she learned everything about mine. I learned the difference between clitoral, vaginal, and anal orgasms and she learned about pegging and how to properly prepare someone for anal sex. She never made me feel weird or ashamed for being bisexual, and that's not something I can say about all my partners.

"I miss her, Danny. I don't want to just find someone else. I don't think that I can make up for missing her by 'getting back on the horse'. It has to happen naturally or not at all."

"Well, Steven, I'm not quite sure what to say to that." Danny felt even more awkward than usual, "I think we just wanted you to feel better."

Steve still didn't look at him, just sat hunched over, arms relaxed over his knees, beer bottle woven through his fingers, eyes resolutely on his feet. They sat, their chairs angled toward eachother on the lanaii. Danny had obviously caught him right after his morning swim. Steve was still barefoot, swim shorts still damp, hair halfway dry, drops of seawater still on the tattoos on his shoulders.

It was something heavy that Steve just laid at his emotional door. They didn't do emotional, they did snark and brohood and adrenaline. Danny thought, though, that whole declaration deserved something in return.

"I, uh, I always knew I liked girls. In my neighborhood, in my family, being gay just wasn't something that you did. There were always stories, you know, about someone's Uncle Henry or Auntie June who moved away and lived that kind of life, but it was ok somehow, because it was New York or California or, or Hawaii. You know?" Steve still didn't look at him.

"If there was ever a time when I thought I might have thoughts like those, I just stayed away. That's why I don't like the beach. There's nowhere to hide if all I'm wearing is swim trunks. I've never wanted to give Grace a reason to have to defend me." Danny sighed, suddenly tired of his life. "Sorry, I'm not trying to say anything, just, I wish I was as comfortable in my skin, in my head, as you Steve. And I will absolutely leave your love life alone from now on."

Steve carefully placed his bottle on the ground and twisted to face him. "Danny, I don't want you to leave me alone, I don't want you to have to do or feel anything. I just wanted to get it out in the open; I want you to understand. I hope that you don't feel like you have to way or another. I do want you to feel comfortable here."

Danny didn't think Steve really got it, so he leaned forward and kissed him. Steve got it then. Danny found himself pulled into Steve's lap; he wrapped one hand around Steve's neck, to steady himself, his other over Steve's heart. His heartbeat was strong and steady, like the sound of the waves echoing in Danny's ears.