Waking up to my alarm was nothing short of amazing. I felt like a kid at Christmas, anxiously awaiting the moment when I'd get to run to the tree and unwrap my gifts. It was THAT bad...and maybe even a little bit worse. I kept waking up periodically throughout the night, my nerves playing tricks on my ability to sleep peacefully. And I'd be sure to open an eye to look at the clock to make sure that I didn't miss my chance to wake up a half hour earlier than usual. Usually, I'd see the digital display of my clock, to see that only twenty minutes had passed since the last time I spontaneously woke up to check. Hehehe, but I couldn't help but be excited. I'm surprised that I got any sleep at all. And when my alarm actually DID go off, I hopped out of bed so fast that I made myself dizzy and ha to stumble backwards to sit on the bed again before I lost my sense of balance.
Jesus...after all the love starved crushes that I entertained in high school, after all the 'puppy love' I experienced in Junior High, after all the supposedly educated feelings of infatuation that I've had in college...I've never known anything LIKE this before! It's like...I had absolutely no CONCEPT of what true love was until the moment that Dustin's sweet lips touched mine in the front seat of that car. This is what God truly intended. This is what I have been looking for my entire life. Something so unbelievably strong should seriously be used as a 'weapon' against everything that's wrong with the world. How could any man, woman, or child, stand against it? How?
I showered, I ate a small breakfast of cold cereal and milk, I dressed myself up, and I did all that I could to prepare myself for the moment when I got to look into Dustin's sweet blue eyes again from across a table. God....he's SO young! Why am I even doing this? Why am I wrapping myself up in this hellish fantasy, when I know that it could ruin and destroy the rest of my LIFE if word of this ever got out. To ANYBODY!!! My entire life would be over in an instant. Everything that I am would suddenly be masked by the word 'pervert', and 'pedophile', and 'rapist'. I wouldn't even be able to work as a janitor in a burger joint without an armada of deafening whispers pushing me back out into the street. The fact is, the media makes FUN of people like me! We get cornered, and tricked, and hustled..have our emotions played with and then get 'exposed' on Dateline and embarrassed in front of the planet before being hauled off to jail. We have cops pretending to be kids online, trying to 'trap' us and do something, ANYTHING, illegal, so they can wipe us out like some kind of social cancer. To them...I'm a menace. A threat. A fox in their precious henhouse.
But...they don't fucking know what it's LIKE to wake up to the morning sun and have this feeling inside! They don't know what it's like to have a boy like Dustin completely 'level' you with his eyes, and have his smile melt your heart in seconds, because you know that special smile was designed JUST for you. And no one else. They've never been in love with someone that they they KNOW they should avoid, maybe even RUN from...only to be sucked in further by the glory of their charm and grace. Dustin was, by far, the most incredible PERSON that I've ever known. Not just 'incredible for a 14 year old boy'...but incredible for ANY age! And he loves ME! Do you understand that? He loves....ME. And I wish some higher being could explain that to me, because I never expected it for a second. There's nothing like this feeling in existence. Dustin doesn't want anything more from me than the chance to love me. The opportunity to show me how much he cares about me, thinks about me, dreams about me...and the chance for me to do the same. You would think that a love that pure could ONLY exist in the mind of a child. But it doesn't. Because the moment Dustin brought his laughter into my life...that purity has touched me too. And I've been giving it right back to him as though I had never loved anyone before now.
Hell, who knows? Maybe I haven't.
I got in the car and made my way to the mall as fast as possible. I was five minutes later than I expected because of traffic...but I didn't think it would matter much. I was mistaken. When I got to the glass door entrance to the mall Dustin was already there, pacing back and forth nervously, wondering if I'd show up. Hahaha! It was so adorable how he could totally wrap me around his little finger one moment, with the utmost confidence that I wouldn't be able to deny him anything...and yet...he could still maintain this boyish sense of insecurity that worried every second that I'd somehow be 'bothered' by anything he could ever have to offer. The conflict between the two extremes, and his ability to easily navigate the fine line flawlessly on a daily basis...was more enchanting than you could ever imagine. He was a maestro at impressing the hell out of me, and he knew it. Even if he appeared to 'forget' how much I adored him from time to time.
"You waiting for me?" I asked, as I walked in the door.
And, without thinking, Dustin ran over to me with a big hearty grin, and he hugged me tight around the neck with both arms! It um...took me by surprise. Actually, I think it took us both by surprise. Dustin let me go, and stepped back with a slight shade of pink flooding his smooth cheeks, and he said, "I'm glad you came. I thought you forgot."
I told him, "Forgot??? Never. Besides, I was only five minutes late.
He said, "Five minutes is a long time to wait for somebody like you, Eric" There was this really sweet tremble in his voice when he said it, and he couldn't look me in the eye when the words left his mouth. Instead, he dug his toe into the tiles beneath his feet, and looked down at his awkwardly shaking hands. But the sentiment was overpowering, and it became hard for me to breathe...just seeing him bashfully express his feelings like that.
He didn't say anything else for a second or two, his little grin fading fast as he became uncomfortable with the silence. And I saved him from feeling emotionally 'clumsy' by smiling and saying, "So...you wanna go get that big oatmeal cookie, or what, cutie?"
It seemed to brighten him up right away, and the biggest, most ridiculously grateful, smile spread out on his face, and his teenage confidence began to blossom all over again from scratch. "Yeah! Ok!" He said, and we both paused for a second...until he got a serious look on his face, and leaned forward to clutch tightly to my arm. He hugged his face up against me for a moment, almost choked up at the idea of feeling soooo good inside, and even though it seemed risky in a public place, even though the mall was empty this time of morning...I kissed the top of his head, and gave him a loving squeeze. I heard the slightest whimper escape him while he held on to me for dear life, nearly cutting off the circulation in my arm, and then he let go so we could look somewhat 'normal' again But just one look from him, and I knew he was even more in love than he was last night. His blue eyes examined me with such worship. It was almost frightening to hold such an important position in this boy's life...but with the way I was feeling at that moment...I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I just didn't want it to go away. Not ever.
We made our way down to Smitty's, and he half grumbled at us to be patient while he got his shop together before opening the gate. Normally, that would have been Dustin's cue to harass him even more with zombie noises and the sound of his hands pawing at the gate from the outside...but not today. Today he just kinda stared at me. As though he was looking for me to say something profound at that very moment. He stared at my eyes with a slight grin, and I giggled cheerfully as he fought the urge to collapse into me again for another hug. My GOD, could this boy be any more perfect? Could he have any more love to give? The very sparkle of him was explosive to every feel-good emotion I had, and he made a complete 'child' out of me from his very presence alone. I haven't felt so strongly for ANYONE before in my life. It actually made me realize that, without a doubt, Dustin was indeed my first love. Not just now, but ever. Wow....so much for Bobby Prescott in the sixth grade! He's been knocked down to second place. I'll be damned.
"If you're gonna just stand there, at least help me out by taking the chairs down." Smitty told us, still looking tired and grumpy. Hehehe, for someone who runs a coffee shop, he should actually get a dose of his own 'product' to help him wake up.
Dustin was still looking directly at me, and I had to give him a little push to get him to break his trance. He giggled a bit, and moved around to help me take the chairs down from the table tops. He seemed so thrilled to be there with me, and that made my heart beat even faster for him. Finally, he spoke again. "We should come an HOUR early next time!"
"Hahaha, Smitty's won't be open!"
"The MALL won't be open."
"SO?" He smiled uncontrollably, using his hand to brush the long side of his blond hair back out of his eyes. "We can sit in your car and listen to music...or something. I'll bring cds."
"Hehehe, if you say so." I looked over his shoulder and told Smitty, "We're gonna get one of those big cookies today too Oatmeal."
"Whoopee..." He said sarcastically. "With that kinda big order, I might close up shop early today."
"You remembered the cookie." Dustin mumbled.
"I remembered you liked the cookie, yes." I said, and he stopped for a moment, his legs trembling, and I mouthed the words 'I love you'. His poor little heart couldn't take it. You would have thought that he had been physically knocked over, and he fell back into one of the chairs, and wiggled his cute little ass to the edge as he smiled dreamily to himself. Hehehe, geez! "I didn't know I had such an effect on you."
"Yes, you did." He grinned with a boyish whine. "Sighhh...you don't play fair."
"Just...stay there, k?" I said, and took down the rest of the chairs myself as Dustin tried to regain some kind of balance. Then I got our coffee and giant cookie from Smitty, and brought it back to the table, where Dustin sat slumped down in his chair, both of his eyes closed. "You ok?" His smile got wider, and he silently shook his head back and forth. "You're not ok?"
"Nope. I'm never gonna be ok again." Then he opened his eyes and asked me, "Are you ok?"
"Hehehe...nope. I'm just as fucked up as you are."
"Awesome." He whispered, and he managed to sit up as we brought our coffee cups together and toasted another incredible morning spent as a 'couple'. "You SO could have spent the night, you know?"
"Drop it." I told him, and we just winged it from there. Dustin began to get a bit more talkative as the caffeine took effect, his excited gestures and entertaining personality coming to life right before my eyes. He told me about movies he wanted to see, and songs he heard on the radio, and jokes he got on the internet...there was never a dull moment when I was around him. The energy was so contagious, and I found myself adopting so many of his phrases and mannerisms. The truth is, I admired him as much as I adored him.
I could literally just sit and listen to him talk for hours without saying much of anything. Not that he'd let me. If I was ever quiet for more than a minute or two, he'd say, "Am I talking too much? I'm sorry. You talk now." Hehehe, it was cute. His little insecurities kept him so adorably sweet. That morning proved that we could still be the best of friends, and that the...um...law-breaking SEX that we had last night didn't completely destroy what we had. If anything, it intensified it. I can only hope that it doesn't make us more 'visible'. Because at the end of the day, this is still fucking wrong....even if it feels so unimaginably right
As the sounds of the mall opening up surrounded us, and our giant cookie was reduced to crumbs on our table...Dustin and I tried to force ourselves to wrap up our time together. A half hour goes by SO quickly when you're enjoying yourself. I hated to leave, but I didn't let it show too much. If Dustin saw even a hint of it in my eyes, I'd NEVER get him to go work And I liked having my precious blond boy right across the hall where I could see him at any time throughout my day. So I stood up first, and he pouted about having to stop our conversation, but it only lasted a few seconds. "Bye Smitty! Thanks!" He waved, and Smitty couldn't help but be charmed by him, even if he didn't admit it.
The whole way down the hall, Dustin walked as close to me as possible without having us trip all over each other. He just wanted his shoulder to touch mine. That's all. And as we went up the escalator to the second floor, I let my hand move up the railing to gently cover his hand. He blushed immediately, and I was shocked to see the front of his pants begin to instantly tent out practically right in front of my face. He giggled and turned to 'adjust' it a bit, and angled it upwards so the head of it could be held down by the elastic of his boxers. He was a healthy boy, believe me. I had to make sure to watch how I touched him around other people. Hehehe, that thing isn't necessarily easy to hide when that hair-trigger erection gets into action.
As we finally got to our stores, I saw Jack lifting up the front gate so he could go in and start getting things ready for open. He saw me and Dustin walking towards him, shoulder to shoulder, the biggest love struck grins on our faces, and stopped for a moment. Dustin walked me right up to the gate and we shared another warm smile before he said, "Ok...I'll see you at lunch. DON'T go without me, ok?"
"I won't. Pinky swear."
"Better not." He giggled. "Ok...so, um...bye." He started backing away from us, a dreamy strut in his step. "Hi, Jack."
"Good morning, Dustin." Jack answered in a sing-songy voice, but his mind was obviously still wrapping itself around the concept of us being so...'close' today. I could just hear it in his tone. Dustin kept looking back at me, and waving until he had gotten all the way back to his store and went in to help his boss with opening duties as well. I didn't even realize that I was giggling to myself until I turned and saw Jack staring at me like I had grown a second head.
"Dude, I don't even want to know." Jack said, lifting the gate the rest of the way.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked in frustration. I don't exactly know why, but a part of me took an instant offense to his comment. Some deep protective instinct that was daring him to say ONE wrong word about Dustin so I could lay him out right here.
"What are you guys doing?"
"We went to go get coffee. We ALWAYS come early and get coffee. So what's the big deal?"
"Alright, alright...calm down. I'm not 'attacking' you, Eric...I just...think it looks weird. That's all." Jack said as he turned on the store lights and the TVs.
"What? What looks weird about it?"
"Nothing. Look, forget I said it.."
"NO, what looks weird about it? You said we look 'weird', so...what's so damn 'weird' about us spending time together? We're FRIENDS, Jack. We're just having a good time."
"Doesn't Dustin have any friends his own age to have a good time with?"
"Maybe that's none of your fucking business."
"WHOAH...WAY out of left field, dude!!!" Jack gasped, surprised at my sudden aggression. It made me realize that I really was kinda snapping at him, and I might want to be a bit more discrete with that kinda thing.
"I'm sorry. I'm just...we're friends, ok?"
"Fine. Good. Friends. I get it." He said, and he apologized. "I didn't mean to sound like I was being a jerk, ok? I mean it. Forget it."
"Yeah. Forgotten. Totally." I said, and then, as I turned on the open sign, I took a peek back out into the hall, and saw Dustin peeking back at me. He smiled, and I tried not to smile back, but it happened before I had a chance to stop it.
Shit...how am I supposed to swallow the greatest feeling that I've ever known in my natural life for 8 hours a day? And for other people's benefit at that? Trying to make it all go away, denying every awesome accelerated heartbeat just so the people who think we look 'weird' together can be more comfortable.
You know, there was a time when I really used to hate myself for how I feel. But as time goes on...I'm learning more and more that I've really been directing that anger at the wrong person. I never once interfered with 'their' happiness...why is it soooo FUCKING hard for them to RESTRAIN themselves from interfering with mine?
My work day was somewhat painful that day to be totally honest. Either painfully restricted, or painfully pleasant. Both suffering and salvation. A torture and a temptation. I would literally walk around my tiny little store space, trying to busy myself with anything that would keep me from wanting to look across that hall and see the forbidden fruit that my mouth has been watering for from our very first kiss. Maybe even earlier. I fought the urge, and used every trick in the book to try to stop myself from wanting to just drink in his beauty and enjoy the rush of pure joy that it provided me. But...despite all of my efforts, my eyes would involuntarily flutter over towards his store. JUST to see what he was doing. Who he was talking to. Or maybe just to catch a glimpse of his radiant aura as it infected everything he touched. And once I saw the flash of golden blond locks as the swept across his soft cheek...my heart would be thrown into a state of instant confusion, and I'd almost have to hold on to something to keep from falling face down on the floor. That magic...that glorious magic. It was so out of reach at that moment. Trying to hold back from being head over heels for that boy was like trying to hold my breath underwater. How long could I possibly last without another dose of oxygen? How long could I pretend to not need it for my very survival? And much like oxygen...your sincere appreciation of it isn't truly realized until someone limits your access to it. In moments like those...it's all you can think about. And you begin to believe that it's all you ever really needed to begin with.
"Spacey much?" Jack asked me, and I found myself leaning up against a rack, staring across the hall at Dustin as he was putting away a basket full of cds. I don't even know how long I had been watching him. Could have been a minute, could have been ten. Time doesn't really exist in the same sense as it used to before he became a part of its influence.
I watched his delicately thin fingers reach in the basket again and again, taking the music and alphabetizing it by genre. Occasionally he'd try to take too many at once, and drop them after a cute little fumble or two. His blue eyes were turned down towards his task, the long side of his hair now long enough to hang slightly below the blushed beauty of his lush lips. So pink...sigh...his lips were so sweet and pink.
"Sorry. I'm just...not feeling like myself today." I said. "I think I need an energy drink or something from the newsstand down the hall. You want anything?"
"Nah. I'm good. You sure your little 'friend' over there is gonna let you go out there all by yourself?" Yeah...I know Jack was just harmlessly teasing me. But still, it got to me to know that he noticed. He noticed a change in me, a change in Dustin, a change in us together. And I HATED it! I just...I didn't want him to be able to peek into our garden of Eden. I didn't want him to bring his judgments and his concerns and his witty little comments into a world that Dustin and I built just for US. Nobody else...just us. Where we can be happy. Where we can be free. I just..I didn't need him there. I didn't need anybody.
"Very funny." I said softly, and just left before he could see how much it really bothered me. What was I gonna do? Tell him to stop mocking us? Tell him it hurts when he says things like that? If anything, that will only get his wheels spinning faster on what's going on between us. Does everybody see us like he does? Do they talk? Do they whisper? Are their eyes on us when we go to eat lunch together?
Ugh...why do I let this bother me so much?
I walked down the hall, passed up the escalator, and was almost at the newsstand when I heard the trot of happy feet behind me. I turned my head, and saw Dustin cheerfully coming my way with a grin on his face. "Hey!" He said, almost out of breath from trying so hard to catch up to me. I looked back over his shoulder to see if Jack was looking, but he wasn't. Not that he couldn't just look across the hall, see Dustin gone, and figure out what happened anyway. I dunno...maybe he's right. Maybe we DO look....'weird' together.
"Dustin...what are you doing?" I asked. I tried to make my voice as non-insulting as humanly possible, hoping that Dustin's usual razor sharp perception wouldn't pick up on a hint of my worry.
"I thought you might be trying to sneak off to lunch without me. But then I remembered that you like to get energy drinks sometimes when you get tired. So I told my boss that I was gonna go get a juice, and she said it was cool...so...here I am." He giggled, his eyes focused on me with such affection. He was swinging his arms a bit more when he walked, he sighed a bit when he talked, and his pretty smile never went away. Ever. Not even for a second. He was 'visibly' in love...with me. And it worried me. "So...can you buy me a juice?" He asked.
I couldn't help but to laugh. It caught me by surprise. "Hehehe, wait...what?"
"Oh yeah...I don't have any money on me buy juice. But...that's kinda what I told her I was doing...so if I come back without one, then it looks kinda 'shady', you know?"
"Is this just a plot to get a free juice out of me?"
"Hehehe, I think I know a way to get all the 'free juice' I could ever want out of you." He said with a wicked grin. God...t sounded so LOUD to me! There were PEOPLE around us for God sake! I mean...I loved his perverted sense of humor, but I just didn't want to be a part of this...this thing we have going...while other people are around.
"Dustin!" I said in a hushed whisper.
"Hehehe, what? Are you blushing?" He grinned. "I bet I can make you bluuuussshhhhh..." He said, leaning his head on my shoulder as he touched my hand.
I immediately pulled my hand away from him and shrugged his head off of my shoulder. "Stop it, ok?"
"Stop it? Stop what?"
"You KNOW what...just...don't. Ok?" I said, attempting to finalize it. There was a short silence, but I don't think Dustin was hurt. He was more confused if anything. Then again, what did I know? I could hardly read people the way he could. And the LAST thing I wanted to do was hurt his feelings or make him think he did something wrong. "Look, don't...don't mind me. I'm just a bit tired and grumpy, that's all. K?"
Dustin looked into my eyes, and I swear...those bright blue pools of crystal could read your MIND if you stared into them too deeply! Then he sorta looked down at the floor as we got to the front of the newsstand, attempting to hide a very subtle pout from me. There it was...a 'pinch' in his once cheerful mood. Now I've made HIM feel self conscious. STUPID! This amazing boy just ran out of work and caught up to me JUST so he could spend a few happy minutes walking with me to the store and back. And like a complete ASS, I make him feel bad.
"Um...so...which one do you want?" I asked him, stepping aside so he could see the juices in the cooler.
'oh...I was just kidding about...the juice thing. I don't need one. Really." He said, an artificial smile creeping in to take the place of his genuine grin.
"No, seriously. It's my treat. K?" I tried to smile and see if I could get him to smile with me. But that chipper smirk of his was getting more and more fake by the second, even though he really tried his best to make it look real.
"It's fine. I was joking dude. Really. I don't want one." He said, and took a step or two back from me. "I gotta get back to work. I'll see ya...later, or something." And he walked out of the store without me. Fuck! FUCK!!!! I'm being an idiot! I'm supposed to be the 'experienced' one here! Shit!
I hurriedly bought my energy drink, and made one more quick reach into the cooler before leaving the store. This time it was my turn to run and catch up to Dustin. "Dustin...wait up. Here." I said, and handed him a pink lemonade. One of his favorites. So odd how a tiny little detail like that is so easy to remember when all you do is think about the same person all day long. "Pink lemonade, from the back of the cooler, not the front. Already shaken for you so you can get that little bit of bubble fuzz on the top when you open it. Just like you like it." I said softly, handing him the plastic bottle.
There was a hint of sadness in his eyes, but he couldn't help but smile when he felt how cold it was. Those magical blue eyes were like headlights, the way the were beaming at me at the moment. "Wow...you remembered all that?" He looked back down at his feet, a blush creeping into his cheeks.
"Now look who's blushing." I said, and I heard the sweetest little giggle escape his lips.
"Um...thanks, Eric. But really, you didn't have to..."
"I know. That's a part of what makes me feel so good about doing it anyway." I said, and even though the mall was pretty busy with mid-day business, I threw an arm over, and gave him a hearty hug around the shoulders. I pulled him into me, his waifish little frame practically fitting under one armpit, and he lowered his head to hide his pouty little grin from me. He pretended to not want the hug, but he didn't put up any resistance at all. Instead, he let his blond hair cover his eyes as he kept his head down, and sighed quietly to himself as he accepted the affection.
I smiled to myself as I felt him melt into my embrace, and for a second or two, he reached both of his hands around my waist and gave me a squeeze But he was quick to let go and straighten up so as not to draw too much attention to us. I guess that my rejection of him in public was pretty obvious, wasn't it? He knew exactly what I was doing, and he learned quickly. Sighhh...you know, the world should be treating the expression of love the way Dustin does. And instead of us learning from his open display...I'm teaching him to be as closed off and stuck up as the rest of us. I should be kicking up my heels every time he smiles at me, not hiding my love away like some 'dirty' little secret. It's not like I've got a cocaine habit, or a body in the basement. I'm in LOVE! That's all. I wish things were easier for us, a little more 'shameless'...but the truth is, they aren't. And we have to be careful, even when it hurts to be apart.
I just have to keep in mind how utterly fragile Dustin's feelings can be sometimes when it comes to me. He is willing to wear his heart on his sleeve for me, and he's allowed himself to become vulnerable to everything I have to give him...both good and bad. It's easy to forget, over time, what it's like to love someone so recklessly. I thought *I* had it bad! For poor Dustin, it must be a million times worse! I mean, he can be so understanding and knowledgeable about so many things, so intelligent and witty, and he remembers EVERYTHING! He soaks it up like a sponge without so much as a blink. But...at the end of the day, he's still an early teenager. This is all really NEW to him. His experience with something like this is 'zero'. And I get so lost in him sometimes that I forget just how much of an adventure this truly is for him on so many levels.
Funny thing is, I don't know if that inspires caution in me...or if it excites me all the more.
As we got closer to our jobs, Dustin started to drift towards the other side of the hall. And I could already feel his ice cold absence at my side "I'm sorry, k?" He mumbled. "I won't follow you anymore at work. I swear."
No. I didn't dare accept that. "Then maybe you'll let me follow you for a while, then." I said. "So I can enjoy the view from back there."
His eyes brightened up instantly, and he looked over his shoulder at his own ass. Hahaha, he giggled out loud and spun around to gyrate it for me, making it bounce as he clenched it a few times for me. The motion alone had him cracking up. "It's hot, right?" He said.
"The hottest I've ever seen."
"Damn straight. I could do the Beyonce dance with this booty, if ya want! Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh-uh-oh!" He joked around for a second, but when he stopped, I could see a look in his eyes that expressed this unbelievable feeling of total forgiveness. His ability to wipe the slate clean and start all over from scratch with me...no matter WHAT the offense...simply baffled me at times. But I thanked God for it every day. Because, Lord knows that I've made my share of mistakes with this golden sweetheart already. More than most people would put up with, I'm sure. "You still won't go to lunch without me, right?" He asked, then mentally kicked himself for possibly being 'clingy'. "I mean, you don't HAVE to. It's no big deal You know...whatever."
Hehehe, did he really expect me to believe that last part? "Don't be so 'extra'. You KNOW lunch ain't lunch without you, man." I replied with a wink, and he had to practically had to put his hands in his pockets to keep him from jumping up and down.
"Ok. Like I said...whatever." He tried to make it sound so cool, so nonchalant. But there was this boyish tremble in his voice that let on that he was nearly bursting at the seams. God...just the promise of BEING with me for a little while throws him into hyper drive! I'm soooo happy to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way!
I walked back into work, and set my energy drink on the counter, unopened I think I had been give enough energy to last me a week. Just from that one interaction. I can't believe that I'm still smiling. I can't believe that I'm still shaking!
"What the hell is your malfunction, dude?" Jack asked me as I came back in grinning.
"Hehehe...I'm just...I'm...fuck it. You wouldn't understand." I said.
"I beg your pardon?" He gave me a look that only made my smile grow even further out of control. Sorry. "Dude...just run the register for a while. I don't think I want you around people grinning like that. They might think we're running some kind of freak show in here." I happily walked behind the register while he went out on the floor. I looked back out across the hall, and saw Dustin purposely drop some cds by the front of his store, and made sure to bend over slowly to pick them up. I laughed to myself, covering my mouth so Jack couldn't hear me. Dustin purposely kicked a few cds further away, so he could stay bent over and pressing that delicious ass against the back of his pants. He pulled them way up on his almost nonexistent waist, to make sure that I saw every lip licking delectable inch of those tight little cheeks, crack and all. And then he accidentally kicked one of the cds passed the security sensor, setting it off.
The loud ringing got his boss to look over and she gave Dustin a strange look before he straightened up with a deep red blush and hurried back to work. That got me laughing beyond my control...his adorable blush causing my whole body to tingle. Jack looked over at me, and I couldn't stop snickering. I just couldn't.
"You are fucking STRANGE! You know that? Jesus!" He said, and left me to my spontaneous laughter. Once Dustin sheepishly peeked back over at me, he saw me laughing at him, and he gave me the finger as he started laughing himself. I don't think my laughs have ever been more authentic. Hehehe, GOD that boy was poetry in motion. He is truly what God intended when he created the emotion I feel for him. He's perfection. He's....he's....he's my angel.
Hours passed, and Dustin and I did enjoy a very 'festive' lunch together. I couldn't tell if he was purposely toning things down because of our earlier run in, or if he was just getting more comfortable with us just being 'buddies' in public. But once again, I was completely enchanted by him all through our lunch break, and we both came back almost ten minutes late to punch back in. Normally I keep a closer eye on the clock. I'm good enough with my boss where I don't think I would get much more than a verbal warning about extended breaks. But Dustin? So help me, if he lost that job across the hall, I'd be devastated. My day without him would be too dull and boring for me to bear all alone. It was getting to the point where my conversations with other people, even Jack were getting slow and stunted. They just didn't...'come alive' like Dustin did when he talked to me. They didn't pay as much attention to me when I talked back to them. Everything felt stiff and rehearsed and just...unoriginal.
Wow...I wonder if this is exactly what Dustin was talking about. Why he just doesn't like, as he so nicely put it, 'high school kids'. Could it be that I'm just different enough to matter to him? Could it be that he's just different enough to matter to me? For the first time, I think I'm beginning to understand a few things that I didn't before. Maybe relationships work best when it's just based on what both people want to get out of it. Maybe all of that age, sex, politics, religion, race, culture, bullshit is made up. Maybe it doesn't even exist outside of our own minds, driving spikes through what we truly feel...to find a mate that's acceptable to somebody else instead of being acceptable to me. Imagine...maybe Dustin and I squirmed around the garbage and found what truly matters. Maybe we 'fit'...and maybe that is what love is all about.
Sounds poetic, doesn't it?
It's too bad, that in some fucked up sense of common logic.....the world doesn't work like that.
Dustin left work two hours before I did that day, and while I would usually be badgered to wait around for two hours until he got off from work...which I would probably do if his whimper was sweet enough...he was too tired to stick around. But he did make it a point to come over to the store and say goodnight to me. He was rubbing his eyes, tuckered out from the long shift he had to work today. He asked, "It's ok, if I go, right?"
"Of COURSE it is! Dude, go home! Get some sleep. I'll see you this weekend. Cool?"
"That's like...two days away." He said, already missing me.
"Hehehe, are you saying you're gonna miss talking to me."
"NO! I just...ok, yeah." He grinned. "So?"
I noticed Jack silently paying attention from eavesdropping distance, and decided to cut things short between us. "Go already, before you miss your bus. I'll see you soon, ok?"
"Are you SURE? Because I could stay if you want me to stay. If you don't mind giving me a ride, cause my bus stops running in an hour..."
"Fine. I want you to stay." I said, playfully calling his bluff. Dustin instantly got quiet, and his face got the cutest look of fatigue on it from just thinking about being there for another two hours.
He looked up at my face, his puppy dog eyes staring up at me sadly. "Well..ok. If you want me to...I will."
"You want a magazine? Just sit on that bench out there where I can see ya" He got stuck for a moment, and when he looked back up, he saw me holding back a smile.
"Aww, dude, fuck you!" He said, hitting me in the chest. "Hehehe, I thought you were serious!"
"I thought YOU were serious! That'll show you to make promises you can't keep." I smiled.
"I would have stayed if you asked me, you know?"
"I know. But you would have been miserable, and that's not what I'm all about. So go, have fun, get some rest. Go. Go before you miss that bus and I end up driving your sorry ass home."
"Hehehe, ok. But CALL me! K? I mean it! Don't be a jerk ass!"
"I will, I will. Just go." I said, and he smiled at me briefly before looking over to see Jack walk behind the counter. He broke out of his 'trance' and started to leave.
"Bye..." He said.
"Later." I told him, his eyes still connected to mine.
"Bye, Jack." He said politely.
"G'night, Dustin." He answered, and then he looked over at me. I could tell that he was biting his tongue, and really wanted to say something about it...but he let it go. I guess he figured that he didn't need the excess friction between us for the rest of our shift today. Just as well. I felt too good to care.
It was an hour or two after coming home that 'it' happened.
I had just kicked off my shoes at the door, and looked at what I had in the fridge to make for dinner. I didn't really feel like cooking much of anything, and contemplated ordering a pizza or something instead. It was extra money that I really shouldn't be spending until I'm closer to my next paycheck...but I was hungry and standing up by the stove was out of the question. I couldn't stand up long enough to even take a shower right away. And then...for some unknown reason, thoughts of sharing a pizza with Dustin entered my mind.
Right here, in this empty apartment, just me and him, maybe watching a couple of rented DVDs...alone. To kiss and cuddle and hold each other for as long as we wanted. No timed breaks at work, no worrying about his parents coming home from their vacation early, no short trips to the newsstand in the mall, or risky romps in the front seat of my car. Just...us. In a location where our connection can be as timeless as our emotions for one another. The idea seemed to overwhelm me, and I slinked down on the couch, feeling myself getting hard from thoughts of him just laying beside me I wasn't really thinking about some hardcore orgy between us or anything...well...not the ENTIRE time! Hehehe! But...it was just the idea of being 'intimate' with someone that I really loved and cared about, someone who created a new 'me' just by being himself. Something about it just made me feel so...invinceable inside. I should invite him over. We could do it tomorrow night! We're both off from work, it's Friday night, we could get really close and just have a good time. A REALLY good time! I should do it! I WILL do it!
Finally, the feeling got to be too much, and I smiled to myself as I thought about calling him up on the phone. I just...I wanted to hear his voice, you know? I wanted to feel his vibrations over the airwaves and let him sink into me from a distance. And I finally got the nerve to surprise him. He'd be overjoyed to hear from me. He seemed like he was going to be so 'lonely' without me when he left work tonight! Hehehe, he's gonna flip out when he hears me on the other end of the line.
I got up, grabbed my phone, and dialed Dustin's number from memory. I couldn't wait to hear him. I couldn't WAIT! I should play a prank on him first. He already knows what my voice sounds like, and I haven't been able to catch him off guard yet. But it always made him laugh to hear me try. And hearing him laugh was enough for me. The phone rang once, and I got excited. It rang twice, and I sat up straight on the sofa, anticipating his boyish voice to grace me any second now. It rang a third time, and I was practically bouncing in my seat.
Then...someone picked up.
"Hello?" It was a woman's voice. Pleasant, light, but not what I expected at all. I froze at first. I couldn't speak. Not a word. "Hello?"
I began trembling immediately. Was this Dustin's...Mom? "Um...hey.." I said, regretting the fact that I even SAID anything when I should have just slammed the phone down and denied that it ever happened.
"Can I help you?" She asked. My whole body turned ice cold. His mother. His actual...MOTHER! What the fuck do I say? I was just calling to see if your teenage son wants to come over and let me 'molest' him some more? Can you leave him a message?
"Uhhh...well...I'm..." NO!!! Don't tell her your fucking NAME, doofus! "..Is...is Dustin there?" I think I actually heard my voice crack when I said it.
"Dustin?" She said. "He's in his room. I think he's asleep. Can I ask who's calling?"
No!!! NO, don't tell her! Just hang up the fucking phone!!! "I'm...well, I know Dustin from...work..." You're saying too much! This is his MOTHER for crying out loud! This is the woman that's going to jump on you in the courtroom and scratch your eyes out when you get arrested for child rape! HANG UP!!!
But I couldn't. As much as I wanted to, I was afraid that it would look worse if I acted nervous than it would if I just tried to make this sound like a random call....at 10 o'clock at night. Shit...this is 'personal' call hour, isn't it? "Oh, well, he was pretty sleepy. So you might want to try him tomorrow. Ok?" She said. "Are you sure you don't want to leave him a message?"
I must sound so OLD on the phone. A grown man...calling her 14 year old baby after 10 PM. How BAD does this look? This was a dumb idea. It's the stupidest idea I've ever had. "No. No message. Thank you. I'm sorry, I'll try again tomorrow."
"Ok then. Good night." She said. She had probably just come back from tucking him into bed. Kissing his cheek. Making sure that her son was alright. And here I am...the destroyer of his innocence...calling her home at this hour to get another 'taste' of him. I felt that dark sensation crawling over me all over again. That feeling that this was all wrong. That this fantasy romance of mine was just a way for me to mentally hide my guilt A way to mask the 'abuse' I was causing this beautiful boy with every kiss.
I may have felt like a pervert before...but I don't think I had ever truly felt like a predator before I heard that woman pick up the phone That's what I am, aren't I? A 'predator'? A trickster and a thief? I didn't move off of that couch for the rest of the night. I sat there, watching an infomercial on cable...and thinking. Always thinking.
Dustin and I had a castle in the sky for a while. But I see that castle falling. I feel it nearing the ground. And I wonder if either one of us will survive the inevitable 'crash'....when the time comes.