Waking up the next morning was somewhat of a frightening experience. Not that I slept all that well in the first place. Usually, having Friday off from work was a pleasurable and exciting experience for me. But not today.
When I opened my eyes...all I could think about was my unbelievable stupidity of my foolhardy actions...and the possible backlash it was sure to bring my way if Dustin's mother gave my late evening phone call *ANY* extra thought at all.
What happens if she realizes that an 'older' man was calling her teenage son at night, and she thought it was...'weird'? What happens if she calls back and asks what the hell that was all about??? What happens if she thinks about what might have gone on in her own house while she and her husband were out of town? Oh my GOD!!! What happens if Dustin wakes up this morning all groggy and sleepy...and his mom QUESTIONS him about it???? Oh SHIT!!! Oh shit, oh shit, oh SHIT!!!! I'm fucking going to **JAIL**!!! I'm *SO* going to JAIL!!! I felt sick. I rolled over and thought I'd actually have to run to the bathroom for a few minutes. I was that nauseous inside. My life is over. It's OVER!
Dustin's not gonna be able to lie to his MOM! Not if she asks the right questions! I mean...FUCK...I'm 23 years old, and I STILL haven't found a successful way to lie to my parents! He's only 14!!! If she asks the right series of questions, and his answers don't add up....I'm going to have an armed duo of policemen knocking on my door before NOON!
That's it! It's all over! I'm gonna have my whole existence on this planet ruined! I'm gonna be marked for life, and mechanically registered and embarrassed, and unable to move into any neighborhood with a SCHOOL in it for as long as I continue to draw breath! Do you know how hard it is to find a neighborhood without a SCHOOL in it??? What the hell am I gonna do? Live in the mountains? The desert? The beach, maybe? Shit shit shit!!!
I couldn't believe that I had been sooooo STUPID! I was literally sitting there on the foot of my bed, head in my hands....SHIVERING! I never should have done this. I never should have fallen for Dustin's charms. I should have kept my head down, ignored every playful advance, suppressed all of my true feelings, and just said no. I should have just told him NO! They're going to kill me. KILL ME! Just for loving the wrong person. I was weak. Weak and stupid. I'm going to Hell now, aren't I? God...I hate myself sooooooo MUCH!
Thinking about it...I was nearly in tears, rocking back and forth on the mattress. It literally felt like my whole life was now forfeit. Wasted. Nothing that I do from this day forward is ever going to bring me the salvation I need. No apology is good enough. People are going to take one look at me and spit in my face for being such a deviate. I just know it. I'm sorry....God, I'm soooo sorry.
The hysteria stayed with me for the first hour of consciousness for my day. A self hatred that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Feeling lower than dirt. Judged. Ridiculed. Despised.
But...the sweetest thoughts of Dustin lingered. They wouldn't leave me. And even though I tried to drive those good feelings out of my heart by force...they continued to stand their ground. Defying my misery and compelling me to look upon them with fondness and love. Why??? Why won't these feelings go away? I'm an abuser. Nothing more. I hate myself. I *HATE* myself!!!
Sighhh.....and yet...if I had to ask myself if Dustin's beauty, his tender lips touching mine with the sweetest of kisses, his boyish virgin whimpers as I took his succulent hardness into my mouth for the very first time...HIS very first time....
...When I ask myself if it was worth it...as much as I TRULY regretted the threat of getting caught for it...Every pat of me screamed 'YES! It was worth it!' It was a fantasy that was made real, by a boy who love me with everything that he had to give, and made no apologies for it. When all of the bullshit and fear melted away, and the fearful consequences were blocked out by the overwhelming love that I felt for my special teenage sensation...I wouldn't want to take that passionate night back for anything in the world. It really really MEANT something to me, you know? And I think it was a huge monumental moment in his young life too. Certainly more for him than it was for me, but it was something that we shared together. Something mutual that we'll always have between us whether we go the distance as boyfriend and boyfriend or not. And I felt an honor, being a part of his life like that. I'm now permanently etched into the personal history and life story of the sexiest teen blond boy on Earth. How many people can honestly say that and really mean it?
I spent rest of the day divided. A schizophrenic mess of chaotic emotions. Fighting myself over whether I should be blissfully happy about finding the exact love that I wanted with a boy who excited me in every way a guy like me could be excited....or if I should be ashamed of myself. If I should be condemning myself for every last sickening moment of it, and preparing to pay the price for stealing that sweet boy's innocence when society has given me EVERY possible warning against it. What do I do with these feelings? Why does it hurt so much?
Three times during the day, I saw phone calls popping up on my Caller ID....but I didn't answer. They were from the mall. I knew Dustin's store number by heart. And I was too terrified to pick up the phone. What if he's traumatized by what happened? What if he's calling to tell me about his mom finding out? What if that awesome spirit, that care free teenage splendor that I had so mercilessly defiled with lust and reckless abuse...was now gone forever? God...the very idea of it poisoned me from within. And I couldn't BARE to hear the words. Not from those sweet lips. What if he hated me? Truly HATED me!
Everything was gonna be different now. I just knew it. Heart and soul.
I avoided the phone, avoided my email, avoided the whole WORLD for the entire day. My appetite failed me. I doubt that I ate more than some potato chips and a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter for the whole evening. It was like there was this ticking time bomb that had suddenly been activated by blindly acting on my feelings for Dustin instead of using my head. It was just a matter of time before my whole life gets completely dismantled and sold for scrap. I could just feel it. Especially when I looked at my phone and saw multiple texts from Dustin asking, "Are you home? I wanna call you!" Or, "I'm on break from work now! Are you around? I've only got a few minutes, but I really wanna talk to you." Or simply, "I miss you...." I can say, with all honesty, that I cried more than once that day. It hurt to be apart from him...but encouraging this any further felt like even more of a crime against his beauty than the act of tainting his purity in the first place.
I didn't know how to fix this. I had no clue.
The next morning, I was scared to even go to work. Thoughts of police officers waiting there for me along with Dustin's parents kept flooding through my mind. Dustin sent me a rather sad sounding text before he went to bed last night. It said, "Where are you, Eric? What did I do?" Followed by a frowny faced emoticon that nearly broke my heart in two. Every moment between the moment I read that text and the moment I showed up to open the store was one of conflict and confusion.
Jack was practically glowing that morning. Humming some song I had never heard before and practically being more of a chatterbox than usual. "So, me and Phillip are going to find some time to maybe get one of those fancy hotel rooms with the hot tub spa thingies in them. Like, just for one long romantic night. It was all his idea. Isn't he sweet?"
"His wife still hasn't suspected anything about you two?" I asked, thankful for the conversation. It kept me from constantly looking over my shoulder.
"Nope. I mean, I've never met the woman, but she can't be too bright. Hehehe! Besides, Phillip loves me. And if I keep working my pretty little ass the way I have been to keep him happy, he just might make the big leap towards cutting her out of the picture altogether."
"Well, it's not like I set out to be a home wrecker or anything, but...awww, Eric, he's too awesome for me to let go of. I want him, you know? All of him. Not just the parts his wife lets me have. Does that make me wicked?"
"Yes, actually it does." I said, only half joking. It's not something I would do personally, but who am I to judge? Especially with my current situation.
"Well too bad. I'm keeping my man for as long as he'll have me. Hehehe!" It was at that moment that I looked across the hall, and I saw Dustin coming in to work for the day. The first thing he did when he stepped foot into the store was look across the way for me. I guess he was about 15 minutes early, because he set his things down and started walking over to talk. "Here comes your little boy crush. Hide your lollipop." Jack said, mumbling it under his breath with a smile.
I really wish he'd stop with that. Dustin may not be considered legal, but he's not a five year old.
"Hey..." I said, lowering my eyes with a touch of shame. Those sweet blue pools of beauty could truly penetrate you straight through the heart with only a moment of contact. Especially today. Because they were so sad looking. So helplessly nervous. I couldn't bear to watch.
"What happened to you yesterday?" He said. "I missed you."
My breath got caught in my throat. I didn't think he would say something as 'revealing' as I missed you in front of Jack, who had the same reaction to the statement as I expected him to have.
"Yeah...my phone battery died on me yesterday...so..." I lie, still trying not to look him in the eye.
Dustin turned his perceptive eye on me, and he was quiet for a moment, as if analyzing me to see if I was telling the truth or not. Oh, who am I kidding? He's no idiot. He's not analyzing me to figure out if I'm lying to him, he's doing it to figure out why I'm lying to him.
Dustin brushed the long side of his golden hair back out of his eyes, and said, "....Oh." That one 2 letter word spoke volumes. "I was hoping to talk to you. That's all. It wasn't anything, you know...important." I knew that tone of voice. Shit...this is all wrong. And Jack had his back turned behind me, but he was obviously eavesdropping with great interest. Hoping to figure out why the hot blond teenager from across the hall was making such an emotional attachment with me when we were only supposed to be 'friends'.
"Ummm...you know what? Don't I owe you a pink lemonade from the store down the hall?" I said, and walked out from behind the counter. Dustin gave me a weird look as I gently guided him out of Jack's earshot and into the mall walkway. "I'm sorry, Dustin. I didn't want him to hear us..."
"Why don't you want to talk to me anymore?" He said, cutting me off.
"What? Who said anything about...?"
"You're phone battery didn't die. Did it? I just wanted to tell you that I love you..."
"WHOAH...let's not say that so loud around here." I gasped, taking a hold of his arm for a second to walk faster past a few other shoppers. But he soon pulled away from me. Not with a yank, but a not-so-subtle tug.
His lips were puckered with the most adorable little pout. He was much too beautiful to ever look mean. But looking 'hurt'...that he was a champion at.
"Now I can't even say it?" He asked.
"Just...not like that. Not here."
"I've gotta schedule an appointment, now?"
"Dustin..." I touched him again but he shrugged further away from me and stopped walking. "Dus...what do you want from me?"
"I want you to be my boyfriend, Eric." JESUS! Loud loud loud! GOD, I hope nobody is hearing this. Dustin saw me panicking and looking all around, and he rolled his eyes. "Do these other people really mean that much more to you than I do? Really?"
"Come here..." I said and got him to follow me into a hall with a little less 'people traffic'. Dustin folded his arms and leaned his slim body back against the wall, looking down at the floor as he waited for me to speak. "Dustin." He didn't say anything. "Dustin?"
"What?" He grunted.
"Look at me." He was stubborn for a second or two, but then lifted his eyes to look back at me. "I was a jerk. Ok? And I'm sorry."
I don't think he expected an apology. It softened his gaze a little bit. "I didn't mean to annoy you. I just wanted to talk."
"I know. And you weren't annoying me. I promise."
He sulked for a second more, his eyes almost getting misty as his bottom lip poked out. "I just...I think about you all the time. A whole day is like...forever to me. I thought..."
He stopped in mid-sentence and lowered his head, his long blond swoop covering his face. "You thought what?" He rolled his eyes again and looked away from me. "Dustin, talk to me. You thought what?"
"I thought...you got what you 'wanted'...and now you didn't need me hanging around you anymore." His head drooped even lower when he said it, and he was scared to look at me at all. As if terrified that my eyes may reveal some sort of sick validation for that statement.
I nearly fell over with the rush of emotion that rolled through me. I was absolutely speechless at the moment, but I didn't dare stay quiet for too long. That boy's poor, wounded, heart was depending on me.
"Dustin...oh God...no. No!" I said, putting my hands on both of his slim shoulders before the paranoia of being in public got a chance to warn me. "Is THAT what you....? Awwww, Dustin..."
"Well...you didn't think about me all DAY yesterday. You didn't talk to me. You always answered me before we...did stuff."
"That was...Dustin, I..." Determined to make myself clear on this so that there were NO mistakes, I put one hand on the wall behind his head and leaned closer. "...Don't you ever think that, do you hear me? Not ever. That had nothing to do with it." A stray tear rolled down Dustin's flawless cheek, meeting not a single blemish or fine hair's resistance. "I..." I lowered my voice to a whisper. "I LOVE you. I would never just use you like that and then just walk away. You mean *SO* much more to than just...what happened the night before last. Infinitely more. I care about you. Ok?"
He sniffled. "Fine..."
"No, NOT fine. Dustin, look at me..." He lifted his head, his fragile spirit exposed to me without any shield whatsoever to defend it. "I'm not gonna leave you. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. If you think I could go a whole 24 hours without thinking about you, you're crazy. I can't even make it 24 minutes. You give my heart a reason to beat for something more than my survival. You're not alone in what you're feeling here. We're a team in this, you and me. I gave you my heart, and I'm not taking it back. So get used to me sticking around because you're never gonna get rid of me. Not now. Ok?"
With another quiet sniffle, Dustin wiped his eyes clean and gave me a nod. "Ok."
"You believe me?" I said, borrowing one of his own phrases.
Again, he nodded. "Yeah..." Some shoppers walked past us to get to the payphones, and I stood up straight again as Dustin's blond curtain glided forward to hide his reddish eyes. Everything about him was so gentle. Displayed with such beauty, such grace. Even his tears. So young. So young. "I'm sorry." He sniffled again. "Gosh...you're gone from my life for just one day, and I fall all to pieces. I must look like such a freak to you right now."
"Don't be extra, you're the prettiest thing in the mall." I said with a wink and a smile, and he gave me a teary eyed giggle.
"Yeah, well we'll see what they think once my cheeks get all puffy and I stop sucking up snot. I'm sure I'll drop a couple places on the hottie chart."
"Not in my playbook, you won't." I said, and for a moment, I think I saw Dustin swoon slightly. It took so little to bring his heart an overdose of unrelenting joy sometimes. "C'mon, let's get you cleaned up. When do you have to punch in at work?"
"I've got...um...ten minutes."
"Perfect. Let's go."
We walked further down the hall to get to the mall bathroom, and Dustin took a moment to splash some water on his face and clean up. I got some paper towels from the dispenser and held them for when he shut the water off. He turned around, his cheeks still a bit pink and his hair was wet in the front...but still a ravishing beauty by every meaning of the word. I handed him the towels, he wiped his face dry...and then he stared at me with the most heartwarming smiles that I had ever seen. A smile of total forgiveness. And then, without saying a word, Dustin walked forward, reached up, and gave me the most loving hug around the neck, nuzzling his nose and lips into the nape while sighing heavily to himself. Normally, I would be stressing over whether or not some guy was going to walk in and see me hugging a blond teenager in the mall bathroom...but this time...this time it really didn't matter. Well, I mean..it DID matter, but...less than before. Far less. As I felt Dustin's slender frame trembling in my arms, unable to fully give itself over to the relief just yet...still sensing the danger of being torn open by another day of thinking I was going to leave him behind...I realized that this hug was more important that any impression or judgement that the world could ever put upon us. Their attitudes were so small in comparison. I'm trying, Dustin. Please give me time. I'm learning. Maybe not as fast as you are...but I'm learning.
Us older guys have more baggage to bring and more brainwashing to fix than you do.
The rest of the day, Dustin seemed even more in love than ever. He couldn't keep his eyes off of me. I couldn't have chosen a more flattering spotlight to be under. I couldn't keep my smile from shining out of control. And just in case you've never smiled for six hours straight, let me just tell you...it hurts. Starts off tingling, sure...but then it aches. And yet, Dustin just kept looking over from the music store and giving me bashful little waves and boyish smiles...and it just kept driving those happy little endorphins of mine crazy. Forcing me to grin and giggle to myself like a madman all day.
Jack was a bit more quiet than he was this morning. And every time I looked across the hall...he looked across the hall. It was more annoying than frightening. It wasn't his business. Still...he didn't really go out of his way to hide the fact that he knew something was definitely 'up' between me and Dustin. The only thing really keeping him from jumping to the logical conclusion already was the fact that he didn't know that Dustin was gay. At least not yet. But how long would it take him to figure us out once that particular cat was let out of the bag?
A bridge I'll have to cross when I come to it. I feel too awesome right now to muddy things up with suspicions and bullshit. Let him think what he wants. Only Dustin matters. Only my boyfriend.
I wasn't surprised at all when Dusting came bouncing out of his store at the end of his shift and asked me for a ride home. We always worked together on Saturday nights. What can I say? We were friendly to the customers. Both of our bosses need that when the mall is packed.
Dustin's face was practically glowing, he was so happy. He could barely wait for me to punch out and join him. As I walked out, Jack gave me a raised eyebrow, and said, "You two have 'fun'." We didn't pay attention.
He got into my car, and I had barely turned the key in the ignition before he started fussing with the radio stations again. Hehehe, I have to admit...it's so cute the way he simply 'takes over' the entirety of any environment you put him in. You'd think *I* was the one in the passenger seat.
And yet, it appears that he had somewhat of a surprise for me tonight. And by 'surprise', I mean 'boobytrap'.
I pulled up outside of Dustin's house, and the lights were on, so I'm sure his parents were home. I wondered if Dustin's mom had mentioned that I called the other night. But thinking about it some more, she wouldn't really be able to explain to him who I was anyway. I certainly didn't give her a whole lot of information to go on.
"Ummm...I wanna give you something." Dustin smirked.
"You wanna give me something?"
"Hehehe, never you mind that."
"Well...if you're gonna give it to me, I'm gonna find out what it is eventually."
He got a wicked gleam in his eye. "I know, but I don't wanna say just yet. It's just inside, but it might take me a couple of minutes to dig it out of my closet. Will you wait for me?"
I narrowed my eyes slightly. "What are you up to?"
"Hehehe, nothing. Just WAIT here in the car for me. For like...five minutes. Ok? Seriously, just...don't go anywhere. Don't leave me." Dustin opened the car door and skipped away from me before I had much of a chance to protest, and hurried into his house.
I waited five minutes.
I waited ten minutes.
When the fifteenth minute came around, I contemplated actually putting the car in 'drive' and leaving. But...damn that boy and his undeniable power over me. I'm so whipped right now.
Then...I FINALLY saw Dustin coming out of his house with a backpack, and he rushed back to the car, opened the door, and got in. "I'm sorry, dude. My mom can be a pain with the questions sometimes." Then he said, "Ok, let's go."
"GO? Go where, exactly?"
"Your house. I'm spending the night." He giggled, and I shot him a look of utter shock.
"Hehehe, I told my mom and dad that I was spending the night at my friend, Joseph's, house. So it's totally cool. Can we stop and get something to eat, I'm hungry."
"Whoaaaahhhh....no no no...where did this come from? What's going on here?"
Dustin opened up his backpack, "I brought an extra set of clothes and some other stuff. Not that I'll need 'em. The only toy I'm looking forward to playing with is yours. Hehehehe! C'mon, quit stalling. Let's go."
"Dustin, this is...really sudden. I don't know if we can just..."
"YOU said that maybe some night, I can come to stay at your place overnight. Those were your exact words. I pick tonight. Because it's Saturday, I don't have to work tomorrow, and you don't have to work tomorrow, and both of my parents already said it was ok. So you're just wasting time and burning up gas sitting here in the street not moving."
"You CAN'T just vanish for a whole night, Dustin. What happens if your parents end up calling this 'Joseph' friend to see if you're really over there tonight."
"Hehehe, what are you talking about? I don't even HAVE a friend named Joseph." What the...
"You LIED to them. Again. What did I tell you about that?"
"Don't do it, it's bad, blah blah blah, come on...it's harmless."
"It's NOT harmless. What happens if they find out?"
"They're not gonna find out."
"How do you know that?" I said.
And Dustin shrugged his shoulders and said, "Dude...they're parents." And he giggled out loud at the idea. "The one thing I've got going for me as a 14 year old boy is that my parents are COMPLETELY baffled by just about everything I do. They think I'm 100% batshit crazy. But as far as they're concerned, as long as I'm not buying drugs, knocking up my female classmates, and can still keep my grade point average above a 3.0...they're happy."
"Dustin....no. Ok. I'm not comfortable with this at all. I really think...I think you should go back in the house, enjoy your weekend, and I'll call and write you later on tonight. Ok? Promise." I attempted to make it sound...I don't know, forceful. I have no idea why though. It never worked on my teen sweetheart before, why would it work tonight?
"Unh unh! You went a whole day and you refused to talk to me. I spent the whole day feeling like garbage, and now you owe me a 24 hour period of time to make up for hurting my feelings. I want those hours back. So...drive. We can discuss this more on the foot of your bed." He smiled, but I stubbornly held my position without saying another word. Even if his smile was causing one to break out on my lips as well. We were at a standstill for a moment...until Dustin said, "You don't wanna take me to your place? Fine. I'll just go back in the house and tell my mom and dad that I'm NOT sleeping over at a friend's house tonight and that I made it all up. And they're gonna ask why. And I'm gonna say it was because I wanted to go somewhere else. Then they'll ask where and with who. And the questions are just gonna keep coming and coming until I mess up somewhere and I'm forced to tell them the truth."
"You little *STINKER*!"
"Hey, it's not me. It's you. I mean, I've already gotten my story together, I've gotten permission, I'm all packed up here with clothes and toothbrush and everything...and you're still sitting here in an idling car, waiting for my parents to look out of the living room window and wonder who that 'weird guy' is, driving me to a sleepover with a friend of mine from school. You're the one making this look bad." Grrrrr!!! That manipulative little brat! What the heck did I get myself into. I grunted at him with a bit of frustration, but Dustin simply giggled in response, as he appreciated his checkmate. "I really don't think you want me to go back in that house, Eric. Besides, you said lying to my parents was a bad thing. Now I feel all conflicted about doing it again."
I stared at Dustin's smug little smile for a few moments more, and even though I hated to give in...I wouldn't say that spending the night with the most amazing boy on Earth was much of a punishment. "Seatbelt."
"Hehehe, that's more like it." He said, and quickly leaned over to kiss me on the cheek. "Junk food is THAT way. Giddy-up!"
He'll be the death of me yet....