Most of this is actually fiction, but some parts are, well, sort of autobiographical. The names of the characters, though, have been changed so as to protect their privacy. (^_^) As with most stories, however, the author retains all rights to this story. Without the permission of the author, no reproductions or links to other sites are allowed.
Oh, important too: this deals with male homosexual love. If you are not of legal age (18 or 21, it depends actually where), or if you live/are in a place where material such as this is illegal, or if you are simply offended by homosexuality and/or homosexual themes, please leave.
And... there aren't any sex scenes in this story. ^_^
It was one of those free classes - the teacher was absent and the substitute just said, "Okay, do anything you want. Just be quiet" before leaving the room. Naturally, I couldn't do everything I wanted to but... oh well.
So I just sat, minding my own business while everyone started talking.
"Chris, I'll just go over there, K?"
"Sure." (He had this habit of telling me where he was going whenever he'd leave his seat beside me - one of the things I really liked well, fantasizing about. I wasn't his keeper, why'd he have to ask? Oh, putting meaning into everything... that's me!)
So, again, I just sat, trying to read my notes for the next class, when...
"Hah. Watcha readin' there, gay boy?"
Yeah. It was the ass, Joe. For some reason, he really, absolutely liked picking on me. Okay, maybe he was taller and maybe he was more influential but I hardly thought of those as warrants for him to pick on me, right?
Yeah, and I wasn't doing anything to him either.
"What's that? Oh, turning into a geek, huh? Well, nothing worse than a fag geek!"
I couldn't retaliate at all.
"Study hard. That way, when you get older, you'll be rich and maybe then someone would notice you—but you gotta study extra hard! It'll take a whole lotta money to compensate.... well, you know what I mean."
I just kept my eyes on my notes and pretended to read. And no one seemed to notice what was going on. It was just me and him.
"But then, if you got money, you'll eventually have enough to pay for a new face right? Heck! Why just change your face? Change everything! That way, you won't havta worry much. But, then again, if you were a woman, it isn't any guarantee that men will come flocking to you, now, is it? You'd havta spend half your fortune just on your sex change then the other half on your face to look decent at least. So, you'll end up with no money at all! Sorry, but there are other more stunningly natural women out there and..."
"Will you just leave him alone?"
For the first time, I looked up to see Vince, with a stern look on his face, directed at Joe. It wasn't really angry, but it was intimidating enough. He put his arm on my shoulder and squeezed gently.
Joe relented and Vince sat down beside me again.
What made it extra special was that Vince never did this. He never defended anyone, not even himself. He'd normally smile his coy shy smile and look down if ever something like this would happen to him.
And the kind of ass Joe was, he never relented. Never.
To my surprise—he suddenly shut up.
And the warm glow I usually felt? It came flooding out—ebbing through me like the tide. Only, it was more constant - the glow didn't recede.
I couldn't keep myself from smiling.
And I kept on smiling until I woke up, hugging my pillow as if it were my basketball player.
Tara and I would usually have lunch together. When Spanky would be available, he'd come, but that day, sometime near the mid-terms, he had class.
And that day, sometime near the mid-terms, Ryan tagged along.
I actually almost didn't bother rating him... well, not that he's ugly or anything. He just wasn't my type.
But then, when Tara first brought Ryan to have lunch with us one Tuesday at the start of the semester, she raised her eyebrow towards him.
And I just raised mine back at her.
After Tara introduced us (He's Ryan, my classmate in Spanish. Ryan, Chris - my classmate in every other subject), he just shook my hand, smiled a little, and stayed quiet. Surprisingly quiet. When I'd ask him questions like "what high school did you come from?" he'd just answer with curt one-liners. Boy, was he shy. Soon, though, I got tired of his game and focused all my energy in gnawing at the beef jerky I brought.
He practically ate his lunch in silence, and didn't even bother looking up much from his roastbeef sandwiches.
Which gave me ample time to... well... look at him. Soft black hair that flowed down just above his forehead - he didn't bother parting them to any side. Deep, dark brown eyes. Nice mid-full lips. From what I could see, solid built. And nice height. Somewhere around the high fives or low sixes.
Shorter than Vince though. Pretty sure of that.
"So, uh... Chris. Why didn't you take Spanish? What subject do you have instead?"
Of course, he said this while still looking down.
At any rate, it broke my reverie and my scrutiny of his features was suddenly brought to a screeching halt. Did I make him conscious by staring? If I did, then he noticed that I was staring... then he must think that I'm some kind of weirdo looking at him and...
"The university wouldn't let him take basic Spanish because he had it in high school," Tara answered for me.
That did it. I must've looked like a big fool. I could've answered that in five seconds, but it took about a full minute for the question to register. Hey, I'm conscious about my image - and I don't want to be known as a weirdo.
"Uh... right." Thank you, Tara. "I have Chinese in its place."
"Hey, Ry, if you need a tutor, I'm sure Chris'll be happy to help."
"Really?" For possibly the first time since he sat across me, he looked up and gave a faint smile. Not really a grin or a smirk. A real hopeful smile.
He must've really looked somewhat seedy because I actually yielded.
"Of course. That is... for a price." I smirked. I didn't mean it to be flirtatious (Hey, I was committed to my imaginary boyfriend!) just a little friendly so that he'd ease up a bit. Someone had better teach him how to relax.
"Really? Great! Uh... thanks!" With his hopeful smile, he glanced down, then back up at me, then down again. "Want one? You know, as, uh... partial payment?" offering me one half of one of his sandwiches.
I couldn't believe this. "Uh... I was kidding about the payment..."
"I was kidding about partial payment, too." And with that, he chomped a hefty portion off the roastbeef he was offering.
When he stalked off to his next class, Tara turned to me and simply said, "7-ish."
"Him? I dunno... 3?"
"You're so mean!"
"Oh. Maybe he just isn't my type."
"Really now? 'That is for a price?'"
"I didn't mean it that way!"
"Yeah yeah. He isn't that quiet normally though."
On most of our lunchbreaks, Ry (I eventually started calling him that, too) would come along with Tara. During those times, I would either help him with some of his conjugations or with some other Spanish-related activity.
Surprisingly, he started coming around. In fact, the second time he had lunch with us, he started talking a whole lot more.
We got used to eating together - the three (or four) of us. (Ryan would spend more time with us than Spanky would, actually. I think Spanky had classes on many of our lunch breaks so he'd only get to go once in a while, when his professors would decide not to come to class.) And, inevitably, I learned much more about Ryan. And though his shyness did seem to seep out once in a while, we became really good friends.
Apparently, he was a member of the Judo Varsity Team, and is on scholarship. Naturally, though, he had to keep his grades up to be able to play. And, consequently, to stay in school.
"Chris, would you help me with Spanish after eating?" Spanish was his waterloo. Or at least, it appeared that way since I'd always find myself tutoring him.
"Sure, but I think I'll have class soon."
"That's okay, I'll wait outside. I'm not in a rush to go home..."
"Er... why don't you sit in our class?"
"I don't want to be a bother..."
"Oh, no one listens to Prof. Dookie anyway. C'mon."
"You sure it won't be a problem?"
"Sure, I'm sure."
And so he did.
It was another bedtime story with Prof. Dooooooooooookie. I think he was trying to explain overpopulation and this and that theory. I do admit though, he's a really intelligent guy. Brilliant. It's just that, well... he was boring.
I could actually picture doctors sending their insomnia patients to one of Prof. Dookie's classes. Towards the back of the room, only I stayed awake. Well, barely. Tara rested her head on her palm for a bit. Not the smartest thing to do: she immediately fell asleep. I could see Ry struggling to stay awake himself.
I secretly wondered why he even bothered to put up with this pseudo-imprisonment. He didn't need to wait for me, really. And if he really needed my help, I'm sure it could've waited until tomorrow.
To help him, (and myself as well. I knew that soon I would start drifting off to never never land myself), I did what any sane but bored student did: I passed him a note.
See what I have to live through every day?
Being the polite person he is, he replied.
Thank God I didn't get him. No one deserves punishment like this.
And so on went our conversation.
"What time is it?
Good! Just twenty more minutes to go. I think he actually makes himself boring on purpose.
It's only natural: when many of his students sleep, more of his students will fail and his department will think of him as a challenging teacher and give him a seat of prestige.
No, it's not. Well, it's either that or he's practicing witchcraft and induces students to sleep so that he can get their wallets.
It's true! I swear. I heard somewhere that people induce others to sleep to steal their wallets.
I think they drug them and then get their goods. Or sometimes even rape them. But witchcraft?
I suppose we were to immersed in what we were doing that I didn't notice Prof. Dookie glaring at us.
"You two there at the back. Would you please stop passing notes? It's distracting."
Well that was fair. Everyone else was asleep and he decides to scold us? What an ass!
Everyone shuffled out of class when the bell rang. (The usefulness of a bell: it also functions as an alarm clock.) Since no one was using the room, Ry and I stayed behind - I still had to help him with Spanish.
"Hey, you sure it's okay? To stay, I mean. That was your last class of the day, right?"
"Well, you live pretty far away and, traffic, well, you know."
"It's okay. No biggie. How'd you know I live far from here?"
"Uh... you told me."
Did I really? Hm... I didn't really remember telling him much about me - not even where I lived. Whenever we talked, it was usually just about school, including Judo and classes and, well, Spanish. Well, occasionally, I'd find out more about him, like he still watches cartoons, and that half his room looked like a disaster area, but I rarely said anything about my personal life.
Nothing spectacular there anyway.
Well, it wasn't that important, so I let it drop. He wouldn't look at me for a while though. (Or maybe it was just my vanity talking?)
He gave me a list he had to memorize and sat beside me. (Maybe that's why he didn't look at me? Augh. I really have to stop this....) I'd tell him to translate English words into Spanish. I was used to this practice session. I used to do it a lot back in high school.
Vince was on his back, on his bed, staring at the ceiling. "Dormir, beber, comer."
"Is that all you know?" I had the list of verbs we had to memorize. Out of the fifty words, he had "to sleep, to drink, to eat" down pat. Three out of fifty. Wonderful. He'd eventually memorize more than forty-five, though. I knew it: at the end of our usual practice sessions, he'd always have at least 90% of the task done.
I was used to this: Vince on his back, on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Me, at a folding chair, facing his bed, staring at him. I didn't have a choice, though. Wouldn't it be rude of me not to look at him when I'm talking with him? There wasn't anyone else in the room anyway...
Of course, I didn't really find it rude that he'd answer the ceiling. In answering, he would just look at the ceiling; but if he were to ask a question or talk about something else, he'd look at me.
He shifted so that he was on his side, looking at me. "Well, those are the only interesting ones."
"Dormir, beber and comer?"
"Yeah. What's so interesting about 'to read and to study?'"
"Well, yeah. But... have you at least tried studying the others?"
With a sigh, he rolled onto his back once more and stared at the ceiling again. "Dormir, beber, comer. Dormir, beber, comer."
And he went on with his oration about a pig's life (sleep, eat and drink - that's all pigs do) to the ceiling. I must've shown a little frustration because he started smiling after his fourth "dormir, beber, comer."
"Hey, ass. There are forty-seven more to go."
"I know, I know. Just let me get some chips and Cokes. To drink and to eat."
"And then what? You'll go off to sleep?"
"That's not funny."
"I'm just kidding." Before I could stop him, he bounded off his bed, ran to the kitchen and brought back two cans of Coke and a bag of Doritos. "Don't worry. I'm not going to sleep on you...," he paused, then looked back up mischievously, "Unless, you want me to?"
Well, he was trying to look pseudo-seductive, with his eyebrow raised and all. It just looked hilarious to me. (Still cute though.)
"You know it. C'mon, let's start." And with that, he set another folding chair beside mine, and, just as if we were in class, draped his arm around my shoulders. We were seatmates even in his room. It was much more fun than class, though. We didn't have our teacher up front: we had two Cokes and a bag of Doritos.
And we were alone.
I remember those times in Vince's room. Most of the time he'd be on his bed. Sometimes, though, he'd sit beside me - close enough for me to feel his warmth, at least, partially.
What drove me insane was that "partially."
I'd say the words and Ryan would tell me their English meanings. Sometimes, he'd ask me to explain a passage from a story. Sometimes, I'd correct him a bit.
And sometimes, I'd catch him surreptitiously glancing at me. Whenever I'd see him looking, he'd look away quickly. As if he were guilty.
It didn't take very long to review him, though.
"No problem. Anytime."
"Hey, Chris. Uh, I have this big test coming up and I was wondering..."
"If I could help you? Sure. Like I said, anytime. I'm guessing Midterm exam? When?"
"Yeah. On Friday."
"Okay," Hm... not that I am an advocate of cramming, but we did have limited time. And it's not like I really prepared for exams a week before, either. "Thursday okay?"
"Where do we meet?"
"Just like today then. Maybe longer. From five to seven."
I didn't think he liked my suggestion. He suddenly looked worried.
"You really shouldn't, actually. Well, not that long. That would take you forever to get home, wouldn't it?"
"Don't worry about it."
"Won't your parents worry or something?"
My parents? "Nope. They won't."
"Thanks. Hey, if you want, let's study over at my place."
I've gotten somewhat used to going over to his place, actually. During long breaks wherein Tara'd be with Spanky and I'd be feeling like a third wheel, I'd scoot over to Ry's for an hour or so. Provided, of course, that he was there. His mom, Mrs. Corwen, was really nice about it, though, and said that I was welcome anytime - even when Ry was out.
It was a little past 5:30 already and the sun made red-orange patterns in the pink sky. There weren't much people around on campus anymore, and it was rather quiet.
I liked it.
A slight breeze rustled the trees and the browned fallen leaves scuttled across the gravel path. It was peaceful. Almost romantic, even. It would've been if I had a certain someone walking with me.
But he was busy at some other campus, now wasn't he? And I didn't have it in me to get into that other campus. To be walking in its halls, or to be attending its classes... or to be reviewing with him in his room again.
My car was still considerably far (parking space was limited when I came in) but I didn't mind. The ambience of the campus - well, it was perfect. I was actually taking a stroll through the different buildings, taking detours once in a while.
I turned just in time to see Ryan running up to me, a blue notebook in his hand. My notebook.
"Yours. Got mixed with mine." He was panting. It was then that I realized that he must've been running all over campus just looking for me.
"Thanks. You okay?"
"Yeah." He was still panting, bending over with his hands on his knees.
"Thanks again." I just stood there, waiting for him to catch his breath.
When he finally did, he looked at me. "Chris, thanks for all your help again. I, I owe you a lot already."
"You don't owe me anything. We're friends, right?"
"Yeah... we're friends." He was quiet for a while after that.
"Yeah. We are. And friends shouldn't owe each other anything..." I really wasn't sure what was bothering him, so I tried to lighten up a bit. "So... can I borrow a hundred bucks?"
He chuckled a bit at that corny request. "No cash on me now. But I'd be happy to walk you to your car at least."
"Won't it be a long walk back to yours? Where'd you park?" I distinctly remember him going the opposite way when we were saying our bye's.
"Uh... over at the North end? I don't mind."
"Why don't I just drop you off at your car?"
"Hm. Smart. Better."
So I got my wish. Someone was finally walking with me.
But it wasn't Vince. It was just Ryan.
It wasn't so bad though. We were more or less used to each other already so I actually did enjoy his company. It was just that the atmosphere wasn't made for that type of company.
For a few moments, we walked in silence. Me enjoying the surroundings, him fidgeting around. I don't know if he actually cared that I could notice him, but since he was bigger than me, I could easily tell that he was... bothered?
Finally, he decided to talk.
"How's Chinese?" He was bothered about Chinese?
"Much more difficult than Spanish, I can tell you that! We have to draw our words." I put emphasis on "draw" since it was true: the Chinese language does require drawing skills. Well, sort of. It doesn't use the alphabet like we do: each and every stroke has a meaning. It's sheer artistry.
"Yeah. Chinese words are based on pictures and images, I think."
I couldn't believe that we were actually discussing the etymology of Chinese words in general. Sure, they were interesting, but for everyday conversation?
"How's practice coming along?" I knew that the Judo team trained regularly, but I thought that maybe because of the midterms, practice would slow down a bit.
"Training? Not so much nowadays," Aha! I was right, "I think we'll be starting heavy training the month after next, though. All the way till the month after that."
"Yeah. Big one. Starts a few weeks after second sem starts, too, I think."
"Good luck. I know you'll do well."
For a fairly big guy, his smile seemed so small to me.
On our way to the car, it was basically that: small talk. Nothing much, really. He did like my car though. And for a moment, I hesitated and wondered if that time was the first time he actually saw my car.
I did somewhat agree with him. Honestly, for a college student, I found a Toyota Camry too much myself.
"It isn't really mine. It was my dad's before he, well, left..."
"Where is he?"
"Somewhere in the states with his family."
I didn't mean for it to be so curt and dry, but somehow it came out that way. He clammed up after that, making me a little guilty.
But I really didn't want to talk about my family right then and there.
When we finally got to his car, a great-looking SUV, older model but really well-maintained from the looks of it, he sheepishly got out.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to pry..."
"It's okay. It's not your fault that he left you know."
"And, uh, thanks again."
"If I charge you for every 'thanks' I hear from you, you'd probably owe me a whole lot by now."
"I thought friends aren't supposed to owe each other anything?" He grinned.
"Corny. But okay, fine. Except money."
"So, we still on for Thursday?"
"Yeah. Practice a bit more at home. I think you're starting to get a hang of it."
"Well, I have a great teacher."
"Really? Tell me more about this great teacher..."
"He's also trying to be funny now."
"Cute. Real cute, Ry. See you Thursday."
"See you too. Take care."
From my rear-view mirror, I could see his form beside his SUV, watching me until he disappeared when I made my first turn.