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Talking to Chris is already something that I knew had to be handled delicately. As sweet and as caring as Chris could be when he was in the mood for it, he could be twice as nasty when he wasn't. Even when it came to me. It was something that I definitely had to learn the hard way since we've been...um...'friendly'.
The strange thing is, the more I tried to think of a calm, non-invasive, way of talking to Chris and maybe asking him to do me and my mom a solid by letting her cook for his dad...the more Mitch's words got to me. It was like they just kept burrowing in deeper, all the way to my bone marrow, hoping to expose me for the total loser that I am. I mean...I'm not taking advantage of Chris' connections. Well...I AM, but not for the heartless reasons Mitch said I was.
If that was the truth, then why do I suddenly feel so bad about it?
I found myself slowing my pace down as I approached the gym locker room. I knew Chris would be in there, early as always. And I knew that he was, basically, expecting to see me there. It was a daily routine that had been going on for the whole school year so far. It would be MORE suspicious for me to break the habit than it would be to just go and stumble clumsily through a conversation that may, or may not, result in anything special.
Damn you, Mitch! Your little heartbroken tirade just fucked up everything I was planning to say to him now! Ugh!
Ok...I'm just going to wing it. That's all. Just talk to him and hope for the best.
I walked to my locker, feeling a bit of a nervous shiver as I saw Chris standing at his own locker right next to mine. He already had his shirt off, his flat stomach and perky nipples in full view. The moment he looked over at me and then turned away without so much as a shrug, I began to feel clunky and clumsy about approaching him at all. But...it might be worth it. Just don't get too pushy, don't be too forward, and just mention it casually. You know? How hard could that be.
Oh! And whatever you do...DON'T mention Tanner! Chris HATES it when I talk about Tanner.
"Chris. Hey..." I started.
"Hello." He said under his breath. He didn't really look at me, but that might be because he was taking his gym shirt and shorts out at the time.
"Gym, huh?" I said. Ok, so that was stupid. Chris just gave me a strange look and went back to getting dressed. As he was pulling his gym shirt over his head, I tried to start again. "I'm really not in the mood for a whole bunch of running around and stuff today. I'd much rather relax."
"Sucks to be you, then." He said.
"Yeah. I s'pose." I saw Chris undo his pants and he bent over as he was pushing them down to his ankles to step out of them. Red briefs today. Some rather 'small' ones too. I made sure to look away though. I always felt awkward looking at him, cuteness and all. It felt like an insult to him, you know? I shouldn't be interested. "So...what's new with you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Just...you know...what's, like...going on?"
Again, he gave me a suspicious look. Then he just said, "Nothing's 'going on'. I woke up, I got a ride to school, and I've been here ever since. What kind of magical adventure did you expect me to have since yesterday?"
I tried to lighten things up with a bit of a fake laugh at his statement, but I think that only made things stranger. I didn't really know how to segue into talking about my mom, or his dad, or anything at all...but as I watched him squeeze those delicious round butt cheeks into his gym shorts, I knew that he wouldn't just stand there and share an uncomfortable silence with me for much longer. I had to think of something to keep him there for another minute or two.
"Can you believe what they fed us for lunch today? Baked ziti? What the heck is baked ziti? It was just weird. It took me two whole sodas to swallow it down." I said, but Chris just seemed to be ignoring my nonsensical chatter at this point. "My old babysitter made better lunches. Heh..." Come on, Derrick, turn into the spin already. "You know, my mom makes a really kick ass mostaccioli dish sometimes. Oven baked. With meat and cheese and this super thin parmesan crust on the top..."
"What?" Chris asked, slightly annoyed.
"Just...my mom...she makes good stuff. Like, remember when I was telling you how much she likes to cook? She loves it. She totally makes an art out of the whole thing."
With a sigh, he said, "Yeah, well...everybody thinks their mom's cooking is the best."
"Well, it's not just ME. I mean other people think she's amazing too. I hear people say she's the best all the time." Don't lose him, Derrick. Keep him talking. It started off a bit cumbersome...but if I stay on this path, I think everything will be...
"I take it that Tanner is one of those people." Annnnnd...my path of conversation just skidded off into a ditch.
"Huh?" I said, trying to buy myself a second or two to think.
"He was so anxious about being invited over to your house for dinner. Isn't that what you said?" He asked. His voice was pretty monotone, but I could hear the hurt in it anyway. "I just figure he must have left happy."
It would have been an insult to try to squirm my way out of it now. So I just said, "Yeah. He did. But other people too. That was just...it was a special occasion."
"Yeah. I'll bet." Chris said quietly.
I waited for a brief pause to pass between us before I started saying, "But all that aside, back to my mom..."
"Is there any reason that you're being so weirdly talkative today?" He asked with a bit of a sneer. "You usually just rush in here, undress, and hurry to get dressed in your uniform so I won't be able to perv on you." I wasn't quite sure what to say to that. He gave me a look and said, "Yeah. You don't think I notice, but trust me...I notice."
"Don't. Ok? It's fine. I'm done with it all." With a subtle shrug of his shoulders, Chris softly told me, "I want something I can't have. So what? I'll deal with it. You're taken. And Tanner? Tanner's...a great guy." There was a darkening mood surrounding us, thickening the very air we were breathing at the moment. But that's when Chris said, "Besides...it's not like you're packing THAT much in your jockey shorts. Don't flatter yourself. Geez!"
I saw a little smirk curl up on the side of his lips, and it put me at ease...if only just a little bit. "So you do perv on me while I'm getting dressed, then?"
He sighed and rolled his eyes. "You're hot, Derrick. I can't help it. It's strictly a series of involuntary peeks." He almost giggled for a second, but he cut it off and held back from letting me see it. Then, he finally turns to me and says, "So, are you gonna tell me what this is all about or are we going to bullshit through another five minutes of discomfort? I kind of have a class to go to."
Alright, I guess I wasn't going to get a better opportunity to give him my improvised sales pitch. So I said, "Listen...I wanted to know if, maybe, you could do me a small favor?"
"Well that's not very hard to figure out. What is it?" He asked.
I cleared my throat, "Your dad...ummm...?"
"What about him?"
"He's still opening that new restaurant here in the area pretty soon, right?"
Chris said, "Yeah. Probably in about a month or so. Construction's pretty much finished. Just needs to be licensed for being up to code or whatever."
"Has he...like...hired all of his kitchen staff yet? I remember you said that he was going through some...'select clientele'. Right?"
He was like, "No. My dad is really picky about his kitchen staff. They've got to be able to make the whole menu to perfection before they even get on the short list." Then he asked, "Why?"
Might as well just ask him. "I was wondering if maybe you could talk to your dad about giving my mom a shot."
"A shot at what?" He asked.
"A one of the kitchen jobs. Maybe even as a chef or something."
Chris scoffed at the idea, a little snicker escaping him before he could catch it. "Seriously? Are you kidding me right now, or are you being serious? Besides, why can't she just go in and take her own shot?"
"Come on, Chris...you said it yourself. You're dad is only looking for 'select clientele'. My mom doesn't necessarily have the kind of resume that grabs the attention of people like...well, like your dad." I hope that didn't sound as cringe inducing as it did in my head.
Chris replied, "That's putting it lightly. She serves burgers to truckers and teenagers for a living. I wouldn't exactly classify her as a big player in the culinary arts industry."
Grrrr! Ok, I know that Chris doesn't mean to be mean. That's not who he really is on the inside. Still...the things that come out of his mouth sometimes. UGH! Just ignore the condescending words and appeal to his heart. "That's exactly why I need you to talk to him. All she needs is a chance to show him what she can do. She can take it from there."
"Dude...you know that I have a near impossible time saying 'no' to you, no matter what you ask of me..." He said. "...But there's no WAY my dad is going to risk the reputation of his brand new opening restaurant on hiring a random 'slop waitress', Derrick. Certainly not just because she happens to be my friend's mom."
"I'm not asking him to just give her the job, Chris. Just the opportunity to try out. That's it!" I told him. He groaned a little bit, but I could tell that I at least had him considering it. If I can just keep him on the fence long enough, I might just get him to cave. "What has he got to lose, right? Look, if my mom cooks for him and knocks his socks off...then he gets the best damn chef in town to work in his new restaurant. If she fails to impress him, then he skips over her and moves on to someone who looks good on paper instead. Someone with the kind of references that would make them a part of his whole selective clientele idea. What do you say?" He was quiet at first, so I added, "All she needs is a chance to get her foot in the door. Once she gets behind a stove...it'll be her who's doing him the favor. I swear!"
Chris sighed out loud. "You know...I might be a lot more suggestible if you'd make out with me."
Dammit! "Hehehe, I'm not making out with you, Chris."
"Well, I'd settle for you letting me give you a blowjob, but kissing is so much more intimate."
"CHRIS! Come on, dude..." I whined.
He saw the pleading look in my eyes, and found it hard to even pretend to fight back anymore. "Get me some paperwork. TOMORROW! And you'd better have a believable lie ready for me to give my dad, just in case he asks."
"I WILL! Anything you want! By tomorrow! I promise!" I said, feeling a high dose of adrenaline rush into my chest! "You won't be sorry! You'll see!"
"I'm already sorry." He grunted, closing his locker. "Now I have to have a heart to heart with my old man. Psh! Fun times..."
"Thank you, Chris." I said, touching his arm and making sure that I looked him directly in the eye to let him know that I was being sincere. "I mean that, k?"
Chris blushed slightly, but kept his facial expression the same. "Whatever. Just...I wanna help, I guess. Maybe you can stop dressing like a hobo."
"I'm NOT dressed like a hobo." I said.
"Could have fooled me."
"Well, that's your opinion."
"One that I'll keep until you get yourself a major upgrade." He smirked. But before he was able to turn around and leave, I felt compelled to step closer and give him a warm hug around his shoulders. A genuine hug, giving him all the gratitude that I could convey in our soundless embrace. His body tensed up at first, his hands unsure of whether they were allowed to hug me back or not. I think he actually stopped breathing for a moment or two, before finally relaxing a bit and awkwardly patting me on the back with both hands. "Ok. Ummm...that's enough. You can let go now." I could tell that he didn't mean it, but I released my hold on him anyway. "Just get me something with your mom's name and number on it so he'll remember to give her a call back."
"K. I'll do that." I said.
Our eyes met, and he barely blinked as he fought the urge to reveal the resurgence of feelings that I'm sure he'd rather be done with like he said before. His hand started to reach up towards my face, but he stopped himself and looked down at his feet instead. "Fix your hair." He said. "It's looking all floppy and cute again." He peeked up at me briefly, and then said, "I've gotta go. Later."
Was he hurt? Yeah...I think he was. It wasn't my intention to make him feel worse, but...sometimes the human heart doesn't see it that way. I can't really say that I've had enough practice with this whole 'gay teen' thing to know when I'm hurting him by getting too close and when I'm hurting him by pushing him away...but for the sake of hopefully having a really awesome friend someday...I hope we can find some sort of middle ground in the future.
My mom was still at work when I came home from school, and that gave me an opportunity to go into her bedroom and find some of those old photocopied resumes that she typed up over a year and a half ago. I remember her keeping them in her nightstand by her bed, bottom shelf. It was only two or three pages long, but it had her high school and college info, work history, notable skills...I was hoping that it would be enough. Like Chris said, it wasn't the kind of paperwork that would 'wow' a crowd...but my mom had the skills to put MOST of those other snooty applicants to shame if they dared to stand beside her in a professional kitchen. I was sure of it! I'll keep things a secret for now. Just until I can be sure that Chris' dad was going to call. The last thing I wanted was for her to get her hopes up and have them dashed before she even got her foot in the door so she could show the world what she was made of. Besides, I didn't want her to know that I was being sneaky about putting her name in the hat without asking permission in the first place. What a surprise it'll be if he does call though! Right?
I gave Chris the necessary papers, and he guaranteed me that he'd put it directly in his dad's hand, personally. I know that I thanked him a hundred times at least, but he kept his arm out to keep me from hugging him again. I really hope that he doesn't think I'm taking advantage of him or his feelings for me. I really don't. I just...I feel like this is soooo important, this time around. I'm trying to do something good, right?
Tanner invited me over to his house after school today. My mom would be working late, and I didn't really feel like having a frozen pizza or a few packages of Ramen noodles for dinner. Most times, my mom brings something home from the diner afterwards, but that might not be until 10 or 11 O'clock tonight. Tanner had decent snacks at his house, and someone to whip up something hot if he asked for it. Sure, his mom and dad were home...but it wasn't the same as having my mom at home. At my house, if my mom is in the upstairs bedroom and I'm down in the living room and sneeze...she says 'bless you'. Tanner's house is big enough where we could do everything short of setting off a box full of fireworks indoors, and neither one of his parents would come running. So we still had a certain degree of privacy as long as we were being careful.
I kind of liked that. I can't imagine living in a place with so much...space. Hehehe, it's cool!
With all the stuff that Tanner had at his disposal to play with, he never once took a single breath to brag about it. In fact, his favorite toy seemed to be the one in my pants! And I certainly wasn't about to charge him a single dime to play with it. Sometimes, he would just smile at me...and I'd get so damned nervous and jumpy that it would take at least two or three kisses from those angelic lips of his to calm me down to the point where I found the ability to speak again. Hehehe, he was so CUTE!!!
"So, do you think he'll put a good word in for your mom?" He asked me, even though I was too spellbound to really decipher the words he was saying to me. Everything just sounded like, 'kiss me, kiss me, KISS ME', as far as I was concerned.
"Ummmm...yeah. I think so. I suppose it's out of my hands now." I told him.
He leaned in to give me a kiss on the cheek, and then he said, "Make yourself comfortable..." Then I saw him walk over to his bedroom door and turn the little lock on the knob to ensure that nobody would walk in on us. The gesture itself made me giggle, and he followed suit, coming to sit beside me on the bed. "There we go."
"Your mom lets you lock the door?" I asked.
"Yours doesn't?" He replied.
"Not if she knows about it. No way. Especially now that she knows I've got a boyfriend."
"Oh. Well, no worries then." Tanner grinned. "My mom doesn't know any of that stuff. So we're cool for now."
"We're gonna get in trouble..."
"No we won't." He said. "You assume that my mom really gives a shit. Do you really think we would have come as far as we have if she really suspected that you and I were boyfriends together?" He asked.
I said, "Your cousin, Jeff, seemed to figure it out rather quickly..."
"My cousin, Jeff, is lucky that he isn't being kidnapped and sent off to some religious 'gay conversion therapy' camp right now! Hehehe! I highly doubt his testimony is going to have much credibility after the way I set him up."
"That's what I'm talking about, Tanner. How long can we keep doing this without getting into some real trouble?" I said.
Tanner took a hold of my hand, kissing me briefly on the lips with a smile to ease my nerves. "I'm ready to tell my parents when you are."
"I'm serious, Tanner."
"So am I." He said. "You still don't get it, do you? I LOVE you, Derrick! My heart refuses to beat without you. None of this make-believe bullshit means anything to me if I don't have you to share it with. At this point, it takes more effort and more energy to 'hide' my feelings for you than it does to hide it from them. I'd feel nothing but relief if you were to tell me that I could spill the beans right now and force them to adjust to what I wanted for a change." Tanner gently caressed the side of my face, and said, "I know what I want. Ever since I figured out that I liked boys instead of girls, I realized that the hardest part of the whole transition was trying to figure out what it is that I wanted to gain from it all. I didn't have any idea what I was going to do. I had no concept of being able to actually fall in love with somebody. I had honestly convinced myself that I only had some dirty sex hook ups in my future and nothing better than that. Then...you came along. You're the one that made me realize that my heart and soul wouldn't be wasted on random porn videos and lonely nights stroking myself with the door closed." He kissed me again, and told me, "You were the first boy that I ever wanted to kiss on the lips. Did you know that?" My eyes widened a bit, but I smiled and nodded in response. "It's true! All those cute boys in school that I was constantly picturing naked and stuff...you were the first one that I ever wanted to hold hands with. Smile at. Or just...lay my head on his shoulder while riding the bus to school."
"Heh...I think I'd rather you picture me naked." I joked.
But while Tanner gave me a tender smile, he lightly placed his hand on my knee and said, "I didn't need to picture you naked."
I think I got what he meant. And I won't lie...it made me feel good inside. "You scored BIG points with that comment, babe." I smiled.
"Did I? Hehehe, you like that? No rehearsal, you know?" He grinned, and I couldn't stop myself from kissing him on the lips, right then and there. I've never known lips to be so soft. Like that first warm taste of cotton candy at the fair. My God, his beauty was limitless in my eyes!
Just then, we heard the knob of his bedroom door twisting. His mom was on the other side. "Tanner? Your door is locked. What's going on here?"
Aggravated, Tanner popped up from the bed and hurried over to the door to open it for her. I was instantly paralyzed. We came in together, but it's not like we had to cross paths with her on our way up to his room. Did she even know that I was there?
The door opened, and she walked in...her stern face hardening the moment she saw me sitting there on the foot of Tanner's bed. "Oh." She says. Not in a surprised way. More like the way someone reacts when you tell them they have a disgusting STAIN on their shirt that they didn't know about. "I didn't realize that you had a 'guest'."
She certainly had a way of making me feel welcome, didn't she?
"Derrick and I didn't want to bother you. We were just playing some video games. That's all." Tanner told her.
"Ok, well...next time, just let me know when you're having company." She said. Then she turned to me and said, "Would you like something to eat, Derrick? I'm assuming that you must be pretty hungry."
What the fuck would make her assume that???
"No thanks, Ma'am." I said, swallowing the urge to call her a bitch right to her face! How, in the name of God, did such an evil woman and a careless father raise a beautiful angel like Tanner? Did he pick up all of his manners and grace from TV shows, or what?
"Alright. You boys...have fun, then." She said, her eyes scanning the room to see if there was something out of place. Something to indicate that Tanner and I were up to no good. Then she looked at Tanner and said, "Be careful with this door. Alright. Don't turn the button to the left. Otherwise it locks everybody out of the room."
Like we didn't know that already.
Tanner held back a snicker and said, "Ok. Sure thing. I'll remember."
Then his mom looked at me...then back at him, then at me again. And she said, "Alright then." And she turned around to leave us in peace. "Janice is making sandwiches and tomato basil soup for lunch later. I'll come get you two when it's ready."
"Okay, Mom..." Tanner said. "Bye..." And she left.
The funny thing is, Tanner couldn't wait for her to be out of earshot before hurrying over to close and lock the door again. Hahaha! My devious angel. I'm thinking that he's got some naughty activities in mind for us today.