The first time the phone rang that Sunday morning after the party, it had waken me out of a deep sleep. I was too groggy to get up at the time, but listened for the answering machine to pick up and at least find out who it was. I doubt Tanner would have been calling me that early, but if it was him, I would have gladly rolled my lazy ass out of bed to hear his voice. I perked my ears up, waiting for a voice to start speaking. But as soon as the answering machine picked up, I heard a click, and they hung up. No biggie. I rolled over and easily went back to sleep. The second time the phone rang was about 25 minutes later, and when I heard them hang up on the answering machine again, I got myself too flustered to go back to sleep. Dammit! If I can't sleep in, what are Sundays for?
I pulled myself out of bed moments later, and lazily jumped in the shower. I almost laughed at the way my hair looked in the mirror. My blond locks tossed about like it had been the nest for a family of birds or something. The strange thing is...since the first time Tanner kissed me, my reflection had somehow changed. It was brighter, sexier, happier, more complete. For some odd reason, Tanner made me happy with what I saw. Even when I was just waking up and looking like hell. There's something about having someone want to kiss you that makes you invinceable to your own insecurities. How can you not fall TOTALLY in love with the person who steals your doubts and fears away, only to replace them with passion and confidence? Whatever divine being designed this wonderous feeling of love...they were a proud craftsman indeed.
I stripped down, turning the water on as hot as I could stand it, and stepped into the shower. I don't know what felt better, the hot water running down my back, or the rising steam around me. Sigh...it was almost enough to make me fall asleep standing up. My muscles were relaxing, and the water was soothing every inch of me as it slid from my shoulder blades all the way down my back, over my taut cheeks, and down my smooth thighs as it headed for the drain. It was a peaceful moment, when everything seemed just so...so...
Then the phone rang...AGAIN!!! I groaned out loud in frustration, but refused to get out of the shower at this point. I tried to ignore it, silently cursing to myself at the intrusion. But you'd be surprised how freaking loud a ringing phone can seem when you're trying to ignore it. It finally stopped, and I finished washing up. I wasn't sure who it was that was calling there, but it was bugging the shit out of me! I stepped out of the shower, drying off with a raggedy old towel from the linen closet, only to hear that blasted 'siren' shooting out from the phone again once I stepped into a pair of boxers. This time, I was so agitated, that I just wrapped the towel around me, and stomped my way towards the phone half naked. I tried to hold back the aggravation in my voice, just in case it was grandma or something and I yelled at her by mistake when I picked up the receiver. "Hello?" It was dead silent at first, but I could faintly hear some breathing on the line. So I asked again, "Hello???" Then I heard another click, and it went dead. What the hell was THAT about?
I hung up the phone with a slam, and started to walk away...but before I could get five steps away...the phone called me right back again! Jesus! I don't care if Mickey Mouse is on the phone, he was about to get an earful!!! "HELLO?!?!?!" I shouted.
There was a gasp, and then a silence. "...uhh...." Came a voice from the other end.
"Yes?" I asked.
"...hey." Great, that helps.
"Who is this?"
"It's me...it's Chris." He said. I swear, if this is another one of his stupid little pranks I'm going to reach right through the phone and choke the color right out of his eyes!
"Why the hell did you hang up on me?" I asked.
"...Um....I dunno..." Ok, somebody is being an ultra weirdo today. "Who knows?" He said.
"Well, I was kinda hoping that YOU would know." Then there was another silence before he was 'able' to speak again.
He cleared his throat a bit, and said, "I'm not bothering you, am I?" Exactly how should I answer that? I'm thinking, 'as rudely as possible'. But then he said, "You know, I didn't mean to bother you or anything. I...I really didn't...I'm sorry. I should go..." And that was when memories of Friday night came flooding back into my groggy mind. Chris, the worst enemy that I could have 'possibly' made at school that year, suddenly jumping me in the back seat of a limo and smashing his lips up against mine. I spent all of Friday night and Saturday morning thinking about it. Not seriously, but thinking about it nonetheless. Trying to figure out what the hell was going through his mind when he decided to kiss me. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was what inspired this weirdness as well as this morning phone call.
"Sigh...no. You're not...you're not bothering me, Chris. I'm just...I'm not fully awake yet." I said. He seemed genuinely concerned about annoying me, and that was different for him. Anyway, I guess that the 'human' side of me decided to spare him from any big embarrassments or anything by trying to be somewhat 'understanding' in all this.
"Ok...ok...good." He said. Then there was another long pause afterwards. I carried the phone into my room to put some clothes on while I waited for Chris to snap out of it. I dropped the towel and put a white tshirt on. I guess he heard the rustling and he finally said, "What are you doing?"
"I'm getting dressed, why?"
"Sorry for what?"
"Nothing. Just...sorry." Ok, this was getting freaky, even for me.
"Chris, is there something on your mind, dude?"
"Yeah..." It took him a second to get his words together in the right order, then he FINALLY began to talk somewhat 'normally'. "Listen.........about Friday night...that wasn't really me. You know? It was just some dumb...uh...'thing'...and it was probably because I had a sneak of champagne from the party. And...and if my coach knew that I was drinking, even a little bit, then he'd be upset. So...I can't drink, but I had some, and I'm not supposed to. So...I was just hoping that you wouldn't tell him about the party. Or tell anybody ELSE about the party, because, you know, they might tell the coach that I was drinking. And that would be bad. So, I hope we can keep that...whole thing between us. You know? The drinking, that is." Chris went from silence to babbling so quickly that I hardly knew what to make of it. Not to mention that I knew for a fact that he didn't drink anything at all at that party last night. The bar was locked up tight from 'minors' the whole time. He would have needed a parent just to get him a glass of water in that place.
"Chris, if this is about the limo..." I started, but he brutally interrupted me.
"The LIMO??? Who said anything about a LIMO??? I'm talking about the party. FORGET the limo! This is totally different...and besides, I hardly remember the limo at all. It's a TOTAL blank. You know? It's a complete and total...."
"I won't tell anybody, Chris." I added before he got on another breathless string of phrases and stuttered excuses. "Honestly. It's our secret, I promise. Consider it forgotten." I think the admission made him feel slightly better.
He cleared his throat again gently, "Forgotten...ok...good." He said, a slight sigh of relief. Geez, the whole thing must have had him pretty shaken, because I could hear the trembling in his voice. He was literally terrified. "Forgotten. Um...you mean the drinking thing...right?"
"Of course." I went along with the game for his sake. Anything to ease his mind long enough to leave me alone.
"Good. Well...that was all I needed to talk to you about. I just wanted to make sure." He mumbled. I said goodbye, and he did the same. He hung up the phone and I just had to shake my head. Maybe this little bout of confusion on his part will force him to ease up on me a bit in school. Oooh, blackmail! A very interesting concept indeed. I smiled wickedly to myself, and went to my room to put on some music. That's when I heard the phone ring yet AGAIN!
"Hey....um....uhhh..." it was Chris again!
"Listen...when you said you 'forgot'...did you mean the drinking thing? Or did you mean like...'everything'."
"HUH? What the hell are you talking about?" I asked.
"You know...like...'everything'? Like...YOU KNOW!"
"No Chris...I don't know." I've never seen him like this before.
"Sigh...the LIMO thing. I mean...did you really 'forget', or are you just saying you forgot because I told you to forget it?"
"I thought you didn't remember the limo thing."
"Derrick...c'mon. You know what I mean. Quit playing stupid." Chris sounded like he was frustrated too, but in a different way. Almost in a self conscious way. As though this conversation wasn't going anywhere NEAR as calmly and smoothly as he had planned it.
"No, I didn't really 'forget' it, Chris. But I already told you, I won't tell anybody, ok? I swear, so don't worry."
"But...but you DO...remember it. Right?"
"Yes, Chris, I remember 'it'."
"So...did you...like...you know...LIKE it? WAIT! No! Don't answer that!" Great, now he's getting worse! "Not like it, I didn't mean that. I meant...did you...um...did you hate it? Like, just really hate it? You probably hated it, right?"
"No, I...Chris...this is really awkward here, ok?" I was stuck between my need to not hurt his feelings, and my desire to just get him off the phone.
"Awkward...awkward is cool. So you didn't hate it. Right? You didn't hate it. Ok...I can work with that."
"Work with WHAT?" I asked.
"Look, I need to see you. I'm coming over." He said. How in the hell did I get myself into this?
"Chris, you are NOT coming over!"
"I just wanna talk to you. Just for a few minutes, it won't hurt. I swear."
"You don't even know where I live."
"Yes I do. I paid Mitch and he used his computer to break into your school files. I got your address from their mailing list. By the way, you're getting a C+ in Physics. I can get Mitch to clear that up for you if you want." I couldn't believe this was happening.
"This is insane. Dude, I'm going to hang up now, and basically forget that we had this conversation." The feeling inside of me wasn't necessarily anger, but it was a close relative of it.
"That's cool. I'll talk to you when I get there. See you soon." He said. I could almost hear him smiling.
"NO Chris! You are not coming over! Do you hear me? No."
"I'll be there before you can say my name."
"I said NO..." But before I could get it out of my mouth, the doorbell rang. My eyes went up to the ceiling and a loud sigh escaped my lips. "I can't believe this." I whispered to myself.
"Come on Derrick...just for a few minutes. Then I'll go. It might be worth your while." I didn't say anything at first, I just rubbed my eyes and tried to make sense out of all this. "I KNOW you're home dude, I'm talking to you on the phone. C'mon, open the door, it's chilly out here. Please?" I hung up the phone and walked over to unlock the front door. Sure enough, there was Chris, cell phone in hand, and dressed to perfection. His hair was fixed and his green eyes sparkled like jewels. He smiled, and without any further invite, the beast entered my house. I shut the door behind him, completely overwhelmed at his sudden almost hostile presence in my living room.
"Just what the hell do you think you're doing?" I said, stepping in front of him and stopping him from going any further.
"Chill out, Derrick. Geez. I though you would be glad that I'm not hassling you for a change." Then he just stepped around me, and walked to the center of the living room. "So this is your house, huh? Nice. It's very...'cozy'."
Arrrgh! "Gee, thanks. You know how us poor folk like to keep it 'cozy'. We even get to pay our rent with pop bottles and pre-chewed bubble gum." I said sarcastically.
"I'm...I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. It's cool. I like it." He walked even further inside and I found myself trailing behind him. "So is this the kitchen?"
"I don't seem to remember a household tour being in your request to suddenly crash through my front door. You said you wanted to talk, so TALK!" The quicker this was over with, the better.
"Straightforward, I can deal with that. I was thinking...maybe we could try being buds for a while. We really should drop this whole rivalry thing, it's getting tiresome." He said it like he was making a business proposition at a board meeting.
"Buds? Chris, you don't even LIKE me! Remember?"
"Don't like you? What gave you THAT idea?" Was this kid SERIOUS?
"Um...bumping into me all the time, calling me names, telling me you hate me, saying that I'm not worthy of being a that school, calling me 'slug' in front of everybody, laughing at me at every given opportunity..."
"Ancient history. It's all forgotten about. Really, don't sweat it. Hey, is your bedroom this way?" I can't BELIEVE the nerve of him! I was speechless at this point.
He wandered around the room a little bit more, when he noticed that I wasn't moving, or even talking to him after the last comment. He seemed to soften up a bit, and walked up behind me. "Derrick...I was just...I was thinking it would be cool to be closer to you. You know? To hang out once in a while. I'm sorry about that other stuff, ok?"
"That 'other stuff' really hurt my feelings, Chris. It's going to take a little bit more than a simple apology to make up for it."
Chris put is hands on my shoulders, his fingers trembling a bit, and said, "How about I take you to a movie or something. Anything you want to see. My treat. You won't even have to bust open your piggy bank or whatever it is you have." Good way to make points buddy.
"Jesus, dude..." I said, rolling my eyes, and I walked away from him.
"Sigh...no...w-w-wait. That came out...wrong. I didn't mean...forget I said it. K? Uh...hey, how about, we go out for something to eat? My driver will take us anywhere we want to go. I know where to find some awesome Italian food."
"Then why don't you go find it, and leave me alone?" I guess it was kind of mean, and he stopped blabbing for a second. But only long enough to think of some other way to build a friendship in a day. Or in this case, to just plain hit on me.
"You smell good. Just out of the shower?" He wasn't paying attention to a word I was saying. "You really should do something with that hair though, it looks..." I braced myself for another insult, but he stopped himself in mid sentence. "...it looks...ok. It's fine. Really...it's cool." I was actually a bit surprised that he didn't take the opportunity to take a shot at me. What do you know, he was actually 'trying'. I suppose people get the same feeling when they teach their dogs to bark on command.
"Thanks." I said, with just enough enthusiasm to be polite.
Then he moved closer to me, his voice shaking violently, and said, "You just...you just need...to keep it out of your eyes. That's all. I hate that." He used his hand to gently brush my hair out of my eyes, and the next thing I know, he was beginning to step forward again. This time, a hypnotic look on his face, and his eyes closing as he prepared to kiss me for the second time. Not a quick passionate reaction, he had PLANNED on this and he was doing it on purpose this time around. This is NOT happening!
I pushed him back a bit while leaning my face away from his. "What are you doing?" I asked, hoping to scare him off.
"Ok...ok...I got ya. You're not into that kind of thing. That's cool, totally. Because you're straight....right?" He looked hopeful, but even though it would be lying, it was the only way to get myself out of this little predicament.
"Um...yeah. I'm...I'm straight." I answered.
"Yeah, I kinda figured that." He backed off a little bit, and I was able to calm down some. Thank goodness. Then he shot back with, "Ok...how about this?" Uh oh, I had no idea where he was going to take this now. "What if...just hypothetically speaking...what if...you and me were to 'try' some stuff..."
"Shhh! Let me finish. What if, we tried some stuff together...some sex stuff? NOBODY has to know. Right? And then after a FEW times, if you don't like it...then we can stop." If he thought I was speechless BEFORE, he had no clue as to what I was feeling NOW!
"Chris...we are NOT 'trying stuff'. Got it? No 'trying stuff' for you and me. Not ever."
"So that's a 'maybe'?"
"That's a 'NO'!" I said.
"Ok....how about this then...?" I began to push him towards the door at this point.
"How about you convince your driver to 'try stuff' with you on your way HOME, Chris." I said, continuing to push him closer to the door.
"Wait! Wait! Ok, I can take a hint. No sex, it's too soon anyway. I mean we JUST started dating."
"We are NOT dating!"
"Can I have a kiss before I go?"
"Not even a little peck on the lips?"
"No tongues, I promise."
"Ok, look...50 bucks...for ONE long kiss. One minute, you can time it if you want. And you let me...you know...'touch' ya."
"GOODBYE CHRIS!!!" I shouted.
"I was kidding! It was a joke! A JOKE! Hehehe!" He giggled as I pushed him out of the door and back onto the porch. But he wasn't giving up that easy. "So you wanna catch a movie on Friday?"
"I'll think about it...and then I'll say 'no'."
"You know, you're cute when you're being a smart ass."
"ARRRRGH!!!!" And I slammed the door shut! Omigod...he likes me! He seriously likes me! Oh SICK!!! I feel like I need to take another shower now! I started to walk back to my room when the phone rang again. "Hello?"
"I like your boxers, cutie. They hug you in all the right places." Chris said with a grin, and then he hung up before I even had the chance to curse him out. I just hung up and went back to my room to wallow in my confusion for a while. This was certainly something right out of the freaking Twilight Zone!
On the bus the next morning, I waited impatiently for Tanner's stop. And when he finally got on, my whole day got brighter. I swear, that boy gets more and more beautiful with every breath he takes. He took his space next to me, and smiled widely at me. "I didn't hear from you last night. I thought for sure you'd call before you went to bed." He said.
"I think I got wrapped up in some videos for a while, and by then it was too late. Besides, talking to you would have just left me breathless and made me all the more anxious to see you today." I smiled.
"Awwww...that's so gay of you." He laughed, and I slugged him gently in the shoulder. "Say, check this out, their playing the ORIGINAL 'Psycho' on the big screen over at the Omnimax this weekend! What do ya say we stop by and enjoy some slice and dice cinema?"
"Oh SWEET! I'm there! How much are tickets?" I asked.
"A billion dollars each. But I'll sell one to you for just a blow job and a kiss." He smiled.
"Do you want the kiss before the blowjob, or after?" I giggled.
"How about both?"
"That's not in the agreement."
"Make an ammendment." Tanner's sweet smile warmed my heart, and I felt a swoon come over me.
We joked back and forth for a while. God, how I loved to hear him laugh. And while I could easily gaze at him and momentarily feel that stirring inside of me that wanted to hug and kiss and taste every inch of this fine specimen at any given moment...there was an abundance of moments where the two of us could just talk. Just be friends and laugh together about the simple things. In the end, that made all the difference. He was just a joy to be around. It was strange how everything in my life looked so perfect just by having him in it. I could be homeless and starving, but as long as Tanner was right there beside me, I would be able to smile the whole day through. It was downright supernatural, the ability he had to make me feel good inside. I found myself staring at him, and smiling in pure awe of him.
By the time we got to school, I was floating. Locked in a dreamy state where the sun was always shining and the wind whispers the name of the boy you love more than anything. Then...came gym.
Chris was already waiting down there by the time I came into the locker room to change. He smiled, and I basically kept my back against the wall to keep my distance. "Hey." He said.
"Aren't you going to be late for your next class?" I asked.
"This IS my next class. I traded class periods." He smiled.
"So...isn't that your locker way over there?" I asked.
"Not anymore, I traded lockers too." Oh wonderful, and right next to mine. How convenient. "Don't worry. I'm not going to give you a hard time. I told ya, just friends. Really." And he started taking off his shirt.
I looked around, and there were a few people in the locker room, but not in our row. I wondered if he had the guts to try anything. Doubtful. Anyway, what am I worried about? I'M the one holding the trump card here. I can expose him at any time, and if he doesn't leave me alone, I just might have to do that. Or at least threaten to. Not that I would. I don't think. I made my way past him and opened my locker. That's when Chris stripped down to his boxers, and then he slid those off too. Knowing that he was naked and standing next to me made me a little nervous, I'll admit it. But I could ignore it, right? Doesn't bother me, not at all.
"So, did you think about that movie this weekend?" He asked, purposely turning to give me a full frontal view!
"Chris...put that away, will ya?" I said, shielding my eyes from the sight.
"What? We're all 'guys' here." He grinned. "So...did you think about it?"
"Yeah, and I don't think so."
"Why not?" He asked, getting even closer to me with that weapon of his dangling in front of me.
"Because I have plans with someone for this weekend." For most people, that would be enough. But not for Chris.
"Maybe you can cancel them."
"Maybe I can, but I won't."
"Well...you can invite them along. Is it one of your...townie friends or something?"
"If you mean 'one of my poor friends from the slums', no. As a matter of fact, it's Tanner." I said proudly.
"Tanner...ahhh. Ok, well how about Saturday? I was going to play tennis over at the Murphy's place. You can come cheer me on if you want."
"Gee, sounds exciting. But no." I said, and I took my uniform to the bathroom to change.
"Was it something I said?" He shouted after me. I think this whole thing was a big game to him. He liked seeing me squirm at his advances. I mean, for crying out loud, what happened to Mr. 'I'll-beat-the-shit-out-of-ya-if-you-tell-anyone' from the limo? I feel like an intern at the White House for goodness sakes.
During gym class, we were playing baseball, and Chris stayed right by my side for the whole day. The...WHOLE....day! Every single second. While waiting for our turn to bat, he would sit on the bench RIGHT next to me, touching my leg with his, and I could feel him looking at me at all times. He wasn't even talking to any of the other cronies in his gang of admirers. Just lucky ol' me. Wonderful. Then there were times when he would bump into me on purpose. Gently, but with his hand always 'mistakenly' gliding across my ass or something. And he kept smiling at me. Even when I was rude to him, he just kept that damn wacky grin on his face the entire time. He came to sit next to me again on the bench, and I just got up to walk away. Enough is enough. I looked behind me to see if he was still there, but when I turned around, he was right behind me. Arrrgh!
"Chris! Dude, can you stop this? This is stupid." I said, my hands on his shoulders to keep him from getting too close.
"What's stupid about it?" He giggled.
"EVERYTHING! Dude, just give me some space, ok? Do you think you can do that for a while?"
He sighed to himself, "You're not making this easy, Derrick." I stared at him for a second, and that's when he said, "Ok. Fine. Space. You got it." It was the first time all day that I saw that smile go away. He should probably thank me for making it leave his lips before his whole face cramped up.
"Thank you." I let him go, and started to walk away.
"Derrick." He called after me. I turned around, and he looked at me, seriously looked at me, and said, "Can I...can I call you or something tonight?"
"Chris...that's not necessarily considered 'giving me my space'."
"I can't even call you?" He was serious. I mean, all things aside, I wasn't trying to really hurt his feelings, I just didn't know how to suddenly switch from bitter enemies to 'buds' quite so fast. "Please?" Oh please don't tell me he's gonna beg!
"Fine! Whatever." I said, and walked off to outer field. I was sure that it made him happy, but I didn't dare turn around to find out. I don't know what it was, but something about the look on his face a few minutes ago was...I don't know...human. I never thought I'd ever be putting Chris in THAT category. The nerve of him touching me, and shaking his ass around me. What a nut case. I just kept thinking about it all period, and all through the next period, and the next. By the end of the day, I could hardly keep him off of my mind for more than a minute. The son of a bitch had BRAINWASHED me into thinking about him! Soon we'll BOTH need therapy.
Tanner could easily tell that I had something on my mind when he got on the bus the next morning. He took his seat next to me, and just stared at me with a warm smile. "What are you smiling about?" I asked.
"I don't know yet. You tell me." He grinned.
"Well aren't WE psychic this morning?"
"You know you're gonna tell me eventually. You're just wasting time." He said, tossing some of his hair back. He just kept looking right at me with that smile, and I couldn't help but feel lifted out of my seat. "C'mon, spill it."
"I...sorta...have...an 'admirer'." I moaned.
"An 'admirer'? Like...a secret admirer?"
"Well it's a secret to everybody but me, unfortunately."
Tanner giggled gleefully. "Are you serious? Awwwwww....it's because you're so cute! That's why." He said, pinching my cheeks.
"Whatever. It's really just stupid."
"It's not stupid. Somebody likes you. They're probably thinking about you right now." He thought all of this was so adorable. I certainly didn't think so.
"Great. Thinking about me. That's comforting."
"So what's her name?" He asked, and I looked around the bus for a second before whispering.
"It's a HE...and I'm NOT telling. Let's just say that I didn't see it coming."
Tanner's eyebrows raised. "Really now? Very interesting indeed. Is it someone that goes to our school?"
I looked at him straight on. "This is NOT '20 Questions' here. I'm not telling you, so leave it alone."
"Is it someone on this BUS?" He tried grilling me a bit more, but my lips were sealed. It was embarrassing enough as it was. I just stood my ground, and let him know that he had absolutely nothing to worry about. No way was I going to give up perfection for a cute piece of ass. Especially one belonging to THAT asshole! It was time for him to get off of the bus, and I almost didn't want to let him go. I was holding onto his arm as he tried to leave. "Hehehe...dude, lemme go. I gotta run!" He laughed.
"Will you call me?" I asked.
"Yes, yes, I promise! I gotta go. See ya later! K?" He hurried off of the bus before the doors closed, and I watched him until the bus took me around the corner, the way I always did. I made it home, and plopped down on my bed exhausted. It had been a long day, and I just wanted to mellow out for a while. Then, as soon as I got a chance to catch my breath, the phone rang. "Hello?"
"I'm not too early, am I?"
"Chris...sigh...dude, is this important?"
"Yeah...yeah it is important. To ME, ok?" I tried not to groan too loudly, and gave him a chance to speak. "Listen, I know this isn't your thing, and I know we haven't always exactly been friends in the past...but...but..." I heard something different in his voice. Besides nervousness. It was a slight rasp, almost like, sadness. "...um...I like you. Ok? I understand if that freaks you out or something, but I just didn't know what to do about it. So, if you just want me to leave you alone, I'll leave you alone." Oh great, now I feel guilty. Stuck between the easy way out he was giving me, and the hell he was destined to put me through. Grrr...let's see if I can make things right without hurting his feelings. Damn, always trying to be the nice guy. It's gonna be the death of me one day.
"Thanks Chris. And I understand, just...you need to slow down a little, ok? No more advancing on me like the Roman army all the time. Then we'll work on being...'friends'." You wouldn't imagine how strange that sounded coming out of my mouth. "Deal?"
"Yeah. I think I can handle that." I could hear a bit of a smile come back into his voice, and I'll admit, it felt good. I don't know WHY making him of all people smile would make me feel good. But it did.
"Cool. I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Wait...can I...um...just say 'one' more thing before you go?"
"Only if you promise not to insult me, Chris."
"I won't! Promise!" He said.
Sigh. "Ok...go ahead." I said, and prepared myself for the worst.
"Derrick?...Kissing you was the best thing that ever happened to me. I won't ever forget it."
Didn't see that coming. "Wow...uh...thanks." Well, what else was I supposed to say? "That's...really nice of you, Chris."
"Yeah. I'm jacking off thinking about it right now." He whispered.
"Joking! Just joking! Don't go postal on me. Hehehe!" I hardly even knew what to make of this kid anymore. But the shock value alone made me smile a bit.
"Hehehe, freak." I said.
"You know it." He smiled. "Now get your hair out of your eyes. You know I hate that." Huh??? I spun around towards the window to see Chris sitting outside next to his driver, cell phone in hand. "Sorry Derrick...I know it sounds stupid, but I just had to see you again today. You can go back to your 'space' now." After saying that, he got into the back seat, waving to me as the car pulled away. He's persistent, I'll give him that. Even bordering on 'sweet' for a moment there. What happened to that giant percentage of his brain that was made up of 'asshole' genes? Am I supposed to believe that they've all suddenly disappeared? And...here I go thinking about him again. Out out damned spot!
For the rest of the week, Chris did his very best to not crowd me the way he was before. But I could tell that he was straining against it every step of the way. He would stare at me for long periods of time from across the room, or would do little things for me, trying to make it look like an innocent gesture. He'd run into me in strange places...by 'accident', I'm sure. A hundred coincidences a day. And if I did so much as say hello to him, he would try to find a million reasons to touch me in some way while we were talking. It was weird, a full blown bastard to sweetheart conversion in the course of one week. Someone should be calling the Guinness Book of records about this incredible discovery. When I got home at night, Chris would call me, just for a few minutes, and ask if he was doing good in the 'space' department. Hehehe, it got to the point where I thought I'd actually miss him if he didn't call. In fact, I was almost 'flattered'. By Thursday night, I was laughing with him, instead of AT him like usual. You know, when broken down to the bare essentials, he really wasn't that bad a guy. Occasionally he would let some of that rich snobbery slip, but at least he was trying. That's more than I can say for some of the other people we went to school with. Who, by the way, were just as confused by Chris' sudden change of heart as I was.
"You ready for tonight?" Tanner asked me as soon as he sat down to lunch that Friday morning.
"Oh right, the movie. Yeah, count me in dude." I said. Just then, Chris walked over and sat down right next to me. No warning, no nothing. I had never seen him here at lunch before. "Chris?"
"I switched lunch hours. No biggie. Hey Tanner." He smiled, spreading his lunch out to dine with us.
"What's up Chris?" Tanner replied, friendly as always. Not much more.
"So Derrick tells me you guys are doing stuff tonight." Chris asked, walking right up to that forbidden line of invading my life and waiting to cross it.
"Yeah, we were actually thinking about going to..." Tanner started, but I stopped him.
"...GOING to...uh...to go bowling. Someplace across town. We figured it might be fun." There. If he's planning to spontaneously 'show up' somewhere, let it be at the bowling alley in the exact opposite direction of where we were off to. I noticed Tanner giving me a strange look from the corner of my eye, but he caught on fast enough.
"Sounds cool. Well, you two enjoy yourselves. I hope you have fun." Chris said. Then he went right back to eating. It was like he had pounced our lunch table and dug his claws in deep. I tried talking to Tanner, but it seemed...'restrained' somehow. I never knew how much we said in secret to each other before having a third party there to watch us. No more jokes, no more hidden grins, no flirting. Nada. So it just made everything a bit uncomfortable, and it was the one lunch hour that I was wishing would go by a LOT faster. Then, out of nowhere, Chris rubbed his leg up against mine under the table. He didn't look at me, and he didn't make it too obvious, but it was definitely on purpose. Then, when I didn't say anything, he did it again. This time he held it there for a second, enjoying the subtle contact. I moved my leg away, causing him to stop, but it probably won't be long before he's trying it again.
"I think I need some more napkins." I said, trying to get away from the table.
"Here, you can use some of mine if you want." Chris meant well, I'm sure, but he was just getting deeper and deeper into this whole thing and it was bothering me.
"No, that's ok man. You can keep those, I need a another soda anyway."
"No problem man. I'll grab ya one. What do ya want? Coke? Sprite? Anything." And he stood up, my own indentured servant.
"Sigh...Sprite is cool. Thanks." I grumbled.
"I'll be right back, ok?" And he took off to get it for me. I slumped back in my chair a bit, and when I looked up, Tanner was staring right at me. A grin on his face.
"What NOW?" I asked.
Tanner turned his head slightly to see Chris getting even more napkins and making sure to pick out the coldest Sprite in the ice bin, and then he turned back to look me in the eye again. "Oh no...dude...you have GOT to be kidding me!" He giggled.
"Kidding about what?" But it was too late. He already knew.
"A 'secret admirer', huh? Hehehehe! Omigod, I never would have thought it possible! You and CHRIS??? That's HILARIOUS!" He laughed to himself as I turned red.
"Shhhh! Keep your voice down! If he knew I told you, he'd freak out!" I said in a loud whisper, but Tanner had a bad case of the giggles now, and there was no stopping them.
"Well, I hate to tell you, but he's not hiding it very well. And neither are you for that matter. You blush at the drop of a hat, dude."
"I'm NOT blushing!"
"It looks like you've got one heck of a problem on your hands. Chris doesn't give up easy...on anything."
"Yeah, I kinda noticed that."
"So what are you gonna do?" Tanner asked.
"I don't KNOW! I've been trying to get away from him, but he just keeps following me around everywhere I go. He calls almost every night. I don't know what to do."
"Hehehe, that's so sweet. You two are such a cuddly little couple. I can just see you now, holding hands and running through a field of roses. What a pretty sight that would be." I'm glad ONE of us was enjoying this so much.
"This is SERIOUS, Tanner! How do I get him to leave me alone?" I asked.
"Nothing you CAN do, Derrick. If he's got a crush on you, then you've just gotta let it run it's course. That's all there is to it. Until then, I think you're stuck with him." Tanner smiled at me wickedly just as Chris was coming back to the table. He had that same goofy expression on his face, and handed me the can of pop.
"I made sure it was cold. None of those half warm ones they put on the top. Cool?" He said.
"Uh...yeah. Great. Thanks Chris."
"Oh, and some more napkins too." He handed them to me, brushing his hand against mine, and Tanner had to turn his head to keep from bursting out into laughter. Bastard, I owe him big time for this.
When the bell rang, I jumped up from the table so fast it almost made me dizzy. I was finally getting the chance to escape. Tanner and I usually walk to class together, but since Chris so 'graciously' offered, and Tanner was getting such a kick out of my predicament, he pretended to forget something in his locker. So he LEFT me! He smiled and said, "You two have fun." While cheerfully waving goodbye. Arrrgh!
"Soooo...I know I asked already, but if you had changed your mind at all about the movie, you'd let me know right?" Chris asked. I was walking as fast as I could through the people in the hall, but I could only manage to stay a step or two in front of him.
"Sorry. I've got stuff to do this weekend." I said. "We'll talk later."
"What time will you be home? I'll give you a call."
"I know, I know. Ok." He tried to stay quiet a few seconds after that, but it didn't work for very long. "What if you call me on Sunday, and tell me how the bowling went? I mean, that's not too much, is it?"
"C'mon. ONE phone call for the whole weekend."
"WHY?" I said annoyed.
"So I can hear from you. You know.....just to hear your voice." He was almost whimpering when he said it. I was ready to just hit him and run at this point, but then he played the guilt card on me, saying, "Please? It would mean a lot to me. You know it would." I swear, he was much easier to deal with when he was being a jerk.
"Promise?" I turned to look at him with an aggrivated look in my eyes, and he backed down a bit. "Ok, ok...gotchya. Too much on my part." He smiled, and just followed me like a little brother to my next class. I must have walked there in record time that day. "I'll talk to you on Sunday, cool?" He was practically bouncing on his heels.
"Whatever. Later." I really am not a cruel person, but this was a weird balance of like and love that I never had to walk between before. I'm not used to being watched. I'm CERTAINLY not used to being hunted. This is going to take a LOT of adjustment.
On the bus ride home, I made sure to give Tanner pure hell without alerting anyone else around us. But no matter how much I ranted and raved, it only made him laugh and tease me even more. Then he told me he'd pick me up about 7 O'clock for the movie, and got up to leave. "Hey, at least you know it's not just me who thinks you're cute." He grinned, and got off the bus. He was just awesome sometimes. There was never a rainy day when he was around.
I got home, showered up and got ready for our date. My mom was sure to force some dinner into me before going out, and Tanner showed up promptly to take me out on the town. "Do you really think he'll come looking for me at the bowling alley?" I asked in the car.
"Hehehe! Who Chris? I wouldn't doubt it. But make no mistake, he'll find you if he has to. All flaws aside, he can be pretty resourceful when he wants to be. He knows so many people, he's pretty much patched into everything at school. So don't think that you'll be able to hide out for too long."
"Wonderful. Just what I needed. A teenage stalker." I slumped down a bit, and Tanner playfully rubbed his leg up against mine. I looked at him with surprise. Did he know about the lunch table?
"Hehehe! Remind you of something? You have the most 'guilty' looking face on Earth, dude!"
"You know...I really hate you for this!" I said.
"No you don't." His eyes locked in on mine, and his smile morphed into a sensual grin. It's the kind of look that you can only give to someone who loves you. His gaze softened, pulling me closer to him like a magnet as our passions seemed to tangle up with one another between us. I wish we had one of those windows between us and the driver at that moment so we could enjoy a few kisses before getting to the theater. Or at least have Jackie driving. No such luck. So we contained the urge and just enjoyed the silent visual connection for a while. By the time we got to the movies, we were both horny enough to turn the car around and check into a hotel someplace. I'm surprised that we weren't 'showing' in front when we got out of the car. I could hardly contain my need for him as it was. His sexy little mind games don't help any.
We bought the tickets, got some good seats right in the middle of the theater, and basically made goo goo eyes at each other for the next fifteen minutes while trying to maintain somewhat of a 'normal' conversation. It was both a blessing and a curse knowing that my life would never be the same without Tanner in it. I don't even know if it would go on. He occupied so many of my thoughts, so much of my time, so much of my heart. He was the center of EVERYTHING for me, and if he weren't there, I would go spiraling off into the darkness, forever searching for a force strong enough to hold me the way he once did. All the crushes, and all the pretty boys, and all the pressure in the world couldn't keep me from realizing that. My heart would deflate without him...I love him with everything that I have to give, and if he didn't love me back...what would I do? They say that life is short. But it's not. It's LOOOONG! And I'll spend the rest of it in tears without Tanner's love to guide me through the tought times.
I worry about losing him often. But luckily, every once in a while, I can see a reflection of that same love in the glory of his eyes. Now was one of those times. And it let my soul rest peacefully.
The movie started, and we almost immediately began play fighting for the armrest. Him knocking my arm into my lap, and me doing the same. Then the son of a bitch KICKED me! I shoved him over a bit, and we snickered happily to ourselves. I had control of the armrest, and there was no way that I was giving it up now. No matter how hard he struggled. Then...all of the sudden, he stopped. We were both a little breathless, but there in the dark, we had a bit of a mask from the rest of the theater. Tanner took that to his advantage once the previews started. He gently wrapped his fingers around mine, and held my hand. The contact sent a slightly warm chill up my arm, and I smiled. He used his finger to tickle the inside of my palm, and I was completely involved in the feel of his soft skin against mine. And just as I let my guard down, he quickly shoved my arm off of the armrest, and regained control! He stuck his tongue out at me and laughed to himself. I had to give it to him, he tricked me, but made it up to me by putting my hand in his lap. I left it there, on the inside of his thigh, my fingertips landing between his knee and 'everything else'. I let it sit there for a moment, allowing the warmth and tenderness of his thigh bathe my hand in its thermal heat. And then I let it glide ever so slowly upwards. Just an inch or two, enough to make him squirm a bit. I heard Tanner let out a little gasp, and I teased him by letting my fingers run small circles on the inside of his thigh. It was so soft, so squeezably enticing. I moved up another few inches, and then a few more. We were both watching the movie screen, but neither one of us was really paying attention. I felt the hardness in my pants tighten up and grow, my breathing speeding up as I eased my hand even further up Tanner's leg. By now, my pinky was delicately tickling his young sack through his pants with the slightest of pressure. It was driving him crazy, I could tell by his quick panting. He was trying to control it and stay quiet, but I wasn't letting him off that easy. I moved up even further, and now I was running my fingers over the hardening lump in his pants, back and forth slowly, giving him goose bumps. I gave it a squeeze and a tug, and he released a soft, high pitched whimper. "Shhh!" I told him with a giggle. At this point, he just forgot the screen, and looked over at me with his eyes half closed, and mouth partially open. I began to wonder just how far we could go in here. In the dark. Maybe I could take it further. Maybe...if I could just unzip him...maybe even...
"What's up?" Came a voice from the side of us. I snatched my hand back as swiftly and discreetly as I possibly could, and turned to see...
"CHRIS?!?! What the hell are YOU doing here?" I whispered harshly as he sat down on the other side of me.
"I came to watch the movie. I figured you guys were busy, so I didn't want to sit home alone on a Friday night. And here I am. Say, you want some popcorn? I brought extra napkins." He said, pushing the bag into my lap.
"You FOLLOWED me, didn't you?"
"Of course not." He said, but I stared him down, and he confessed, "Ok! Maybe...Melissa mentioned that Tanner was talking about coming to see 'Psycho' on the big screen tonight. So I figured you guys would be here. Hiya Tanner."
"Good to see you Chris." Tanner smiled.
"Sigh...." I said.
"What?" Chris looked ready to defend himself with one excuse or another, so I just abandoned it.
"Nothing." And I sat back to watch the movie. My anger surging through me during the whole movie, burning hotter and hotter with each passing second. With BOTH of my dates for the evening on either side of me, I just tried to make it through until the end without going mad. Afterwards, he actually asked if he could catch a ride with us, to which Tanner happily agreed. I swear, I'm going to kill him. Boyfriend or no boyfriend, I was going to murder them both with the first bludgeoning weapon I could get my hands on.
I stayed quiet for the whole trip back while Chris and Tanner chit chatted away with each other. Then came the last straw. "So where are you guys going now?" Chris asked.
"Actually," I said, still pouting a bit. "I'm a bit tired."
"Awww, you guys aren't turning in already, are you?"
I gave Tanner a dirty look that basically let him know that enough was enough. I think he actually had some mercy on me and told Chris, "Yeah, I suppose so. Maybe another night." FINALLY, some help!
"Oh...well, ok then." Chris smiled at me sweetly, obviously satisfied that he had purposely FORCED his way onto my eternal shitlist. I didn't smile back. I didn't budge an inch. I could not believe how far this had gone. I just turned my head and looked out the window to keep from shooting daggers at him for the rest of the ride.
After a few quick moments of silence, I rudely asked, "Can we drop you off somewhere, Chris?"
"Actually, I was thinking maybe I could go to your house. My driver can pick me up from there." NOOOOOO!!!!!!
"How about NO, Chris? Anywhere ELSE you want to go?" Chris' face drooped a little bit, finally letting some of my 'hints' sink in. But then, Tanner jumped in.
"What he means, dude, is it would be better if I just dropped you off at my house. It's closer, you know? It won't take as long." I looked over at Tanner, who flashed me a facial expression that was silently telling me to 'be nice'. I rolled my eyes and just didn't say anything more. I think Chris actually got a clue, and I could hear the sadness in his tone.
"Um...actually, you know what? Don't worry about it. You guys can just drop me off by the hotel up here. I'll be fine."
"Chris, we are NOT dropping you off in front of any hotel!" Tanner insisted. "ARE we, Derrick?"
I was ready to oblige him, actually. Practically had my hand on the door, waiting for the driver to slow down. Then...Chris looked at me with some of the most pitiful orphan Oliver eyes I had ever seen in my life. So, once again...I gave in and tried to be understanding. "No...no I guess we aren't."
"Cool. I'll drop you guys off at Derrick's house, and we'll call it a night." And with that, Tanner took me home. We said our goodnight's, and I didn't even get a single kiss. Chris had called for someone to pick him up from the car, and told them to come to my address. My whole date with Tanner was completely ruined, all because of some stupid crush that I just didn't understand. As soon as Tanner's car drove away, I gave Chris a mean look while grinding my teeth.
"Don't even talk to me, right now." I said, and I walked up to the front door. He walked in behind me, and I just was beyond being 'polite' at this point.
"I'm sorry. I didn't think...I just wanted to spend some time with you guys, that's all." He said sadly, plopping down on my couch.
"And I told you 'NO'. Do you remember that? This isn't about what YOU want, Chris! This is about respecting my space!"
"I'm trying to respect your space, Derrick. But if I played by your rules, I'd never get to talk to you at ALL."
"And the problem with that is...?" I asked, and I left it at that. I walked over to the closet, and looked for a hanger to hang up my jacket. "You just have to stop Chris. That's all there is to it. You follow me everywhere that I go, you show up in the most unlikely of places, you invade my home, you're constantly calling me on the phone, you're always touching me in some way...I mean, this has just got to stop!" I didn't hear anything behind me, so I closed the closet door and said, "Are you even listening to me?" But when I walked back over to the couch, I saw Chris just sitting there, tears pouring down his cheeks, trying hard not to let the damn burst. Until that day, I don't think I had ever seen anyone more heartbroken. I was frozen for a moment, not knowing exactly how to deal with the whole situation. He was crying...actually crying, and it was all because of me. Do I give in to his heavy hearted pleas again, do I say I'm sorry, or do I stand my ground and stop this before it gets worse? I couldn't move. I just stood there for an eternity before doing the only thing that I could think of doing. I got him a box of tissues off of the coffee table.
"I'm sorry, ok?" He sobbed.
I sat next to him, feeling like a total jerk for kicking him when he was down like that, and awkwardly patted him on the shoulder. "It's...it's ok."
"It's NOT ok. You hate me. I MADE you hate me."
"I don't hate you, Chris. I just...I can't have you in my face every second of the day."
"I don't MEAN to be like that. But...I just wanna be around you...and it gets to the point where I can't stand it anymore. So I come looking." More tears fell from his eyes, and he fought hard to choke them back while he spoke. "Do you know what I do every morning when I wake up, Derrick? Do you?"
"I think about YOU. I think about how special you are, and how beautiful you are, and how you're different from anyone else I know in this whole fucking world." He sobbed a bit more, and then continued, "And then I think about how I don't know you at all. And about the fact that no matter what I do or what I feel or what I want...you are never going to love me. Ever. And that hurts. So I do all that I can to forget you, and just STOP being magnetized to you like some kind of lovestruck geek. But you know what? It doesn't work, Derrick. I always want to be close to you, or talk to you, or just...know that in some way, you're thinking about me. But you never even give me a chance. I'm just...not what you want."
But he interrupted me, "Save it. I don't care what you say to me, I'm never going to hate you as much as you hate me. Got it? I TRIED it that way, and it doesn't work. So deal with it. You're always going to be beautiful to me, you're always going to drive me crazy with the cute little things you do, and you're always going to hurt me beyond BELIEF when you turn me away. I can't help that, and you can't help that. So let's just give it a rest for tonight and let me go home and cry myself to sleep." No, this isn't right. I didn't want this. Chris isn't supposed to have 'feelings' dammit! He's supposed to be some kind of raving lunatic who doesn't take no for an answer! A rich, snobby, little ill-mannered brat! So...why is it that I feel so bad right now? This isn't FAIR! He's cheating! Oh....dammit to hell!
I leaned over and gave him a hug, bringing his head into me as he cried softly on my shoulder. "I'm...I'm sorry Chris. I guess, I just got a little carried away. Don't mind me, I'm just...I'm an asshole."
"A cute asshole." He sniffled, trying to smile a bit. I couldn't help but smile a bit myself, and we held the hug for a few minutes longer in silence. Then we heard the honking of a car horn outside. Chris jumped back a bit, and started frantically trying to dry his eyes. "Whoah...I'm sorry. Hehehe, I'm such a fag. Look, that's my ride. I'll...talk to you later. Or....or not." He said, looking hopeful again. Wondering if I'd give him permission to keep stalking me the way he has been. If this would be the end of our connection.
"Sunday, right? I'll...uh...I'll call you, and tell you how the bowling went." I smiled.
It actually got a grin out of him. And he stood up to go. "I must be pretty bad for you to want to send me across town looking for you."
"Yeah, you are. But...maybe I was pretty bad for doing it." Then I stuck out my hand, "Friends?"
He paused, wide eyed as though I was offering him eternal life, and he took it with a shakey hand. "Friends." He looked me in the eye for a moment, then heard the horn honk again. A bit more impatiently this time. "Well, somebody just lost their tip for the night." He grinned, his eyes puffy and red. "G'night. K?"
"Take it easy, Chris."
He walked over to the door, and then turned around. "Your hair is in your eyes again....I hate that."
"Gee, thanks." I said. Sarcasm with a smile. He walked out to the car, and I shut the door behind him.
Ok, so does this make things better or worse? I guess I'll have to just wing this one and see how it goes. I'll be keeping an eye on him though. At times like this, I really do miss the belligerent son of a bitch that I knew Chris to be. At least then I had an idea of what to EXPECT from him. This new side of him was...chaotic at best. I needed some sleep. This next week is going to be quite interesting indeed.
Also, on a sad note, another farewell to an old friend. "Justin Case"...it's been one year, but the old 'boys club' online still misses you. You live in our hearts forever. Thank you.