"Billy Chase #237"

- There sometimes is a level of confusion that is so overwhelmingly messy that you're brain just simply gives up on making sense out of it. It all just becomes this mental 'noise', spinning in circles and tossing random thoughts around without much rhyme or reason. I don't know what to think about things anymore. But...for some some reason, my heart feels good. Really good.

It's the strangest feeling in the world, having my head and my heart all disconnected like this.

I did a bad thing today. I stopped by Sam's house before school to see if we could go together. It would at least give us some time to talk. But nobody answered the door. So I went to school by myself. I didn't see Sam there either. I knew where his third period class was, and I waited outside the door for him to come out. No Sam.

I asked Bobby if he had seen him, I asked Simon if he had seen him...nothing. He ditched school today. The whole DAY. I got that really sick, panicky feeling in the center of my stomach and it made me nauseous. I just remember standing there in the hallway, and I sorta saw Trace coming down the hall from the other direction. He was a long way off, walking at his usual nonchalant pace. But as much as the temptation of finally figuring out whether or not he really did kiss me the night of my birthday party, I didn't wait for him to greet me. The clock seemed to be ticking extra loud in my ears, and each and every second that went by was one I needed to spend getting back home.

So I took a detour, hurried down the steps...and I ditched. My mom is gonna KILL me if the school computer calls my house. I've only been home for two days, and I'm already back to my 'deviant behavior'. At this rate I'll have to finish the rest of my academic career in MILITARY school.

I couldn't back to our neighborhood fast enough. The closer I got, the faster I ran. The whole time I was thinking, 'PLEASE, SAM! PLEASE don't do it!' I ran to the front door and rang the bell, but I didn't get an answer. I went around to the back, and started wailing on the doorbell back there. The panic was so intense that I could hardly breathe. Still no answer. So I opened the screen door and started pounding on the door with my fists, calling Sam's name out. And FINALLY...I saw Sam dragging his feet and slowly approaching the door to let me inside. Thank JESUS! He was ok!

When he opened the door, it was obvious that he had been crying. He was just wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt, his blond hair was a mess. It was obvious that the decision to not even get dressed today had been made the moment he woke up. He was like, "Billy? What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be in school?"

I'm like, "I thought you were supposed to be in school." But he just kinda lowered his eyes for a moment. I'm like, "So are you gonna talk to me or what? Why did you ditch school today?"

He said, "I didn't ditch school. I just didn't go." And he started walking back to his room, but I was right behind him.

I'm like, "Ok, so why didn't you go then?"

He's all like, "I'm sick." Which was a total lie.

I said, "Funny....you don't 'look' sick."

And he said, "...It's not that kinda sick." He walked around to the other side of his bed, and I could see him shaking. The walls he had put up between us, but they were crumbling fast. Then he's like, "I'll go back tomorrow or something. I just needed a break from that place. It drives me crazy sometimes." Then he's like, "I've gotta run to the corner store and get some juice or something today. All my mom has water and milk in the fridge. I'm in the mood for something. Or maybe some root beer..."

Arrrgh!!! I was like, "Sam, STOP it! Come on. Why are you doing this? Why won't you talk to me?"

He gave me this really hurt look and said, "There's nothing to talk about, Billy. Why are you flipping out on me right now?"

I said, "Because you're HURTING, Sam! You're hurting and you won't let me in."

He's like, "What, exactly, do you want me to say?"

I'm like, "Something! ANYTHING! Just..." I didn't even realize that I was shouting at first. There was just some part of me that wanted to grab Sam by the shoulders and physically shake him until he let down the impenetrable force field and promised me that he'd be ok! I found myself getting my emotions all twisted up, and I tried to calm down. I was like, "Sam...dude, if you need somebody to talk to, about anything...I'm here. You know I'm here. I thought you trusted me."

He's like, "It's not about trusting you, Billy. It's just...you can't fix it. So why do you even care?" He sat down on his bed and wiped a stray tear from his eye. He was facing away from me, but I could hear him sniffling a bit as he tried to hold his breath.

I'm like, "Sam....I care because you care. I just want you to be honest with me. Let me at least be a shoulder for you to lean on. Please?"

Sam glared at me angrily as two more streams of tears rolled down his face. He said, "It HURTS! Ok? Is that what you wanted to hear? That it won't go away, no matter how hard I try to get rid of it? That some days I feel so utterly gutted that I can't find the energy to do anything other than lay here in this bed and cry? Is that what you're looking for? Will that make you happy?" Happy? It hurt to hear him say it. But I couldn't really tell if I was hurting for me, or hurting for him. Sam laid back on his bed and wrapped himself up in the covers, turning his back to me again as he pulled the covers over his head. His voice was muffled, but I could easily hear what he was saying. He was like, "This...this ache...it hurts soooo much, Billy. I don't know what else to do but just....wait until it goes away." I actually heard him whimper as he curled up under the covers and crossed his arms across his stomach. It broke my heart. He told me, "I didn't want you looking at me like this? Why can't you just leave it alone and let me lay here and suffer for a while? It's bad enough that this pain is making a total wuss out of me, now I've got to add the humiliation of having you see it in person."

I didn't know what to say. He was really in bad shape. I stood there, not saying anything for a moment. I heard Sam sniffle again, and a few painful sobs came out of him, despite him trying to hold them back. Then he curled up even tighter, holding the blanket over his head, with only a few chaotic blond strands hanging out of the top. I sat down next to him on the bed, but when I put my hand on his shoulder, he rolled away from me.

He was like, "Go away, Billy. Please, just go back to school or home or somewhere. Just...not here. Not right now."

I could have respected his wishes and all. I could have left him alone. But I didn't. Instead, I kicked off my shoes and I laid back on the bed beside him. On my back for the first few seconds, staring up at the ceiling. Sam continued to cry quietly under the blanket, and I was seriously tempted to put my arms around him and just hold him until all the bad stuff just went away. If it took the rest of my LIFE, I'd do it. But Sam didn't want me to touch him at all. Not to mention that I think he's a bit too 'straight' to just let me spoon up behind him like that. So I rolled onto my side away from him, and we both just laid there, back to back, without saying a word. Feeling him trembling behind me as I scooted back a little to make contact. He was so warm.

I think it was maybe ten or fifteen minutes later, when Sam stopped crying and sniffling. I'm glad he didn't force me to go home. I felt a little teary eyed myself. But I didn't move. I didn't try to comfort him, I just...stayed there. I felt stupid for not having a better plan than that, but what else could I do, ya know?

Then after another five minutes, Sam was like, "I see that Brandon guy at school sometimes." I thought it was kind of random, but I just went with it.

I was like, "Oh yeah?"

And he said, "Yeah. He's always hanging around with that 'Stevie' kid. I take it...they're not just buds?"

A pinch of pain ran through me. It was like having a sharp rock in my bloodstream and having it shoot through my heart at top speed. I said, "Yeah. I mean...um...I mean no. They're not just buds."

Sam waited a second, and softly he said, "Did it hurt you this bad when you...saw him with someone else?" He began sniffling a bit again, but I pretended not to pay attention.

I was like, "Maybe even worse." Not the answer he wanted to hear. He curled up again, and tightened the blanket on his shoulders.

He said, "Jamie Cross is a fucking asshole...." He sobbed. "...I just can't believe she's gone." I was quiet for a while longer, and he asked, "Do you think she ever thinks about me anymore? That maybe...she remembers me? Remembers 'us'?"

I said, "I dunno. Maybe." That didn't seem to help. So I was like, "Probably."

He strained for a second or two, his voice shaken, and without turning around, he said, "Can you just...stay here with me for a while and, like...not talk? I just...I know it's weird, but I just need something to keep me from totally imploding right now."

I gave him a weak smile, and I said, "I already ditched school, so the rest of my day looks pretty empty."

And that was that. I spent the entire afternoon at my best friend's side. Sometimes talking, sometimes not talking, and as some of the tension faded, even joking a little bit. He even rolled over at one point, and I started giggling because he had some serious 'bed head' going. It helped to make him smile a little. Hehehe...and then...there was this really...'still' moment. Where he looked me in the eyes, and we were both all...warm and snuggly under his blankets...and we were facing each other on the bed. I mean, we were making eye contact, but for a quick second we were really...'looking' at one another. I couldn't really understand what the heck was happening, but eve with his eyes all red and his hair all messy...I don't think I've ever wanted to kiss him so badly. The pressure in my chest was building up until I thought my ribs would crack. I was magnetized to him. Both of our smiles faded, and just as I came to my senses I saw Sam smile again and roll away from me to get up and go into the kitchen.

You wanna know something even weirder than that? I think I started to actually lean in for a kiss....and for a SECOND, if I'm not mistaken, I think Sam was kinda leaning forward too.

That's got me going crazy right now. That's sort of where the confusion began. And it's still going in circles. I'm looking at my 'Kiss Mystery' list...and I just...I was never able to scratch Sam off of my list. I don't know why. I mean, from what Randall told me, it should be Trace, right? I mean...it's gotta be Trace. I don't think Sam would ever....

Whatever. If I start thinking about this again, I'll be too brain blitzed to sleep.

I've got to hurry up and finish my homework. I think I made the right choice. Sam's in a bad place right now. If I'm wrong...if I screw up and messing with his head, I'll make things 10 times worse. I remember what happened the last time I made a pass at him. No. He needs me to just be his friend. He needs to be able to trust somebody. And I'm just being...horny.

Oh...Lee wrote me back tonight. I guess he got my email from last night and was quick to respond. I thought about what Randall said, and the very concept of Lee being 'worried' about me being mad at him seemed so strange to me. I don't think I could really get 'mad' at Lee if I wanted to. Hurt by him maybe, but mad? He's sorta 'mad-proof'. Maybe he really does think about me when I'm not around.

The email was pretty easy to figure out. It only had one word in it...


I'll definitely make it a date.


- Billy

The "Kiss Mystery" List


~Bobby Jinette~



~Jamie Cross~


~Jimmy LaPlane~




~Stevie (GRRRRR!!!)!