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- You know...there are some days when a few folks give you a certain amount of attention...and it's like the greatest feeling in the whole world.

And then...there are other days when you secretly feel like you would rather dive into a random thicket of bushes just to avoid that particular spotlight. I know that sounds weird, but for some odd reason I just feel like I'm slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a situation that I might have caused unintentionally. And now I don't know how to...umm...I dunno...distance myself from it again. You know?

Ok, I'm being weird. Let's just say that I was still half asleep when Jimmy LaPlane called my house this morning. It was really kinda early, you know? So it caught me off guard in a major way.

He was like, "Hey..." But then he paused for a second, cleared his throat, and tried to be as 'normal' as he could be, I guess. He says, "You know, I was's gonna be sunny today and stuff, and I was bored so...I thought maybe you'd want to hang out or something later on."

I was still kinda groggy at the time. I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet. And I said, "Hang out? Oh...yeah. I guess...I guess that's cool." I was yawning at the end of that sentence, but I didn't do it on purpose. I was just tired.

So Jimmy's all excited like, "COOL! I have to admit...I missed you yesterday, Billy. Hehehe! I know it's early for a Saturday morning, but...I kinda wanted to grab a hold of you before you made any other plans or whatever. Missing you two days in a row is, like...torture."

Jimmy is always trying so hard to be sweet, you know? I can't be mad at him. It was cute. So I was like, "Well, you definitely accomplished that mission. Getting me before I made any plans, I mean. Hehehe!"

He's like, "Well, go back to sleep then! So you'll look all sexy and awesome when I come to see you. K?" It was a simple and playful comment, but there was something about it that made me slightly uncomfortable. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I could feel it. Then he's like, "I should go. But...I'll see you later, Billy. K?" His voice had softened considerably. It was almost like he was trying really hard to convey some sort of really intimate message through the tone of his voice alone. It was just...ugh.

I don't want to say that it was creepy. Because it wasn't. If anything, it was adorable in a way. It was just a level of personal involvement that I wasn't ready for when dealing with Jimmy. You know how, like, when you go to get your haircut, and your barber presses his balls against your hand on the armrest of your chair? Hehehe, and the moment just gets sort of awkward because you don't really know if he meant to do that on purpose and he's getting his jollies off of it or if it was just a mistake that would embarrass you both if you said something. was kinda like that. That's the only thing that I can really relate it to.

I like Jimmy a lot, it's's like being hit on by your first cousin, you know?

Anyway, Jimmy had the right idea, calling me so early today. Because about an hour later, Sam actually came knocking on my back door to see if I wanted to do anything this afternoon. He didn't have any plans or anything, but I guess he just figured I wouldn't be busy. The funny thing is, when I told him about Jimmy and me hanging out, he gave me this really silly smirk and a sideways smirk. I'm like, "What's that for?"

Sam says, "What is it with you two these days? I mean, you've been hanging out with him more than anybody else lately from what I've seen. Me included. What's that all about?"

I grinned, and told him, "What do you mean? We're just pal's, that's all. He likes to hang out. We have fun together."

Sam's like, "What kind of fun? Huh?" He was grinning when he said it, but it wasn't as much of a joke as his tone of voice would lead you to believe. I told him that it wasn't like that, but he just said, "Whatever. You'll be smooching by the end of the week, I'll bet."

Even with me giving Sam a playful shove...I have to admit that the thought crossed my mind when he mentioned it. More curiosity than anything else. But I thought about it. And considering AJ's 'type' when it came to the boys he chooses to keep around...I wonder if Jimmy was, of those hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered when it came to being...well...intimate.

It's so hard to keep my brain from being overwhelmed by hormones sometimes....

Sam's reaction got even more insistent when I told him that Jimmy and I would probably just go up to the Hill and hang out there for a while. His eyes widened, and he's like, "Are you serious? there really IS something between you two!"

I said, "No! What would make you think that?"

He's like, "Because you're taking him to the Hill, that's why. That place is sacred, you know?"

I said, "Oh, come on. Like you've never taken Michelle up to the Hill yourself."

To my surprise, Sam shook his head. He's like, "Nope. Not once. She doesn't even know about the Hill." I was gonna call bullshit, but he assured me, "I'm serious. She's cool and all, but she hasn't earned the Hill yet, dude. Are you crazy? Hehehe!"

I asked him, "Really? I mean...never? Not once?"

He says, "Heck no. Why would I?" Then he added, "I took Joey there a few times though. She really thought it was beautiful. She had the right mindset for it, you know? She knew how to appreciate the little things...." There was almost a touch of sadness in his voice when he said it. Or maybe it was just a touch of nostalgia. Maybe both. Sam's emotions really confused me sometimes. Even for a best friend, he could be hard to figure out on occasion. "I'd take Joey back tomorrow if it weren't for that Jamie asshole."

Here we go again. I didn't comment on that last part. I just mumbled, "Wow..."And left it at that.

Sam raised an eyebrow and said, "I'm glad to know that Jimmy got to have the honor, though. I now know to stay away from there, just in case you guys wanna go for a sexy roll in the bushes or something. Hehehe!" I raised my fist for a slug in the arm, but Sam was quick to move out of my range. He lucked out on that one. He was like, "Well, Michelle and I might head out to the mall later on tonight. Maybe catch a movie. You wanna go?"

I'm like, "No can do. I'm super broke. I doubt I'll even be able to buy snacks at school this week during Finals. Maybe some other time."

Sam told me, "Hey, you know what? That music store that you like so much up there is supposedly gonna be hiring soon. I thought about maybe filling out an application for this Summer. You want me to grab you one? We could both have some decent pocket change to party with. Plus I hear that you get free shit like crazy."

It wasn't hard to think that one over. I get to spend the whole day at the mall, get paid for it, AND I get free music? How awesome would that be? So I told him, "Hell yeah. I'd be down for that." It would be even better if Sam and I got to work there together. Every day would be a holiday for the whole Summer. I never had to fill out an application for a job before, but I've never worked before. Nothing outside of doing chores around the house, and occasionally shoveling snow for some of the neighbors. I imagine that this would be infinitely more interesting.

So Sam told me he' grab me one and bring it back when he got back from the movie. I started to say, 'Have fun with your homophobic girlfriend', but decided not to. I would have been kidding (sorta...), but sometimes it's just not worth the joke. Sam's prettier when he's smiling.

Anyway, so I told Jimmy to meet me at the Hill, and by the time I had gotten there, he had already beaten me to our private spot. Not only that, but he looked like he had been waiting for a while. He certainly was excited to spend time with me again. Geez.

He was reading ebooks on his Kindle thingy at the time, but brightened up almost immediately when he heard my footsteps in the grass and saw me approaching. I don't know if he saved his place or what, but he shut that thing off in a hurry and scooted over to give me plenty of room. He had the biggest grin on his face. Has it really been all that long since we hung out? You would have thought that I had just come home from prison.

He was talking a mile a minute, and he was so enthusiastic about it all that I kept grinning to myself about it. And every time I smiled, Jimmy smiled back...and then he'd blush and start nervously picking at the grass between his feet. Now that Sam had put that little subliminal message in my head, I couldn't help but to notice how adorable it was. Maybe even a bit more than usual.

At one point, we got around to talking about Bobby and Ian, and I started to wonder if either one of them had come forward to make a few 'plans' know...being alone. They both wanted it. I'm sure of it. And yet, somehow that deep need for affection was constantly getting lost in translation. They were making leaps and bounds by holding hands and giving each other sweet little kisses in the hallways at school...but they got stuck again. I wonder if Ian is a virgin? Maybe he's just waiting for the chance to make things special.

Jimmy was like, "I think I saw them being a bit more open about their relationship this week. Which is awesome. I wish more boys could do that. It wouldn't seem so weird once people got over the shock of seeing it for the first time."

I said, "Yeah, I guess that's true. But they've got a ways to go yet, I think. I mean, they talk to me more than they talk to each other. I don't think they really know what to say."

Jimmy was like, "Nah, they know what to say. They just get intimidated. That's all."

I'm like, "You think so?"

He says, "Trust me. When you feel that strongly about somebody, it's all you think about. Hehehe, all day, every day. They've probably had that conversation in their heads a billion times already. They just get too scared to say it out loud." Good ol' Jimmy LaPlane. Back in his wise monk mode again. He's like, "I think the whole infatuation thing starts as being more fear than love, you know? kinda take a few chance, and it's equal parts love and fear. And eventually...the fear shrinks a bit more...and the love takes center stage. Once that happens, it's kinda hard not to say what you feel."

I asked, "So when do they reach the point when it doesn't terrify them so much?" I grinned.

Jimmy shrugged, like, "I guess once they find a way to trust one another to respond the way they're hoping they will."

I said, "How do they find trust?"

He says, "By taking chances. Little stuff. Eventually, one of them is going to realize that they're not going to have their hearts smashed by being honest. And then...the talking will begin. And eventually, there won't be any fear left at all. They've just gotta stick their necks out every now and then." I think I liked that answer. I smiled and nodded...and then Jimmy gave me a wicked smirk and got a mischievous look in his eye. He says, "I love you, Billy Chase..."

I'm like, "Don't you start that, now!"

He says, "No. Seriously. Hehehe, I am MADLY in love with everything about you. I always will be."

With a sigh and a roll of my eyes, I gave him a little shove. Was I blushing? I hope I wasn't blushing. Now that I think about it...I probably was. I asked him, "Why do you always do that? Hehehe!"

He started to pick at the grass again, and he's like, "Because...I'm hoping that one day you'll have a moment of weakness and love me back. That's why." He had a genuine smile on his face, but he didn't look me in the eye. He's like, "It was worth a shot. I'm gonna wear you down eventually. If it takes me until my 103rd birthday...I will con you into another kiss again. You just watch."

I giggled nervously. I couldn't help it.

He said, "You're so cute when you squirm. Hehehe!" We shared an awkward laugh about it. But as he kept playing with the grass at his feet, I happened to catch sight of one of the long scars on Jimmy's wrist. I didn't mean to stare at it, but it's hard not to sometimes.

Partially because it's still so visible, even after all this time. It may be with him for the rest of his natural life, you know?

And partially because...there's a really dark history behind those scars. Jimmy seems so happy now, so's easy to forget that he was really at such a low point that he'd rather disappear than ask for help.

How close did the world come to losing a sweet and intelligent boy like this forever?

Jimmy caught me looking, and I couldn't pull my gaze away fast enough to keep him from feeling weird about it. He moved his arm back to hide the scar behind his leg, and his smile faded slightly. I didn't know what to say at first, but after a few seconds of silence, I was like, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...stare, or whatever."

A bit ashamed, Jimmy said, "It's ok. I guess...I sorta stare at them too from time to time." I could tell that he was a bit uneasy about doing it, but he pushed his arms forward again, turning them palms up so I could see. I might have taken a quick peek, but I didn't want to make him uncomfortable. So I looked away. Jimmy paused for a moment, then he sort of looked out at the park from the top of the Hill where we were sitting, and he said, "You know...back then...I couldn't see my life being the way it is now. I mean, I felt like such a nobody. No matter where I went, I was 'background' at best. No real purpose. No real friends to speak of. Nobody to tell my feelings or my secrets to. I know that some people really like being independent and all, but...I just wasn't strong enough to stand on my own. All alone." He turned to me, and this really melancholy cloud seemed to shadow the once bright and excited glimmer in his eyes. He said, "It can really hurt, you know? Thinking that nobody loves you...the way you want to be loved."

I said, "But...plenty of people love you, Jimmy."

He said, "Well, if they did, they weren't telling me." He let out a half hearted chuckle and said, "You know, if somebody had told me then that I would be sitting here with you in one of your favorite spots...just the two of us...I would have thought it was a mean spirited prank. And yet, here we are." He smiled at me, his eyes a bit watery. He tells me, "The day that I....'did' this...I can clearly remember thinking that one of the only things I was really going to miss...was you."

I didn't know how to take that. I still don't. I just kinda sat there with nothing to say. I reached over to put a hand on his shoulder...but it was clumsy response at best. Jimmy surprised me by leaning up against me, and I instinctively moved my hand to his other shoulder to put my arm around his shoulders.

Jimmy was like, "You have no idea what this is like for me right now. You know? And I'm sorta glad. Because you could 'use' me so bad if you did. Hehehe!" He raised his head to look me in the eyes, and he asked, "I don't even know why you put up with my sappy babbling, hehehe. You could be spending your time doing something much more fun by yourself."

And I told him, "Well...I guess it's because a wise man once told me...'other people matter'." And that really made Jimmy smile. He sniffled a bit, but not a single tear dropped. It was just a warm and comfortable afternoon. And it made me wonder when the last time was that I felt this close to someone else. It kind of puts things in perspective, you know?

If I was in a hornier mood, Jimmy might get that sexy roll in the bushes that Sam talked about. Instead, a good natured hug and some softly spoken words as we watched the sun start to set seemed to be more than enough.

I keep searching my feelings to see if there was some hidden part of me that felt the same way about Jimmy as he felt about me. But all I found was a big warning, telling me not to screw with the emotions of someone who know...hurt himself again. Jimmy's not AJ. He's not Lee, he's not Brandon, he's not Sam. As smart as he is, he can seem really fragile at times. Vulnerable. And having him love me so much...I don't know if I could be what he needs me to be. I don't know if I can put myself into a position to truly damage him like I have with some of the other boys in my past. Even if he trusted me...

...I doubt that I'd really be able to trust myself. Not with a heart so special.

Like I said earlier...I'm sinking deeper into this situation than I want to. But how do I stop it without hurting his feelings? It seems impossible at this point. My biggest worry is whether or not it'll get worse.

Anyway, all in all, it was a fun day today. Even if I didn't do anything other than talk to a few friends. I tried to study a little bit, but got bored with it after ten minutes and started playing video games instead. Sam did bring by that application from the music store. It was a bit more detailed than I thought it would be. And Sam said that we have to take a test on our basic knowledge of music too. Great....another test. But I filled out my name and address stuff already. I'll do the rest tomorrow.

What other skills do I have? What kind of question is that?

Anyway, gotta go. My mom seems pretty tired tonight, and I thought I might help out with the dishes and stuff. So I'll write more later.

Seeya soon!

- Billy

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