Chapter 7: Tell Me the Date

 

A rush of joviality filled my head every time I went back to our moments under the beech tree. I still didn't believe how things managed to work out. From the first moment I saw him in the school hallway I was infatuated by him. And as that affection grew, it was becoming harder to keep myself under control every time I laid eyes on him. Just a week! The past week changed everything.

As I think about it now, this was the first time I've felt like this for someone; it was never this strong before. I mean, what Merry and me had shared for this short period of time couldn't be compared with that of other people I've been with. The emotional bond with all of them was somewhat dull, while with Merry it had a deeper meaning.

I remember one guy who I met on a soccer game of Reece's. I didn't want to go at all, but with his persuasive tactics he made me. "Who knows, you might meet someone." Indeed, I met! He had arranged me a date! I was furious when I learned. I should have known there was something behind his invitation. But as I saw the cute boy sitting next to me on the benches, I quickly forgot Reece's evil deed. It may not be so evil, I thought then. The boy was cute, no doubt. He was the same age as me, then 16. We chatted and got to know each other while pretending to watch the game in front of us. He was quite the charmer. It took him no effort to flirt with me, even with all the people around. And every time I looked at his eyes I was sure to melt right there. At one time I felt his hand on my tight... and, well, after that we hit it off. The next few weeks were like walking on clouds. I was happy because I had someone; the boy, whose name is not important, was happy because of the sex; Hayden and Reece were happy that I wasn't alone. Well, that perfectness was bound to come to an end. My lover didn't recognize the one thing I was most passionate about. He didn't even try to understand why I was writing. He just wasn't interested. And I already had another person home who was the same as him when it came to my `scribbles', as my father had named it. Then there was the gay thing as well. Things didn't work out for the best. Our feelings for each other didn't seem to match. After we broke up, Reece swore to never do things like that. He picked his words well back then. He didn't do it again, yeah. He didn't take me to a soccer match ever again, as he had many other places in mind.

 

It's different with Merry, though. It's not just his innocent, blue gaze to which I was drawn; or his inexperience; or his cute boyish look. There was so much more that they revealed. Merry was special that's what I definitely knew from the moment I saw him. He was a cute little blond angel. Heh, if he heard me say that, he'd make a scowled face. But I wouldn't think of treating him like a kid. He was gifted for his own age with a sense of maturity most, if not all, boys his age lacked.

 

Why did Merry want to go to the party?

I was almost sure that Reece had whispered that idea into his mind. I'd have to talk with him seriously about those little schemes of his; with Hayden too. I didn't see them in school for the rest of the day after lunch break yesterday, so it'd probably be tonight at the party. They better be prepared! I understood they wanted to make me happy... in the most unusual ways, but there was no need anymore. Me and Merry were together...

I didn't like parties but... it didn't really matter. If Merry said he wanted to go, then I'd do every effort to make him happy.

I just didn't want him to see what Reece's parties looked like...

 

Saturday morning I had an early call from Hayden.

"Hey, I waited for you to call yesterday. Tell me, what happened." She sounded eager on the phone. I knew that there was no point in hiding anything from her.

"Well... we made up," I said without giving myself away.

"And...?" She insisted.

"We are... sort of together."

I said it out loud for the first time. It's like I still didn't believe it had happened if it only resided in my mind. I couldn't hide the excitement in my voice anymore. Hayden had the same problem. The overjoyed scream on her side pierced my ears through the phone.

I wanted to check if I was right, so I told her that we were going to the party. Of course, I had to wait for her to calm down first.

"No way! That's rare of you."

She sounded surprised. Reece hadn't told her, it seems.

And the most peculiar thing followed.

"You two have a date, then?" Hayden couldn't tame her voice. Much like me, she couldn't keep her emotions in order.

A date...? What did she mean... It couldn't possibly be called a date. Merry just wanted me to take him to the party. That's all. But... I laid in bed under the covers, perplexed at the idea that our going to Reece's house would count as a date. I had lowered my hand with the phone over the side of the bed, Hayden still on the line. Her voice sounded like a feeble squeak. Unintentionally, I dropped it on the floor.

I was pulled out from my thoughts from an unexpected contact with something wet and warm that touched my right cheek. A big, furry-looking thing was standing on top of me, pressing me to the bed. I tried to think about tonight without paying attention to the multiple placed moist spots from salivation. I was hoping that this morning it would stop by its own. But did it ever happen? It continued my lick my face, not the least bothered.

"Poe!" I said at last. "Buddy, get down now."

I tried to push his muzzle away and get him off the bed, only to get my hands drenched in saliva. Hehe, it was his way of saying good morning. Every morning!

 

Some couple of minutes later, after I had breakfast and made sure that nobody saw me, I sneaked out of the house. With a pen, a notebook, and a leash with Poe at one end I headed for the park.

It bothered me. It bothered me that it was Reece who had arranged our date. I definitely didn't want to rely on others when it came to relationships. It did not matter how many times I told both my dear friends that I do not wish them to meddle with my personal life. They continued to ignore me as though they didn't have their own.

It's not that I was surprised by what Hayden mentioned; more like I was surprised that I hadn't thought of it myself. Somehow, I still couldn't accept that something had happened between us yesterday. But one thing I knew for sure I so wanted to be in Merry's presence; to have him next to me again, in my arms. Did I have to wait till tonight?

I found a bench under a tree in the park and sat down. Poe didn't want to stay in one place so I released him to roam free. As good and calm as he was, he wouldn't cause trouble.

The park was almost empty, except for a few people jogging and two others, like me, who had taken their dogs for a walk.

The late October day was sunny with a few clouds here and there. They looked abandoned in the blue arch, yet free and unbending.

I leaned back against the bench and looked up at the tree's boughs, which lowered over me. They still held their green leaves in place. Small slits amidst the tree's crown let through sheaves of dazzling light. Just from this little view I was able to get into the mood for writing. It was just a tree, that's what people see, and nothing else. Yet, it was so rich in detail, so full of life. With my eyes I traced how the trunk separated into four different boughs, which divided and formed smaller branches. The branches then became little twigs, from which countless leaves in all shapes and sizes, bright and deep-green, grew. They were most dense right at the center top of the head of the tree. As the wind slightly brushed against it, the branches swayed, making the leaves dance in whispers. It was majestic!

At one time, while entirely submersed deep in my writing, I heard Poe's bark not far away. As I glanced over my notebook I saw a girl playing with him while he was rolling on the grass joyfully. She saw me looking and smiled. I too smiled and was about to continue but Poe saw that I had stopped working with the pen and, leading the girl with him, he headed towards me.

"Hi," the girl said as she got close. "Is this your Bulldog?"

"Not exactly," I said annoyed, "we're just living together. His name's Poe."

And with the most pretentious sounds and gestures ever made she began to fondle him.

Without saying anything she sat next to me, dragging Poe to her other side.

I didn't bother to look over her, but I did notice that she had straight black hair that reached shoulder length; her eyes were brow, almond-shaped; she was wearing jeans and a tight dark-red blouse.

"I love dogs so much!" she said excited. "I was on my morning jog when I saw Poe and just couldn't resist. He's so cute."

Surely, she was into sports! A morning jog near the noon in clothes that emphasized on her woman characteristics proved it positive; also the light makeup and the nauseating strong perfume.

"I'm Sally, by the way," she said and extended a hand. "What's your name?"

Oh, great! Did she have to try to get my interest now? I was taken already! As I looked at Poe, he too was getting uncomfortable. The girl, Sally, was holding him by the collar and wouldn't let go.

"I've been watching you for some time," she said just as I was about to open my mouth. "Is that notebook for drawing?" She indicated with a glance at the notebook in my left hand. "Can I see it?"

She looked up at me with her brown eyes, a lustful smile appearing on her face. I was amusing myself with her shallow attempts to flirt with me, but I had to somehow get her to leave me alone.

"You could say that," I said with a calm voice, not falling for her smile. "I'm sketching with words!"

Her small face made a frowned look.

"How is that possible?" she asked.

"Well, Sally, first I choose what I'm going to draw and imagine how it would look like on the sheet of paper. Then I come up with different words that have connection with that thing. I start to place those words on the paper and little by little the imagined scene appears just like I'd seen it. They say it's the new art! There are already movies showing it!"

She was quiet for a while.

"That's strange..." Her voice trailed off as she didn't know what to say. I could see how her forehead wrinkled while she was trying to think of something. "Hey, you didn't tell me your name!"

Hehe, let's end this, shall we?

"Oh, I'm Edgar Allan," I said nonchalantly.

Sally looked me straight in the eyes quizzically. Then she looked at Poe who she was still holding by the collar. She did that several times.

"Are you making fun of me?!" she exclaimed and got up. "I thought you were a nice guy. As though I wouldn't know who the actor Edgar Allan Poe is!"

And she was gone. Poe barked cheerily at his release from obsessive imprisonment.

I had to agree that the girl was pretty at first. After that... not so much.

What came out from my little writing experiment was a growing concern that came early for my young age. Though, that was before I met Merry. I wanted to come clear with things and never again feel the heaviness of those thoughts. Maybe it was good, or not at all. Either way, I gave it to Poe to tear it to pieces and soak it in saliva. It won't come again. Not while I have that boy next to me.

In a sense I destroyed that thought, with the help of Poe, then and there. It was something like this, though my text can bring many different thoughts to the different reader, only I knew the feelings that troubled me:

 

On the night of the festive the boy became a man.

It would be years from now when he will go back to his glorious, youthful years and will remember what it was like to experience every feeling and emotion for the first time. The hardships from his youth will yet to leave their mark as he goes back to them with regret. He knows what once felt like affection will now feel as the only answer there is. The only thing he will be searching from now on is the acceptance of his soul.

Bards sang woefully songs of joy. The young man filled with prose his mind and memories.

The passing of time is excruciating, a heavy burden placed on the wings of the soul that flies. But the lord of the soul knows that there is no unthinkable deed, there is no impossible task, and there is no unfulfilled dream that could last eternally. What he took from his boyish age was the passion to chase the unthinkably impossible. There are no chains for the searching spirit; no limits for one's piercing eyes; no bounds for one's two feet to reach the horizon. The greatest lie does not exist.

Reminisce of the old days will make him stronger. Because what he found the night before becoming a man was that he will have to do it again: to prove his will in another battle.

The flames danced under the bards' mesmerizing voices. The songs enchanted old and young's spirits. But the eyes of the boy who became a man kept gazing at the fire.

The enthronement of the sun welcomed the end of the festive.

 

As I was getting ready for the party, in other words the date, I could already hear the music coming from a block away. Reece was warming up the setting.

Merry had said to pick him up at eight. The clock showed it was seven-thirty.

Again, without anyone noticing, after I struggled for a while with what to wear and how I looked, I got out of the house. I had said earlier to my parents that I was going out in the evening.

The ride to Merry's house was short and filled with nervousness and expectations. My hands were shaking on the steering wheel, my breath was caught back and I was taking only short gasps. The courage, which as older and as more experienced than him should be showing on my face, had left me. It was like this was my first going out with a boy ever!

As I stopped in front of the house I hesitated for a moment before opening the door of the car. With each step towards the front porch my heart beat faster and faster. But also there was the unresisting urge to see Merry; and that kept my excitement down as I got to the front door. Only a wall separated me and my boy! I wanted to see him so bad!

There was some kind of fussing noise behind the door after my first knock. I heard whispering voices and was ready to knock again when the door opened.

I was taken aback a little as I was expecting to see Merry, but a man and a woman, his parents I assumed, were standing at the door. Yeah, what did I think? He wouldn't be living alone.

"You must be Jace, right?" The woman smiled warmly at me. "Come in. Marian will come down in a minute."

I stepped through the doorway and stood there with them, a little embarrassed and uncomfortable. The thought that Merry's parents knew that he was gay instantly went through my mind. The situation was a little awkward with the way things were. I had to say something but my tongue was tied. I couldn't read them well in this kind of situation. What were they thinking? Did they know?

"I'm Natalie, Marian's mother." She extended a hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

As I took her hand I stood there fascinated by her beauty, which clearly Merry had taken after. Natalie was almost the same height as me. She had short blond hair that reached her shoulders. Her eyes were deep blue, exactly like Merry's. There was no trace of any wrinkles on her face that gave away her age; her face was smooth and young-looking.

"Our boy has been talking a lot about you, Jace." Merry's dad said. "I'm Paul." I shook his hand, too.

Paul was a lot taller than Natalie; with a slightly muscular and strong build. He had curly brown hair. Behind the glasses, his eyes were also brown.

Just from my little observation I learned a lot about what they might be like, but still I didn't say anything, except a soft mumble that it was nice to meet them too. What Paul said was replaying in my mind. Merry had talked to them about me...

"So, Jace, I heard you're a writer?" Paul asked me.

I wasn't prepared for the usual complementing and asking of questions when that word was said at the moment, but strangely I didn't feel any kind of sneer or high praise like many times before. What I saw on their faces was pure sincerity.

"Well, not exactly a writer..." My voice fell silent as I heard and felt the presence of someone coming down the stairs. I froze then and there when I saw what the other part for my date looked like.

Merry's blond hair was tied in a tail, leaving only two golden locks at each side to fall graciously down to his cheeks. His smile and eyes when he saw me were enough to take him in my arms right there and never let go. He was driving me crazy with irresistible pleasure without even touching me. He was wearing a dark-red shirt with black stripes, which he hadn't buttoned up to the top, with a T-shirt showing underneath. Like always, the feather was around his neck, resting on his chest. Below, he was wearing jeans, which weren't as baggy as the ones he usually wore, and red sneakers that I hadn't seen him with before.

"Hey, Jace!" he said joyously.

Oh, how long did I wait to hear his voice again!

"Hi, Merry." I tried to suppress the excitement in my voice but it overtook my whole body.

Natalie and Paul's glance at each other didn't go unnoticed.

With two skips down the stairs Merry was by my side, ready to go.

"Let's go, Jace," he said, taking me by the hand.

The contact, the parents, Merry, my thoughts... all was spinning. I couldn't leave just like that without saying something. Something like I'll take care of your boy... No. That would sound awkward in front of them. Merry was dragging me by the hand. His parents weren't saying anything at all; just smiling and getting ready to wish us a good time. I was expecting questions, personal questions. Didn't they know where we were going? They didn't know me that well. Did they trust me that easily with their son? So, standing at the open doorway, I said the last thing that was on my mind.

"Does Merry have some kind of curfew?" I blurted out.

Merry stopped pulling my arm.

"Curfew?" Paul's eyebrows curved. He turned to his wife. "Honey, Jace asks if our boy has a curfew." He said to her, although she was right next to him and heard the whole thing.

I could hear Merry's giggles behind me. Both his parents were also sniggering.

"Well, do bring him sometime tomorrow," Natalie said between laughs as though I was entertaining them with my question.

I couldn't get what they were laughing about.

"Tomorrow?" I said surprised.

Just then Merry grabbed my hand again, the touch distracting me, and pulled me out. The door shut behind us, but not before I heard a few words that left me bewildered, but also exceedingly happy.

"Have fun on your date, boys," they had said.

I didn't think I heard them right at first, but Merry's giggles told me otherwise. I had to laugh myself after a while. I was thinking it all day, being nervous about it, and now it was said so freely.

We got into the car with faces brimming with happiness, still laughing and giggling for no reason at all anymore. He looked stunningly beautiful and cute. I sat there, without starting the car, looking at him dreamily. I was afraid that if we stopped with our silly giggles the silence would take over, but that didn't happen at all.

"Jace, I think you should start the car," Merry said, a wide grin appearing on his face. " My mother is shamelessly looking through the window. I think she expects us to kiss."

"What?" I came to my senses and looked towards the house. "Haha, she is looking."

I started the car and drove off without giving her the snow. Hehe, his mother was expecting us to kiss. He said it so sweetly. As though that wasn't in my mind all day...

"Your parents are kind of cool," I said as we left his street at the turn.

"Cool?" He laughed cheerfully again. "They're more like weirdoes. But they like you, Jace."

I wondered what had he told them about me.

"Why did I get the impression that they don't know we are going to a party?"

"They don't." He grinned. "I told them it would be only the two of us."

"But why?"

"I wanted to be with you somewhere you like going. And a party... is a bit too much even for them." He had the most adorable expression on his face.

I reached with my right hand and placed it on his shoulders.

"Hey, just don't go thinking that I'm some kind of a party freak. I rarely go to Reece's parties." I told him.

"Oh... Why didn't you tell me?" Merry said a little discouraged.

"Hehe, it doesn't matter. It's about us being together, so everywhere is fine, no?"

He nuzzled back into my arm, which was still on his shoulders, and I heard a pleasurable purr coming from him.

It was a chance to get him as far away from the party, but I didn't do it. Why? I didn't know. Maybe I finally understood...

During the rest of the short drive back I learned about his parents and how they wanted to meet me after he had first mentioned my name a few times and then had told them all about me. And if he were a little late coming down they would have put me through an embarrassing (for me) interrogation. After that he told me how his day went. Hehe, from his waking up till just a while ago it had been the same as mine thinking about each other and wishing the night would come faster. He said he had been a bit clumsy doing his chores and when his mother had asked him what was wrong he had told her about our date. When he said the last word he looked at me and smiled innocently.

Then he asked me how my day was like and remembering my little encounter in the park made me smile. Should I tease him a little?

I told Merry how the black-haired girl, named Sally, tried to flirt with me.

"And...?" he said, snickering at the thought, probably.

I was expecting to see his cute face show a sign of jealousy, but rather he was more amused than surprised.

"What? You don't think girls can be attracted to me?" I asked, ruffling his hair playfully with my right hand.

"Haha, no, it's not that, Jace." He took my hand under his, entangling our finger together. "I can't imagine you with a girl. I don't think a girl can possibly understand you..."

He unfastened his seat belt and with our hands still connected he leaned towards me. With his free hand he reached to touch my cheek. I tensed from the touch, but then enjoyed the warm feeling.

"Are you trying to tease me, Jace?" Merry whispered softly in my ear, his breath sending shivers of pleasure through my skin. "I doubt that girl had the imagination to do the things I have in store for you," said seductively my fourteen year old boy and in a flash got out of the car, leaving me in an extraordinary state of wonderment. Heh. Who played who?

We had been in front of Reece's house for a while. But the joy of seeing each other was so great that we didn't want put an end to it. After all, after we enter the party the closeness that we shared in the car wouldn't be the same. There would be others...

"We don't have to go," I said when I caught up with him. "We can go somewhere with the car."

"Let's just go see what's going on. We can leave at any time." He insisted and dragged me by the hand.

"Reece's parties are kind of... If you feel uncomfortable just tell me. Okay?"

"Hey, I told you I'm not a little kid," he scolded me again for the same mistake. "Hehe, you're just excited about what I told you," he added and stuck his tongue out.

"I know a place for that tongue of yours," I said as we both headed towards the house.

"Where could that be?" he asked, a huge innocent grin appearing on his face.

We continued to chat in a care-free manner like that till we reached the porch. Just before we went through the door, which was slightly opened, I took his hand in mine. This took him by surprise and, as though to reassure if I really meant it, he looked at me with his blue eyes, searching for an answer. I squeezed his hand tenderly making him look away as though he was blushing, which I couldn't tell because of the enveloping night.

My other hand was on the door knob. Even without opening the front door the bass and tremble of the music coming from inside were making my gut vibrate. What was revealed in front of us when we entered the house could only be described as the purest form of a bacchanalia. Well, a little exaggerated, but still...