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From Behind Those Eyes - Chapter 2

Okay, so this was bad. I would never make it to Jesse’s house by seven. Coach had kept me after practice, probably because I couldn’t concentrate. I had almost hit a couple guys with some of my pitches.

I was in my room trying to find something to wear. I had just finished showering. I couldn’t show up at Jesse’s house all sweaty, smelly and dirty from practice. I had a towel wrapped around my waist when my Dad walked in.

“Hey Son,” he said as he walked in and sat at the foot of my king sized bed. “Going somewhere?” he asked, noticing my state of undress and watching me curiously as I frantically searched for something to wear.

“Yeah, I kinda promised this guy I would help him with his homework after practice,” I told him as I pulled on my favorite t-shirt. Jules had given it to me for my sixteenth birthday. As unbelievably annoying as it is to go shopping with Jules, she really did have great taste. Her knowledge of the mall in this town was extensive and detailed. Some of the stuff she knew was scary.

The t-shirt was white with some picture on it, nothing special really. It was comfortable but it had gotten a little tight on me. I was about to be eighteen in a few months so I had grown a bit since she gave it to me almost two years ago.

I pulled on a pair of jeans and then I sat down next to Dad to put on my shoes. “Sorry I won’t be here for dinner, but I really need to try and get this after school tutoring program to work,” I told him. I stood up and grabbed my backpack and headed for the door. “Bye Dad,” I said on my way out.

I heard in the distance as I made my way out the front door, “Bye Son, don’t be too late.” I got in my truck and looked at the clock. Shit! It was already ten after seven. I was so late. I pulled out the instructions I had scribbled down earlier in the library and started to drive. Where Jesse lived was a good ten minutes away and I was already worried that Jesse would think that I stood him up.

I pulled up in front of the address he had given me and parked. His house was a lot like mine. A couple of tall green trees in the yard and a large porch with a porch swing, all enclosed by an iron fence, I walked up to the gate and let myself in.

My stomach was in knots as I reached out to ring the doorbell. After a minute a little girl, probably eight years old, answered the door. She had to be Jesse’s little sister, they had the same blond hair, and as she stood there smiling at me, I thought of all the times I had seen Jesse smile.

“Hi,” I said to her. “My name is Stephen and I am a friend of Jesse’s. Is he here?” I had to think about that for a minute, I mean were we friends? We hadn’t really got off on the right foot before, so I guess it felt a little weird calling him my friend, but I did want to be his friend, and so much more.

She giggled for a minute and then grabbed me by the hand and dragged me inside the house. “Jesse is upstairs in his room. C’mon, I’ll show you where he is,” she said as she proceeded to drag me up the stairs.

When we got to the top of the stairs she pointed to the door on the left side of the hall and then ran off in the opposite direction to what I guessed was her room. I walked toward the door she had pointed to and as I got closer I saw that it was open a little bit. I was going to knock but when I looked inside, I saw him, sitting on his bed with his back to the door. The sight of him just took my breath away, it was stunning.

He was… beautiful. He wore only a pair of silvery gray shorts. I could see the muscles in his back as he sat there with his head in his hands. I wondered what he was thinking about when my backpack accidentally slipped off my shoulder and hit the floor. He jumped up and turned around to find me staring at him.

“Stephen, what are you doing here?” he asked me, seeming more surprised to see me there than he was startled by the loud crash my backpack made when it hit the wood floor in the hall. I almost gasped out loud when he turned around and I got to see the thing I had been imagining for so long.

“I’m so sorry that I’m late Jesse. Coach kept me after practice because I…. well it really doesn’t matter, anyway, I’m here now,” I said as I bent over to pick up my backpack. I couldn’t tell him that I had thrown like shit today because all I could think of was him.

He had turned around and sat down again on his bed and a troubled look came across his face. Okay, so that worried me. Had I done something wrong by coming here? He had said that it would be fine, but maybe things had changed, maybe it was a bad time.

“Jesse,” I said as I walked around to where he was sitting and took the seat beside him, “Is this a bad time? I mean is it okay for me to be here?” He just sat there staring at the floor. I was confused, I wanted to know what he was thinking, and that was becoming a difficult thing to find out considering he wouldn’t even look at me.

After a minute of awkward silence, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I didn’t like seeing him looking like this, so sad, like a battle was taking place inside his head. I knelt down in front of him on the floor and looking up at him said, “Jesse, what’s going on?” I waited in silence for his answer.

“I didn’t think you were coming,” he managed to get out finally, followed by, “I mean, I didn’t think you would come. I guess I am just surprised is all.” He looked at me, finally, through those eyes that had become a necessity for me to see and what I saw behind his eyes was not the usual Jesse I had seen before. What I saw was a scared and vulnerable Jesse, one that wanted assurance and approval.

I did my best to give him those things as I said, “I told you I would be here and I wouldn’t just not show up. Besides, I really wanted to come, Jess.” I guess I had just decided to call him Jess, it sounded kind of endearing, and special. “I promised you I would come, but I’m sorry I’m late, okay” I said hoping to see that smile again soon.

He did smile at that and I suddenly became aware of the fact that he was sitting there, on his bed, wearing almost nothing, and I couldn’t stop looking at him, at his body. The lightly tanned skin of his chest was magnificent. All of the imagining I had done about him would never compare to seeing the real thing.

I guess I had been staring again because he finally said, “You don’t have to sit on the floor you know.” He was looking at me like I was acting strangely, and I probably was. I didn’t usually go around staring at hardly dresses guys in their bedrooms.

I stood up nervously and shoved my hands in my pockets. Staring at the floor seemed safe enough, but it wasn’t nearly as nice to look at. I was looking around his room. It looked like what any teenage guys’ room would look like.

It had a bed, a dresser, a desk, and a TV placed along the walls. He had some posters of bands he liked hanging up. I saw, standing up in the corner of his room, that he had a guitar and wondered how come I never knew he played. I guess, after thinking about it, that I had never really taken the time to know much about him at all.

“Do you play?”, he asked when he saw me looking at it. I turned around to face him and said, “No, I don’t really have much rhythm, but I guess you already know that.” My answer seemed to confuse him because the look that came over his face showed me that he wasn’t following me.

“Okay, you just lost me,” he said. “What are you talking about?” I was getting more nervous by the second and he seemed equally as nervous, but for a totally different reason. I was nervous because as far as he knew, I was just some straight, popular, jock here to help him with his homework, not a secretly gay guy who was allowing himself to get way more involved then he ever should.

I figured that he was nervous because I was getting to see him for the first time away from his friends, away from school, and without his usual confidence. Of the two of us, it seemed to me, that this should be easier for him since I already knew he was gay, everybody did.

“Well, we danced together at the Homecoming dance, remember? I’m sure it was obvious how bad I was,” I said reluctantly, hoping he didn’t think that I was as terrible as I did. Hearing me say that caused him to drift off in thought.

After a moment of watching his face run through several different emotions, first fear, then bravery, followed by perseverance, and then finally coming to rest with a thoughtful smile, I said softly, “Jess?” His eyes found mine and he said, “Oh, sorry. I was just remembering that night,” he blushed and looked away smiling that smile I was beginning to love seeing.

That made me smile and I said, “Yeah, that was a great night.” He rolled his eyes at me and said almost resentfully, “Why, because you won?” That thought hadn’t even crossed my mind when I was remembering why that night was so great to me.

“What?”, I asked, his question catching me off guard. “No, I don’t really care about all that stuff.” He was looking at me now, like I was trying to feed him the biggest line of bullshit, and I was getting angry. It hurt me to think that he thought of me that way, like I was just some jerk who only cared about his status.

“Look, you probably don’t believe me, if I were you I probably wouldn’t either, but to me, all of that shit is just…,” I paused, looking for the right word to tell him how I felt, “stupid.” It was all I could come up with at the moment.

He lay back on the bed and put his arm across his eyes. I guess he was trying to think, to figure me out. I didn’t blame him for needing some time to process everything because my head was spinning too.

Any anger or need I felt to defend myself faded away as I watched him lay there. I had the freedom to look this time because his eyes were closed, and what I was seeing was amazing.

His bare skin stood out as he lay on top of his dark blue comforter. His shorts were sitting low around his hips and a thin trail of light blond hair started on his tight stomach and I followed it with my eyes until it disappeared into his shorts. My eyes continued in their downward motion and came to settle on the bulge that was there. I could see the outline of his soft cock pressing against the tight fabric of his shorts.

Again my breath caught in my throat as I watched him lay there. He was still, his chest rising and falling with each breath he took, and I was breathless. It was becoming clear to me that I needed this, I wanted him, and I was wishing that he would do something since I wouldn’t.

Finally after laying there a minute, it seemed as if he had worked something out, his eyes were still closed as he said, “Stephen, why are you really here?” That question surprised me a little. I thought we had been over this already. What was I supposed to say exactly? I had to think about my answer carefully.

He still hadn’t looked at me and I was beginning to think this was going to be a contest. Who could wait the longest? Me, stalling, not knowing how to answer safely and without telling my secret thoughts about him. Him, seeming to need some truth. It was an awkward silence until he spoke again.

“And don’t even try to tell me it’s for tutoring, it could have waited until tomorrow after school. Tell me the truth. Please, I need to know,” he said. As he spoke his tone changed from a demanding one to a pleading one. What did he want from me, and could I give it to him?

I had to say something, he sounded so vulnerable, like he was the one whose heart was on the line, but in reality I was the vulnerable one. I was the one with the big secret to tell, the one whose life would be totally changed forever if it ever came out, not him. Everyone already knew that about him.

“I came because I wanted to…,” I paused. What should I say I asked myself, and as the pause became an awkward silence, I couldn’t find any words to continue. I turned around and stared out the window, maybe looking for a way to escape this situation I had gotten myself into, when I felt his hand on my shoulder.

I turned around and was face to face with him, looking him in the eyes, like I had on that first night, and he looked into mine. We stared at each other, connecting again, and I knew then, that he knew everything that I had hidden away for so long. I was starting to panic, what would he think about me now, what would he do?

I tried to look away, but I couldn’t. We were communicating, though we weren’t speaking. I saw him questioning me, and then himself, wondering if what he thought he was seeing in me was really true. "Is it true? Are you really like me?", he asked me gently.

I was so afraid. Afraid he would laugh, afraid of rejection, afraid that my whole life was going to change now that he knew my secret. I think deep down I knew he wouldn’t tease me or insult me, he wasn’t that kind of person, but I was still so emotionally naked standing there looking into his blue eyes that I couldn’t stop myself.

A tear slowly rolled down my cheek, then another, and another. Oh my God! I was crying, in front of Jesse, in his bedroom. I couldn’t remember as I stood there in front of him, when the last time I had cried was, but I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly at the moment.

I started to turn away, suddenly feeling embarrassed and more visible than I had ever wanted to be, when he stopped me. He grabbed my hand and I looked down to see his hand in mine, and it looked so right, in fact, nothing seemed more right to me at the moment.

I looked up and he smiled at me and then pulled my body to his. He held me in his arms, my head resting on his bare shoulder. My arms instinctively wrapped around him as we stood there. My tears soaking his skin and his scent soothing me.

I felt safe there, wrapped in his arms, and after a minute I said, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” was all he said. After a moment I whispered, “I like you Jess,” I think more for myself than for him. “It’s okay Stephen, really,” he said quietly into my ear, “I understand.”

“No you don’t,” I whispered again which caused him to pull away and look at me. His eyes told me not to challenge him on this, that he had been through this all before. Looking down I saw both of my hands in his, between us now, and again I thought it was how things should be.

“No Jess, I really like you,” I said emphasizing my words to make him understand what I meant. He already knew my secret, I might as well be honest with him now. He reached up and using his hand, he lifted my chin until our eyes met. It was all out in the open now, he knew for sure what I was trying to get him to understand.

His fingertips gently wiped away the tears that were still steadily falling. He smiled at me, trying to provide me with some comfort. I couldn’t return his smile, not now that I had just bared my soul to him, shared a part of myself that no one had ever seen before.

I was looking into his eyes, waiting for some clue, some reaction to the clear statement I had just made. I thought I saw a flash of sadness cross his eyes but then he said, “I really like you too.”

I gave him a small smile when I heard him say those words, and I looked away, wondering how to get myself to stop crying. I felt him pull me towards him again, still holding my other hand tightly. His soft lips brushed across mine as my head turned toward his.

My eyes closed as I felt his hand in my hair gently pulling my head closer to his. He had dropped my other hand to free his and then wrapped it around my waist. I lifted my hands and pulled his face closer to mine; feeling his tongue brushing my bottom lip, I opened to let him in.

He held our bodies close together with the arm he had around me. I was lost in our kiss, and when he finally pulled away gently, I opened my eyes. My arms fell around his neck and when I tried to look into his eyes he dropped his head. With his forehead resting on my chin and our bodies still pressed closely together I whispered, “Thank you.”

He didn’t say anything in response, and after another minute I said softly, “I really need to go. My Dad will be wondering where I am.” I had made no move to leave though and so he finally backed away from me to sit on the bed. I instantly missed the closeness we had shared.

It seemed like he didn’t want to look at me and I hated that. It confused me how one minute he had enough confidence to kiss me, this amazing, passionate kiss, and the next he was so scared that he couldn’t look me in the eyes. It was my turn to comfort him.

I walked over to where he was sitting with his head down and I knelt down in front of him. “Jess, look at me, please?”, I asked. I guess he heard the uncertainty in my voice because he did look up and I smiled at him. “Will I see you after school tomorrow?”, I asked him hoping that he would say yes.

He searched my eyes for only a moment and seemed satisfied to see no regret there. He finally nodded and returned my smile. I stood up and made my way to his bedroom door. I grabbed my backpack and looking back over my shoulder at him I said, ”I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He looked up at me, his eyes pleading with mine, so I gave him a reassuring smile and left for home.

The drive home was quiet, there was never a lot of traffic at that time. I was so ready to just sleep, I was emotionally drained and yet I had a feeling of being complete for the first time in a really long time.

I made my way up the stairs, stopping at the bathroom, before finally heading to my bedroom, ready for a much needed nights sleep. My mind was on overload as I walked into my room, tossing my keys onto my desk and dropping my backpack onto my chair. I looked over and saw Jules asleep on my bed.

I sighed as I walked over to wake her. Gently shaking her I said, “Jules, c’mon, you fell asleep.” She sat up telling me, “Your Dad said you’d be back soon. He said I could wait.” I made a mental note to tell him how much I appreciated this. “Come on, I’ll walk you home,” I sighed, my exhaustion becoming evident.

Standing on her front porch, she was hugging me, and I was remembering how Jesse had held me just a short time ago. I loved Jules, she meant so much to me, but I would never feel like I did when he had his arms around me with her.

Stepping back I said, “See you in the morning,” and turned to leave. The short walk home allowed me some time to think. I had just told someone, for the first time ever, that I was gay and he held me in his arms as I cried. He wiped away my tears and kissed me.

As excited as I was, after all that had happened, I think that I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I was exhausted, emotionally drained. It seemed like morning came much too quickly leaving me yawning as I stood under the hot water of the shower, steam floating around me. With my reflection staring back at me in the mirror, I saw the whole me, for the first time, standing there and I smiled at myself for just a moment before I finished getting ready for school.

On the ride to school Jules had asked me where I had been the night before. I told her that I had gone to help out a friend and then quickly changed the subject by asking her what she had come over for that was so important that she needed to wait for me. Her response was preceded by some giggling and as she started to tell me why she had been there, Sean and Bobby met us as we got out of my truck and so the subject was dropped. I was thankful for that though, as we started another day of school.

I hadn’t seen Jesse all day, not that I usually did, but I wanted to see him, to look him in the eyes, just to make sure that I wasn’t imagining how I was feeling after everything that had happened last night. The fact that I was okay with it all really surprised me actually, because even though I knew my secret was safe with him, it was still a huge thing for me to have told anyone, and now that I had I was wondering what would happen next. What would change and how?

I decided that I would try and see Jesse at lunch time. I wanted to see him, and even though that wasn’t something that I usually did, that didn’t matter to me. I was wondering how he would react to me now that he had kissed me, and now that he knew another part of me, the part no one else knew.

It was a warm sunny day and I had found Jules sitting outside at our table in the courtyard for lunch. I had just walked up and sat down to eat when Bobby and Sean came over and sat down too. “Hey guys,” Bobby said to us. “What’s up Coop?”, Sean said, using my nickname before he turned to Jules and said, “Hi Julianne, how are you?”

She rolled her eyes at me and I gave her a look that told her to be nice. “Not much Sean,” I answered as I looked around for Jesse. I saw him with some friends across the courtyard laughing like he usually was. I didn’t really hear the response Jules gave him, or much else that was said, because I was watching him, his movements. The way he sort of threw his head back when he laughed, the way he shook his leg as he sat there, how he would brush his hair out of his eyes, they all fascinated me.

I had to get closer, I wanted a better view. I wanted him to want to see me too, to be looking for me. I decided I would walk in his direction and see what happened. “Bye guys, see you next period Bobby,” I said and the guys nodded their heads at me. “Jules, you’ll be alright on your own again after school?”, I asked her, trying to remind her that I was going to be busy again. Her expression gave away her displeasure with the situation as she mumbled, “I guess I’ll have to be.”

I walked toward Jesse and he hadn’t really noticed me as I approached the area where he was sitting. I guess I hadn’t thought this through, because as I got close enough to him that I could say something, I froze. What was I going to do, just walk right up to him and say hi? I had never done that before, so why would I start now? He was right there, about ten feet in front of me, sitting on a bench in the shade of an old oak tree, and I couldn’t do anything but stand there and stare.

I guess he must have felt my eyes on him, because he turned and looked at me. My face was unreadable as I stood there, angry at myself for doing something so stupid, when his eyes caught mine. He seemed to watch me for a moment before he smiled in my direction. That single act, the significance of that one smile, was enough to stop the conflict going on inside my head. It allowed me to smile and then I felt my cheeks get hot, blushing in response to him.

I started to walk away from him. I needed to get away, before I gave my secret away to everyone. I walked off towards my art class since it was almost time to go there anyway, but I think it was partly instinct too, since I had always felt a need to draw when I was anxious. I think that drawing gave me something to do besides just fidget and it took my mind off whatever it was causing me to worry.

I guess he must have followed me because as I was sitting in the empty art classroom taking advantage of the solitude, he walked in. I hadn’t really noticed him come in, but I had been concentrating on what I was drawing. It was him, sitting on his bed, the way I had seen him, his back to me as I stood in his doorway.

He came up behind me, and after a moment said, “Is that me?”, startling me. At first I tried to cover it up, to hide what I had been drawing, but it was too late. He had already seen it and again I felt my cheeks color. I couldn’t speak, but finally I sighed and nodded my consent. I had been caught, and he grabbed my sketchbook to have a closer look.

It was never easy letting someone look at my drawings, probably because they were always about something very personal to me, but it was more than nerve wracking watching him as he looked through my drawings. He was seeing the one of my front porch that night after the dance, the one of my mystery boy wearing his mask, and one of him as he lay on his bed wearing only a pair of shorts, in addition to the one I had just been drawing of him.

After a few minutes of silence from him, I forced myself to look up and his eyes met mine. I was uncomfortable and feeling very self conscious. vulnerable. I looked away when he said, “Is this really how you see me?” I didn’t respond right away, I didn’t think I could handle this.

He sighed, and taking the seat across from me forcing me to look at him, he said, “Stephen, please talk to me. Just tell me, I want to know.” He looked so striking in my drawings, like the way I had always pictured him, and he looked like he has in my dreams as his strong body came over mine. How could I explain what he could plainly see with his own eyes?

Looking in his eyes, I knew he understood how I felt, how I had been thinking of him, and I saw in his eyes an acceptance of what I wanted us to be to each other. He only said, “Wow, you’re really good,” as he got up and made his way to the door. What was that supposed to mean? That was not the response I had been hoping for, certainly not what I had been expecting.

He turned back when he reached the door, just as I was about to stop him, and said, “See you after school then,” as he took his turn giving me the reassuring smile at the door. I smiled in return, even though I wasn’t feeling as confident as either of us wanted me too, and said, “Yeah, in the library. Same spot, and you can come earlier if you want to,” hoping I didn’t sound as eager as I was.

The bell rang and after a few minutes more people started to arrive for class. Bobby showed up right before class started asking me, “Where’d you run off to Coop?” I looked over at him and replied, “I was in here. I just felt like drawing for a while.” He frowned at me a little before the class got under way and we were busy drawing.

As I was packing up my stuff, my sketchpad and my pencils, and putting them into my backpack Bobby asked me, “So did you work out whatever it is that had you pitching like shit yesterday?” I looked over at him and gave him a nod, although I had other things on my mind now.

We said our goodbyes and planned to see each other again at practice that afternoon. Hopefully I would have it a little more under control today. All I needed was another fifteen minute lecture from Coach about concentration being the key to pitching well, and staying in the zone.

I was sitting in the library again, at the table back in the corner, working on my own homework when he walked up and said, “Hey,” and nothing more. I looked up at him standing there and tried to seem casual as I replied, simply as well, “Hi.” Still awkwardly standing there, I sighed and told him to sit down, and so he did. After a few moments of nothing being said between us I finally decided to ask, “So, what do you need help with?” thinking that was at least a safe question.

He smiled at me, almost as if he thought we were playing some sort of game here, and shrugged saying, “I guess I could use some help with my math homework.” He took out his book and started working, and I just watched him as he worked, to make sure he was going about it correctly. He was doing just fine for a while, but then he came to a problem that he couldn’t figure out. I was trying to see his book and that was difficult since he was across from me and it was upside down.

He must have noticed me craning my neck to see, because he abruptly stood up and moved around the table before taking the seat next to me. I looked over at him and when our eyes met, he smiled at me, and this time when I returned his smile it was because I was really happy. We were looking at his math book, sitting there next to each other, and I was trying really hard to concentrate on the task at hand while I was being distracted by the fact that our legs were touching under the table.

Each time it happened, he would look up at me and smile at me with his eyes, almost challenging me to take it a step further. At one point, when I was scribbling away on his paper showing him where he had gone wrong, I felt his hand as it landed gently on my thigh. I gasped out loud, surprised by the sensation I was getting, as he rubbed gently, each time inching further inward. I knew that I was blushing, I could feel it in my cheeks, and I suddenly worried that he would discover my erection. The one that had been growing steadily since he first touched me. I took matters into my own hands as I reached under the table and grabbed his hand, as though I wanted to hold it.

I didn’t mind holding his hand actually, but my move had been made as more of a diversion than anything else. It was a good feeling, holding his hand as we sat close to each other, our shoulders touching and our legs rubbing against one another. Any fears I would have had about being seen doing this were swept away, like the tide, each time the passion in his blue eyes caught mine.

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