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"Dreaming While Awake"
It was nearly 2 AM when I went to sleep that night. I couldn't get that eternally nervous vibration in my stomach to die down until well after midnight. And then I had another hour's worth of wayward thoughts and high expectations to look forward to. A date. A DATE date! With the Jesse-101! It was like my whole body was lit up with tiny little explosions under the skin...making me jerk and giggle with every joyful detonation. I curled up in my blankets. I cuddled my pillow. But I might as well have been floating five feet above the mattress. I swear, I couldn't feel a thing.
Forcing yourself to sleep is such an exercise in futility. Seriously, what's the point? All you can think about is not being able to sleep. What are you going to do? Close your eyes tighter? Roll from one end of the bed to the other. Seriously, I wanted to be wide awake and look good for Jesse when I got there! I was literally reaching a point where I was ready to suffocate myself with my own pillow just to see if I could get enough rest to be at my best tomorrow. Luckily, exhaustion eventually took its hold on me, and my mind began to wander all on its own. Must have been all of the trembling that I had been doing since I hung up that phone.
He talked to me. He really did. He called me by name. You know what that means? It means he remembered me! He saw my post, and I mentioned the nachos...and he remembered me. Sighhh...I mean, I've never had somebody actually 'remember' me like that before. Well...except for maybe Scotty Lynch. But that's different because he has a crush on me.
Oh WOW! Wait! What if it isn't different? What if Jesse....I mean...hehehe, oh gawd, what if he really likes me! He accepted the idea of me calling tomorrow afternoon a 'date'. Maybe this whole thing is exactly what it looks like. Exactly what it feels like. Oh man, if that's even remotely true, I am going to kiss that boy SOOOOO *HARD*!!! I'm talking about cracking teeth here!
Hehehe, letting go of that little fantasy kept me awake even later. But once I got to sleep...my dreams kept painting the lovely pictures of infatuation for me until the next morning. I think I woke up several times through the night just from having my heart beating so fast, but I hardly remember it. If I woke up, it was only for a few minutes...sensual thoughts of Jesse lingering behind from the dream that had gotten me all out of sorts in the first place. Hehehe, what is it that keeps me so obsessed all day long? I need to FUNCTION in order to make it through school today, don't I? Geez! Hehehe! I don't know...this sense of freedom, of total delight...it's hard to contain. Every time I try, it only pushes harder to completely take me over from the inside out.
I'm so helpless against it that I wonder why I even bother trying anymore.
As I showered and got ready for my Sunday morning, I grinned at my reflection in the mirror and sighed with joy. I was just thinking..."Lori and Michelle are going to be SO proud of me!" Hehehe! Even better, I thought, "Jason Fixx is going to be so jealous of Jessie and me that he's gonna bust a testicle!" Hahaha! That's something that I would definitely pay to see!
I even made sure to call Lori to tell them to come by and scoop me up so I could tell them face to face. I couldn't wait to tell them what was going on, and I couldn't really get into details about it once we were in the school hallways tomorrow or while I was around my mom. But I had to tell somebody before I exploded. I was already shaking so badly that my every step forward was like a jittery jackhammer on the pavement. I made sure to wait by the living room window to see Michelle's car drive up, and the moment I peeked through the curtains to see her pull up, I hopped up from the couch and shouted a quick goodbye to my mom before charging out of the front door.
Lori was just getting out of the car to come up and ring my doorbell when she saw me rushing towards her. She gave me a strange look. "Tristan? What are you doing?"
"Go! Drive! I've got stuff to tell you, but we have to be in the car. So drive!" I giggled as I climbed into the back seat.
Michelle asked me, "Drive? Drive where?"
"I don't know. Anywhere. Just drive! Hehehe! Come on! Let's go!" I said, practically wiggling my toes at the idea of spilling the beans about my big plans for today.
"Alright, alright...don't be a spaz about it. Jesus!" Lori said. "Drive already before the poor boy wets the carpet."
I didn't tell her what the big deal right away. I just told her that I had 'news', and I waited until we were a block or two away from my house before I was ready to squeal.
Naturally, Lori and Michelle were excited to get the exclusive gossip before anyone else did. And as I sat forward to lean over heir shoulders, I gave them the biggest, cheesiest, goddamn smile that I could possibly muster within normal human face limitations! I kept them waiting for another few seconds, not saying a word. I made them BEG me to tell them! And when they just couldn't take it anymore and were squirming around like they were three seconds away from causing me some level of bodily harm....I said...
"...I've got a DATE today....hehehe...."
Had their jaws dropped any lower from the startling shock of it all, it would have crashed through the bottom of the vehicle and brought us to a crude stop like a freakin' FLINTSTONE car!
Lori was like, "What the...??? Are you SERIOUS, right now??? Like...and actual date?"
"With a...with a BOY?"
I nodded with a strong blush decorating my cheeks, and I said, "Yup! With an actual boy! And a cute one too!"
"Where the heck have you been hiding him?" She gave me a sideways look, and suspiciously narrowed her eyes. "Wait a minute. You had better NOT be talking about Jason Fixx! I swear to God, Tristan, if it's Jason Fixx, I'm castrating you right there in the back seat....!!!"
"NO!!! Hell no! Not Jason! MUCH better than Jason!" I giggled. "Much cuter, too!"
She paused for a moment, then she was like, "Omigod! You're giving little Scotty Lynch his big chance???"
I frowned my face up. "You're not very good at this game. You know that?"
"Well, a few hints might help."
I said, "How's this for a hint? I met him in the mall, I watch his videos on YouTube, and he has a best friend named Artie. Ring a bell?"
Suddenly, I found my face being severely mashed into the headrest in front of me as Michelle slammed on the brakes! And before I could recover, Lori was smacking me on the head and shoulders with reckless enthusiasm, both of them screaming while I checked to see if my friggin' NOSE was broken!
"AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! OMIGOD!!! Tell me you're not lying! Don't joke around like this!" Lori shouted. "You actually set up a date with Jesse-101? You're shitting me, right???"
"Owww...." I moaned, covering my nose with both hands.
"TRISTAN!!!" Lori hit me again, and I figured that I better give them an answer before they beat me to death.
"Stop, already! I'm not going to be able to go anywhere but the hospital if you two don't knock it off! Geez!" They could barely hold themselves together, and I let the silence linger a little longer with a smile, teasing them until I saw Lori raise her hand to hit me again. "Ok! Ok! Hehehe...I...I kinda made a date with him. We made a date...with each other." I said, bashfully.
Michelle and Lori were totally blown away by this revelation. Michelle asked, "How the hell did you pull that off?"
"I don't KNOW! I was watching a video that he posted, and he seemed like he was feeling kinda down. So I commented on it to cheer him up, and he just happened to be online at the moment. So we talked for a bit..."
"WAIT! You talked for a bit? You talked to Jesse on his channel???" Lori squealed.
With a shy shrug of my shoulders, I giggled to myself and said, "Yeah. Sorta. Then we exchanged a few emails. Hehehe, and then...he called me on the phone."
I was all ready to defend myself after telling her that. My forearms were the only things keeping me safe from another flurry of excited slaps from the front seat.
"TRISTAN!!! Jesus Christ!!! This is the most monumental event in the history of mankind! How are you not turning yourself inside out, right now???"
"I am! Hehehe, believe me. I'm just trying not to get my hopes up too high, you know? There's still time for me to get randomly struck in the head by a meteor from space or something and ruin the whole evening." I said.
"Don't you go turning drama queen on me now, Tristan!" She warned. "Don't you get it? This is like...fate, you know? You two were meant to be together! Awwww, that's so CUTE!"
I rolled my eyes. "Let's not go that far. I don't wanna jinx it. Besides, I got lucky. It's just something that happened to fall into place."
"Right. And you just 'happened' to find Jesse's YouTube channel, and he just 'happened' to live in the next town, and you just 'happened' to see him in the mall..."
"YOU guys were the ones who dragged me to the mall! We were practically stalking the poor boy." I said.
"AND...he just 'happened' to be gay..."
"One in ten chance of that happening. It's not that strange, Lori..."
"And he just 'happened' to think you were so cute that he invited you to sit down and have lunch with him..."
"We shared some nachos. It was hardly the cuisine of romantic endeavors..."
"And he just 'happened' to be online, after you just 'happened' to see his video, and now you to 'happen' to be going out on a date! Tristan, can you just relax and enjoy this? This officially makes you the luckiest boy in the WORLD!" Lori was about to hit me again, but found the will power to control herself. "When are you meeting him?"
"In just a couple of hours..." I sighed, staring at the roof of the car with a goofy grin.
"Oh wow! What are you gonna wear?"
"I don't know."
"What are you gonna say?"
"I don't know."
"Are you two spending the whole afternoon together?"
"Hehehe, I don't know."
"Well what DO you know???" She said, giving my slim shoulders a playful shove.
As I stared off into space, I said, "I know that, good or bad, I'm never going to be the same again once I see him. There's no going back after today, Lori. No going back."
Lori gasped, having a girly moment as she fanned her face with her hands and tried not to get misty eyed on me. "Ohhhhhhh my God...I can't handle this. This is too much. Michelle...drive. Drive us somewhere. I'm going to explode if we don't get moving. Go...please go." Hehehe, I think she was taking this harder than I was. But hey, that's what best friends do.
Besides...the feeling is soooo contagious.
For the next fifteen minutes we pretty much drove circles around the neighborhood. I barely remember half of what went on. A little bit of teasing, a little bit of sighing, a whole lot of questions. But I found myself phasing in and out of the conversation. Every time I thought about Jessie's smile, a warm sensation buzzed right in the center of my chest and then spread out until it covered every inch of me. Only for a moment, but I don't think I've ever felt anything so wonderful in all my life. It was like a slow burning, really mellow, orgasm of sorts. It just made everything feel good and left me quivering with an involuntary smirk on my face. A few times I had to hold on to the car seat to keep from floating right out the window.
One thing that I do remember is Lori asking me, "Are you going to kiss him? You HAVE to tell me what it's like to kiss him!"
Ok....so...that didn't help with the jittery nerves. Like...at ALL!
"We're just...going for coffee and doughnuts, Lori. I highly doubt he's gonna want to start swapping spit the second he sees me."
That's when she said, "But what if he does?"
And to be honest...I hadn't really thought of that.
I was quiet for a moment as the thought of those precious lips touching mine flooded my most intimate thoughts, and I got...scared.
"What is it? What's the matter?" Lori asked.
"Great. Just great. What'd you have to go and say that for?" I whined.
"Say what? I think it's adorable!"
"It's NOT adorable! It's terrifying!"
"Why??? Just don't think about it." She told me.
"Well, I wouldn't have if you hadn't gone and put that in my head! Now I'm going to be wondering whether or not he wants to kiss me the whole time."
The girls grinned at each other, and Michelle said, "Well...there's one way to solve this problem."
"Good. What is it?"
"You'll just have to kiss him first." She said.
"Ok. Alright. Due to that suggestion, ladies, I have now had enough of your awful company. Take me home, please." I said. Kiss him first. What is she, INSANE??? I'd rather bob for apples in a tank full of angry piranha than even consider coming up with the courage needed to kiss that gorgeous boy on the lips. I highly doubt that's gonna happen tonight. HIGHLY doubt it.
When they drove up to my house to let me out, Lori hugged me tightly around the neck, and had to wipe her eyes as she became overwhelmed with emotion. Her face turned red trying to hold it back. She's such a weirdo sometimes. "You...go have yourself a good time today, Tristan. I mean it." She sniffled.
She let a tear drop, and moved forward to hug me again. I said, "Alright...don't get snot on me or anything. Geez!" If I wasn't careful, she was going to get me all emotional too. As if I didn't have enough to worry about without having to check to make sure that my eyes weren't all red and puffy from 'happy' tears. I said, "Well...here goes...everything."
"Go get him." She smiled.
"Remember...if something goes wrong tonight, it's all your fault."
"And if it goes right?"
"Then I will take full credit for being awesome and you won't have to worry about it anymore." I said. She started to lean in and embrace me a third time, but I held my hand out to stop her. "Alright, enough with the hugs already. If Scotty Lynch sees you he's gonna think I'm giving them out for free or something."
She finally stepped away from me, and she said, "You had better call me and tell me EVERYTHING the second your date is over! Every last detail, you hear me?"
"Nope!" I smiled, and walked towards the house.
"I mean it, Tristan!"
"Can't hear you! La la la!" I said, and they gritted their teeth with frustration, but I don't know why. Of course I'm going to tell her everything the second I get a chance. Who else would I tell?
My mom made a light lunch for the both of us, and I attempted to...I don't know. Look my best? I had no idea what to wear today. With it being Jesse, I almost wanted to wear a tuxedo. He was worth that and a lot more, believe me. I went through my closet looking through every decent outfit that I had. Every time I found a pair of pants that I liked, I couldn't find a shirt that really seemed to match it. Every time I found an awesome and flattering shirt to wear, I couldn't find a pair of pants to match it. Too fancy, too plain, too bright, too emo, too geeky, too 'slackerish'....there was no winning in the wardrobe department.
I actually got on my computer and went to Jesse's channel to look at some of the outfits that he wore while making his videos. I was hoping to get some sense of his style. I mean, if he thinks it looks good on him, then he might think something similar looks good on me, right? At least it was a strategy. Sorta...
It took me forever, but I found a pair of black jeans and a button down navy blue shirt with a few artsy designs on it. Looking at myself in the mirror, it seemed perfect. A bit more dressy than usual for me, but I definitely want to make a good impression today. I'm only getting one shot at this. I can't have him thinking I'm a slob.
I must have looked good, because my mom noticed it right away. "You look like you're modeling for a magazine today. What's the deal?" She asked.
"Nothing. Just thought I'd put my nice clothes on for a change. No big deal."
"Ahhh, well, you're very handsome."
"That would sound great if it wasn't coming from my mom." I told her, getting her to smile.
Then she asked, "So...you're going out for a while today, I take it?" And I froze for a moment.
Gently clearing my throat and choosing my words carefully, I said, "Yeah. Going out. In about an hour..."
I didn't want to say anything more. Silence is better than lying any day. Mothers have a habit of sniffing that kind of thing out pretty quickly.
She asked, "You and the girls?"
I mumbled, "Um...no. Just a friend. I'm going to the mall, so..."
She didn't want to appear to be fishing for more details, but maybe us teenagers have a nose for sniffing out the overused techniques of parental invasion ourselves.
"A friend? Someone from school?"
Ok...so silence wasn't working. I nodded slowly, and under my breath I hummed, "Uh huh..."
"Oh. Well, that's nice." She said. And then....three...two...one..."Is this friend...another boy?"
"It's just a friendly day at the mall, Mom. Ok? Seriously, don't get weird." I said, avoiding her eyes as I tried to get the hell out of that kitchen without looking like I was trying to get the hell out of that kitchen.
"I didn't say anything." She replied. "You're so sensitive these days."
"I'm not being sensitive. It's just, I didn't want you to think..." I stopped myself. Our eyes connected for a moment, and I let it go. "Never mind."
"No, go ahead." She asked, giving me her full attention. "You didn't want me to think what?"
Ohhhhh no. I'm not gonna crack that easily. She would just love that, wouldn't she? It's like she's constantly trying to find a clever way to bully me into having this big 'after school special' moment with her about my sexuality...and I'm just not going to do it. If for no other reason than I don't want her to have the satisfaction of tying up all the loose ends of her little investigation. Nope. I am NOT gay! Not as far as my mom is concerned, anyway.
For Jesse though, I'm as gay as a pink double-header dildo in a bathhouse! Just sayin'...
I can remember being too scared to move as the minutes on the clock counted down to what might be the most exhilarating, or most humiliating, moment of my life. I couldn't even find anything to distract myself while waiting for the time when I had to leave for the bus. Lori tried to cal me twice, but I didn't answer. I was nervous enough without her high hopes making it worse. Gees, I was even too nervous to pace at this point. My brain began to spark up. Electric impulses firing off rapidly, frantically scanning my personal rolodex of excuses to find some acceptable reason to back out of this whole thing and put it off until I was really ready to do this. I even went so far as to wonder if I had any close relatives that I could convincingly 'kill off' this afternoon so that I could both back out of the date and get some sympathy points on top of it.
But I had to FIGHT to keep that garbage out of my head. Like I'm actually going to ditch Jesse-101? I am NEVER going to get another miracle like this ever again. I was certain of that. No...no more games. No more goofing around with this. I'm going. I'm gonna force myself to go. I'm going to meet Jesse-101 for an actual date, and I'm gonna be amazing, and this is going to be the best night of my life. Right?
Finally, the clock showed 3:30 PM on the display. Fifteen minutes before my bus came around. Jesse and I decided to meet at the mall around 4:30, and I wanted to get there a bit early so I wasn't all flustered and sweaty when we first...like...when he saw me. And I saw him. And we...hehehe, oh God! Am I really doing this right now? I'm actually going to go meet him. My very first date. First ever. And it just so happens to be with the most gorgeous boy on Earth, and a celebrity to boot. I certainly am quite the overachiever, aren't I?
Kick me. I'm dreaming.
I pushed myself to stand up and put my sneakers on. I checked myself out in the mirror again. I straightened out my clothes a bit, and wiped a smudge off of one of my shoes. Then looked in the mirror again. And I checked my teeth. Then I checked my breath. Then I sprayed some body spray on my neck, then putting it under my shirt to spray my chest. Not too much, but not too little either. Then I checked the mirror one last time. I wish I could say that I was dazzle by the reflection looking back at me. But I wasn't. I was a scared little boy, hoping to be just good enough to pass inspection. I think that was about as much as I could expect from my self esteem at that particular moment.
It will take validation from the most untouchable boy ever to take me to the next step.
Here we go.
Going to catch the bus now. I'm...I'm going out on a date. A date. Right. So...my feet should be moving. Right? If I miss this bus, I'll be late. And that would be bad for a first impression. I should go. I'm gonna go. MOVE, Tristan!!! MOVE!!!
I didn't take anything with me other than a wallet, twenty three dollars, a bus card, and a small comb incase my hair got all out of control along the way. I went to the front door, and my mom had this strange look on her face. Not pity, not fear, nothing that I could really recognize. But she said, "Tristan? Be careful out there. Ok?" It looked like she had so much more to say to me at that moment, but she didn't.
I wasn't sure how to respond. The look in her eyes was so foreign to me. Scary, in fact. She knows. I know she knows. I don't want her to, but....yeah...she knows.
I just gave her a gentle wave and left the house. MORE problems. I just want to be on my own right now. Just me and Jesse. Maybe once we get to spend some time together, my confidence will build to a point where I can tell somebody else what I'm feeling without having their opinion of it overwhelm me to the point of creating irreversible changes in my behavior. But until then...I don't know...I kind of want to do this on my own. No interference. It just feels like the best way to do this.
It's a leap of faith. And that faith has to be in 'me'. Not Lori or Michelle or my mom or even Jesse...but in me. If that makes sense.
So I did what I had to do. I walked to the street corner, I caught the bus, and I let it carry me the extended distance to the Hillside Mall. A palace where my prince charming was sure to be waiting for me. Hopefully with a smile. I know that I could have had Michelle drop me off in her car if I wanted to, but I needed time to think. I wanted the silence. Something about it helped me to embrace the situation for what it was. And for what it could be.
Maybe I am lucky. Maybe the universe is secretly conspiring in my favor this time around. And maybe...I'm just a YouTube pervert who hasn't gotten close enough to Jesse to show him how crazy and strange I truly am. But as my mind went in circles with the maddening idea that I was making a huge mistake today, I tried to take some comfort in telling myself that it was too late to turn back now.
Funny thing...it actually worked. Go figure.
I think my trembling hands were getting progressively worse with every rotation of the bus' wheels as they raced me towards my destination. But I couldn't tell if it was my nerves, or an adrenaline shot straight from the center of my heart. Fear and love were so indistinguishable from one another when it came to Jesse. By the time I had taken my first step off of that bus, I had entertained every single apocalyptic theory of what could go horribly wrong that afternoon. But I allowed my infatuation to block out the voices. And thanks to fate having another favorable handle in all things Jesse today...I didn't have much 'downtime' to rattle myself to pieces. Because as soon as I made it to the mall door to walk inside, the next bus pulled up, and I heard Jesse's sweet voice calling my name from over my shoulder.
"Tristan? Hey! Wait up!" He grinned, and hurried over to catch me at the door.
My heart instantly stopped.
No, I'm serious. I thought I was going to pass out from a lack of blood flow to the brain when I saw him. Maybe it was his unexpected appearance, but it just...it took me over and I found myself flooded with more desire than I was prepared to handle at that particular moment.
There he was...wearing a deep red t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Do you have any IDEA how HOT he looks in a deep red shirt? It like...makes his blond hair sparkle twice as much. I accentuates the beauty of his blue eyes. It even magnifies the intensity of his mercilessly charming smile. Now HE evidently knew exactly what to wear today for our....um...'date'. I almost felt underdressed. Or maybe just less beautiful. But look who I had to compare myself to.
He seemed to glow with the presence of a true angel. A stunning presentation of what man intended when the word, 'beauty', was first invented. A breathless swoon swept it's way through me as he rushed to get closer to me. His smile was just as radiant and as mind-blowing as I remembered. He was a fantasy in the flesh. And having his cheerful smile pointed in my direction was the greatest gift that the gods could ever give me. Wow...this boy made me so WEAK!!!!
*SO* goddamn weak!!!
"Hey...uh...hi...." I said, my voice shaky with surprise.
"Are you just now getting here?" He asked. How can he be so...'normal' about this? I mean, seriously.
"Yeah. I guess...I wanted to be bit early, just in case."
"Great. Me too." He said.
I know that I wanted to keep my star gazing status to a minimum, but it wasn't easy. I mean, not only was this a true angel among men...but he was a popular face from YouTube. One that I had seen many times before. That may not be Oscar Awards, red carpet, ceremony to some people...but to me? This was unprecedented. I was actually staring at is real life FACE! And being aware of that fact made it very hard to keep from hyperventilating.
"I..." Is that what I said to him? 'I'? I that a word? That's not a word. That's a LETTER! What was I going to say??? I forget now!
Jesse waited for me to continue, but I found myself giving him a variety of my best fake and nervous smiles instead. Then I just held the mall door open for him to walk inside. He said, "A gentleman. I"m liking you already, Tristan." I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not. I mean, Jesse had a really wicked sense of wit about him at times...but it was so subtle and so sweet that you couldn't really tell how 'playful' it was until he smiled at you.
And that's when he...'smiled' at me.
Hehehe, I think all of the remaining oxygen that I had to keep me conscious rushed out of my lungs, and I had only my rapid heartbeat and swiftly growing erection to remind me that I had to surrender to SOME level of lower primal function in order to make this date work out somehow without embarrassing myself!
Jesse looked at me before walking through the door completely. And he said, "Are you nervous?"
It was a classic thing for a boy like him to ask. Hehehe, and the evil smirk that came with it was just as wicked as I expected.
I could have lied about it, but my massive crush on him spoke before I had a chance to control it. "YES! Hehehe! More than you can imagine!"
"Good. Because I'm kind of a big deal, you know?" He said, and then burst out into this really cute, really shy, fit of giggles. Then he said, "I'm nervous too. K? Really...I almost backed out of this today. I kinda had to force myself to be a bit more brave about meeting you here today."
"Really?" I asked in disbelief.
"Yeah. What can I say?" He blushed. "You 'paralyze' me. Hehehehe...."
It's hard not to fall over and jump into a fit of convulsions when Jesse-101...ahem...I mean Jesse Kyler...flirts with me. When he walked through that door and looked back at me so I could follow him, I felt myself being lifted off of my feet all over again. Lost in the glory of his presence. Immune to gravity itself.
He was here. I was here. We were here together.
For once, I made the right choice. I probably did twelve nerdy things to humiliate myself already. But Jesse didn't care. He wanted me there. He wanted this to work just as badly as I did. And if that was the case...
This might just turn out to be the unimaginable fantasy that I was hoping it would be.
Wouldn't it be great....if there was no such thing as 'too good to be true'?
Wouldn't it be great...if I was good enough for someone like Jesse?
I'm totally falling in love with this boy! I'm just hoping that I'm not chasing after fool's gold all over again.
I wanted to keep my guard up. I didn't want to look too needy, or too overpowered by the sweet taste of Jesse's charm. But as we took a few steps into the mall, side by side....he took a sheepish hold of my hand, and he smiled at me as he tried to figure out whether or not that was going to be ok to do with me in public. With everybody staring. Judging.
You want to know something weird?
For the first time in my closeted teen life....
It really was.