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The first time I hear his phone ring is always the worst. I don't know why, but it creates this total hysteria in me that I can't quite describe. It's like, I start to squirm in my own skin and wonder if he's going to be annoyed by the very fact that I called him at all. I can't explain why I feel that way, but it's just a panic that takes a hold of me sometimes, no matter how hard my sense of rationality and logic attempts to fight it off.
The second ring can be even worse. Because it makes me wonder if he's looking at my number and contemplating whether to answer me or just let the call go to voicemail so he won't have to. And if I ever get to ring number three? I'm practically catatonic by then and quickly hang up before I embarrass myself by letting him think I was desperate enough to wait out a fourth ring. Even if...you know...I'm desperate enough to wait out a fourth ring. And a fifth. And a twentieth...
I longed to talk to him again. To see him. To smell him. To hear him laugh. God, Jesse...please pick up! I need you more than I'm willing to admit right now. It would suck if you couldn't talk right now. I doubt I could wait for a more opportune moment. Nor would I have to guts to call again even if I found one.
Lucky for me, Jesse was quick to pick up his phone. "Hello?" Oh wow...his voice. I wish I had a way for you to hear his voice. It makes me melt into a goofy puddle of 'sissy' every time I hear it. You feel it inside of you. Like a few gulps of hot cocoa on an early Winter morning. He's so cute that I can practically taste him!
"....Hi...." I said, still a bit bashful about giving into the temptation of calling him again right away. Maybe I should have waited. At least another 24 hours. He's going to think I'm a crazy YouTube stalker if I keep this up. I just know it.
"Tristan? Sweet! Omigod, I was so worried!" He said.
"I don't know. I just..." Jesse paused for a second, and then he sighed and said, "...I really wanted to hear from you again. I was just too chicken to call, that's all. I thought it might be...creepy."
"Oh..." I said. "Wait...do you think I'm being creepy right now?"
"NO! Hehehe, I just...I didn't want you to think that *I* was being creepy." He said.
"Oh, I see. But it's ok if I'm the creepy one though, right? Hehehe!"
"You're NOT creepy! Neither one of us are creepy! We are...um...totally void of all things 'creep', I promise. I just...I'm glad you called me." He grinned. I love the way he says things sometimes. Phrases that come off as totally unpredictable, and yet a unique work of art. Every one. I heard him moving through his house, and I heard a door close behind him as he found a private place in his house to talk. "It may sound crazy, but...I really miss you."
The blush hit me like grill of a speeding truck, making it hard to remain standing, when I heard him say that. I felt a bit dizzy, and sat down on my bed to make sure that I didn't fall over from the overwhelming emotion. "I think I kinda missed you too."
"Kinda?" He smiled.
"Yeah. Kinda...." I felt that sweet tingly sensation in my chest as my voice got to be more flirtatious in tone, and I knew that Jesse could feel it too. I could tell from the short silence that followed. Was he blushing? Was Jesse-101 really blushing...because of me? "So...I saw your newest video..."
"Hehehe, noooooo....you're not allowed to watch those anymore. That's not fair." He whined playfully.
"What??? WHY? No, I thought it was really sweet!" I giggled.
"Well...yeah, but...." Jesse got all shy on me again, and he said, "I mean, thanks and all, but I can't make videos when I know you're watching them and stuff. They'll never be good enough. I'll get a weird inferiority complex or something. Hehehe!"
"No you won't. Come on, let me watch."
"I don't know. Hehehe, I'd make you some private videos just for us to watch. Nobody else gets to see. Hehehe!"
"Deal." I said. "But I'm gonna sneak over and watch the other ones anyway. Just letting you know. So there."
"Drats! I should have expected that answer."
"What can I say? I'm a fan." I told him. "Your biggest fan ever."
"Hehehe...ummm...thanks, Tristan." Omigod, it was so CUTE to hear his voice sounding like that. How the heck is he embarrassed by his own videos? Had we been having this conversation face to face, I would have totally tackled him to the ground and smothered him with kisses for being so damn LOVABLE without warning! Ugh! I just want to drag that boy to the FLOOR and make love to him right then and there sometimes.
I tried to steady myself, and with a smirk, I asked, "So...is Artie really mad like you said?"
"Oh GOD, yes! Hahaha! I mean...not really. He's happy for us and stuff. But he went on this big rant on how it's SO unfair that I got to go out with you when he 'technically' saw you first."
"That's what he says. Well...It's kinda true, though. He had actually been talking about this really cute boy at the mall a week before I even got there. Don't feel weird or anything, but I think he put you in his 'spank bank' the second you got Cinnabon sugar frosting on your shirt. He was crushing on you, big time."
"Oh wow...I didn't know. Honestly." I said.
"Yeah. He was so eager to point you out to me that day on the escalator. It was funny. He was right though. You were...definitely worth checking out." Jesse said, more with a low moan than in his regular voice. I felt myself wiggling again, but I managed to keep from giggling boyishly into the phone somehow. Maybe because Jesse's flirting took what little breath I had to do it. Then Jesse says, "You know what I regret most? I really really wanted to use my phone to take a picture of us on our first date. But I got all self conscious and scared that it might seem a bit...um...."
"Hahaha! Will you STOP with the 'creepy', already? But, yeah...creepy." He said. "I was really nervous about it, so I didn't ask. But...honestly? I wish I had. I just feel like I wanna see your...face right now. Hehehe!"
"Hahaha, you wanna see my 'face'?"
"I DO! You're like...really pretty, Tristan. I wanna keep a pic of you on my computer so I can just...stare at it all night when I go to sleep. And then see it again when I wake up the next morning. Next time, I'm totally gonna take at least fifty pics of you. Like...a full supermodel shoot, so I can show you off and stuff. Artie will totally lay an egg over that one. Hehehe! You're sooooo cute..."
"You really think I'm that cute? Or are you just being sweet?" I said. Maybe I already knew the answer, but I had to balance myself out after an ego stroke like that.
"You're totally beautiful, Tristan. You really are." He said. "I really like your eyes too...." Jesse was being boyishly shy about the way he said it, but I could tell that the compliment was sincere.
"Yeah?" Was all I could come up with.
"Yeah....like...sometimes they're greenish blue...and sometimes they're bluish green. It changes. It's super cute." He said. "You know what they look like? Like my bottle of Scope mouthwash here at home. Hehehe!"
"What the...? My eyes look like mouthwash?"
"They do. I'm serious! Like...when I brush my teeth in the morning and stuff, and I reach for the minty mouthwash thingy...I look at that blue green color, and I can't help but to think about you."
Still giggling, I asked, "You think about me when you brush your teeth?"
And, with a highly seductive tone, Jesse said, "I think about you when I do a lot of things.....ahem...."
Hehehe, God....could he be any more perfect? What the hell did I do to score such an amazing boy and get him to have even the SLIGHTEST interest in me??? I'm about to pass out here from the flirting alone.
"I uhhh...hehehe...." I was a bit lost for words, but Jesse didn't mind. He just snickered along with me and we enjoyed the moment together.
Then he says, "I really did have fun the last time we got together. It's like...I can't stop thinking about you."
"Yeah. Me too." I whispered.
After a second or two of stuttering for the right words, Jesse said, "Well...I just wanted to know if I can see you. I mean...do you maybe want to do it again some time? Like...soon?"
Was he kidding me? Did he seriously just feel the need to even ask me that? What kind of faulty signals have I been throwing his way to make him think that I wasn't HOPELESSLY infatuated with him in every way humanly possible? "Y-Y-Yeah....sure. I want to. I mean, I'd like that." My voice cracked a little bit, but I think I covered it well.
"Cool..." Jesse sighed. "Maybe next time we could, like....see a movie or something? Or...if not, I know a few other cool places where we could go to have some fun. I could pay. If...you know, it's not too much. I don't know. I just feel like I need to see you..." He really WAS kind of skittish about asking me. It wasn't an act. The sexiest boy that I've EVER laid eyes on is asking me out on a date, and he's actually worried about whether or not I'll say yes. Me. The lonley boy who, just a few weeks ago, was trying to choke back tears while dyeing Lori's hair in the sink.This is too freaky for words.
I said, "Anywhere you want to go...I'd be glad to follow. I'll be there."
"Seriously?" He asked.
"Yeah....seriously." I grinned.
"Good. I had a feeling." He grinned. Then, strangely enough, he asked me, "If I tell you something, will you promise me that you won't think it's weird?"
Well, that came out of nowhere. "Um...I don't know. What are you going to tell me?"
"Noooo, I can't just say it. That defeats the whole purpose of me asking you in the first place. Hehehe! You have to promise." He said. Then, he was like, "Ok, well, if you think it's weird, just don't tell me. Just...zip it, or whatever."
Jesse said, "I'm filming this right now."
"Hehehe, umm...myself. Like...talking to you." He blushed.
I laughed at the idea. "What for?"
"You said you wouldn't say anything!"
"No I didn't! YOU said that." I told him.
Jesse said, "Well...it's like I told you before...I get nervous. Especially with stuff like this. When I'm on camera I just...I don't know...it gives me the courage to say what I need to say. It's like...it helps me to clean up my 'performance'...when I'm scared."
I smiled as a warm feeling spread throughout my chest, and I said, "I'm glad I scare you. I'd feel really alone if I was the only one."
Jesse sighed to himself, and he said, "See? We match again. Awesome..."
"So you have this whole conversation on video then?" I asked.
"Then you'd better send me a copy."
"Hahaha! I can't. I don't have a shirt on right now." He said, and I gasped out loud, on purpose this time so he could hear me.
"In that case, send me THREE copies!!!" I squealed, making Jesse laugh on his end.
"You're not serious, are you? I mean it's just me sitting at my desk talking on a phone. You can't even hear what you're saying to me."
I said, "Doesn't matter. I'll remember. Hehehe!"
"Really? You actually want to watch this again later? After we hang up?"
"You have your shirt off don't you?"
Jesse giggled sweetly again. "Well, don't make me feel all pervy about it. I was just walking around the house and being comfortable and stuff. I'm not putting on a peepshow or anything."
"Doesn't matter." I smirked. "You are totally topless right now. You could be gutting a pregnant pig with a metal hook right now...but if you had your shirt off, I'd totally be into it."
"Hehehe, ok...now THAT is officially 'creepy'!" He said. "Too bad you called me when you did. We do all the pregnant pig gutting before dinner. In fact, it was dinner. Mmmmmm!"
"I think you just got an idea for your next YouTube video." I said.
"Yeah, right? They'd LOVE that." I was beginning to get so very comfortable with Jesse at this point. It was reaching a point where I felt like I could completely be myself, and not have to apologize for anything. Not have to feel weird or different or bashful at all. Something about Jesse just balanced you out that way.
If that's the case...
...Then why am I still trembling?
"So..." Jesse said, "When are we going to make this happen?"
"Us getting together. I meant what I said. I'm totally dying here, not being able to see you and stuff. It aches like you wouldn't believe."
I said, "You want me to set a date right NOW?"
He was like, "Why not? The sooner the better. Right?"
Oooh, I guess he's got me there. I tried to calm my quivering voice as I said, "Well...my friends Lori and Michelle can drive me over there on Saturday. They're usually up for the short road trip on the weekends."
Jesse was like, "Hmmm...I don't think I want to wait until the weekend. I want to see you, like...well, I mean, like...what are you doing tomorrow?"
Tomorrow??? Did he say tomorrow?
"Hehehe, ummmm...I don't know. Nothing important, I guess." I blushed. "Well, I mean...my mom can be a bit of a dinner Nazi sometimes...and I sort of have to go to school, of course...but..." I thought for a second, and said, "Well, the mall closes, like, when?"
Jesse said, "I think it closes at nine o'clock. But they start kicking people out a bit earlier than that."
A bit disappointed, I said, "Umm...well, if I eat dinner and stuff, and then there's the bus ride...I don't know if I'd be able to get there before 7:30 or 8:00...."
"That's cool!" He said, much to my surprise.
I was like, "Really?"
And he said, "Tristan...I just feel like I really need to see you. Even if it's for just 15 minutes. I feel like...ugh...like there was so much more stuff that I wanted to say to you when I had the chance, and I just didn't. I was scared, because it was our first time being alone like that. I'll do better this time. I swear!"
"Hehehe, please don't, Jesse. I don't know if my heart would be able to handle it. Honestly."
"So, it's a date then?" He asked with an excited rise in his vocal pitch. "Can I see you?"
"Hehehe, well...yeah. I can come out there, I guess." I said. My heart began to flutter almost out of control at that moment, causing my legs to squirm, and my cheeks to tingle from the strain of an overenthusiastic grin.
"But, like...tomorrow, right? Not way way waaaaaay on the weekend?"
"Hahaha! Quit being so CUTE about this!" I said it out loud without thinking, and suddenly covered my mouth as I remembered that my mom was in the house with me. I let out a long, audible, sigh...and I told him, "Yes. You can see me tomorrow. In an empty mall with people trying to kick us out as quickly as possible so they can all go home for the night."
"That works for me. Hehehe, you're the only one I was going to be paying attention to anyway." He grinned. "So, like...do I get to kiss you again?"
I didn't mean to gasp in a way that he could hear me that time. I think the question just caught me by surprise. "Omigod! Hehehe, Jesse..."
He giggled, "You'd better not tell me 'no', otherwise the date is off!" There was a pause where I tried to keep from snickering out loud to myself. And he's like, "So...do I get another kiss from you, or what?"
"I thought you were supposed to be nervous and shy about stuff like this." I said.
"I'm nervous. I'm shy. Doesn't mean that I don't wanna take a shot." He teased. Then he said, "Our last kiss kinda...well, it left me wanting more. It's all I think about."
"Yeah. Me too." I said. "Maybe I'll surprise you."
"Hehehe, you punk. Ok. Surprise me then. But I'm gonna want two or more this time, since you're playing hard to get."
"Trust me, Jesse...I'm not all that hard to get."
"Then maybe I'll just work on getting you hard. Hehehe!" Another gasp escaped me, but I cut it short by holding my breath. "So, I'll see you tomorrow? K?"
He's just too adorable. "Promise. Yep."
"Ok. Well...call me if something comes up or whatever. Don't get me all hot and bothered and then not show up." He said.
"I wouldn't think of it."
"Good. See ya then..." Jesse's voice was so soft when he said it. So very soft.
But before he could hang up...
I said, "I'll be sitting here and waiting for you to send me that video."
"The one you're recording right now." I replied. "I didn't forget."
"You're really serious about that? No fair. You never sent me one."
"Well, I've never secretly videotaped one of our conversations before." I said.
Jesse grunted playfully for a moment, and he said, "I have to watch it first."
"Because...I gotta make sure that it doesn't need editing or something."
I giggled, like, "Why would it need editing?"
"Because, I'm doing a lot of subconscious stuff right now while I'm talking to you. I don't want to send you a video of me randomly picking my nose and scratching my balls for ten minutes straight. Hehehe!"
"I think that would be hot...as long as you had your shirt off." It brightened up my whole day to know that I was making Jesse happy. Hearing him laugh was music to my ears.
"I'll think about it. But only AFTER I watch it again."
"I don't care what it looks like. I WANT it! Hehehe!" I had so much fun making Jesse writhe with subtle embarrassment. But, like he said, being nervous and shy had nothing to do with me wanting to take a chance at something special.
"Alright. Geez! Ya big peeping tom. Just let me...format it or whatever. Ok? I'll send it in like ten minutes." Then...he said, "Tristan?"
"Love you..." It was quick, and softly spoken, but I heard it loud and clear. And he was quick to hang up before I had a chance to react. Not that I knew how to, anyway. It was almost as if he panicked and hit the button by mistake. Hehehe, it was...dare I say it again? Really cute.
It might have been ten minutes later, maybe fifteen...and that's when I got an email with a decent sized video attachment inside.
The message said, "You're the ONLY person in the world I would do this for!" And it was followed up with a kiss. Sure enough, I started the video, and there was Jesse Kyler wearing just a pair of pajama bottoms and white socks, swiveling back and forth in his desk chair in front of a webcam. His chest was flat, his stomach even more so. And he had these two little moles...one on collarbone and one on his right should. Perfect circles, both of them. Tiny little brown nipples, and skin so smooth that I was compelled to reach out and touch the screen to see if I could feel for myself. It was him alright. Same little blushes, same soft giggles, same cute little flips of his blond hair every time it wandered into the beauty of his bright blue eyes. And the cute way that he would bite the side of his bottom lip whenever he felt bashful. As HO as it was to see him with his shirt off...I think I found more beauty in those tiny little habits alone.
Um...NOT that I wanted him to put his shirt back on! I mean, definitely...leave it off! I'm just sayin'...
I think I watched that video of our conversation 20 times in a row. Filling in my end of the conversation from memory. It was almost like being there with him. I was floating on air. I suddenly felt so worn out. As though that one conversation had sapped all of the emotional energy I had flowing within me, and I was waiting for some emergency backup generator to reboot and get me back up to speed from scratch. My whole body felt electrified with excess life, my mind stimulated to the point of confusion. I just had to lay back for a moment and....and 'feel'. I don't think I had the mental function to do much else at that moment. I can't believe that I'm going to see him again tomorrow. Wow...what'll I wear...?
The next morning couldn't come soon enough for me. I must have opened my eyes at least ten times after going to bed, each time cursing the daylight for being so late with its arrival. And if I thought the NIGHT was taking forever, the day was certain to be a hundred times worse! At least at night, I could spend some of that time unconscious. Now all I've got to look forward to is school...and the eternally slow pace of the ticking classroom clock, while I stare at it and try to mentally push time forward. A pointless pursuit, but at least it kept me somewhat distracted.
I was a little dazed by my own thoughts between classes when I noticed Lori hurrying up behind me in the hallway. "I can't believe how hungry I am right now! I'm not going to make it to lunch." She said. "You don't have any snacks on you, do you? Some chips? Some cookies? A slab of barbecue ribs, perhaps?"
"Unh unh. Nada." I said, still sort of staring off into space.
"What's with you? You sound like you're spacing out on me today."
"Huh? Oh...nothing. Just thinking."
"Well, listen, if I give you some change can you run by the cafeteria vending machine and get me a bag of something that will keep me from chewing the skin off of my own hand? I'm in a bad place right now." She said, and I held out my hand but just managed to mumble a zoned out reply. "Okaaaay...so you're about three sentences away from being the walking dead. Are you gonna tell me what's up, or should I just start guessing at what kind of sedatives your mother slipped into your oatmeal this morning?"
"I think...well...I'm going to the mall tonight." I said.
Lori shrugged her shoulders. "Ok, well....cool. You want some company? I could always go for a little shopping."
"No no, not our local mall. I'm going out to me Jesse tonight."
She gave me a sideways look, asking, "How do you know he's going to be there?"
I told her, "Because he invited me."
Lori's eyes burst wide open. I swear, the whole hallway got brighter from the way she was beaming. "He WHAT?!?!"
"Yeah. I called him up last night, and...we talked...and he said that he had a really awesome time on our first date..." I felt a strong blush coming on, and smiled as I saw Lori clinging to my every word. "...Well, he said he wanted to see me again. And, you know...I guess I wanna see him again too."
Even through closed lips, I could hear the high pitched squeal of delight coming out of the back of Lori's throat. Her hands began to shake, her stomach fluttered, her knees got week...if it hadn't been for the stupendous smile on her face, I could have easily mistaken her reaction as a series of warning signs for an impending stroke! "Oooooomigod! Oh wow! Omigod! Oh WOW! He asked you out again? 'Jesse-101' asked you out again! It's only been a few DAYS, Tristan!"
"Shhhhh!" I said, putting my hand over her mouth. "I know. But...awww, Lori, you should have heard him. He really missed me. He's been, like...thinking about me. He told me he couldn't wait until this weekend. He wanted to see me as..." I saw this crazy look in Lori's eyes. And I mean CRAZY! "...As...soon as...possible...?"
"Tristan....!!!" She whimpered, and she started moving closer to me.
"Lori? Lori, what are you doing? Lori...seriously, what's happening here?" I tried to escape, but with misty eyes and the strength of a silver backed gorilla, Lori wrapped her arms around my poor little waifish boy body and lifted me off the ground while screeching in some kind of mushy girl language that I was sure only dogs could hear!
"I AM SOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!! You did it, Tristan! You found your perfect match!" She swung me around, and I just felt glad that my feet were back on the floor again. It took some struggling, but I finally got her to release her unholy death grip and take a step back so I could breathe again. "So you're going out tonight? What are you two gonna do? Omigod, this is so CUTE! You have to tell me everything!"
"I'm sorry, what was that? I can barely hear you over the sound of my ribs cracking!" I said, still holding my stomach. "At this point, the only activity we could get into would be Jesse taking me to the freakin' hospital."
"You know you love it!" She said, giving me a shove. Geez, that girl can be strong when she's excited. "Quit being so fragile. C'mon, walk with me. Tell me more..."
But by the time we turned around to head on to class...
I happened to notice Jason Fixx coming from the other direction.
The strange thing is...normally, this would have a seriously negative effect on me. Hurt, and temptation, and insecurity. Memories of how easy it was for him to press my buttons and pull my emotional strings until I had become a helpless puppet for him to use however he saw fit.
But...not today. Today was different.
After all the guessing and the heartache, the rejection and the pain...after being manipulated and deceived and used, only to later be ignored until he felt it was necessary to talk to me again...I think I just kind of let go. I cut the puppet strings and refused to let him have any effect on me whatsoever. It felt good. It felt free.
As we walked passed one another, I think Lori half expected me to lower my eyes and let Jason's shadow envelop me in darkness and self pity the way it used to. But I didn't. I looked him right in the eye, and kept walking.
Jason gave me a little smirk. And he said, "You know, it's too bad, Tristan. You missed out on a hell of a lot of fun this weekend."
My reply? "You know what, Jason? No. I really didn't. I didn't miss out on anything special at all."
The look on his face was subtle, but priceless. Somehow, I don't think he expected that from me. He probably wanted me to squirm and writhe, roll my eyes and get all upset. But I wasn't going to fight with him. I wasn't going to give him the big conflict or the noisy confrontation he was looking for. I simply didn't want him to have the satisfaction. He's done nothing but mistreat and dismiss me over the past six months or so...and I'd rather see him gone. Good riddens. Somebody out there is dying to talk to me, spend time with me, and express his feelings about me in ways that I never see coming until they've already knocked me clear off of my feet. And he makes it all so effortless. I'll take my chances with him instead.
Let Jason find himself somebody else who will put up with the things that I once did...
Lori gave me a big grin, and threw her arm over my shoulder as she leaned in to give me a big smooch on the cheek as we continued down the hall. Just the two of us.
And now...back to the tick of that blasted clock. And the promise of love and candy coated kisses to come.