My eyes sprang wide open to find myself face down in my bed, still breathing hard from dreaming about him. Still shaking, still aching, still close to tears from wanting him so bad. Dreams about Tyler are always so...out of control. It leaves this incredibly sweet taste in my mouth, and my whole body feels like it's covered with tickles. It wasn't even, like, a 'dirty' dream. It was just him sorta chasing me through the halls at school, and he got me in a corner, and he just....sighhh....he just started kissing me. I swear, it was so REAL! It was like...I could taste his tongue in my mouth. Oh wow...he makes me so crazy. Thank God I woke up before I accidentally made a 'mess' this time. Since I broke my computer chair, I haven't had as many...um...'releases' a day as I'm used to. I should probbly get that thing fixed. Or at least find a way to be comfortable doing it somewhere else. I should prolly just do it in my bed like most normal teenagers...but....I dunno, the chair was sorta....'my place' for it. And....why am I thinking about this right now?
Since I always sleep on my tummy, I was pushing my hips into the bed automatically. Thinking about Tyler always makes me shiver inside, so I can't help it. Considering that I was really sensitive right now, and pretty much on the edge of losing it, I rolled over slowly on my back. I was really REALLY hard! And when I pulled my covers off of me, the friction sliding against it made my legs tighten up, bringing my knees together from the jolt of electricity that shot through me. I made a little noise, and covered my mouth with both hands. Why do I always do that? That's a dorky thing to do. Geez!
I just laid there for a minute, and looked at my boxers, tented up away from my body, a little dark quarter sized wet spot growing up at its peak. It was, like, the only part of my body that I could really feel. It was sooo stiff. I flexed it a bit without really thinking, and it felt like it got even harder. Thoughts of Tyler still connecting his perfect lips to mine...itwas making it ache...craving just ONE touch. ONE stroke...that's all. I swear, it was calling out to me. More 'wet stuff' came through the tent in my boxers, right there by the button, and it just kinda twitched and pulsed for a little while. I could see my heartbeat in its movemets. That's kinda cool. I was a bit tired and groggy, and didn't really feel like getting up for school...so I just laid there and stared at it for a couple more minutes. I wouldn't be able to really move while I was this 'tingly' anyway. I'd have to wait until it goes down first. But I'm NOT gonna touch myself again to do it. I probably do that too much as it is. I'm not gonna have any juice left for when I'm older if I keep it up. Besides, I promised myself that I'd cut back on that stuff a little bit. Maybe just three times a day. No...two! Two times a day. And....and I should probably save that for after I get home from school. Then...then again...I'm supposed to go to Tyler's house today. What if...what if he touches me and I explode right there. Omigod, I'd be SO embarrassed! Maybe I should. I could...kinda...start tomorrow. Yeah, maybe I could just start tomorrow. It's not going down by itself anyways.
I lifted up the elastic front of my plaid boxers, and slid my hand underneath it, over the soft hairs inside. I think my first contact with it was long overdue, because it made me spring up so hard that it strained the muscles in my stomach. It was like the best feeling in the world, just holding it like that. All warm and 'early morning' sensitive. I looked at it by pulling the front of my boxers down just over the tip. I hooked the waistbanc underneath my balls, and examined myself for a second. I don't know why, but all I could think of was how Tyler would look at this and what he would think. I mean...am I 'big' enough? What if I'm not 'big' enough? I don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter one way or the other...but I wish it was bigger. Or maybe...I dunno...it's fine, right? I should look this stuff up. I hope I'm big enough. Plus I don't have a whole lot of hair yet either. Just...well...I don't know how much I'm supposed to have. But I'll bet it's supposed to be more. It looks alright to me though. I hope Tyler likes it. Oh God, I hope he likes it.
Trying to keep myself focused on the 'task at hand', I closed my eyes, and slumped down in my bed a little bit more. I spread my legs a bit wider...and then started thinking that my legs were too smooth. What's wrong with me, anyway? I'm like a 12 year old GIRL or something! I hope Tyler likes his boys smooth. Otherwise I'm gonna have to...I dunno...glue some hair on me or something. I attempted to get my focus back, and gave myself just a little squeeze and a rub. Sighhh....that feels good. You know, just thinking about Tyler's voice is enough to make me hot. And his laugh. I really love his laugh. It's so...delicate. Like he's afraid to laugh all the way, but you can tell he enjoys it. And I really like the super cute way he shrugs his shoulders sometimes. It's all...soft, and sweet, and...it gives me the wiggles something fierce. He's so damn adorable.
I gave it another squeeze and a rub, and my hips lifted off of the mattress again. It was getting really hard again. I could see the head swell, and I had to stop for a second so I'd be able to enjoy this for a litle bit longer. I could feel a bit of warm liquid on the side of my finger, and I didn't want it to get sticky on me. So I leaned over and grabbed the roll of toilet paper that I keep under my bed to wipe it off. It was pretty far under there this morning it seemed, and I had to lean over some more. Then...just as I was touching the roll with my fingertips...
**RNNT RNNT RNNT RNNT!!!**
My alarm blasted off loudly in my ear, damn near scaring me to DEATH! I lost balance and rolled right off of the side of the bed and down to the floor with a crash! The early morning alarm clock is one of the most annoying and unbearable sounds ever created by man. It's right up there above 'constantly ringing telephone', and 'fingernails on a blackboard'." So even though I had fallen down hard on my ribs, with a hardon that was NOT expecting to suddenly be slammed into the bedroom floor...all I could think of was being able to reach up and turn off that blasted clock! Finally, after knocking a few things off of my dresser and desperately searching around for the appropiate button, the mind piercing ring of the alarm stopped. And I was able to relax long enough to realize just how badly I had banged myself up. My boxers were still tucked tighty underneath my balls, and my hardness had gotten...um...considerably softer, thanks to the pain, the fear, and the sudden interruption. Wonderful Ariel. Class act all the way.
It didn't help things any once I heard my Gramma walk up a few steps to ask, "Ariel? Are you alright up there, sweetheart? I heard a noise."
"Ugh...yeah, Grams. I'm ok." I said back, and fixed my underwear so I could get up off of the floor. Dammit, how am I EVER going to reach a point where I'm not so friggin' accident prone???
I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower before school, mentally kicking myself the entire time like I usually do when I'm being an idiot. I looked at myself in the mirror, my mouth full of toothpaste foam...and I just kinda...thought about being cute enough for Tyler to really...I dunno...'care' about. He said he liked me. He kissed his fingers and toched my lips. I even got a chance to tell him I liked him. It just..it didn't seem good enough. I should just let him know how much I love him. Seriously. Maybe if I just...say it fast enough and get it out before my mind has a chance to stop me, I can just get it overwith. Even if he says he doesn't really..like me back like that...it would be better to know that now. Wouldn't it? Looking at my reflection, I spit out the toothpaste in the sink and tried to find a 'sexy' look to give Tyler when I told him. I mean, I'm not ugly, am I? Maybe if I squint my eyes a little bit. Or...or...if I turn my head a bit. I should just push my hair back on one side. The left...no...the RIGHT side. The right side is better. And then I can just say....I can say..."I love you, Tyler." I whispered it to myself over the running water in the sink, trying to get my look just right. "I...love you, Tyler." No, wait, I'll say 'Ty'. 'Ty' is so much cuter. "I love you, Ty." Whoah...that one made me kinda weak in the knees. I should say it that way. Definitely. And I puckered up my lips, leaning closer to the mirror, trying to imagine Tyler seeing my kiss slowly advancing in his direction, and wanting it with every labored breath. It would be our first real kiss. I bet he'd be sooooo good at kissing. His lips would just...
"Ariel? Breakfast is almost ready, babe." My mom said from right outside the bathroom door. I jumped back instantly, my heart pounding in my chest. "I'm leaving for work, Grams is downstairs, she's gonna finish cooking up breakfast for you."
"Um...k!" I straightened up a bit, and realized that I was just trying to kiss myself in the mirror. With toothpaste in the corner of my mouth, no less. Okaaaay, I'll just wipe this little activity from my memory. I'm such a nerd....geez. I stripped down and climbed into the shower to clean up. I always made sure I smelled extra sweet for Tyler when I met up with him in the mornings. My mom even had this special vanilla scented body gel, that I'd sneak some of to make myself even sweeter. Not too much though. I didn't want Tyler to know that I was trying too hard. But just enough. When I got out of the tub and dried off, I could smell it on my arms. I hope he likes it. I like it. I dried my back off, and...looked down to see if...well...arrrgh! I should stop worrying. It's 'big' enough. It's fine. Maybe it get even bigger if I stopped staring at it so much. I'm probably making it 'nervous' or something.
I pulled up a pair of boxers, and modeled them a little bit to make sure that they looked good on me. Not...not that Tyler was going to see me in my boxers today...at least...at least I don't THINK he is. Shit...what if he does? In that case, maybe I should put on my blue ones. No...the GREEN ones! He'll love the green ones! I'll put on the green ones instead. Just then, I caught a whiff of my arm, and could smell the candied scent of that vanilla gel again. I wonder if you can, like, taste it? I sniffed my forearm a bit, and kinda stuck out my tongue a little bit to see. And I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, quickly thrusting my arm down to my side. Ok, so now I'm not only kissing my reflection, but I'm licking my own arm to see if I taste like vanilla. Does love make EVERYBODY this crazy?
Sighh...I swear, I should grab a sheet of paper, and write down a list of all the terribly STUPID things I do on a daily basis. Just so I can give it to Tyler and prepare him for the let down. It would definitely be a lot easier than trying to tell him face to face. And that's when it hit me. Like a lightning bolt from God. What if I just wrote Ty a love note or something? I mean...I could, like...just tell the paper how I really feel, and then just give it to him. THAT would work, right? I won't get all tongue tied and ridiculous in front of him, and he'd be able to finally know how I feel about him. And how I always dream about him. And how much I SO wanna be with him forever! PLUS...if I tell him, and he feels the same way...we'll have the whole Spring Break to be alone together! That's PERFECT! I rushed to finish drying myself off and hurried back into my room to get my thoughts out on paper while thoughts of my angel still tickled their way through my mind.
Oh man, this was gonna be awesome. I sat down at my desk before putting a shirt on, still a bit damp from my shower, and put a towel around my shoulders to continually keep my hair from dripping onto the page. I got a pen, and just started writing. He'll like this. I KNOW he'll like this. Tyler's so sweet, he's gonna blush and giggle, and then I'm gonna get all spongy and wiggly, and then he'll take me in his arms and...oh GOD, this was a good idea! I started off...
'Dear Tyler...I wish I had the guts to say this outloud...but since I don't, I thought I would write you this letter instead. I just want you to know that you're...'
That you're....that you're....that he's what? Ummm...you're...hot? No, that's not right. That's stupid. Hmmm...how about...
'...You're the sweetest and most incredible boy that I've ever met. And I....love you?'
No wait. That's way too soon to just blurt out 'I love you'. I should build up to it a little bit more. I crumpled up the paper and started over again. The first part was fine, so...now I'll just add...ummmm...
'Well...you remember that day, when you and I were playing that video game together in the arcade? And you were showing me the moves. Well...your hand kinda touched mine...and it was soooo cool. See I was really kinda hurting over...this...other....boy...'
Arrrgh! No! That's dumb. That wasn't really a good day at all. Besides, I shouldn't mention Randy in my love letter to someone else. What was I thinking. I started again, same introduction, and then....
'Ok...you remember when I brought you that extra jello from the lunchline? But...but you already HAD some jello...and then...and then you took MY jello anyway, just because I brought it for you? Well...now....whenever I eat jello..I'm gonna think about....you...'
Dammit! So now he's JELLO??? That doesn't make any sense at all! Fuck! Ok...I'm scrapping this one entirely. C'mon Ariel...just think. How hard can it be? Just...look at the piece of paper...and tell Tyler how you feel.
'I am soooo in love with you, Tyler. I just wish I could hold you, and kiss you, and...and...you make me feel....I mean...you are sooooo beautiful. I just wish I could hold you...wait...I already said that, didn't I? But, umm....seriously....I just....awww Tyler.....Ty...I am SO.....HELPLESS when it comes to....'
No...that's not right either. I crumpled up one piece of paper after the other, trying so hard to put these difficult emotions and confusing feelings down on paper so that he would know exactly how I feel. But after about ten tries, I still couldn't get it right. I didn't wanna sound stupid, but I didn't want to be too poetic and mushy either. And I didn't wanna come off like some weird stalker guy or anything....but I wanted to let him know how weak and frail he makes me with JUST one smile, or how delicate and unstable my whole world becomes whenever I think about how awesome he is in every possible way. I didn't want to sound too childish and goofy, but I didn't wanna sound too slutty or sex-crazed either, but...I wanted him to know that I think about it. The...um...'sex', I mean. Damn...why is this so hard? Ok, let me try this again...
But before I got too far into the next draft of my confession of total idol worship for the boy of my dreams, I noticed the smell of something burning coming into my room. It wasn't coming from my room, but I could tell that it was definitely coming from inside the house somewhere. Shit! "Grams???" I yelled out, hoping she would answer me. But she didn't, and I got up to go downstairs and see what was up.
My gramma was sitting in her easy chair in front of the television, asleep, and there was a pan full of bacon in the kitchen that was burning to a crisp and sizzling out of control. I hurried in and turned everything off, taking the pan off of the burner and trying to wave the smoke away from the smoke alarm. Unfortunately, that only seemed to push the smoke TOWARDS the alarm, setting it off and making a loud racket throughout the entire house. My gramma was startled out of her sleep and got up to come into the kitchen. She made sure everything was ok and I climbed on top of a chair to take the batteries out of the smoke detector to stop that awful noise. But after a few minutes, everything was fine again. "Oh Ariel, your breakfast. I'm sorry, honey. I just sat down to watch some court tv and I accidentally dozed off."
I coughed a bit as I waved the smoke out of my face. "It's ok, Grams. I'm not really hungry anyways."
"Nonsense. You're a growing boy. You need a healthy breakfast in your tummy before you go to school."
"Grams...really...don't." I whined, hoping that she'd just leave it alone.
"Hush up now. You go upstairs and put a shirt on, and I'll just whip something up for you, quick and easy. What time is it?" She asked, and I looked at the clock.
"NO!!! NO NO NO!!!" I shouted, as I realized that I had completely lost track of time! I should be walking up to Tyler's door right about now! How did I get SO lost in that damn letter???
"What's the matter?"
"I'm LATE! I've gotta go!" I said.
"Well, why didn't you say so? I'll get my keys and take you to school."
"Gramma...DON'T! I'm fine, ok? I don't need a ride today."
"I'm not going to let you be late to school. I'm taking you, and that's that. Now go get dressed."
"Gramma...!" But there was no changing her mnd. Not now. She always gets like this whenever she makes a little mistake of any kind. It's like she starts making up for it by doing all sorts of 'do-gooder' stuff, and you can't get her stop or feel better until she's proven herself flawless again. "I really don't need a ride, ok? Please...just leave it alone?"
"Time is wasting, Ariel. Come on now, chop chop. Let's go." Arrrrgh! SHIT!!! I quietly rolled my eyes and stomped my way upstairs to put a shirt on. This is going to ruin EVERYTHING! What's Tyler gonna think when I don't show up at his house this morning? He's gonna HATE me! He just told me that he liked me, and now he's gonna think I'm backing away from him. Sighhh....I slipped on a freshly ironed pullover tshirt, and entertained the idea of just sneaking out while My gramma was cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. Maybe I can still catch Tyler walking to school. I know what streets he takes and all. I can just meet up with him at one of those corners and explain what happened. That'll save me from missing out on him entirely. I just have to be quiet. I mean...if I can just make it out the front door, what is she gonna do? Chase me down the street?
I grabbed my backpack, and made sure to use my foot to push down all of my crumpled up rough drafts of my love letter to Tyler in the trash can. No need to have my parents come into my room and find those. And then I checked myself in the mirror really quick before walking softly down the stairs. I made sure that I waited for my gramma to rattle some dishes or something in the kitchen before going any further. And I was practically holding my breath, making sure to calculate each and every step. And then...a squeak in the bottom step! "Are you ready?" She called out to me. How did she even HEAR me???
"Ugh! Grams...I don't NEED a ride! I just wana go!"
"You cannot make it to school in fifteen minutes on foot. Now stop being difficult and get in the car." She demanded, and grabbed a bag of trash on her way out the back door. Now...technically, I could have put my foot down and told her no. Or I could have just gone out of the front door and ran to catch up to Tyler anyway, despite what she said. But there's this tiny little boy in me that just gets TRAPPED into doing everything his parents and grandmother tell him to do. Some weird little 'good boy' who's idea of parental defiance is not finishing his green peas at dinner.
I sorta pouted my way to school this morning. I didn't want to talk to her, or even look in her direction if I could help it. I was mad, maybe even a little bit hurt. Why wouldn't she just let me run after him? Why did she have to burn breakfast? Why did I have to think about writing that STUPID love letter and lose track of the time? This whole day is starting off being a total disaster. And I doubt that it was going to get much better. I know how the chain reaction starts. One thing goes wrong, then two things, then ten things, and by the end of the day, whatever well meaning citizen that decided to help bring me home is just thankful that I didn't end up in the hospital. This day was only going to get worse. I could tell. I just..I wish I could stop it right here and start all over again.
My gramma had the oldies station on in her car, and Ella Fitzgerald was singing 'I Got It Bad, And That Ain't Good'. All I could think about while I was listening to her sing was....yeah, she really understands. She knows what it feels like. 'You don't love me like I love you, nobody could. I got it bad, and that ain't good.' Truer words were never spoken.
Sometimes, when I think about Tyler and me being together, it's like there's a part of me dying inside. But...not in a BAD way. It's like...the whole side of me that ever felt strong enough to make it in this world alone suddenly becomes totally dependent on every little thing that Tyler could ever possibly notice about me. And it feels like...I can't get back to my own life anymore. I don't wanna play video games, or study for school, or go outside. All I wanna do is think about him, and wonder how often he's thinking about me in return. It's like...there's a person inside of me somewhere that wants to walk right up to Ty, bat my eyes at him, and just spill my guts about how incredibly 'free' he makes me feel inside. A determined soldier that is ACHING to express himself in the most non-humiliating way imaginable. But....everytime I see him in person...this gorgeous boy who has redefined my very concept of beauty in this world...everything gets foggy again. I get totally LOST in this cloud of desperation that disconnects me from everything even REMOTELY cool about myself...and leaves me this blithering idiot who can hardly speak, much less make any promises of undying love to somebody. On one hand, I can't wait to be with him. And on the other hand...I feel like I don't have enough time to really make what I have to say count for something. I swear..loking out this car window, being dropped off at school by my Grams isn't helping me to feel much more 'mature' about this whole thing. God....I hope Tyler doesn't think too badly of me for not being there this morning. I hope he just figures that something went wrong. Then again...maybe he doesn't care. Maybe he's....like....relieved.
The car pulled up to the back parking lot of the school, and my gramma told me to give her a kiss goodbye. I shouldn't have. Afterall, it's HER fault that I missed my quiet time with Tyler today. But like I said before, I have the backbone of a wounded jellyfish. So, with only a second or two of 'defiant hesitation', I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks, Gramma." And I got out of the car. But I DIDN'T smile when I did it though! So...yeah. I'm sure she got the message...or something.
I think I spent my first class so wrapped up in my emotions that I was practically sliding out of my seat. I don't kow why, but all I could think about was Tyler not seeing me at his front door this morning, and being...'ok' with it all. I was thinking that maybe he liked it. Not having to walk side by side with me blushing and gawking and stumbling over words while he tried to entertain the dork next to him. What if he likes walking with Randy and Ryan better? I never really asked him to walk everyday with me. I just sorta....kept showing up. He probably wanted me to stop coming by a long time ago. He just didn't have the heart to tell me. I be they had a lot of laughs while I wasn't there. All three of them. Sighhh...I wish I could just shut my brain down and stop thinking altogether. This is really beginning to hurt.
In my next class, I tried valiantly to erase any thoughts of doubt or insecurity, trying to cling onto some small ray of hope that would let me know that things would be ok. But the fear of what he must think of me just kept eating away at my courage like a cancer. It wouldn't stop, and I couldn't calm my nerves to save my life. I found it a huge relief that our teacher decided to give us a break today and just let us use the class time for a study period. I wasn't really up for 'learning' too much right now anyway. He just started settig up the tv and VCR for the next period class and reviewing some notes for his lesson. He was never a real stickler when it came to complete silence, but I wasn't much for talking to everybody else anyway, so why bother trying to be 'softly social'. I buried my nose in my math book and did what I could to NOT think about...what was, to me, the most important thing in the world. I almost wish I had finished that love letter in time. If I could just toss it in Tyler's direction and run away...I'd at least know that he got it. Een if he tore it up and threw it in the trash with a smile...I could die peacefully knowing that I loved somebody with all my heart, and that I had the guts to tell him so. Deep down, I thik that's all I want. God, I wish this was simpler.
"Ariel?" I looked up from my book to see Amber and Hailey standing next to my desk, and they took seats close to me. I don't know if it really showed in my face or not, but considering the amount of times these two girls have given me some kind of gref or called me names...I felt a little 'cornered' here by having them willingly sit next to me. "Can we talk to you for a sec?"
I think I froze up at first. Especially in front of Hailey. Her talking to me at all outside of a nasty remark was weird. But Hailey being NICE to me??? That was downright apocalyptic. I half expected some other kid to be sneaking up behind me to hit me with a shovel while she distracted me further. "Um....uh...yeah....I guess." I answered, still leaning away from them a bit, but trying to be somewhat normal.
Amber spoke first. "You hang out with Ryan and Randy and Tyler, right? I mean...you guys are all pretty close."
"Ok.." Amber paused for a second, and then asked me, "...Does Tyler have a girlfriend?" I saw Hailey immediately reach out an arm and smack Amber in the shoulder. "Ouch, Hailey!"
"Can we focus on MY situation for a second please???" She scolded her. I was a bit confused, but Hailey softeed up again and leaned a bit closer to me. "Listen...I mean...Ryan....does he ever, like, talk about me?" I could feel my mind freezing up on me, and I wasn't sure exactly how to answer that.
"Um...t-t-talk about you?"
"Yeah. You know...does he ever mention me, or say anything like...like he misses me?"
"Uhhhh...well...." I felt so trapped into this conversation. If I said no, I don't know what she'd do to me. She might fly off in some kind of rage or something for all I know. "....Actually....I don't know." I was hoping that would be enough of an answer. But, naturally, it wasn't.
"Ariel...c'mon. Just tell her what he says about her." Amber added.
"No, really....I don't know..." I repeated.
"Stop protecting him, Ariel. I KNOW he's said SOMETHING to you since we've been broken up. So TELL me." There it was, the old Hailey, the beginning of an aggressive assault on my defenses. I stumbled around a bit mentally, hoping to find some other way of saying that I didn't know. But she demanded that I tell her. "Just TELL me, Ariel!"
"For God's sake, just TELL her!" Amber piped in, and they double teamed me. Making me squirm a bit in my seat, just wishing they'd leave me alone.
"TELL ME!!!" Hailey said louder, and I just let go of the first thing that came to mind.
"I...I think he's a little down about how you treat him all the time." I said. The only time I remember Ryan even mentioning her was when she was trying to make him feel bad.
"Really? Awww...you see, Amber? He DOES care."
"He's probably still aching over you, Hailey. He really liked you. I could see it when you two were together." Amber said, and I just sorta sat back and watched. Happy that the tension wasn't constricting around my throat anymore.
"Maybe if I talk to him...maybe we can work things out. I mean...he's suffered enough, right?" Where Hailey was coming up with all of this, I have no idea.
"Go get him, Hailey. You know you want to be with him again." As Amber talked, and I took a more 'observant' role of the conversation, I began to notice how both of them were talking about Ryan. How they just...'longed' for him. Whimpered and whined over him. The way I do for Tyler. Not because they wanted to...but because Ryan just....he inspired that kind of love from people. Amber said, "He's gorgeous, Hailey. He's sweet, and he's outgoing, and he's super smart...he makes everybody laugh, and he's popular. Everybody loves Ryan, but you're the ONLY girl who ever got to make out with him. That must mean something right?" The more they talked, the lower I felt myself sliding on the status pole. It was like...they had forgotten that I was even sitting there. Talking about another boy and how cool he is, right in my face, it kinda hurt a little. Because I knew tha they would never talk about me like that. Nobody would. I'm not super handsome or cute, I'm not funny OR outgoing, and the only thing I'm popular for is breaking more high school equipment than any other freshman in the district. I can't explain it much better than that, but it really stung when Amber told Hailey, "He's one of the few boys in this place that everybody could TOTALLY fall for. Well, Ryan and Tyler, that is. Hehehe, I say go for it...he's PERFECT for you. He's everything that people look for when it comes to true love."
Right. Of course. Why would someone wanna look anywhere else? Who wants to struggle to understand the dumb shy kid in the corner who can't even bring himself to speak at an audible level? Who wants stupid old Ariel when boys like Ryan and Tyler can have anybody they want? They can have any THREE people they want. It's hard to fight the urge in your heart that's telling you that this is all a big waste of time, but for some reason I try to fight it anyway. If only to prolong the fantasy for a bit longer. "Thanks a lot, Ariel." Hailey said, as her and Amber got up to go back to their side of the room. "Don't tell them I asked, ok? I know I shouldn't have said anything to you, but....he's dreamy, you know? He's everything a boyfriend should be." Out of all the angry and annoyed things that Hailey has ever fired off in my direction...I think the few sentences she spoke to me today were the worst.
They sat back down in their assigned seats, and I was left to stew all alone. Not even my math book could distract me from what I was feeling. What can I say? They were right. Ryan was perfect. He was sexy and cute and he had friends all over school. I mean, how exactly am I supposed to think that I could ever be that cool for somebody like Tyler? I mean, even if Tyler was delusional enough to like me for a little while, what makes me think I'd be able to keep him once somebody like Ryan came along. Nobody's gonna like me with boys like that roaming the Earth. No matter HOW much I love somebody, they're not going to want me back. Just look at what happened with Randy. I don't think I could ever survive something like that again. I'd DIE if I had to endure that kind a pain again. The only thing worse than not having your love returned to you, is seeing it being given to someone else that you can't POSSIBLY compete with on ANY level. Tyler had sorta helped me to forget about that. But...Hailey helped me to remember why this was so hard to begin with.
I KNEW this day was off to a bad start. And if this is any indication of what the rest of the afternoon is going to be like...I definitely don't wanna go over to Tyler's house afterschool. I just won't do it. My heart is going to get totally SHREDDED if I try to go over there and tell him how I feel. So....yeah...forget it. Not today. No way.
I looked over at Hailey and Amber, now feeling so much better that they knew that someone gorgeous was thinking about them, and I found myself overcome with this tidal wave of emotions that disconnected me from life itself for a few moments. The sensation wouldn't even define itself completely. It was just this hollow emptiness in the center of my heart that started to expand so rapidly that it made it kinda hard to breathe. I got nervous, wondering if the sadness was written all over my face for anybody and everybody to see. And then...as thoughts of Ryan and Randy kissing crossed my mind...along with thoughts of Tyler and that other really cute gay boy from the lunch table yesterday making out somewhere behind my back...I heard myself sniffle outloud. What the heck is WRONG with me? I'm not gonna CRY about this, am I? It's not even REAL! This is just some stupid...I mean....it's not like...aww, what the heck am I doing? I think the panic over NOT crying, made it work its way to the surface even faster. I didn't even feel THAT bad about this....d-d-did I?
When I felt my eyes beginning to get misty, I got up to ask the teacher for a pass to the bathroom. "Can't you hold it for ten minutes? Class is almost over." He said.
"Um...I don't think so, sir. I need to go." Then I sniffled again, and I think some of the kids in the classroom looked up to see what was up. I turned towards the blackboard to avoid their eyes, holding my head up slightly, hoping that gravity would help to hold the tears back.
"Alright, Mr. Dalton..." My teacher said, "...But make it quick." I agreed that I would, and attempted to walk with my eyes focused upwards until I could reach the door. But that is exactly what kept me from noticing the cord to the television under my feet. I tripped forward a step or two, ripping the plug out of the wall. I gasped! Cringing helplessly as I waited for one of my awful chain reactions to be set into motion, causing an unstoppale wave of destruction in the room. But...as I opened my eyes, two small trails of tears on my cheeks from the moment of shock, I realized that everything was ok. No crashes, no screams, no laughter....and I was still on my feet. It's ok. Everything is ok. "PLEASE try to be more careful." The teacher told me.
"I'm...I'm sorry." I quickly wiped the tears away with my sleeve before anyone could really see them, and bent down to plug the tv back into the wall.
"It's ok, Mr. Dalton. Just leave the television alone and go."
"Don't worry. I got it. I'm sorry."
"Ariel...just leave it be."
I think the cord had gotten stuck on something, and I pulled a bit harder to get it to reach the outlet. NOT such a great idea. The cord was wrapped around one of the wheels on the tv cart, and pulling on it cause the already shakey wheel to break off of the stand. There was a thud as the cart could no longer balance on three wheels, and the tv started to fall forward! Luckily, the teacher saw this happening and jumped out of his chair to catch the large tv as it slid off of the top of the cart and into his arms! His hands were full with the heavy machine, and he strained to hold it up. However....the VCR...which was not plugged in yet...kept sliding. And while the teacher was able to catch the tv, the other component came crashing down HARD on his foot. It was one of those really old ones too, a heavy old clunker that must have hurt him pretty badly when it fell. I could tell by the way he screamed that it wasn't too pleasant a sensation.
"Omigod....I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!!!" I shouted, and ran over to him. "I didn't mean it!"
"ARIEL!" He yelled. "Take the VCR OFF of my foot!" He obviously couldn't drop the tv, and was just trying hard not to break down and weep like a woman in front of the rest of us. I scurried over to pull the chunk of metal off of his toes, and he turned to practically sla the television down on his desk. "Dammit!!! Ahhh...." He sat down on the desktop and took his shoe off to hold his painful foot and hiss in agony.
"I'm sorry...." I kept apologizing. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't want to do that. I didn't mean for ANY of this to happen.
But he didn't want to hear it, I guess. "Jesus....Ariel...don't you ever DITCH classes, instead of showing up to every single one?" He said, and I heard snickering coming from the rest of the class. Maybe he meant it as a mildly sarcastic joke, who knows? But to me? It felt like an damaging rain of bricks from above. The truth was...I was the joke. And everybody here knew it. Even Hailey and Amber were giving me that pathetic look with a smile, accompanied by the slow shake of their heads as if to say, 'What a moron!'
"I....I said I was sorry." I mumbled to myself softly. Sadly. I looked at the teacher still holding his foot in pain and stepped closer. "Are you ok....?"
"No no no! Stay right where you are! Don't move." He winced. There was a short silence, and I had no idea what to do. It was an accident. And I just stood there like a fucking GEEK, not knowing how to make it better. Then, after a pause, the teacher just waved his hand at me. "Just...GO, Ariel. You've got a free hall pass, use it for whatever you want. Just go." He told me. "Take your stuff with you." And that was it. Even the teachers were blowing me off now. He wouldn't even let me get close enough to see if I had broken any bones or anything. He just...he didn't want me there. The other kids didn't want me there. Let's be honest...I wasn't really wanted anywhere. Stupid. Really stupid. I should have my head examined for pretending that a geek like me could ever be...you know....a 'Ryan' in somebody else's eyes. I'm not Ryan. I'm just dumb old Ariel, and I always will be.
So I grabbed my stuff and left without looking back. I'm sure the humiliation of the whole incident will have passed by tomorrow. But everything was kinda upside down now. And I really didn't know if I was going to be able to drum up enough courage to see Tyler today. I just...I don't think I can do it. I should pick a better day to go over to his house. It'll be better tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. But not today. That's a bit too much for me to risk. I just hope he won't be mad at me. I couldn't bear it if he was mad at me.
Another period passed, and while I was determined to go over to Tyler's before...I was becoming increasingly comfortable with my decision to back out. Or at least to put it off for a while longer. I could take a couple of weeks to prepare myself, and get...you know...cool, or something. I could save up and buy some new clothes, and sorta rehearse what I wanna say. I might even have time to finish the letter. Which would make things a LOT easier! If I waited a bit longer, I might even be able to draw him a picture or something to go with it. I think that would be best, you know? Yeah...I'm starting to feel a lot better about backing out. Much much better. I was still worthless in terms of ever making Tyler fall in love with me...EVER...but at least I could hold off on the rejection for a while.
Then...came art class.
The second I walked into the room and saw Randy's eyes connect to mine, I knew he could read me like an open book. Did it really show that clearly on my face? Am I that transparent? I kept my eyes down as I walked over to my seat next to him, hoping that he wouldn't be able to figure me out so easily. But it was no use. Randy could always tell. "Ariel? Are you ok?"
"Um...yeah. I guess. Just....got a lot on my mind." I told him. His eyes were still on me, and it almost felt like his very presence was making me doubt my decision all over again. Not to mention the fact that he was still....you know...cute. EXTEMELY cute. It's hard to keep myself from looking at him like that these days.
"You sure?" He asked again.
"Yeah. I had a little mix up last period. That's all." I was embarrassed and felt a blush rush up into my cheeks. That humiliation seemed like it had attached 2 ton weights to my self esteem, dropping it down to absolute zero. I didn't wanna make it worse by repeating it. I felt bad enough. "It's a long story, but I don't think I'm allowed to ever touch the AV stuff ever again."
"Wow...TVs, projectors, and VCRs...sounds 'heavy'." Randy gave me that cute mile of his. You know, when it's more for the other person than it is for him. I love when he smiles like that. It's so...warm. Even when he's totally making fun of me, like now.
Our teacher started class, and I was glad to have a reason to not go any deeper into what happened. I just wanted to be left alone for a while. That's all. She started off with a short lecture and I pretended to pay attention while I cradled the fear and disappointment in my heart. Dammit...I really need to get out of this place. Maybe I should ditch a few classes or something like my teacher said. Go home for a while. And just avoid all of these weird feelings I'm having today.
We were left to draw on our own today, with the teacher handing out worksheets on dynamic perspective. Nothing really challenging, but I was hoping that it would keep my mind preoccupied for a while. It didn't work. I could feel myself sinking lower and lower, almost to the point where I wanted to cry again. Why am I LIKE this? Why am I being such an idiot over this one day? It's insane to be this insecure. "Are you sure you're ok?" Randy whispered. Great, like I need THIS as a reminder of the time when I wasn't 'good enough' for love.
"No. Not really." I think I answered before I really had a chance to think, and the truth was trying to spill out before I could stop it. He asked me if I wanted to talk about it, but he was the last person that I wanted to share this pain with. It's like...I'd be sinking down even lower if he knew how utterly hopeless and desperate I was for some kind of affection. I didn't want Randy to know. Not Randy. "Not now." I told him, and I think he took it a little harder than I wanted him to. He was really quiet, and I tried to force myself to fous on my drawings so I wouldn't have to look at him anymore. But...as the silence got thicker and thicker between us, I started to feel really bad about giving him an attitude. I really didn't mean to. Is he gonna be made at me now? I don't know. Anyway, none of this is his fault. Randy saw me looking sad, and he wanted to help me. He's being sweet. He's always been sweet to me. The first time I ever thought about kissing him was when he was being sweet to me on the bus one afternoon. I guess I was a bit mean. I shouldn't make him pay for my emotional breakdown. So I looked over and saw him trying to draw and leave me alone. "It's not you, ok?" I said. "Really. I don't wanna be stupid about it....I just...I hate being such a geek about everything. I really do."
"You're NOT a 'geek', Ariel."
"Yes, I am. I can't help it. I try..I just...." He waited for me to finish, but from the way he was looking at me, I could tell that he already knew what I was getting it. So I just came right out and told him, "I don't think I'm going to Tyler's afterschool today."
His eyes got wide, and just like I suspected, he got mad at me. "WHAT? No! You cannot back out on Tyler today! NOT today!"
"Randy...I can't....I just can't, ok?" Don't look in his eyes. Randy can get you to do ANYTHING once you look at those eyes.
"Yes you CAN! Just go! What's the worst that could happen?"
I sighed. "I could break his foot with an old VCR."
His face scrunched up a bit. "You...you could WHAT???"
"Boys...concentrate on your artwork. You can socialize later." Our teacher said sternly. If she can hear us, I'm sure everybody else can too. So I just...put my finger to my lips and told Randy wecould talk about it later. Of course, I had planned to sneak out of the classroom and charge down the hall before he got a chance to change my mind...but I'll worry about that when the bell rings.
I think Randy had already anticipated that strategy though, because he got all of his stuff together first at the end of class and beat me to the door, waiting diligently for me and blocking my only means of escape. I just....I walked by him, and I tried going to next period without too much fuss. But he didn't seem to wanna let it go. "Ariel...come on...talk to me. What's wrong?" He asked.
"Nothing. I'm just...I'm a klutz. I'm a walking hazard in everything that I do. If I go over to Tyler's today, I'm probably going to end up burning his house to the ground."
"Dude, listen to me...Tyler WANTS to see you. He's been waiting all morning for this. Maybe even longer." Tyler.....he was waiting for me? All morning? And I wasn't there. I was being a STUPID fucking idiot and missing out on the last chance that I had to talk to him. "Dude, he talks about you all the time. Today, when you didn't show up to walk with him to school...he nearly went into hysterics. He really wants to spend some quality time with you. Don't you get it?" Randy was trying so hard, and I was almost beginning to believe him.
The idea of Tyler wanting to be anywhere near me made me weak inside. It felt like my middle was made of jelly, and it was hard to stand. But it's not like I was NEVER gonna go over there. I just...I wanna WAIT a little bit longer, that's all. "I don't wanna hurt him, Randy. I just...I can't...I mean..."
But Randy wouldn't have it. There was no excuse good enough. He told me about going for it, and being happy, and just...trying to pump me up for the whole 'event' while I tried to cling to my original decision before I end up ruining EVERYTHING! I REALLY like Tyler...and I've come too far to mess it up now. But Randy put his hand on my shoulder, and said, "I promise you...as long as you follow your heart, everything will turn out ok. Just go. See what happens. K?"
I tried to interject something that would explain my reasons for not wanting to go, "Randy..."
But he stopped me cold. "Just GO!" Sighhh...he's not gonna listen to me.
"Fine." I said. "But if this goes all wrong, I'm putting all the blame on you."
"I'd be happy to hold it for you." He said, and he sorta shoved me towards my next class. I didn't really mean it though. I wasn't going and that's that. No matter what. Randy's a sweetheart, he means well, and I know he thinks that he's doing the right thing...but I have more at stake here than he realizes. And if I screw up today...my life is gonna be over. Completely over. And I don't want that. I gave him a wave to say goodbye for now, and walked around the corner. If I go to lunch, Tyler's gonna be there. So are Randy and Ryan. And they're all gonna be trying to get me to go no matter what. So it'll probably be best if I just skip lunch altogether. I think I've got some Fritos in my backpack from yesterday, so I'll eat those in the library or something. That should be fine. And I won't have any persuasive arguments to worry about. Sorry, Randy...please don't be mad at me. I've just gotta really do this on my own this time.
The clock ticked away for the rest of the school day, and each class seemed to get longer than the one before it. Not to mention that skipping lunch wasn't the best idea, as I was extremely hungry at the moment. It got even worse after gym class where I burned off whatever little calories I had holding me up from the bag of Fritos. Which I only ate half of before the librarian confiscated them for bringing food into the library. But the last bell finally rang, and I made sure that all of my stuff was together and ready to go. I dashed outside and started rushing myself home before anyone could see me. Sure, I felt guilty. I felt like the lowest form of life on the planet, ditching Tyler like that. I thought back to the dream I had this morning..with him chasing me down the halls. Reaching out, touching me, holding me. I swear, I can still smell his hair. I can still feel his body heat against my chest as he held me tight and kissed me on the lips. I still shake when I think about it. He's way too gorgeous to even be REAL, you know? If he were to chase me like in the dream, I'd sooooo let him catch me. I'd let him do anything he wanted to do to me. I just...I just....I NEED him to want me. I don't mean in some weird 'I guess he's good enough' kinda way. But in a REAL way. I need him to think about me, and want me around, and look at me like...'wow', you know? And...I'm afraid that I just can't be that. Not right now anyway. So, yeah...I'm running out on him. I know...it sucks. But I'd have to make up for it later, thats all. I will. And he'll love me again once I explain, eventually. At least I HOPE he will. I needed time. I want to be beautiful, and smart, and funny, and popular. If I'm gonna be with the most wonderful boy on Earth, then I'm gonna be 'Ryan'. I'm gonna be perfect too, and he'll want me more. He won't laugh when I tell him that I love him. I'll be someone special, his own personal shining star. He deserves that. He needs an equal match. That's just what I wanna be. I wonder if I can dye my hair strawberry blond?
I got home in record time that day, worried that someone would see me and call me back. I didn't want that. I wanted to be safe again. Happy again. In love again. And love is soooo much easier when you don't really have to do anything about it. I put the key in the back door of my house and hurried inside. I kicked off my shoes and left them in the kitchen by the door, and headed towards the living room. Hmmm...maybe I should take the phone off of the hook too. Cover all corners. In fact, I shouldn't even BE here! Just in case they come looking for me.
"Ariel?" Came a voice from the living room. My gramma was in there ironing, and called me in. "You're home awfully early today."
"Yeah, well...I didn't...really have much to do." I said softly.
"I thought you told your mother you were going to hang out with a friend after school today?" She said, folding a shirt and putting it on the arm of the couch.
"Ummm...yeah. I mean...I was...but..." I lowered my voice a bit. "I...I kinda changed my mind."
"Oh...well, ok." She said. "As long as you're home, come here, let me see how your grandfather's tie looks on you." Arrrgh! Why can't she just let me go to my room and sulk for a while?
"Grams...c'mon..." I whined.
"JUST for a second or two, then you can go anywhere you want to go."
I sorta slumped my way over there with a 'bothered' look on my face, and it only made my gramma giggle a bit to herself. "Teenagers...you're all so darn rowdy." She wrapped the tie around my neck and straightened up my posture to tie it on me. "Hey...thats not bad. I like it." She turned me towards the mirror. "Look at that handsome man. He's a natural heartbreaker." Somehow, the comment only succeeded in making me feel worse. Great...my gramma thinks I'm hot. Wonderful. I'm sure that'll get me all the 'cool points' that I could ever want.
"Can I go now?" I asked.
"You're certainly in a MOOD today." She said.
"I'm sorry, I just...I had a bad day, ok? I just wanna go to my room for a while and forget that any of this stuff ever happened."
"Ahhhh...I take it you had one of your little 'accidents' today, huh?" She said, and I just sorta rolled my eyes, wishing she would let me go already. "You're at an awkward stage, Ariel, honey. That's all. It'll pass eventually. You'll grow into your body just right, and everything will match up, and all that clumsiness will magically disappear. You'll see." She held up a button down shirt against my chest to see how it looked with the tie. "And that is when the girls will come running. You're way too adorable to miss." She kissed me on the forehead, and reached for another shirt.
"Whatever. I'm not quite that well-received yet, Grams." I pouted softly.
"Aww, it'll happen. Those flusies don't stand a chance with my grandson." I was really just not into this conversation at all, and began to wiggle and sigh uncomfortably as I tried to worm my way out of her clutches. "Stop fidgeting. My goodness, it's like trying to bathe a puppy. Just two more shirts and you can retreat into that little 'cave' of yours upstairs." I huffed and puffed, hoping that she'd get the message, blowing up strands of my own hair while waiting impatiently to be released. She looked at me and gave me a faint grin. "You know...when I met your grandfather, he didn't think that HE was all that 'well-received' either. Little did he know...that I had 'received' him just fine."
She held up another shirt, and after a few seconds of quiet, I said, "Was he a total geek, like I am?" She gave me a playful swat on the shoulder for degrading myself, and then continued.
"He had been back from the second World War for some time, and I was a waitress in a little diner across town from where he lived. He would get up every day, and walk all the way across town, just to sit down for our lunch special tuna melt sandwich." She laughed at the memory. "I fed that man so much tuna, I half expected him to turn into a fish himself and swim away from me. But he kept right on coming back. And he was never late. He'd walk in, and sit in my section, and I'd serve him...we'd sorta smile at each other for a bit over his coffee...and then he'd leave."
"So...you liked him?" I asked, still fidgeting a bit as she held up another shirt to my chest.
"How could I not? He was a perfect gentleman. Well dressed, soft spoken...and he had a smile that could send rays of sunshine directly into your heart. The same smile you've got...when you USE it." She said, giving me a poke to bring a bashful grin out of me. "But he never said anything. Not a word. He came in every day for a MONTH, smiling and flirting and looking good. But he never once offered to take me anywhere."
I probably shouldn't have gotten into this old story of hers, but I suppose...since she was holding me hostage for longer than she promised, I might as well listen. "So, what did you do? I mean...to get him to talk to you?"
"I walked right up to his booth one day, and I asked him out to a movie." She said.
I couldn't help but giggle. "Hehehe! Really? YOU....asked HIM out?"
"I most certainly did." She said proudly.
"Hey, Grampa always told me that he sweptyou off your feet."
"Oh, he DID, believe me. But he was all thumbs when it came to talking about how he really felt about me."
"What did he do?" I smiled.
"Well, at first, your grandfather got all flustered, and he blushed, and he played around with his silverware on the table...but once he found out that I wasn't gonna wait any longer...he said yes."
"Cool." I told her. "Then what happened?"
"We dated...got married...then your father came along...and now you." She said, nostalgia twinkling in her eyes. "All because I broke down and decided to humiliate myself for a couple of minutes, just to get a shot at a lifetime's worth of memories. And I don't regret it one bit. The words 'I love you' got a lot easier to say once we got it out that first time." She took down the last shirt, and loosened the tie on my neck. "But...since he's been gone...I don't really think of all the times that I told him that I loved him. Sighhh...I think of all the times that I didn't. And how much I wish I could tell him just one more time...and see that smile again." I felt a smile spread out slowly on my own face, and she gently tapped me on the nose with her finger. "Yes...that's the one." She took the tie off of me and put the shirts down on the sofa. "You know, sometimes I think back to that month in the diner, with the both of us shuffling and stumbling over words, sooo afraid to tell the other how crazy we were for them...and I wish I could get that time back. I could have had another month with your grandfather, holding hands at his side. I'm just thankful that I didn't miss out." She stood back, and turned to fnish ironing.
"Um...thanks, Grams." I said quietly. I probably should have raised my voice a bit more, but if she can hear me on a squeaky step at 7:30 in the morning, then she can hear that.
She gave me a warm smile, and said, "You just remember, you can't always wait for somebody to come chasing after you. Sometimes, you've gotta do the chasing." And with that, she took an empty basket into the kitchen to get some more clothes out of the dryer.
She's right. She's absolutely, one hundred percent, right. Maybe...maybe I can DO this! I mean...I'll be scared shitless...but if I just tell him, if I can just push everything else down for JUST long enough to tell him I love him just ONE time...then I'll know for sure. I can...I can CHASE him. What if he says yes??? What if he says HELL YES??? I thought about every shy smile and warm gesture that Tyler ever gave me, and I dropped my backpack over by the door. My grandmother came out of the kitchen and saw me heading towards the door. "Going out?"
"Um...yeah. That...that 'friend' I told you about? I think I'm gonna go over there afterall." I grinned.
"Good. Well, I'll see you around dinner time then." She said, and then she added, "Ariel...whoever she is, you make sure you treat her like a lady. Ok?"
"Come on now. I was a teenager once too, ya know? I may be old, but this old gal knows the twinkle of love in someone's eyes when she sees it." She seemed so happy with the idea. It would be a shame to shatter it by telling her it was another boy I'd be hunting.
"I will. Thanks, Grams." And I opened the door, walking out into the afternoon light. This is it. This is really IT! I'm going. I'm going to Tyler's house. I'm going right now. Now. RIGHT NOW! I'm going. I'm going, and I'm gonna tell him how I feel. I promise. No...I SWEAR! I'm going to tell him as SOON as I get there, and I'm gonna start walking right now. At this very moment! Um....there's just ONE little problem though....
...I kinda forgot my shoes in the house.
But once I go back and get them, I'm off to Tyler's house! It's finally time!