I knew the way. I've been by Tyler's house so many times at this point that I could probably walk it blindfolded. I knew every step, every crack in the concrete, every embarrassing low hanging branch, and every blade of grass that existed between my front door and his. But for some reason, I was looking at it all through entirely different eyes at that moment. It was like I had been dramatically reduced in size, and everything around me took ten times longer to get around than it usually did. I could seriously feel my chest trembling violently with each step, inhaling more and more invisible butterflies with every breath. I did what I could to not think about it too much...what I was doing...where I was going...who I was going to see when I got there. But the very idea of it all consumed me inside and out. To the point where I almost couldn't see more than two steps in front of me through the limitless amount of powerful daydreams I was having along the way. Fantasies that were so vivid, so real, that they overwhelmed everything else and shot Tyler up onto a pedestal that I felt like I'd NEVER be able to reach. No matter how hard I tried. And that's when the fear settled in DEEP.
That jittery, ice cold, grip of chickenhearted 'apocalypse' that seems to grip every teenage boy right before saying those three magical words to someone for the first time. I couldn't understand why it was sooooo difficult. They're just words. I say them to my parents all the time. But....I don't think I've ever meant them more than I did with Tyler. The emotion behind every syllable made them more than just words. It was an interpretative dance designed to resemble the chunk of my heart that I was cutting out to offer to someone else. A piece that couldn't be put back in and 'fixed' if Tyler decided that he didn't want it. Oh God...what if he doesn't want me? What if...what if he's just not into me like that? Not only would I be humiliated to the degree of having to leave the PLANET...but I feared that it would systematically erase every tremendously 'squishy' feeling that I've been entertaining over the last couple of months. I mean, think about it. Every little hint and signal and shy smile that I ever got from him would have been a mistake. Every rush of adrenaline that I got from the beauty of his gorgeous eyes would have been a false clue about how he feels. And that means that....my feelings for him were, at best, a great big joke. And with all of that fear pumping through me...it's a surprise that I haven't run back to my house to hide my head under the covers yet. It was a practice that I had taken part in many many times before. It was something that I could honestly say I was good at. So...why am I steadily walking forward towards uncertain doom? To possibly get my feelings hurt even worse than the last time my dumb old heart was made vulnerable enough to put myself through this neverending confusion?
Because...on some deeply frightening level...just having a chance at getting Tyler's love was worth it. Just...just a chance, you know? It was worth all that pain and more.
I felt like...ugh...like if I could JUST get him to listen to how hard my my heart was beating whenever he smiled in my direction...if I could JUST get him to look into my eyes and see this restrained outburst of affection that I had for him at all hours of the day...he'd know. He'd know that he never had a single worry concerning my love, my loyalty, my admiration. And he'd realize how utterly incomplete I am without him as my other half. He'd know that I really, TRULY, loved him with all my heart for everything that he is and ever could be. I could float forever just having him know that.
So I forced myself to walk...no...MARCH towards his house. Refusing to let anything stand in my way. I couldn't back out again. At the very least, I have to see him. Just for a little while. Maybe there will be something in his smile that will finally give me the courage I need to say what I feel. So I pressed forward, knocking my knees the whole time. But I didn't give up. With every dreadful thought of possible rejection and embarrassment, there were three thoughts of how amazingly awesome it would be if Tyler were to say 'yes' to me. To ME! There were just these wonderful rose colored memories of the first time that I ever saw him at Randy's house, and tried to keep my head down so he wouldn't see me trying to sneak a better peek at him. I thought about how 'comfortably uncomfortable' I felt sitting next to him at the movies for our first time hanging out alone. And how beautiful he looked that night as I met him at the ticket window. I rememered that day when he was standing at my side at the arcade, and I kept trying to catch glmpses of his face in the reflection of the screen between each level. I thought of every smile we shared at that lunch table, and every outburst of giggles that we helplessly tried to control in the mornings as we walked to school. He was my angel. He was my one and only angel. And despite every temptation I had to speed off in the other direction and avoid this painful anxiety for just ONE more day...I kept going. It had to be today. It had to be now. The more I think about it, the longer it takes, and the worse that shakey feeling in the pit of my stomach gets. I don't know if I can take much more of this. No more wishes on falling stars, and talking to Randy about what I want, and drawing pictures of Tyler every moment of the day to satisfy my longing for something that I'm too damn scared to go for. I'm...I'm gonna do this. I can't believe it...I'm actually gonna do this.
I turned the last corner, and now I could actually SEE Tyler's house in the distance. I was walking towards it, and I knew that I'd be there in less than five minutes. My breath got heavy, and I was almost light headed from the terror rushing through me. I felt my pace slow down to a crawl, as though I was wading through quicksand, and as I looked at his house near the end of the block...I stopped. I didn't WANT to stop...I just...kinda...did. I stalled on the corner for a minute, my face slghtly wrinkled up, almost ready to cry over the conflict going on in my heart at that moment. I fidgeted with my hands for a second, trying to rationalize, trying to understand. Come on, Ariel....don't DO this now! You're almost there! Just...just GO! Why couldn't I move? I was so weak inside that I felt like I would faint from the emotional struggle. I looked back at the street that I took to get that far, then looked forward towards Tyler's house. I started to take a step forward, but the second my foot touched the ground, I withdrew it, and turned my back to walk home again. I took two or three steps towards home...but stopped again, closing my eyes tightly and wishing that some bolt of lightning would shoot down from the sky and give me a definite answer. I don't have enough confidence in my heart to provide me with the right choice. But if I turn back now, after not seeing Tyler before school this morning, and ditching him after school...he's gonna totally get the wrong idea.
I rocked back and forth on my heels for a second, and then did a bit of nervous pacing. But the motion didn't make anything easier to figure out, and it didn't look like any 'safe' answers were coming. So, I bit down on a fingernail or two, and ran my fingers through my hair...before swallowing a mouthful of spit and tried to make the right decision. Ok.....here....here goes nothing. I took a shakey step forward, then another, then another. And soon found myself almost on Tyler's front lawn. I slowed down again, and practically crawled my way up to his front door. I can't even tell you how long I stared at that front door. My lungs felt like they had shrunk to the size of a walnut, and suddenly my palms were soaking wet with perspiration. Things only got worse as I reached out to open the screen door.
I dared myself to do it. I dared myself to knock and just rush into this before I had the opportunity to back out of it. Hoping that once Tyler opened that door, his beauty would put things right in me. And would calm me to the point of being able to speak. But my hands were made of cold wet clay, and I shivered as I raised my arm to let the boy of my dreams know that I was here.
I knocked lightly three times. And then pulled my arm back to rest at my side. Of course...I knew that it was way too quiet a knock for any human being to have actually heard it. But it was all that I had the courage for at the moment. I waited silently for a minute, trying to get the nerve to knock just a little bit harder this time. I rested my head on the surface of the door, and tried to take a few more deep breaths. My hands reached up on both sides of the door frame to hold me up, and then...stricly by accident...my right hand hit the damn DOORBELL!!! I heard it ring, and instantly panicked! My head jerked back from resting on his door, and I suddenly rammed the back of my head into the screen door behind me. "SHIT!!! Shhhhhhhhhhh! Awwww FUCK!!!" I whispered loudly, cursing myself for making that noise. My every instinct told me to run. My feet were digging into the concrete beneath me, and I was ready to jam out of there so quick I'd be breaking the sound barrier by the time I got home. But as I heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs from inside Tyler's house....I froze. Petrified into a solid block of stone. It was too late to run now, he'd see me. I'm trapped! I'M TRAPPED!!!
The footsteps approached the door, and I saw the little curtain in the window of the door fly back. It was him. Oh wow...it was like, instant beauty, exploding right in front of your face. I was completely stunned. He smiled, and then I heard him taking the lock off of the door. I was quaking in my sneakers as I heard the door open, and lowered my head as far down as I could, peeking up into Tyler's soft blue eyes from underneath my protective blanket of hair. "Hey, Ariel!" He said. Why did he sound happy to see me? Why? He should be mad at me. He should be wondering what the hell I'm even doing here. Dammit, I should just go home. "Come on in!" He said, and backed away from the door. I didn't really have much choice. I mean, the door was open, and he was already moving back into the house...arrrgh! I guess...maybe I can stay...for a little while.
I stepped inside the house, and slowly closed the door behind me. Dragging out every last moment in the hopes that my procrastination would give fate enough of an opportunity to keep me from making a fool out of myself. Maybe Tyler's mom will come home. Maybe there will be a fire. Or perhaps someone will find proof of the existence of aliens at that very moment, and it'll be enough of a distraction to prevent this secret of mine from ever seeing the light. No such luck. Not yet anyway.
Tyler's house was really clean, except for a saucer with a few crumbs on it by the couch in the living room. And you know how everybody's house has that unique smell to it? Well, Tyler's house smelled just like him. All clean and warm with a touch of sweetness in the air. Almost like warm donuts. If I were to ever hug Tyler, and press my face into his awesome chest, and inhale....that's exactly what I would get. Warm donuts. Sighhhh....he's so dreamy. Awww, Ariel...why did you come over here today? You are SO gonna screw this up.
"I wasn't sure that you were gonna come over." Tyler said.
"Oh?" I said softly, surprised that I was even able to get that much out.
"Yeah. I mean...I thought...maybe you had chaged your mind. You know...after I didn't see you at school today." He was beyond gorgeous, and I couldn't bare to look at him. I let my eyes dart around the room frantically while keeping my head pointed directly at my shoes.
"Oh." I replied. Then I mumbled, "No. I wanted...to come over....so...." I trailed off, my breath getting even shorter than before.
Tyler waited a second before saying anything, wondering if I was going to offer up anything else in the way of friendly conversation. But I didn't. I couldn't. I was being eaten alive by the dreaded 'geek' monster, and I couldn't string more than two words together without visibly trembling in his presence. This is a mistake. I should have waited. I REALLY should have waited until I was ready. "Well...do you wanna snack or something?" He offered.
"Um...no." I hope I did't sound too short with him.
"Ariel?" He asked.
"Yeah.....?" My head dipped even lower, and a wave of humiliation swept over me, making the words I spoke almost inaudible.
Tyler moved closer, and he lifted my chin to look at him. His eyes....his eyes were so blue that I wanted to die. I shivered a bit, and tried to keep my head up while he looked back at me. "I'm glad that you came over today. Ok?" I nodded slowly, and lowered my head again, but Tyler wouldn't let me 'hide'. "I mean it, k? It's just me. So don't be shy." He smiled at me, and I swear, I almost felt a surprise tear getting away from me. I didn't even know it was there, but I sucked it up the second he smiled.
"Um...sure. I mean...ok. I'm not. I won't...be. Or whatever." I said, and his smile seemed to inspire a smile on my face too. Albeit an extremely nervous one.
"Cool." He said, "C'mon! I'll show you my room." He said, and he started up the stairs, beckoning for me to follow. I sorta trotted up behind him, and for some odd reason, all I could concentrate on was his adorable sock feet as he skipped every other step in front of me. His socks were just...gleaming white, nd his feet were perfectly arched, and the fabric stretched out so snugly over every inch of them. I don't know why I looked, but I guess anything that kept me from concentrating on his smooth round ass bouncing in front of my face was a good thing. I was already about to have a heart attack from the rush of just being here. The LAST thing I needed was a splash of unrestricted sexual imagery to flood my thoughts while I'm trying to concentrate on not being a dork.
After nearly tripping up the steps twice, I reached the upper floor of Tyler's house, and his room was the first door on the left. Right across the hall from the bathroom. "Uhhh, I'm actually in the middle of cleaning up a little bit right now. So I hope you don't mind." Actually, Tyler's room wasn't all that messy at all. Just an unmade bed and some papers. Not much more. It was just enough domestic chaos to be really sexy..well...to me anyway.
"It's....it's nice." I said, trying to raise my voice a little bit more so he could hear me. It wasn't really working yet though. My voice was still hiding somewhere in the back of my throat where it wouldn't say anything 'stupid'. Besides, every word was spilled out over my shoes as my chin remained magnitized to my chest. I tried to break the spell, but it continued to devour my self esteem mercilessly as Tyler got more and more beautiful by the second. "Umm..." I started, but had absolutely nothing to say. I can't even explain why I made the sound. I guess I as just trying to force myself to be 'social' and was hoping that something naturally would follow my lead.
"What?" He asked.
"No, go ahead, you were going to say something."
"No I wasn't." I answered bashfully, and he grinned at me. "What?"
"Hehehe! You're being adorable again." The compliment made me weak in the knees. Something inside of me felt like it just collapsed, and I was forced to plop down on the foot of his bed. "Will you relax already?"
Relax? How can he tell me to just 'relax'? If HE were in a room with himself, HE wouldn't be able to 'relax' either. Unless...unless this means much more to me than it does to him. "I am. Relaxed, that is."
"I'm not gonna bury you in the basement, you know? I just..." Tyler sighed a bit, and his baby blue eyes softened just a little bit. "...I wanted to spend some time with you. That's all. Just you and me without all of those other people always around. That's all."
"Oh..." I didn't know if I was relieved or disappointed by the idea after all the torture I had invested into this visit. But I could tell that he was trying to break me away from being a total spaz at that moment, so I ent along with it. "I mean, um...me too. Well...I just...I can't..." Then I just gave up, and with a bit of a hurtful sigh, I said outloud..."I SO don't know what to say right now."
"It's ok. Really." Tyler sat down next to me, and just feeling his gentle weight on the mattress, tenderly pulling me closer to him from the indentation, was enough to make me swoon. "Nothing's changed from yesterday. I still..." Tyler paused for a second, and the silence causedme to look up at him for a moment to see if I had missed the end of his sentence. "...I mean, what I said yesterday...I still feel...I mean, it 'stands', you know?" Did I know? Was I supposed to know? Was he talking about liking me? Or something completely different that I had orgotten about? As though I coud ever forget a single thing that Tyler had ever said to me. "I really like you, Ariel. I just...I want you to know that."
It was like an avalanche of emotion hit me all at once, and I was crushed under the debris. I should say something. Now! Now is the time. That's the opening! That's it, right there! Do it, Ariel! Do it now! "Ty..."
That's when the phone rang and Tyler bounced up from the mattress to go grab it. "Hold on a sec. I'll be right back." And he went to answer the phone. I think I must have let a hurricane's worth of air out of my chest in one relieved sigh. Ok...maybe I'll get another chance later. "Shhh! Dude...I'm hanging up now!" I heard him whisper, and when he clicked the cordless off, he had a blush on his sweet face. He was so rad. Could I be any more in love right now? "Soooo...what's your fancy? We've got movies, tv, music, video games, whatever you want."
"Um...whatever." I said, shrugging my shoulders.
"How about music? Then we can talk some more." He said, and even though the art of conversation was lost on me at the moment, I nodded in aggreement. He put on something kinda mellow, and then sat with his legs crossed at the other end of the bed. "So...what took you so long to get over here?" He smiled.
"I...I walked." I mumbled.
"No, I KNOW that. I mean...after school. You were gonna ditch me, weren't you?"
"No! No, I wasn't gonna...I was just..." He grinned at me, his smile turning into a slight giggle. "...Honest, Ty, I didn't want to hurt your feelings or anything..."
"I know. I'm just honored that you changed your mind. It means I must have done something right." Then he picked up a pillow from behind him and lightly bashed me over the head with it. "But, just so you know, I would have hunted you down if you tried to run out on me again." My hair was slightly frazzled from the strike, and despite my attempts to hold in my giggles, they began to bubble over anyway. It was only a few seconds later that we were grinning at one another comfortably, and some of that paralyzing fear melted away. Not much, mind you...but some.
The next twenty minutes were a timeless blur for me. Every endless moment spent being enchanted by Tyler's contagious sense of humor and alluring personality. He had this magical ability to truly loosen you up after just a few minutes of talking to him. Opening the door for you to talk to him about just anything and everything that came to mind. I even managed to make him laugh a few times. God his laugh was sexy. It warmed you up inside to know that you could inspire something so golden in a boy so amazing. I knew that I was there on a mission, and that I was going to have to use every given opportunity that I had to tell him what I came there to tell him. But his infectious charm sucked me into having...fun. And there were honestly times when I literally forgot that he was the cutest boy on Earth. And whenever I noticed it, I would feel my cheeks burning hot with a blush, and he'd catch on right away. Because he'd ask me what was wrong. I'd deny that anything important was on my mind, and soon we'd be engaged in a friendly exchange again. Still, my heart was literally soaked in love starved feelings for him, and I was just hoping that my desperation didn't show on my face.
"...Yeah, so Barry figures he can just skip third period, and Mr. Brody is just gonna give him a make up test later. Not so. Barry intercepts the call from the school computer saying that he missed class, but Mr. Brody takes it upon himself to call personally later on. Barry picks up the phone, and I swear to GOd, he tries to lower his voice and sound like his dad on the phone. Like THAT's gonna work, right?" The way Tyler could glorify even the simplest of stories with the way he told them was awesome. His gestures and his cute little expressions...they made you listen to every word as though it were a language designed especially for you. "So finally, Mr. Brody's like, 'Put your father on the phone, Barry.' And he's forced to do it. BIG trouble. So now he's got two weeks detention, THREE weeks of being grounded, and he can pretty much kiss those Green Day tickets goodbye. Triple play. I have to say, I feel bad for him."
"Yeah..." I sighed, staring at Tyler a bit harder than I should. He looked back at me, but this time, it was HIS turn to blush a little. "You're blushing." I said.
"Hehehe, I am. Well...sorry." He giggled to himself a bit and looked away from me. Oh wow...I'm SO incredibly attracted to his blush! He's driving me crazy!
"I think you are too, you know?" He said.
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are! Hehehe, look!"
"How am I supposed to look?" I giggled.
"Oh yeah, right. Well...you are. Just take my word for it."
"I am NOT!" I laughed.
"Look! It's getting worse!"
"I CAN'T LOOK!!! Hehehehe!" And we shared a good chuckle over it, but then he uncrossed his legs and moved closer to me on the bed. I didn't notice him moving at first, until I looked up and he was in...'touching' distance.
The shock of having him so close cut my laughter off in mid breath, even though my smile remained. Then, Tyler reached out his index finger. "Yeah...see? You've got some red right here." He traced a small line down my cheek with his finger, and I felt my smile fading as the contact nearly sent an electric sensation shooting through me. "And some more over here..." He made a small circle on my other cheek, and I swallowed hard with a gulp as my mouth went dry. Tyler was still grinning a bit, but his touch was bringing every wild instinct that I had to the surface. "And some more over...heeeeere..." His voice tickled my eardrum, and I could feel the softness of his breath on the surface of my lips. What I was feeling at that moment was a level of fear that started to rattle me from the inside and caused my hands to shake. I was afraid to move, afraid to speak, afraid to smile, afraid NOT to smile. One wrong move, and the game was over. What do I do? What do I DO? "Yeah...you're blushing all over." He said quietly. A sensual haze entered his voice, and he looked down at me, examining me for a reaction. I sorta smiled back at him in response.
"Yeah. M-m-maybe I am...just a little." I stuttered.
"Mmm-hmm..." Our eyes remained connected, and I couldn't think of anything that I wanted more than for Tyler to kiss me right then and there. Please kiss me Tyler. Just for a few seconds. Please? I don't know how to do it first. Just...help me. Please? I felt his hand reach up and brush my hair out of my eyes a bit. His gentle touch was soooo amazing. I can't believe this, he's gonna do it. My first kiss. My very first ever kiss EVER....EVER!!! I parted my lips a little bit, and let my eyes close a bit, anticipating the rush of a lifetime. "You're so cute to me, Ariel." Tyler whispered, but he was hesitating. Why was he hesitating. It was like...like he was nervous or something. Don't be nervous, baby! Just...just kiss me! "Umm...I'll be right back!" He said, and he...he LEFT me! He got up from the bed, and practically ran out of the room. I was left, sitting there on the bed, eyes closed, so hard that I could break concrete...and he 'left'. I could hear his cute little sock feet padding their way down the stairs, and I was nearly breathless at being SO close to being able to touch my lips to his. What...what did I do wrong? I thought everything was going cool! Wasn't it? I mean...that was my magic moment, right? What happened? ARRRGGGHHH!!!
I was frozen for a moment or two, not sure of what to do. Where to go from here. And I think I heard Tyler's voice coming from downstairs, so I got up from the bed to follow him. Whoah...but before leving his room, I had to reach into my pants and adjust myself first, pointing my hardness upward and trapping it in the elastic at the top of my underwear. Then I walked downstairs to see what had gone astray in all of this. Tyler was pacing back and forth in the living room, whispering into the phone. He seemed...really scared. Almost...almost like me. I heard him whisper, "I CAN'T!!!...I mean I CAN'T!!! This is just...it's too unreal! I'm really stuck here!" He said. "But it's all fucked up NOW!" I think he heard me coming down the stairs, because he suddenly turned around and hung up the phone. I didn't know if I should say something or not. "Um...I totally forgot that I had to make a phone call. I'm sorry. It was, like...important."
"Oh...ok." I said. My legs felt all wrong, and my awkwardness had doubled since I started walking down those steps. Awww, how did I screw this up? How am I gonna get him to kiss me now? Ok...remember what Gramma said...sometimes you've gotta be the one to do the chasing. So...I'll just, I'll walk over, and get as close as I can...and I'll....I'll....I'll kiss him. I'll kiss him on the mouth, and just pray that he doesn't hit me. Ok, so...here we go. I'm walking over.
I was getting closer to him, and closer, and closer. I thought about whether or not I should say something first. Or if I should allow him to say something. Or if I should just do it by surprise. I wondered if I should put my hand on his cheek, or the back of his head, or his shoulder, or his waist, or maybe even his ass. How was I going to work this out? I don't know...but I've gotta try. "So...you wanna sit on the couch or something?" He said, backing up from me a little bit.
"It's stuffy up in my room anyway. We can chill out here for a while instead." He walked away from me, just as I was close enough to reach out a hand to touch him. I followed him around the couch in the living room, hoping to get close again. And I stood right next to him. So close that my chest was almost touching his arm. And he gave me a sideways look for a moment. "We...we can watch some tv for a bit or something, if...if you want." His head was moving too much. He looked towards one side of the room, and then the other, and I couldn't get a lock on where his lips would be next. I attempted to follow his movements as best as I could, determined to just...press my lips against his before he could stop me. It would totally be worth getting beaten up just to have the memory of knowing that I kissed those perfectly formed delicious lips of his...just once. But he wouldn't connect eyes with me, not even for a second. And when I moved a step closer, he backed away and picked up the saucer that was sitting on the coffee table. "Messy. Sorry." He grabbed the dish and took it into the kitchen, putting more distance between me and my kiss. Now that I was so close, I was aching for it. I couldn't focus on anything else. And DAMN his legs were fine in that pair of shorts!!!
Just then, as he was walking back into the room, I felt my stiffy slip out of the band of my boxers, and it stuck out in front of me as it straightened out at an obscene angle from my body! I certainly couldn't reach down and adjust it without Tyler seeing it! So I quickly sat down on the couch and leaned forward to rest my elbows on my knees in order to hide it. Please tell me he didn't see that! PLEASE! God, I'm so embarrassed right now!
"I'm sorry." He said, probably noticing that I was blushing again. "I'm being weird. Listen, why don't we just...'talk' some more. Ok?"
"Ok..." I answered. I was still hoping for a chance to kiss him again though.
"Ok..." He repeated. He turned on the tv and left it on MTV to have music videos playing in the background, then sat at the other end of the couch. "...Um, I don't mean to be freaking out on you today. You know that right?"
"It's ok. I think...I think I kinda freaked out myself." I said.
"But that DOESN'T mean that I'm not happy that you came over! I just...I'm having trouble being myself right now."
Awwww, he was so CUTE when he was being shy! Tyler should never ever be shy around ANYBODY! Not ever! People should be falling at his feet, not the other way around. "You still...seem pretty ok to me." I said, and with that statement, I felt my breath thin out to almost absolute zero.
"Really?" He asked, his eyes piercing through me.
"Um...well, yeah. I mean...it's no big deal." I told him.
"Can I tell you something?" He asked, and my stomach tightened up immediately.
"Yes..." I gasped.
"I was kinda...talking to Randy on the phone when you came downstairs just now." Oh no! No no NO!!! What did THAT mean??? Did I...did I lose him? Am I getting my heart broken AGAIN??? "OH! No...I mean, we were just talking!" He said. Geez, was I that transparent? Could he see the panic in my eyes? "I just...I called him because...I was nervous about being here...with you."
"Oh...I see." I sadly let my eyes droop down a bit, and wondered what might have been had I decided to walk back home instead of making a fool out of myself yet again by coming over here. He should just stab a steak knife in my eye and get it overwith.
"He's been sorta...helping me through some things lately. That's all."
"Yeah. He's like that. He's....'interesting' that way." I said. You know, it's funny...but after being so involved with Randy for so long, and claiming to love him with all my heart...Tyler seemed to overshadow him in every way. At least at this particular moment. A part of me was always going to be enslaved by Randy's good looks and caring heart. But the rest belonged to Tyler. Hands down. No competition. And yet, I noticed something strange when Tyler replied...
"Yeah...he's...you know...special, I suppose." It was almost as if Tyler could understand. As if there was a spark inside of him that knew what Randy could have been to either one of us if we had met him first. I couldn't put my finger on it, but it made me wonder if maybe Randy's beauty wasn't just my personal addiction. Maybe...at one time or another, Tyler had noticed it too.
"So...does that mean...I make you feel...weird?" I asked him.
"No, that's not what I'm trying to say." He said, struggling with the same confusion that I was on the wy over there. "Ariel...I...I really just...'enjoy' you, and having you here right now is more than I could ever...it's just so..." He was babbling now, and as I raised my eyes a bit more, I stared to feel a sense of hope rising up in my chest. "...Ever since I met you, my life has been....better. You know? And I...." He closed his eyes, his hands fiddling around with the bottom of his shirt. "...I wanted you to know..that...uh....I....'like' you." He was trying! I could SEE it! Omigod! Omigod omigod omigod!!!! Stay calm, Ariel!
"I kinda....'like' you too, Tyler." I said. The words inched out of my mouth at a snail's pace, but at least they were coming. "I've actually 'liked' you....for a while now. You make me feel...really....um...nice." Nice? Is that the best I can come up with? Come on, Ariel..TELL him! "I mean...I think you're...dreamy." I said, and covered my face with my hand the second the words left my mouth. "Omigod, I can't believe I just said that!" I said, smiling from embarrassment.
"No! No, it's cool!" Tyler smiled.
"No it's not. It's....corny! Hehehe!" I replied. "I've been thinking about this moment for a while, and...I was hoping that it wouldn't come out so cheesy."
"I don't think it's cheesy." He said. "I think it's awesome." He looked at me, and with a strong blush, I looked down at his carpet and giggled a bit to myself. "Ariel...?"
"Do you really think I'm 'dreamy'?"
I turned an even deeper shade of red, and my giggles got worse as I tried to hold them in. "Hehehe...ummm......uhhhh...." I bit my bottom lip shyly to contain myself a bit better. "...Yeah...sorta."
And the biggest smile ever spread out on Tyler's face. "Cool. You too." He said. Then we just sorta sat there without saying anything for a minute. I couldn't believe that this was actually going so well. So....why was the fear still there. I men, where do we take it from here? "Do you...um...wanna drink?"
"Sure. My mouth's a little...dry." I smiled.
"Ok. Come on." He got up first, and I made sure that I wasn't sticking out more than I should have been in the front of my pants. Then I followed him into his kitchen.
He went into the fridge to grab a bottle of juice, and I leaned against the opposite counter. He put the juice on the counter by the sink while I just watched him in amazement. I had just told Tyler Jordan that he was 'dreamy'. ME! Ariel! And he didn't mind! He smiled! Can you believe that? He actually liked me saying that he was dreamy! He 'enjoys' me. That's what he said. This is more than I could have ever hoped for! And yet...it wasn't enough yet. Something had stalled. And I felt like I was waiting for some kind of wonderful topping for the sweetest dessert around. Maybe I should kiss him now. That's gotta be it. I mean, I don't wanna RUSH anything...but...if I leave here without kissing him today, I SWEAR I'm gonna put a fucking bullet in my head when I get home! Look at him! He's too cute not to kiss! Once I start, I doubt I'll even be able to stop. If only I could get him to stand still long enough to make a move.
I had to say something..."Uhh....where are your cups?" Oh yeah, great. THAT'S erotic! Ask him about cups! Grrrr!
"Don't worry..." Tyler said, a slightly flirtatious look in his eye. "...I'll get it for you." He walked over to me, standing really close. I started to move out of his way, but he reached out his left arm, pretty much trapping me in the corner as he reached for the cabinet behind me. It was over my head, and he had to lean into me in order to reach it. Our noses were almost touching, and as he leaned further forward, I began to tremble furiously. I couldn't breathe! He was so close! His breath was breezing across the side of my neck, and I was so weak that I could hardly stand. His cheek lightly grazed my ear...and a high pitched whimper escaped me. I couldn't catch it in time, it just came out of nowhere. And he must have been reaching for the top shelf, because it was taking him forever to get whatever 'cup' he was looking for.
I was almost hyperventilating at this point, my butt backed up against the counter, leaning back as far as I could, trying to keep my self control. I might have imagined it, but I think I felt Tyler's soft lips lightly brush over the top of my left ear, and I nearly collapsed. I whimpered again, even louder this time. I didn't WANT him to hear me! But if he did, he was pretending not to notice. He just kept reaching. How long does it take to find a CUP for Christ's sake?!?! Hurry up before I explode! Then...I felt his warm chest touch mine ever so gently. My nose and lips were right there at the nape of his neck...and if I just moved an inch or two forward..I could kiss him there. I could nuzzle my face into his warm neck, and wrap my arms around him...just like I've always dreamed.
He grabbed the 'magical cup' that he was looking for from the top shelf, and looked me in the eye as his arm slowly descended again. But he didn't take his gaze off of me when he was finished, and it was at that moment that I felt his lower half press gently forward into me. A gentle 'bump', a graze...and it wasn't as um...soft as I expected it to be. I could feel a definite lump there, and when it touched me, I could have sworn that I felt it flex slightly against me. It was all too much for me to take, and my arm jerked involuntarily. The sudden motion knocked the cup out of Tyler's hand, and it went crashing down to the kitchen tile below. The noise startled us both, and I instinctively covered my face with both hands as I subjected my dream boy to anoher 'incident'. "I'm SORRY!!! I'm so sorry! It was all my fault!"
"Don't worry about it, Ariel...it was just an accident."
"No, really! THis is just...this is wrong! I'm so fucked up! Look, I should go..."
"NO! Don'tgo. I'll clean it up and we'll just go back into the living room and talk some more. It's no biggie. Seriously. It'll just take me a minute..."
"Don't clean it up! I should be the one cleaning it up. I'm the asshole that broke it..."
"You're NOT an asshole, Ariel."
"Yes, I am! This is stupid! You're not gonna get in trouble, are you?"
"I'm NOT gonna get in trouble. I told you not to worry about it..." He said, and we both squatted down to the floor to pick up the shattered pieces of the broken glass.
"I'm such an idiot..." I whispered to myself, and Tyler stopped cleaning to give me his full attention.
"Ariel...You're not an idiot. And you're not an asshole. Ok? You're...you're the best thing that's ever happened to me. I mean...ever. And I shouldn't have tried to push things and make you uncomfortable...it's just...I..." Then he simply said, "Ariel...I wanna be with you."
It was one of those moments where you knew that it was now or never. A moment that I had been both anticipating and dreading from day one. And I had reached my limit. The ball was in my court...and I just didn't want to waste any more time. "Tyler....I have to say something."
"Um...ok..." He said, as though he were scared of the answer.
I tried to find the words, honest I did. But my nerves were quaking so bad that I almost thought I was gonna be sick. "Uhhh...can you do me a favor?" I said, standing up to my feet again.
"Can you...like...turn around first?"
"Can I what?" He asked me, confused.
"Look, I know it sounds weird. but just...turn around for me. K? Please? I can't do this with you looking at me." He gave me a bit of a strange look, and I felt dumb for even asking him to do it. But without much hesitation, he stood up, and faced the other direction. Ok...the moment of truth. Focus, Ariel...you can do this. It's worth it. It's SO worth it. "Ty....when I said that..I 'liked' you...that wasn't enough, ok? It's more than that." I said, hoping that my mind wouldn't shut off in mid sentence like it had so many times before. The butterflies in my stomach went wild, and I was shaking so bad that I practically had to hold myself still by shoving my hands in my pockets. "I mean...I think you're more than dreamy. You're everything to me. Everytime I see you smile, it's like I can't breathe. It's not just some queasy feeling in my stomach this time...I actually carry you with me. Like...everywhere I go. And it won't go away." I could feel a tear drip from my eye, and with a sniffle, I was quick to wipe it away. "I just...I can't stop thinking about you. And after all this time...you still make me as crazy as you did the very first time that you ever talked to me." I let it all spill out, word for word, and he never turned around. Was he grinning at my affections? Was he rolling his eyes? I couldn't tell. But when I'm finished...he'll know how I feel. He'll know. "Tyler, you're everything that I've ever wanted in my whole life. And...and...." Say it, Ariel. Say it...and you can leave with your head held high. 'Chase' him. I took a deep breath, and sniffled again as two more rivers of tears crawled out of my eyes, running down my cheeks as the depth of emotion behind my next few words overwhelmed me. "...And I love you, Tyler Jordan. I love you soooo much that it aches to be away from you. Even for a little while. I can't help it. Everything about you is sweet, and cute, and fun....and I just...I don't know how to control myself around you anymore. My whole world revolves around your smile, and I HATE it because I know that you could do SO much better than stupid ol' me. I feel like a phony, pretending that I'd ever be good enough for someone like you. Wasting your time when you could be with someone really hot and awesome. Someone more...worthy, you know? But...if there's some chance that maybe, just for a little while...you'd consider putting those other boys off for a while...and maybe just...giving me a tiny chance, I'd do my BEST to make you happy, Tyler! I really would!" I said, a sad and boyish whine in my pitiful plea for his affection. He kept his eyes forward, and a silence fell over us both. I don't think...I don't think he's buying it. Sighhh...well, no one can say that I didn't try. "So....if you....if you want me to go..."
But then I heard a sniffle in the room that wasn't mine. And I saw Tyler's shoulders shaking gently from behind. "Can I say something?" He sobbed.
"I've been hurt before. I've been hurt a LOT. And I was convinced that my heart was broken forever. But...just when I thought that nothing could ever fill that empty space in my heart again...just when I thought that what I wanted didn't even exist for me anymore...you came along. And you completed what was missing in me, Ariel. You made me whole again. And I was SO scared that I was being set up again for another fall. So scared to really fall for you all the way because...everytime I try to give my heart to somebody, they abuse it, and leave it behind without ever looking back at the damage they caused in me." He said, wiping his eyes. "I tried so hard to be careful this time....but....but....you just make everything so adorable. You make everything feel all right again. And I've never been more in love with anybody than I am with you right now." I lifted my eyes, and I watched as Tyler turned around, his cheeks red and decorated with tears of his own. "I wanted to tell you for so long, Ariel. I really did."
"So....you're not mad at me for being a geek?" I asked.
"No. I could never be mad at you. I love you. I love you so much, you have NO idea."
"I do." He said, and after a short pause between us, Tyler walked over to me, as if in slow motion, and gently lifted my chin. He was only a few inches taller than me, and our eyes connected without restriction for the first time. The love that I saw reflected there was more than my poor soul could take, and I fell back against the counter for support. Tyler giggled sensually through his tears, and caressed the side of my face.
"You are SO adorable." He said softly. And then...
I held my breath as Tyler silently asked me for permission to proceed. And in some silent way...I gave him all the permission he needed. I felt my eyes close all on their own as I felt him leaning forward, and the anticipation of what was to come sent a tingling sensation down my spine. It felt like I was waiting there forever. Eyes closed, the darkness blinding me from the moment of impact. But then, only seconds after feeling his warm breath on the side of my mouth....
I felt Tyler's soft warm lips touch themselves to my own. And I was so overjoyed that I wanted to SCREAM! This was IT!!! This was my first ever real kiss!!! And I was totally breathless! TOTALLY!
After all of the struggle and the doubt and the games and the fear...after MONTHS of trying to control what I felt and dodging invisible dangers that were never there to begin with...it was actually happening! Tyler was kissing me! His lips were connected to my lips, and he was HOLDING them there! Omigod this is SOOO AWESOME!!! I had to force myself to stop thinking about things so I could just fucking ENJOY it while it lasted! But I knew....I knew from the second his lips made contact with mine, that this would be a memory that would last me my whole life. This was the moment that I'd be sighing over for decades to come. And it was more than I could have ever dreamed.
It was hard to remain standing, even while leaning against the counter, and my awkward hands found their way to Tyler's slim waist. I was so scared to let him know I was touching him there...and my hands were shaking as they lightly held onto his sleek and tight middle, my mind still spinning from the magic of his lovely kiss. My God....I never knew that his lips could be so....wow. They were so smooth and soft, and we 'chewed' at each other slowly as I tried to keep from floating away. I melted in his arms, overflowing with so much previously untapped levels of emotion, that I could feel warm tears of joy run freely from both eyes. Tyler increased the delicate pressure of his lips' embrace, and I whimpered helplessly in his arms. He almost had to hold me up as I swooned from side to side. He snatched my breath away, and I could feel a few loose strands of his silken blond hair brushing across my forehead. Oh God...this was so kick ass! My mind refused to believe that this was actually TYLER JORDAN kissing me!!! But it was true. It was all true. And when his mouth opened slightly, mine followed his lead. Wow...this was even better! I imitated his motions as much as possible, and really let myself fall into it wholeheartedly. I let my hands grab him a bit more firmly around his waist, and I could feel how warm his body was. I never thought that kissing would turn me on so much.
I always imagined that I would screw up my first kiss. That my nose would be in the wrong place, and my hands would flounder all over the place, and that I'd do something dumb like slobber too much on the person I was with. But Tyler...he knew how to read me. He knew how to open himself enough to let me read him too. And his baby soft moist lips felt sooooo good against mine. And the gentle smacking sound we made while we were tenderly sucking at each other's kiss...whoah....it was SO hot! Everytime I heard it, I wanted to moan outloud. Tyler's hands slowly traveled up the sides of my neck, making me shiver with delight, and then he entangled his fingertips in my hair. I whimpered again, at an even higher pitch, and realized that we weren't just kissing anymore. We were actually making out! My mind went wild! I just wish I could see this from the outside. Like...have it on tape or something! It must look so awesome! Tyler's kiss is so damn SEXY! How can he be so beautiful??? Doesn't it HURT to be this desireable?
That's when I felt his tongue shyly move forward. He didn't really force me, and he didn't really want me to do anything I wasn't ready for. But this was my moment, and I wanted it all. I let my tongue sorta reach out a little bit too. And then...they touched. And I swear, my legs almost gave way! I moaned again, and Tyler held me tighter as his tongue pushed a little bit further. And then...our tongues began to slide and roll and intertwine with one another. Wow...I never had my tongue in anyone's mouth before. This was SO brand new to me! But I liked it! It felt kinda weird at first...having something in my mouth that was moving and belonged to somebody else. But it wasn't disgusting at all. It was sweet. I could feel my saliva mixing with his, and I could kinda taste his breath in my mouth, which was so cool. I could feel the tastebuds on his tongue as we rubbed them together, and the friction made me pull his soft flat stomach tightly up against me. Omigod....he was hard down there! He was even harder than ME! And once we touched down there, Tyler began to grind into me with slow circles as our lip smacking got more passionate. Our tongues gyrated around each other, and Tyler's hips humped me slowly up against the counter. Then he reached down and grabbed my ass and squeezed, causing me to wiggle and squeal with a sensuous moan that I didn't even recognize as my own voice. My whole body was tingling, and my heart was thundering so hard that I was sure that he could feel it. Here, I had everything that I've ever wanted...and I still can't stop shaking.
His tongue was still deep in my mouth when we heard a key in the back door, not more than ten feet from where we were making out! Tyler's Mom was home!
We broke our kiss with a smack, and practically sprinted out of the kitchen and back into the living room in a hurry! We literally dove over the back of the couch, and looked each other over real quick to make sure that nothing was 'showing'. The door opened, and she walked in with a small bag of groceries. It took a second to calm down enough to get my breathing back to normal, and Tyler seemed to be having the same trouble. But he motioned at me to keep quiet. Then his mom called from the kitchen. "Ty?"
"Yeah, Mom." He called back, trying not to sound dazed and breathless.
"Do you feel like sloppy joes for dinner, hon?" She walked into the room, looking through a few pieces of mail, and then looked up to see us both on the couch. "Oh. I didn't know you had company. Hello."
"Hi..." I said shyly, hiding my face a bit.
"Mom, this is Ariel. We walk to school all the time. We just thought it would be cool to...'hang out' for a while today." He said, sharing a glance with me.
"That's fine. It's nice to meet you Ariel. Would you like to stay for dinner? It's no trouble." She said.
"Um...actually...I should get going. My mom is cooking too, so...I can't miss it, you know?"
"Suit yourself. But you're always welcome." She went back to looking at her mail, and walked into the kitchen again.
I stood up to go, and Tyler nervously popped up too. Then he walked me over to the door. didn't know what to say to him, and neither did he, but once we reached the door, I knew it had to be something. "Thank you, Tyler. You made me the happiest boy alive today."
"I don't know about that...SECOND happiest, maybe." He said with a wink and a smile. We kept our voices down, and Tyler looked back for a moment to make sure that his mom was still occuppied. Then he quickly leaned forward, and kissed me on the lips again. I could hear his brething increase, and we embraced as though it was going to be our last. And I couldn't help but let a desperate whine burst out of me. Arrrgh! Why do I always DO that when something feels really good??? Tyler broke the kiss, and looked back around to make sure his mom didn't hear me. If she did, she wasn't too concerned about the noise. That's when Tyler whispered, "Ariel...promise me something, ok?"
"I'd promise you anything, Tyler."
"Tomorrow...don't forget any of this, k? Don't get weird, or shy, or try to run out on me. Just....let me love you. Please? Just...let me be close to you."
"O-o-ok...I can....I can do that." I said, my knees almost giving way again.
"I promise. Always." I said.
Just then, I heard his mom kick off her shoes, and close the kitchen cabinets as she had finished putting away the rest of the groceries. And I opened the door to leave. Tyler leaned forward and kissed me again before I could leave. Then he did it again. Then AGAIN. "I love you." He whispered.
"Love you too." I said, and he kissed me a few more times, still keeping an eye out for his mom, and then planted some more frantic pecks on my cheeks too. It made me giggle, and he giggled right along with me. "Hehehe...I have to go. I'm outside." I said, blushing from the sudden attack.
"Ok, but I want more the next time we get to be alone." He said, biting his bottom lip. "Love you."
I waved a few more times, my smile an uncontrollably bright beacon of light as I walked away from his doorstep. Oh my dear Lord...what just happened? Is this real? Can ANY of this possibly be real???
I'm in love! I'm SO in love! And the feeling just keeps building, and building, and building! I feel like I'm gonna POP! What am I going to do with myself? Gramma was right...sometimes...when you take a chance at looking silly in front of the one you love....it's worth it. I chased him...and he let me catch him. Does this mean I have a full fledged boyfriend now? Wow...oh man. I'm gonna dance all the way home.
'I love you'...that's what he told me. He loves me. ME. Nobody else...just me. Sighhhh....what a feeling.