"New Kid In School: 32nd Chapter"

More adventures in the lives of Ryan and Randy for you all to read and hopefully enjoy! A very happy Valentine's Day to you all, and I hope you like the new developments in the series. A HUGE thank you to all of you guys who have written me to say that you like it! And if you haven't, feel free to tell me what you think at comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website at http://studflower.com/comicality/ (And don't forget to sign the guestbook!)


"New Kid In School:"
32nd Chapter


Ryan and I sat at Frankies for the first half hour that night, just giggling madly to ourselves and thinking about how apocalyptic it must have been for Ariel and Tyler to have suddenly been thrown into the mix with each other finally with no means of escape. It was enough to keep us smiling for the next ten years at least! Just the looks on their faces when we drove away...it was priceless. Normally, I would have felt really bad about leaving them at the movies like that, but the intentions of getting those two together after all of the emotional turmoil they've been through lately, seemed to outweigh any of the 'wrong-doings' that it took to bring about the desired result. I just hope that it all works out for the best.

Ryan and I had a few chilli dogs, with no onions just in case we had something to 'celebrate' afterwards, and a few chocolate milkshakes. It got to the point where Frankie knew exactly what we wanted when we came in anyway. So he just sent it over to our table whenever we sat down. God forbid if we were to change our minds, he'd probably have a stroke. We ate and speculated over the whole dating situation as the cheesy jukebox music surrounded us. "So what do you think? You think they're making out or something?" I asked.

"Right now? Psh PLEASE! Not even. Not those two. Ariel is much too shy to start anything, and Tyler's much too proud. If they even had an inch of an attraction to each other, they'd probably drag it out with little subliminal hints and touches until they were alone."

"They ARE alone."

"No...I mean ALONE alone. Like in the darkened basement of somebody's house, with no windows and no witnesses." Ryan grinned.

"Ahhh...kinda like you and me." I joked. And he playfully threw a few of his french fries at me.

"Aw shut up." He giggled.

"I think it'll work dude. Honestly. I mean, Tyler likes him. That goes without saying. I've never seen him like this before. And Ariel is totally involved with the idea of being with Tyler too. They try to make it seem like it's no big deal, but they let it slip every now and then."

"Do you think they'll be mad that we ditched them tonight?"

"I think they'll be too in love to care." I smiled. And I meant exactly that. If they got along the way we were expecting them to, and actually talked to one another without anybody to 'watch' them, then they would have no choice but to become even more smitten with one another than they already were.

"They must be so nervous." Ryan said, "Kinda like that first day with you. Remember?"

"How could I forget? You walking into that classroom...shaking that finepiece of ass behind you." I made him blush a little with that one, and when a shy smile spread subtly across his face, I felt the love inside of me rise to the surface all over again. Threatening to overflow.

"I was so scared to talk to you. But I gave it a shot anyway. Hehehe, I'm lucky that I didn't rattle myself to bits from being so scared." He said.

"Yeah well...I wasn't scared. Not at all."

"Yeah right!"

"I WASN'T!"

"Suuure...I had to practically bite you on the ear to get your attention. Trying to hide your little boner from me..."

"LITTLE?" I snapped with a look of shock on my face. "Six inches, bitch!" I laughed outloud and threw a couple of fries his way. We were both giggling like crazy and started a little 'French' war at our booth with our fries.

Frankie hollered out from behind the counter, "HEY! It's called food, not ammunition. Anymore fries touch my floor, I'm getting you two a broom."

"Hehehehe! Sorry Frankie!" We grinned.

"Sheesh! Teenagers...why can't kids just jump from 'cute' to 'college', eh?" He walked in the back mumbling, with us knowing that he just wasn't happy if he wasn't grumpy about something. He was a damn good guy, he just didn't want US to know that.

Then Ryan looked me in the eye, his hazel specs enchanting me with their passionate gaze, and he said, "Honestly though...when I first walked into that room, and saw you sitting there, I knew that you were something special. You were so beautiful."

"You too. Still are." I whispered.

"I am. You, on the other hand, have let yourself go dude. I've been meaning to tell you that." He laughed, and if it weren't for Frankie, he wuld have gotten a chilli dog in the face for that particular comment! We laughed happily to ourselves and then figured that the movie would be letting out soon. So we gathered our things and checked to make sure our stories were straight. 'We went back to the house, and couldn't find any more cash, and it was too late to see the movie, so we just decided to stay in'. Piece of cake. All we had to do now was collect our reward.

We drove back around to the theater and waited out front. We saw a crowd just beginning to file out of the doors, and there was no sign of either one of them. We waited for a while, and then, just as the crowd was thinning out to just a few people, we saw them coming out. And they were smiling. SMILING! Ryan and I gave each other an assuring nod, and honked the horn to get their attention. They must have suddenly realized how 'happy' they looked, so they put an end to that right away, and walked over to get in.

I expected to get a ton of flak for leaving them alone like that, but surprisingly, they didn't really mention it. No cold stares, or arguments at all. This might have turned out better than I thought! So I had to ask, "So...how was the movie?"

"Good." Tyler said quickly.

"Ok...care to give me a better review, Ariel."

"Very good." Ariel said, then they both smiled at each other and started to laugh. Ryan gave me a weird look and we couldn't help but smile.

"Are you guys ok?" Ryan asked.

"Couldn't be better." Tyler replied. Then he looked over at Ariel, making him blush furiously as he directed his smile out of the car window. Awwww, it was so cute. I couldn't believe this was even happening. They made such a beautiful couple of freaks.

We dropped Ariel off first, as usual, and he said goodbye to everyone. But when it came time to say goodbye to Tyler, he almost whispered his name. Sigh...I remember those days. And he ran up to his front door, when all of the sudden his foot got tangled up in the sprinkler somehow and he fell flat on his face! Um...Ouch. The funny thing is, he popped back up to his feet so fast and waved to let us know that was alright, it was almost as if nothing had happened at all. We held back our laughs as much as we could, and then let them go about a block later. "So..." I said, smiling at Tyler in the backseat, "...nice weather we're having, huh?"

"Knock it off, Randy. I ain't talking." He smiled.

"Oh come on, just a little bit?"

"Serves you right for playing that dirty little trick on us."

"There was nothing dirty about it. And if you guys MADE it dirty, then you had better tell me EVERYTHING!" I could see the goofy smile on his face start to spread out to the max, and I knew he was on the ropes. "Come on Tyler. You know you wanna talk. Give it up."

"It was...it was cool." He said, then he giggled to himself.

"Cool? The movie was 'good', and the date was 'cool'. Care to expand on that?"

"It WASN'T a date! And yes, it was...you know...cool." Tyler blushed even more, and his blond hair flopped down into his eyes a bit as he bent his head down to keep from laughing. He was so high up on cloud nine that he could hardly contain it. I continued to stare him right in the face, silently begging for more. Finally, he just said, "WHAT? I told you all you need to know."

"That's not fair." Ryan said.

"Well, live with it. I'll tell you more about the next time we go to the movies." Tyler grinned. Bingo!

"Ahhhh, so there's going to be a next time?" I asked.

"Well...I'm...I'm thinking about it. I figure, it couldn't hurt to ask."

"Oh, you are SO in love dude!" Ryan shouted out. And before Tyler could even defend himself by saying anything, I seconded the motion.

"Come on, admit it! For the love of God, Ty...just SAY IT!!!" I shouted.

"ALRIGHT! ALRIGHT ALREADY! I'M IN LOVE! Kinda...sorta...maybe. Whatever. Are you happy now?!?!" And then he sat back and smiled to himself. "Sigh. I'm in love. Hehehe...wow. I'm...I'm in love." He grinned, and then he just threw his head back and closed his eyes, saying, "God help me."

We smiled right along with Tyler all the way back to his house. Ryan dropped us both out, and I gave him a sweet goodnight kiss before he drove off. Then I gave Tyler a huge hug and said, "I'm so happy for you dude. You deserve this. I know it, and you know it. So don't deny yourself the chance at being happy. Just...go for it. Ok?"

"Thank you Randy. You're really something, you know that?" He then loosened the hug a bit, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"G'night. And wear something nice. You've got somebody to impress now!"

"Shut up Randy." Tyler walked back to his front door as I crossed the street, and he was smiling from ear to ear. He was in no hurry at all. Time was limitless for him as long as he was in love. It's a beautiful thing to feel inside. But...it was just plain FUNNY to watch!

The next day was complete agony. I couldn't have waited another second to get to lunch and see Tyler and Ariel together again. It was all I thought about. Both Ryan and I sped down to the cafeteria and took our seats, waiting for the lovebirds to show. This was gonna be excellent. Tyler came down first, and our eyes brightened at the very sight of him. He walked over to the table and sat down, with both of us grinning in anticipation.

"Come on now, there will be NONE of that today! Be normal, for crying outloud." He said. All this good fortune, and he was still holding onto his sense of self control. I know from experience, that love takes care of all of that and tosses it right out of the window.

"So did you ask him yet?" Ryan started.

"NO! I haven't even seen him yet!" Tyler whispered under his breath.

"But when you do, you WILL ask him, right?" I said.

"I don't know. I said, MAYBE I'll ask him out." He said, and we smiled. "To a MOVIE! Not a date!"

"A movie IS a date, dude." I added.

Then Ryan jumped in with, "Seems like a date to me. Or at least it will be when you ask."

"I'm working on it, ok?" Tyler was getting flustered about the whole thing, andit just made him even cuter than he already was.

"Working on what?" I asked. "Just ask him, already."

Ryan chimed in, "Why Ariel, would you like to accompany me to a movie this weekend? It would make me ever so happy." I put my hand out to meet Ryan's and playfully said, "Oh Tyler...how could I ever say no to you? You're so cute and strong. You make me feel sooo goooood..."

"STOP! What, are you guys double teaming me here? I said I'll ask and I will. Just not...not right now."

"Then when?"

"Later."

"WHEN later?"

"LATER! Geez, I shouldn't have even said anything." Tyler pouted.

That's when it happened. Ariel came floating into the room like the little angel he is, and Tyler took a deep breath, never letting it go. It was incredible. He came closer, carrying his tray of food, but before he even got half way across the room, he bumped his tray on the back of someone's head, rattling it, and sending his Coke crashing to the floor. The Coke can must have sprung a leak, and because of the shake up, it started spinning around all on its own and spraying everyone in 'firing range' with soda! Two whole tables must have jumped up and ran out of the way when Ariel came through. I swear, the safety level of anyone within 100 feet of this kid decreases drastically whenever he enters a room. However, Ariel seemed to get away 'soda free' in the whole mess, and was still dry as a bone. He put his tray down at our table, and went back to pick up the now dribbling can of Coke and toss it in the trash. Then he came right back to sit down with us with a smile.

"Sorry." He said just above a whisper.

"It's ok, at least you didn't get us this time." Ryan joked, but it seemed like Ariel and Tyler were already involved in some kind of silent conversation with their eyes. Tyler with a boyish smile on his face, and Ariel basfully biting down on the corner of his lower lip to keep from grinning outloud. Awwww, it was like watching two baby kittens playing with a ball of yarn. I cannot WAIT until they actually admit to themselves and to each other how they feel. I mean, this could be something incredible if they just allowed it to happen. Not that they could stop it at this point.

"You...you can have my soda, if you want. I didn't drink any yet. I hope you like orange." Tyler pushed his can over to Ariel, who took it like it was made of gold.

"T-t-thank you Tyler. That's so swe...'cool' of you."

"Only 'cause it's you dude." Then they smiled, and Ryan and I snickered uncontrollably. We tried SO hard to hold it in, but it was either laugh, or suffocate from trying not to. The two of them straightened up and stopped with the dreamy talk, trying to put a mask of normality on for us. But they couldn't hide it. Neither one of them. One more date. That's all they need! One more, and it's a one way trip to passion city.

The rest of the lunch hour went pretty much the same way, but when we got up to leave, Ariel almost flipped what was left of the orange soda up onto the table...then...Tyler caught it! I mean, he just reached out, and stopped it from falling. He did the impossible and prevented a natural disaster. "Careful." He smiled. And Ariel went ballistic with a smile that nearly blinded us all.

"Thanks." This was getting better and better by the minute.

I figured that Tyler was probably going to flirt for a while longer before getting the nerve to ask him out to the movies. Like a few more weeks at least, but he actually surprised both me and Ryan by saying, "Hey Ariel, before you go...let me talk to you for a second. In private."

We saw Ariel turn white as a ghost, and he shakily forced his legs to move in Ty's direction. We couldn't believe it! He was actually going to do it.

"Quit staring!" Ryan said, slugging me in the shoulder.

"Ow! I wasn't, I swear. Hehehehe, come on, let's go before we get barraged by their excitement."

Ryan put his hand up and patted me on the back. "Congratulations, Randy Stephens...mission accomplished."

"They are going to be so happy. It's a beautiful thing. Makes me think."

"Think about what?" he asked. And I answered him by whistling the Tootsie Roll song. He giggled a bit, and then joined me as we walked out of the cafeteria. The stage was set, the players were in the spotlight, the curtain was up. There was no way in hell this could possibly go wrong.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE SAID 'NO'?!?!?!" I screamed after seeing Tyler in the hallway later on that day.

"Randy, dude...it's ok. Really. It was a stupid idea anyway. I knew that from the beginning."

"NO! That wasn't a stupid idea! It wasn't stupid at all!" I said out loud.

"Randy, do you think you can lower your voice a little?" Tyler whispered, looking around him.

"You...me...bathroom...NOW!" I said, and dragged him behind me. We looked around to make sure we were alone for a few minutes, and I had to control myself to keep from grabbing this ditzy blond by the shoulders and shaking some sense into him! "What happened??? Everything was going so well!"

"Dude, I think you're even more upset about this than I am."

"TALK!!! What went wrong?" There was NO way that we had come this far to stop now?

"I asked him out to a movie this weekend, he said no, end of story. There's really nothing else to say about it."

"There's a LOT more to say about it! Dude...I don't...I don't understand."

"Randy, listen to me, ok? Ariel is...he's cute. He's fun. He's a really cool person. But he's not into me like that, and that's fine. There will be other guys. I'm not going to go ballistic over this whole thing. What happened...happened. That's the beginning and the end of it. So...let it drop already."

Tyler's face betrayed him as always. His voice began to tremble slightly too. He wasn't on the verge of tears or anything, but it hurt, I could tell. "Ty...dude, I am totally lost here. I mean, all bullshit aside, you and Ariel are like...a matching set! You smile at each other, you have a great time, you get along...I don't see the malfunction here."

"Can we stop this now? I have to get to class." He tried to walk past me, but I stood in the way.

"I'm serious here Tyler. This isn't just some trick to set you guys up together. I KNOW you want this."

"It doesn't matter what I want, right now. I would rather keep Ariel as a friend than pressure him to feel something that he just...doesn't." Was Tyler KIDDING me?

"Dude, he LIKES you! Ok? Haven't you gotten enough hints? Haven't you gotten enough shy smiles and blushes yet? He may not know how to tell you, but he IS interested! All you have to do is..."

"Is WHAT? Huh, Randy? What? Juststand outside his bedroom window and srenade him until he goes out with me out of pity?" He was getting flustered again, but so was I.

"This is so perfect, and you two are too blind to SEE it. This is your chance Tyler. Thi could be your special guy."

"Yeah, sure. Thats just what I told myself the last few times I claied to be in love with 'Mr. Right', and it justdoesn't work like that?"

"We ALL make mistakes Ty. But we don't stop trying. You've really got something special here..."

"Don't you think I know that?!?!" He snapped at me. "Don't you think I contemplated the idea of 'fate' making it so Ariel and I could be together? I thought it was all some flawless game TOO! But you know what? I was wrong....again. I do everything that I can to make it right, and it never works. I always end up being the one with a gaping hole in my heart, and I'm sick of it! There's always going to be somebody else, or somebody better, or somebody cuter, or some stupid reason why I can't be happy for once in my whole fucking life! I won't let myself get sucked into that again. Ever. You want to know if it hurts? Huh? Is THAT what you're looking for?" He said, and then he began to tear up. "Yeah...it hurts. I feel empty inside right now, and the last thing I need is a lecture from you telling me how everything was supposed to be perfect! Because it's just NOT! It never is. Love just wasn't meant to be a part of my life, and that's a problem that I'm going to have to just accept and deal with. Now, if you don't mind, will you kindly get out of my way? I've got a class to go to." And with that, he pushed his way passed me and left me alone in there. I closed my eyes and let out a long sigh. Why the hell would Ariel say no? Why would ANYONE say no to Tyler? For crying out loud, you'd think he'd be running from heart throbs like one of the freaking 'Beatles'! The beautiful blond angel...lost in love. There had to be more to this. And whatever it was, there was only one place to find the answer to this whole thing. And that was with Ariel.

I caught him at his locker that same afternoon as the final bell rang, tapping my foot impatiently and wondering if I should be angry or not. One minute, he's telling me how beautiful Tyler is, and the next, he's blowing him off. I swear, Ryan and I had done everything but lock them in a box together and roll them down a hill! Ariel showed up to get his coat and books, and I guess he could tell by the look on my face that I already knew what had happened. But he tried to play it off anyway. "H-h-hey...what's up?" He said shyly.

"Nothing's up. Nothing at all. I thought maybe you and me might take a walk."

"Do...do I have to?"

"OH yeah. You most CERTAINLY have to!" I said, and he grabbed his stuff so we could walk home together. We had only made a block or two when we had some privacy, and I shouted out, "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???"

"Randy, I know you're kinda mad..."

"KINDA MAD??? Dude...Tyler was asking you out on a DATE!" I saw Ariel cringe a bit.

"I...I know." He said meekly.

"Everything was all set to go!"

"Yeah...I know."

"He was basically saying, 'hey, I want to get to know you'!"

"I know. Ok?"

"Well...if you know all of this stuff, then why in God's name did you turn him down?" I asked. I was probably grilling him kind of hard, but it was so frustrating to think that they were THAT close! He didn't answer right away, he just directed his eyes downward and kept walking. Ok Randy, calm down, catch your breath. It's...it's their lives, I'm supposed to be helping here. Not forcing them to mate like a couple of puppies. "Look...Ariel, I'm just a bit confused, alright? I mean...I thought that this is what you wanted."

"It IS what I want." He whined softly.

"Well...?"

"You...you just wouldn't understand, ok?" He said, and tried to speed up a bit.

But I matched his walking speed and spoke with a little more concern, "Help me to understand dude. What happened? Were...were you just scared or something?"

He stopped walking, and he looked me right in the eye, something Ariel doesn't do often. "A little." Then he changed his story, "Ok...a LOT. I'm not like you Randy. What am I gonna do? Say yes, and go to the movie and trip all over my shoelaces, spill soda in his lap, and then expect him to ever call me again? LOOK at him Randy! Have you ever just stood back and taken a good look at Tyler? He's gorgeous. Kids like that wouldn't spit on me, much less date me. I'm not going to be able to keep up with him. I'm nothing. A total nobody." He said, his voice reverting to almost a whisper, and his eyes going back to the cement. His hair flopped into his eyes, and it hid his face almost entirely from that angle.

"Ariel...dude, you are NOT a nobody." He wouldn't look at me, so I gently placed my fingertips on his chin and raised his head to look at me. "If Tyler thought you were a nobody, would he have asked you out to the movies?"

"I don't KNOW. I'm confused, and I'm scared, and I'm so mad because I can't even look him in the eye half the time without being a dork about it."

"That's ok! It's ok to be confused, and scared, and even angry...but don't let it stop you from getting what you really want. Ariel, you are so awesome, and what makes you so special is that you are so unaware of it. If you don't take risks every now and then, you'll never get any further in life than you are right now."

Ariel lowered his head again, "I...I don't want to get hurt Randy. You don't understand...I don't think I could survive that again like I did with y..." Then he stopped himself and said, "...like the last time I really cared for somebody." He was really terrified, and what was worse, I might be the reason for that. He never once said it, but I knew how he felt about me at one time. I guess it was silly to think that all of it would somehow just go away and vanish into thin air.

"Ariel, sometimes...you're going to get hurt. Sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. But you can't let that pain prevent you from making a leap of faith. Especially when it's something that you really want. You have an opportunity here...a real chance to be with someone that you truly care about. That's not an everyday thing. Dont...don't throw this away. The next time Tyler asks you out, no matter HOW scared you are...take a chance and say yes. You just might be surprised." I could see him trying to keep himself stubbornly set in his decision, but all it took was a look into his brown eyes. "Ok?"

"I'll try. I will. But so help me, if I get hurt, I'm coming over to your house and crying on your shoulder every DAY until I feel better." He said.

"Deal. But honestly, I don't think you'll need to." We had arrived at Ariel's house, and he went in without saying much else. And without tripping over anything. I must say, I was impressed. However, he was still shaking visibly, and Tyler wasn't even anywhere in sight. I guess heartbreak is a hard thing to take. It's not something you ever really get over, it's just something that you learn to live with. Maybe even accept on some levels. I got lucky with Ryan, and he just so happened to be interested. God forbid if he were straight, and I spent the rest of my days chasing him around the neighborhood. But this was Tyler's chance to finally find someone that will give him as much love as he gives them. This will be Ariel's chance to finally come out of his shell and allow someone to love him and be there for him like he so deserves. I can't imagine it not working out for them, but then again, I guess that's not really my call to make.

I got home and saw my mom on the phone with a somewhat blank look on her face. A half smile, and half look of total confusion. Then she said, "Randy...it's for you." That could only mean one thing.

"Wilson?"

"Who else?" She smiled, and I took the phone into my room.

"Hey Wilson! What's up buddy?"

"Shhhh....she'll hear you if you talk loud." He whispered.

"Um...who?" I replied, lowering my voice.

"My mom." Should I even ask what that's supposed to mean or what?

"Wilson, why would your mom..."

"I don't have much time. I need your help with something." Help? Me? This shoul be interesting.

"Um...okaaay." I said.

"Look, there's this guy at school, right? And he's new, and so I said hello, and we became friends and stuff, and I went to his birthday party last week."

"Ok...and?"

"Hold on..." he whispered, then there was a pause before he came back on, "Ok...so at the party, I met Freddie, and I never talked to him before, but he was really cool. So I went to hs house to play the game with the G.I. Joe figures, remember? But he's not as good at setting them up as you are though." And here I thought he didn't have a lot of time.

"Ok. Is there more?" I asked.

"Yeah, I think I'm in love, or whatever." I could feel my eyes pop out of my head. The very idea of it was just...unthinkable for some reason.

"You're...you're in love?"

"I dunno. I think so."

"With Freddie?" I asked.

"NO! What do I look like? A butt pirate? No offense. I like his sister." If only I could have a written transcript of our every conversation so I could find out what parts were missing in this kids wild sense of logic.

"Wilson..what makes you think you're in love with Freddie's sister?"

"Well, she smiled at me right? And it made me feel all funny inside. So I smiled back, and she giggled and ran away. And then, later on, she did it again..."

"And did you smile back?" I asked.

"Better! I pushed her down in the mud! She got all wet and everything."

"Wilson, that wasn't nice!"

"No no, don't worry, she laughed. I think. Or maybe she was crying, but it felt good inside, you know?"

My mom walked by my room to see if I was making anymore sense out this then she was, and I shook my head to indicate that I had absolutely no clue. "Exactly what kind of help did you need from me?" I asked.

"Well...I don't know. It's weird. What do I do? I mean, I can't tell anybody that I like her, or they'll beat me up. I kinda...I want her to know, though. She's cool." I had a big brotherly moment there for a second, hearing Wilson trying to be sweet on some lucky girl. It was touching.

"Have you tried talking to her?"

"I TRIED that! But I can't think of anything to say. So I call her names sometimes. And I pushed her off of her bike one day. And one time..."

"Wilson, I don't think that's really the way to get this girl's attention. It's an easy way to put her in the hospital though, if THAT'S what you're going for."

"That's what I MEAN Randy! Help me!" He squealed, and then I heard his mom calling his name from somewhere in the house.

"I think I have to go." His voice returning to a whisper.

"Why can't you talk on the phone?"

"I'm grounded. No phone. I got caught putting a dead beetle in her jello at lunch." He said, without so much as a smile.

"And...you did this because you like her?"

"No, I did THAT because it was funny. And because Danny dared me to. I hit her in the chest with a dodgeball because I like her. Do you think she got the message?"

I give up. "Wilson...if you had hit ME in the chest with a dodgeball, I'd be swooning." Just then, I heard his mom open his bedroom door and ask what he was doing. And just before the click, I could hear his pattented 'nothing' come out of his mouth. I swear, one of these days, I'm going to be able to understand that boy. And on that day, I'm going to check myself into a mental hospital for good.

Later that night, I talked to Ryan on the phone for about an hour. It was just odd how we seemed to almost be able to finish each other's sentences without any effort at all. It made me wonder, did I really know him that well? As I thought about it more and more, I realized that we were more like an old married couple than anything else. How long has it been, anyway? Do I even remember? We had done everything that we could possibly do, been through many situations, many emotions, fights, sex, love, grins, and tears. What else was there? Don't get me wrong, I LOVED that boy so much that it hurt! But at the same time, I began to wonderif our rise up into infinite love was beginning to slow dwn a bit. If maybe we were almost reaching that plateau where we simply had nowhere else to go. No choice but to stay where we were or go back down to the bottom. A piece of me, just a small piece, really envied Tyler and Ariel because of that. I mean, they were just starting out, just learning about each other and feeling that incredible anxiety. It's like watching your favorite movie. Sure, you can always enjoy it, and appreciate it, and love every moment ofit from beginning to end. But you'll never be able to see it for the 'first time' again. Not ever. Ariel and Tyler...they were still feeling those nervous jitters. Those nasty little dents in their confidence. That insecurity, that excitement, that incredible discovery of love that Randy and I might have gone beyond at this point. Maybe...we even take it for granted sometimes. Something about that thought inspired me to do something nice for him. My boyfriend. The beautiful, funny, amazingly wonderful boy who turned my world upside down and made me whole. Strawberry blond with hazel eyes and a smile that could charm the pants off of anyone he displayed it to. I thought it over, and I wonered if I could do something to put an extra spark in what we had. I was satisfied beyond belief...but now was the time to be impressed. For both of us. I'll DO it! And soon!

I tried to sleep that night, but couldn't really get comfortable for some odd reason. Have you ever had one of those nights when you just feel 'wrong' no matter WHAT position you're lying in? Well...this was one of those nights, and I got out of bed to turn on the tv. Maybe after 15 minutes of late night 'zombie tv', I'll be bored enough to go back to sleep.

It must have been like 1 AM, and as I crossed my room, I saw a light on in Tyler's room across the street. Looks like he was having one of those nights too. I wondered what he was thinking. What was going through his mind at that particular moment. When I really sat down and thought about it, Tyler had been hurt so much more than he deserved to be. You would think that someone so beautiful, so undeniably gorgeous, wouldn't have a single insecurity at all. A boy that sweet and cute and cool to be around should be able to walk into a room and point out anybody that he wanted to be with. Gay or not, I don't know a single guy who would turn down the chance to be by his side. That's o awful that he's just been kicked around the way he has been. I'm just as guilty as anyone else, if not more so. Who knows? Maybe this thing about me setting Tyler and Ariel up together is my way of making things right. To both of them. Maybe it's my way of saying, 'you deserve the love that you once gave me.' He might have been scared, or hurt, or whatever he was feeling at that particular moment, but he was one of the finest, most creative, most incredible people that I had ever met in my whole life.

Maybe it was time that I let him know that.

I crept out of the front door, opening it slightly, and walked over to Tyler's house. It probably took me a lot longer than I think it did, but after a lot of struggling and sweating and straining, I was able to climb up high enough to tap on Tyler's window. He was laying in his bed, just wearing his plaid boxer shorts and a plain white t-shirt. A sight to behold, believe me. His light blond hair hanging delicately into his face, gently tickling the sides. He was reading a book, and had one of his smooth long legs propped up. I swear, Ariel is NOT going to know what to do with himself once he gets a vision of lovliness like Tyler in his life!

Tyler looked up and walked over to unlock the window and let me in. I had lost my breath, and was pretty sore from trying to get up that high. "Geez...honestly dude...I don't see how you and Ryan hop into my window so easily at night." I huffed.

"I never said it was easy. Hehehe! Besides, you were almost always worth the effort." He smiled weakly.

I didn't want to move into anything too quickly, but I wasn't sure how to start any kind of trivial small talk to prolong the inevitbale. So I just came out with it. "So...how are ya feeling?" I asked.

Tyler's smile faded almost instantly, "Ok...I suppose. Considering. I had some trouble sleeping, but I'll be fine in a day or two. Really."

"You know...you could always try again." I said.

"Ha! Yeah, great strategy Randy. You know, when I was 12, I almost broke my leg trying out Ryan's skateboard! Why don't I take a second shot at THAT too while I'm at it?"

"No, dude...listen to me...give it a second try. Maybe this timehe'll say yes."

"Maybe this time he'll say 'HELL no' instead of just no." Tyler ws being difficult, as he tends to be in these situations, but I didn't want to let him fall. Not now.

"You're not listening to me. Ariel...he's extremely shy. You know that. He just doesn't know how to react to things like that. Just think of how hard we had to try just to get him to be comfortable enough to sit with us at lunch." Tyler sat down on the bed, his back to me, and I sat beside him to give him my suport. "I know ths seems like a big gamble to you, and I know you've been hurt before...but I have never seen anything like this in you before. I've never seen you so nervous, I've never seen you so clumsy. Hell, you hardly ever blushed before Ariel came along. So what's the point in trying to deny that?"

"What if I'm wrong, Randy?" He said quietly, a single tear crawling down his face. "What if he doesn't want me? I don't think that I'd have the energy to start all over again. My heart won't heal if it gets broken again. I can't bare to watch other people show each other affection while I'm left out in the cold. It would crucify me for sure on the inside."

"Those are all possibilities," I lied. I already knew Ariel's answer, "...but...what if none of those things ever happen? What if...you ask Ariel out again, and this time he says yes? What if, you two really hit it off, and you get to experience love to its very fullest?"

But Tyler just sulked and said, "What if it DOES happen and I'm humiliated beyond belief?"

"Ok, let me put this another way. What if you never do anything about i, and fifteen years from now, you find yourself asking this SAME question long after it's too late to do anyhing about it? Will he? Won't he? Who knows? Buthe question will haunt you forever if you don't at least try. Denying and postponing the question, won't give you the answer. I guarantee it." Was that it? Was that the little speech that might actually get a response out of him?

"Sigh....Randy..."

"DON'T say it! Don't say anything. Just think it over, get some sleep, and let me know what happens. Ok? Just think about it. That's all I ask."

"Go home Randy." He grinned. I may be mistaken, but I do believe we have 'contact'.

"Alright. But if I fall out of this damn window, I'm going to sue." I smiled, and crawled out the way I came in.

But as soon as I got out of the window, Tyler said, "If it weren't for you, I might be a very stable member of society. You know that, right?"

"Stable member of society? How boring." And with that, I smiled and went back to my house. Needless to say, I was able to sleep fine after that.

The next day seemed to be much shorter than any of the others. Even the classes seemed somewhat interesting. I had almost blown a fuse when neither Ariel OR Tyler showed up for lunch that day! It almost broke my heart to think that everything might be on hold for even LONGER. Ryan tried to get me to smile, but this was major. I know, I know...I worry too much. Still, this was becoming a stressful situation on all of us. However, despite the long wait, the mystery, the suspense...I was happily rewarded after school that day.

Ryan and I figured that we could just hike our way back home and chill out for a while. I took a look at that gorgeous face of his and was instantly met with a boyish grin. The kind of grin that he usually gave me when things were about to get wild. Hehehe. We took a shortcut through the grassy field of the high school, and as I was walking along by the parking lot, I heard my name being called. I turned around, and saw Ariel walking fast to catch up to me. I was almost tempted to tell him to slow down before he tripped over his feet and landed himself in intensive care! But he didn't seem to have any problems at all. And when I looked behind him, over his shoulder, there was Tyler. Leaning against the fence in the distance, and trying to hold back one of the most genuine smiles that I have ever seen come across his lips in a long time. Ariel finally came up to me, and I greeted him with a hello. "So, what's up?" I asked.

Ariel blushed at first. His head fell down to the ground and his hair masked his eyes on instinct, as it always did. "I...uh...I just thought I'd tell you..."

"Tell me what?"

"I...I said yes." He grinned.

"You...you said YES?" I smiled, and Ariel giggled bashfully at my surprise. "You said YES!!! He said YES!!!"

"Hehehe...yeah. I guess I did." Ariel looked back at him, and Tyler turned a shade of red that I could see in the distance. I looked at Randy who's mouth had completely dropped open.

"You're SHITTING me?!?!" He said.

"Hehehe, nope! He asked me out, and I said yes. He was very sweet about it too. Hehehe. The movie is gonna start in about an hour or so." Ariel seemed so happy...almost...proud.

I was completely speechless. "Oh...oh wow. Omigod." I felt this heavy weight in my chest, and I almost cried out of happiness for them. "So...so what now?" I asked.

"I don't know. I guess whatever happens...happens." He said. "But...we won't worry about that for now."

"I'm so proud of you Ariel. I mean that. I knew you could do it. I...uh...I had a feeling about you guys...you two make a cute couple." I probably would have started snickering to myself if I wasn't so choked up.

Ariel blushed even harder, biting his lip to keep from smiling. But this was one smile that couldn't be hidden. Not for ANY reason. I had never seen Ariel so overwhelmed with joy.

There was a short silence between us, all three of us pretty much lost for words at that point. Whatever force brought those two together, it had made one hell of an impression on our buddy. Once the silence got passed a few shy smiles and quick glances, Ariel's face got a bit more serious. "Well...." He started, and he seemed to be struggling for words. "...I guess..I guess I have a movie to catch, huh?"

"Yeah...yeah, I guess you do." I replied. But there was something that was keeping Ariel there. He didn't want to go just yet.

"Well...I'll see you guys tomorrow then." He said. He paused, and I saw a bit of water appear in one of his eyes. His emotions came to the surface a bit, and with shakey hands, he moved closer, and gave me a lovingly tight hug. He squeezed as though he would never get to hug me again. That's when he breathlessly whispered the words..."Thank you." His voice was trembling sadly, and I could see a few tears on his cheeks.

"Hey, hey...what are friends for?" I said, patting him on the back.

That's when he said something that caught me completely by surprise! "I...I love you Randy. I always have." He SAID it! He actually SAID that he loved me! I never thought he would have the courage. Never thought that he would be able to get the words out. After all the struggling he had to go through, the embarassment and the fear, the pleasure and the pain, he actually worked up the nerve to say the words. I guess it was a piece of himelf that he was letting go of at last. Something that he adored, but just didn't need anymore. No doubt he was ready to be filled up by something else. Something better. Tyler's love.

"Heh...I know." I said. Ryan was even beginning to gush over the idea of it.

Then Ariel sniffled a little bit and broke away from our hug, saying, "Oh man...I'm sorry. I'm getting mucus and stuff all over your shirt. That's not cool." He smiled through teary eyes.

"You got what...?" But before I could finish the sentence, the second I looked down at my shirt....HE KISSED ME!!! Ariel just suddenly dove forward unexpectedly, and gave me a quick peck on the lips! I swear, I could have sworn that was on the verge of having a heart attack at this point after the amount of surprises I had experienced this week!

"I KNEW I'd get to kiss you one day, Randy Stephens!" Ariel smiled! My mouth dropped open, and I just couldn't believe what had just happened!

"Bastard!" I grinned.

Ariel giggled madly, and waved goodbye. "Sorry Ryan!" He said, apologizing for the kiss, but never losing that giant smile of his.

"No problem dude!" Ryan said, almost laughing.

And with that said, Ariel took off, running almost top speed to meet Tyler at the fence! I saw Ariel jump up in mid air and almost laugh outloud as he got there, and then the two of them walked off together. They were happy, smiling, and best of all...in love.

Ryan and I watched them stroll off together for a few moments, feeling it tug at our emotions a bit, and then went our own way. Finally...it was right again. Life, that is.

"Slut." Ryan muttered under his breath.

"WHAT?" I grinned.

"Slut, that's what you are."

"Dude! Ariel kissed ME!!!"

"Oh right! Like I'm REALLY gonna believe that Ariel kissed YOU!" I tackled him down onto the grass, and we laughed ourselves silly. My boyfriend, my first and last love. All I would ever need. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...life is beautiful.


I hope you guys really enjoyed this chapter! Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! And I wish you all well. Please let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by the website at http://studflower.com/comicality/ (Don't forget to sign the guestbook!)