I waited until after dinner to make the call. Ariel was a bit of a homework bug, and he'd be keeping himself pretty locked up until it was all finished, no doubt. Not that he wouldn't drop it for the 'great' Randy Stephens, hehehe! Still, I didn't want to interrupt his train of thought, and called him a bit later on. I heard the phone ring a few times, and Ariel actually picked it up himself this time. "Hello?"
"What's up, Ariel? It's me." I answered, and I heard a slight gasp, charging up his energy level, before he quickly replied.
"Hi!" Hehehe, only Wilson could sound more excited to get a phone call. "Um...wait...hold on a sec, k?"
"Sure..." I said, and I heard him tell his grandma to hang up the phone as soon as he got upstairs. Somehow, I think she misinterpreted the message though....because the next thing I heard was a dial tone. Um...ok then...
I hung up the phone, and it rang again almost instantly. I picked it up and Ariel was frantic, "Randy??? I'm SOOOOOOOO sorry!!! Omigod, did she hang up on you??? I can't BELIEVE she did that!" I could almost 'hear' him blushing.
"Hehehe, Ariel...it's ok. It was an accident."
"I'm really sorry, ok? Really..."
"Ok, I got it. Chill out." I grinned. "I was just hoping that you still wanted to talk. I know you said in private and all, so I figured..."
"Is there anybody home at your house?" He blurted out quickly.
"My house? Yeah, my mom is here. Why?"
"Shit..." He whispered, then a pause followed where the silence almost allowed me to hear his wheels turning. "...look, do you think we can 'go somewhere' or something?" He lowered his voice almost to a whisper. This must be important.
"Go somewhere? Like where?" I asked.
"I don't know...anywhere? Um...how about you meet me out by the elementary school playground? Is that...is that ok?" His desperation was obviously outshining his shyness this time around, and something tells me that saying 'no' would only make him think harder to find a way for us to talk to me face to face.
"Ok...sounds fine to me. Meet you there in about fifteen minutes?"
"Cool! Yeah, I'll be there. I've gotta think of something to tell my grandma so she won't make a fuss when my parents come home. But I'll be there, promise." He said, and before I could say goodbye, I was 'blessed' with yet another dial tone. I swear, that boy was just plain goofy sometimes.
I guess it was about 8 PM when I got to the park, and the sun was completely out of sight by then. Not that it was going to be hard to spot Ariel through the obstructions of kiddie slides, sandboxes, and monkeybars. I walked over to the fence, and suddenly saw a bright blinking light hitting me square in the eyes. I shielded myself from the blinding flash by using my hands to cover up. "Randy?" Came a whisper, and there was Ariel, with a flashlight, blinking it on and off a few times in my face from behind a tree.
"Dude, what the hell are you doing?" I said, walking over and putting his 'weapon' back down at his side.
"I wanted to make sure I could get your attention." He said, without even cracking a smile.
"Yeah? Well you got it, 'spy hunter'. Now put that away." He put the flashlight under his belt and and started walking, signaling for me to follow him. "Ariel, not to sound impatient or anything, but do you mind telling me what this is all about?"
"Yeah...I need your help, Randy. I mean..." He sighed, searching for a string of words that could possibly convey what he was feeling. "I don't know...how to...I mean...I just want..." He was getting tongue tied, and BOY was he trembling. I could hear it in every word he spoke.
I stopped him from walking and we leaned up against a wall, "Listen...calm down, ok? Whatever it is...we can talk about it. Really. Just tell me what's on your mind."
I don't think he expected to tell me quite that fast. He gave me a look of fear and confusion that left him completely lost as to where to begin. It's almost as if he had rehearsed both sides of this conversation in his head all night long, and I had just 'strayed from the script'. "Um...ok..." He said, and then looked down at his feet in complete silence. I waited a few seconds for him to start, but it looked like he might need another gentle push in the right direction.
"I'm thinking." He said. "Um....ok...well..." He started off, but then he started walking again. "...I need to sit down." Sigh...fair enough. We walked over to a swingset, and sat next to one another, gently swinging back and forth peacefully, our feet never leaving the ground. Ariel was still looking for those 'opening words', and I just let him stay quiet for a few minutes. Until he felt comfortable. I didn't really have anywhere to be or anything, and there's no WAY that he would have gone through all of this trouble if it wasn't important.
We just relaxed for a few long moments, and I looked up at the sky for a bit. "It's almost a full moon." I said softly, hoping to ease a bit of that pressure off of his mind.
"Yeah...almost." Ariel mumbled, his hair falling into those gorgeous brown eyes and hiding the slight hint of sadness that he felt from not being able to speak. I hope he didn't feel too bad, and showed him so by placing my hand on his shoulder. He lifted his head tenderly, softly, slowly. And he whispered, "I'm sorry...I just..."
"It's ok. Take your time. Really." I assured him.
"I'm...sooo embarassed. I don't really know how to....'talk' about this stuff with anybody. This is all kinda....'new' to me."
Believe me, there's nothing more adorable than seeing Ariel's confidence slowly blossom in front of your eyes as he struggles through his own bashfullness. It's like witnessing the opening of a flower...truly beautiful. "You know, you can talk to me about anything. Seriously, Ariel. I know you might be a bit uncomfortable with it, and that's cool, I can wait. Just don't think that you ever have to worry about me making any judgements or anything. K?"
"Thanks, Randy..." He said, and took a deep breath, "So...you know...I asked him. I mean...I asked...Tyler...if maybe, I could possibly, come over to his house sometime." Ariel's voice began to tremble again, and his body was visibly quaking at the idea. Normally, such a cute display would cause me to smile uncontrollably. But he was already having enough trouble with this as it was. So I held it back, and just let him speak as the words slowly came into focus for him. "...He said 'yes'. At least...I think he said 'yes'. I mean...he SORTA said 'yes', but I don't know if he really meant it. I think...I think I make him nervous, or something."
"Yeah...maybe." I added, still letting him tell the story 'his' way without interruptions.
"I don't want to make him nervous, Randy. I don't wanna...force it or anything."
"I know. I'm sure Tyler knows it too, deep down."
"Don't tell him I said so...but he makes me nervous too. Sometimes...sometimes I feel like I can hardly breathe around him."
"I remember that feeling." I smiled. "And even though it seems like a torturous HELL to you right now...someday, you're gonna look back and truly appreciate that terrifying fear. It's the kind of thing you and Tyler will giggle about later, because in the end...that's the best part."
"Does it...does it ever go away?" Ariel asked.
"It dies down a little bit once you learn to trust what you have with each other, sure. But does it ever 'go away'?" I thought for a second, "No. Never. I don't think it would be as special if it didn't."
Ariel nodded quietly, and picked up a nearby stick to lean forward and make small circles in the dirt beneath his feet. Something tells me that this conversation wasn't quite over yet. "He's cute, Randy. I don't think I'll ever be able to imagine somebody that cute...with me. It seems so unreal." He said under his breath, never looking up from his small drawn circles, which began to get a bit mishapen as his hands began to tremble again. He got even MORE nervous, and almost teary eyed at that moment as he forced himself to go on. "I...I...uh...think about him....a lot. I mean...a LOT." He started, and I sort of straightened up a little, not exactly knowing what he meant by that. "And...he's really...REALLY cute....you know?"
He glanced over at me, wondering if I was still following him through my silence. I didn't know what to say, so I just kinda nodded my head and mumbled..."Uh-huh..."
"Sometimes...when we're together, I get really excited and I want to...just...'hug' him...or...or...something..."
"Or 'something'?" I asked.
"Yeah...like...maybe a kiss....or...or something.." He was blushing so hard you could see it in the dark, and shaking so badly that you could hear it in the jingling chains of his swing.
"Oh...ok..." I think I was beginning to understand what he was saying here. But what I didn't understand was exactly what he wanted me to do for him at this point.
"Sighhhh...look, I'm still kinda working this out. So...I'm sorry if don't...exactly know how to phrase things right now." Ariel pouted, the frustration of the moment grasping tightly to him and preventing this from being as easy as he thought it would be.
"Take your time. We've got all night." I said, and tried to avert my eyes from him. I hoped that it would be a bit easier if I wasn't staring him down.
"Um...yeah...so...I thought more about...you know...going over to his...house. And...and...what might...'happen'...if I did that. Go over, I mean." He stuttered. I thought the butterflies in his stomach would have made him SICK by now, but he held onto his determination for getting this out in the open. He was trying sooo hard. "Ahem..." He cleared his throat, and continued, "...and so...I don't know..." He stopped, and let even more of his chestnut brown hair fall down into his face to further hide it from my view. "...that is...I don't...neccessarily know..." He stopped, and I reached out a hand to place it on his shoulder again, rubbing it in small circles to help him get it out. "...What I mean to say is...I've never..." He was making some kind of weird gesture with his hand to give me a hint. But I didn't really catch on. "I've...NEVER....uh..."
Click! "OHHH!!! Oh...dude...OH!" I said, a bit dazed by the whole thing. "You mean...you've never been...um...'intimate' with anybody, before." I said, softening the blow for him as best as I could.
"Intimate. Yes. That's it...that's the word. Intimate." He said, giving me a TINY sigh of relief, but not enough to stop him from shaking. Then he bit his bottom lip to smile a bit, that timid, boyish grin that truly made him an angel. "God, I feel like such a dork..." He said, raising a hand to his face to cover his eyes.
"No...no dude. Don't feel bad. Really, that's cool. There's nothing to be embarassed about." I said, and let him get back to his 'mission' after a few minutes of making sure that he knew that there was nothing wrong with it. But in order to do that, I had to ask, "Um, but Ariel...what I don't understand is what 'help' you need from ME in all this." And with that said, I felt him slowly start to tense up again.
"Randy...I don't want to make a fool out of myself. I'm a bit...scared. You know?" Ariel whined under his breath. "I mean...I don't know how to...kiss...or...'touch'...or any of that stuff. What happens if I get there and I...freeze up or something? He'll hate me."
"You won't freeze up, Ariel. You'll be fine."
"Yes I will, Randy. I KNOW I will. I'm gonna be paralyzed and he's going to regret ever even 'talking' to me. He's soooo beautiful. I'm gonna pass out or something. Or worse, I'll have one of my stupid accidents and probably end up putting him in the hospital or something." He said, slightly aggrivated with himself.
"Ariel...look at me, dude." I said, and he sorta eyed me from the corner of his eye, but I physically turned his head to see me. "Listen...Tyler is a GOOD guy, and the last thing he'd ever want to do is hurt or embarass you. Ok? He cares about you." He was still a bit shaken, and I made sure to add, "And I don't think he'd pressure you into something you weren't ready for. Ok?"
"But...I...I WANT to..." Ariel said, only glancing at me timidly out of the corner of his eye.
This time, I couldn't HELP but grin. "Really, now?"
"Yeah...really." He saw the smile on my face, and a childish grin of his own spread over his lips. A silent giggle that would have made your heart melt to look at it. Then he looked away to avoid my eyes, a few chuckles escaping him. I giggled a bit too, and he whimpered, "Stop..." leaning to gently bump his swing into mine.
"You're laughing at me."
"No...I'm not. I'm proud of you." I said, and he glanced back at me to see a big brotherly look on my face. "Tyler's a lucky guy."
Then, Ariel said, "Not as lucky as he's gonna be." OMIGOD! He saw the shock on my face and it set him off, laughing outloud. "Hahaha! I'm just KIDDING!" He blushed cheerfully, but even THAT'S stretching out a bit far for Ariel.
"No you weren't!" I giggled, still blown away that Ariel made his first borderline sexual reference around me. We have seriously corrupted this untouched boy of purity and innocence.
Ariel and I let the laughs die down a bit, and then he gave me a look of trust. Of admiration. "Thanks for coming out here tonight, Randy. I don't...I can't really talk to anybody else about this. I'm kinda tired of keeping it all to myself."
"I know. And if you ever need to talk, I'm here. Ok?"
"Yeah...I know." He smiled, and we spent the last few moments out in the park, just quietly letting the night sink into us. The coolness of the air just seemed to clear our heads of everything and we enjoyed spending some time together as friends. You know what's weird? I guess Ariel and I were always friends in a basic, everyday, kind of way...but tonight was different. Better. And I really began to realize just how much I cared about him. I knew how special he was, but now I got an idea of how special he was...to ME. And that's a whole other story if you think about it.
Ariel and I left the park about 20 minutes after that and I walked him back to his house. "This is you, dude. I'll see you tomorrow?" I said.
But instead of answering right away, I saw Ariel look down at his feet in a thoughtful mood for a second. "Oh no...." He mumbled.
"I hung up on you again, didn't I?"
"Hung up on me?"
"When I asked you to meet me out at the park...I hung up on you without saying goodbye or anything, didn't I?" He looked almost hurt. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it. I was nervous..."
"Hehehe...you're a NUT! You know that? Go home already." I gently pushed him in the direction of his house and he smiled timidly as e waved goodnight.
"Thanks Randy..." He said, and once he was inside, I started the journey back to my house.
As I passed by Ryan's house at the other end of the block, I saw his dad's car pulling into the driveway in front of me. Naturally, I tensed up a bit. This unexplainable rush of confusion entered my mind and kept any form of comfort or normality from being possible at that moment. I never knew how he was going to...'react' to me. I never knew how he was going to look at me, or if he was going to speak or not, or if I should speak first, or if he was going to work up a smile. And if he did, I never knew if it was genuine or not. I was, afterall, the demonic little bastard that stole his son away from the 'breeder team'. Sigh...I imagine that one day I won't have to think about this kinda thing so much.
I kept walking forward, but every step felt labored and awkward, as though I had to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other just to keep from falling over. I tried to breathe normally, and kinda turned my head a bit to the side so I could sorta let him know that I see him, and kinda make it look like I'm not 'looking' for him to talk to me or anything. It was such a weird feeling. I got to his front lawn, and I saw his dad's car door open up. This is it. Stay calm Randy. Just...um...be polite.
Ryan's dad stepped out of the car, and grabbed a few small bags of groceries off of the seat before closing the door behind him. I could feel a shiver go through me, but I was able to work up a somewhat decent smile and said, "Hi..."
"Hi, Randy." He said, obviously more out of obligation than friendliness. The shivers inside got progressively worse as I noticed the look on his face. Not angry, not disgusted, just...blank. Like he had cut me off from any emotion he could give me. I don't think he even cared enough to hate me. He kept walking towards his front door without even glancing in my direction, without another word, and it was terrifying. I can't explain why really, but it was. I didn't want him to banish me from his attention, I wanted him to understand. I wanted him to LIKE me. Please? I didn't do anything wrong...please understand that. I LOVE him, ok? He loves ME. You can't hate me for that. It's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Your son is the only thing in this whole world that makes sense to me, that completes me. Don't hate me.
"D-D-Do you need any help with the groceries...sir?" I stumbled, hoping to make a few points with him, or at least get myself back on the scoreboard.
"No." He said, never slowing down a step. He put his key in the lock, and opened the door.
"You sure?" But he just closed the door. That was it. I don't think there was any better way to make my confidence drop down into my shoes. It hurt. I don't see why he has to be so 'cool' with me and Ryan being a couple anyway. It's not like we need his permission, it's not like we need his approval. We'll be just fine without it. Still...
There's just something so painful about being disliked for something that brings so much joy into your life. It's like, you can either have them hate you...and be miserable...or you can give up what it is that you love so much...and be miserable. I certainly hope that Ryan doesn't get as much of a cold shoulder as I do since he caught us coming out of the shower together.
Sadly, with my pride dented and my faith scarred, I walked the rest of the block home. I didn't bother to call Ryan that night to wish him sweet dreams like I usually did. I didn't want his dad to see my name on the caller ID and get even MORE frustrated. When I went to bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking back to when all this began, I knew deep down that Ryan was worth it. It's never been easy for us, not from day one. We've come a long way since that first day that he came over to my house, and what we've built is much too strong to let something like this come between us. We'll get through it, just like we got through everything else. I just hope we can do it soon...because I really hate feeling like this.
The next morning came too quickly for my tastes, but I was able to drag myself out of bed anyway. I grabbed a quick breakfast, grabbed my bag, and walked out to see Tyler waiting outside for his prince as to be expected. Instead of the cheerful teasing that I usually give him, I just smiled and gave him a wave. He still looked a bit more nervous than usual, even after our talk. But at least he was pushing himself to keep up the routine of seeing Ariel instead of pulling away from him. So I guess that's a good thing. I started walking to school and just letting my mind run wild with whatever random sparks that were strong enough to block out the image of Mr. Stephens face the night before. That blank, uncaring, void of a look that was going to haunt me every time his NAME was even mentioned from now on. Everytime I kiss Ryan...I'm gong to think of that look...and I'm going to feel ashamed all over again.
"What's the deal, jerk off?" Came a voice from a few steps behind me. I turned to see Ryan jogging a few steps to catch up to me. "You're taking off without me today?" He smiled.
He always looked so beautiful, especially in the delicate rays of the morning sun. He was highlighted in all the right places, his every smooth feature glowing with a tenderness all its own. All this time, and he still leaves me breathless with the unfair 'sucker punch' of his smile. At times like this, I wish it wasn't so easy for him to send me reeling back in love's embrace. "I guess I just wasn't thinking." I grinned, losing myself in his soft hazel eyes.
"Well...try 'not thinking' with ME next time. I'm sensitive, you'll make me think you don't wanna be seen with me. Hehehehe!" He said, and we kept walking. Together. Just like it should be.
I probably could have brought up what had happened last night, I probably could have mentioned the run in with his dad and tried to express to him how it cut a deep gash into me everytime it crossed my mind. But I didn't. I couldn't. You weren't there, you didn't see that sunshine grin on his face, you didn't hear the bubbly energy in his voice. He was already having a good morning, he sounded like he was even happier than usual. It felt like a crime to bring him down with talk like that. So I saved it for later. Not MUCH later, like I always do and screw everything up. But 'later' to the point where I could get my head together and talk about it properly. I know he says it doesn't matter and that he loves me no matter what, but if it's getting to ME this bad, it's gotta be eating him ALIVE!
The first hour or two of school was the stale taste of the same old routine. Hailey made her usual scene to let us know how much she was angry with Ryan for 'dumping' her, homework was assigned, books were opened and closed...it was monotonous at best. And my second class wasn't much better. I only give it the number one spot because I got to see one of the cute guys in the class go to sleep on the lesson and he was getting a boner right there in front of me. Hehehe, it can be so magical sometimes...seeing an erection grow as shamelessly as it does when we're asleep. I have to admit...I watched the whole thing. Can't blame me for looking. Anyway, I was able to meet up with Ryan between classes in the hallway and took the opportunity to walk with him a bit to soak up a little more of that adorable vibe that he seemed to carry with him so effortlessly. And that's when we bumped into Cody.
"Hey guys. Say Randy...can you do me a huge favor?" He said. He had his hair flopped forward, not as neat as it usually was, and his eyes were covered with a black pair of sunglasses. I gave him an odd look before answering.
"Look, I left my copy of 'Hamlet' at home by mistake, and I need to hurry up and read the next 20 pages for my English class in my study hall. Do you mind if I borrow yours?" He seemed to be acting normal enough, but when I looked closer, I saw a slight shade of purple peek out at me from behind those obsidian lenses of his.
"Dude...what happened to you?" Ryan asked, obviously noticing it the same time that I did.
"Look, do you have the book or not?" Cody snapped, almost ready to walk away.
"Fine. Whatever." I rummaged around in my bag to give him the book. "Here." And I left it at that.
Cody almost just said 'thank you' and went on about his business. Almost. But I guess the look I gave him straightened out his attitude a little. It was then that he sighed to himself and slowly removed his glasses. Revealing what looked to be a big shiner that was usually reserved for most professional boxers. "Jesus dude!" I gasped.
"Funny, I didn't think it looked that bad." He said, a small crooked grin on his face.
"What the hell happened?" Ryan said as he reached out a hand to lightly touch the bruise.
"Ahh..." Cody hissed. Ryan pulled his hand back and Cody, for the first time, hid his eyes from me. "Well, it seems that my 'friends' from the lunchline yesterday have enough brain power to remember things from one day to the next. So in gym this morning, while we were playing basketball...we had a bit of an 'accident'. Only it was on purpose."
"Oh Cody...dude, I'm sorry..." Ryan added.
"Don't sweat it. You should see his knuckles. They'll be sore for a day or two for sure. He hit me pretty hard. Heh heh..." It was the most unnatural chuckle that I had ever heard come out of Cody's mouth. I'm sure some of that reflected in the look that I gave him, because he turnd to me and said, "DON'T sweat it! Ok? Really, I'm fine. I've taken worse than those pussies can dish out. Where I come from, people have had their throats slit for less."
All I could do was nod and silently restrain myself from going any deeper into it. It didn't take long for me to realize that Cody was one of those people that you just couldn't push in any direction that he didn't want to go. "Are you gonna be ok?" I asked.
"I'll be fine." He shot back, before I was even finished with the sentence. "Thanks for the book. I'll see ya later." He put his sunglasses back on and walked off to get to his next class.
I looked at Ryan and his eyes met mine with the same concern. "Look, I doubt it'll do any good, but I'll let some folks know that Cody's a friend of ours. That should take some heat off of him for the time being." He said. Ryan was a popular kid, most of the other students liked him a lot, especially the jocks. He was just athletic enough to get in good with them, and just witty enough to make them laugh from time to time. If he let it be known that Cody was one of ours, it might make some of those buffed up homophobic assholes leave him alone. At least for now. I just hope Cody doesn't go provoking anything dangerous. Getting a black eye this soon after coming to school isn't a good thing.
I was actually able to catch up to Tyler later on, right before lunch. He hardly seemed as 'shaken' as he was before, but his mind was still preoccupied with it. I could tell by the blank look in his eye when I approached him. Like I had just woken him out of a deep dream or something. "I think I'm gonna do it, Randy." He said.
"I'm gonna ask Ariel to come over. I mean...it has to be sooner or later, right?"
I looked at Tyler and smiled, "You know...you two are probably one of the cutest couples I've seen in a long time. A matching set."
"Why do you say that?"
"Never you mind all of that. Just believe me when I say that things are going to work out for the best."
Tyler glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, piercing right through me while attempting to see what I was thinking. "He SAID something to you, didn't he?"
"Who? Ariel? No. Why?" I kept walking, but he stopped me.
"Because...you know...if he SAID something to you, I could REALLY benefit from knowing what it was. And things would run a LOT smoother when I ask him over this weekend." He kept prying.
"Ty, c'mon dude...you don't need a 'spy'. All you need is to take a little leap of faith and go with your gut feeling on this one."
"I take it that means you're not gonna tell me?" I just smiled and started walking again. "Fine. Ok. DON'T tell me. I don't care." He said, but after a few more steps, he was already caving in. "Oh 'PLEASE' tell me! Come on! Don't do this to me! I'm a big wreck as it is!"
"Sorry Charlie..." I said, making it to my last class before lunch. "You'll just have to ask him."
"You suck, you know that?" He pouted.
"Not as well as you do. Hehehe!" I'm sure he would have slugged me if I hadn't ducked into the classroom before he got a chance to react. Those two are going to be SO happy! This has been a long time coming, and it's finally getting past the 'sniffing around each other' stage. They've run all the safe little tests that they could possibly run without actually taking any risks. Now they had better make a move on each other or I'm going to lock them both in a closet until they come out sweaty and satisfied.
By the time the bell had rang for lunch, I was starving and in dire need of some kind of junk food. I could barely concentrate, I was so hungry. So I made a speedy dash down to the lunch line and grabbed one of those little octagon-shaped mini pizzas and a few treats to surround it on my tray. I almost expected to run into Tyler in the hallway, but I didn't. I expected to run into Cody in the line, but I didn't. The funny thing is, I actually ran into Ariel instead...who hadn't joined us for lunch in over a week now. "Well, well, well...look who decided to drop in."
"Was I gone that long?" He answered, a smile barely crossing his thin lips.
"An eternity." I said, and it got a slightly wider grin and shrug of his soft shoulders in response. "So does this mean that maybe you're not as nervous around your 'special friend' as you were before?"
"Um...I dunno..." Ariel picked up an extra cup of jello for his tray. "...maybe."
"You got two jellos."
"Yeah, I know."
"I thought you didn't like jello."
"I don't...but Tyler does." Ariel's cheeks began to glow with a deep pinkish aura, and he held his bottom lip gently between his teeth. I just grinned to myself a bit and shook my head. "What?"
"Nothing. I'm leaving this alone."
"Forget it. I'm keeping my mouth shut. Hehehe..."
"This doesn't make me look 'corny' or anything does it? I mean...I can put it back..." He said, actually beginning to take it seriously.
"I'll meet you at the table, Ariel." I said, and went to pay for my food.
By the time I got to the table, Ryan and Tyler had already started in on whatever homemade sandwiches they had brought in with them that morning. I think seeing Ariel come back to the table was going to be just as much of a pleasant surprise for them as it was for me. "Hey Randy, you just missed it dude. This girl walks over to Tyler, right? Hands him a note, professing her love for him, and how she's had the hots for him ever since he CAME to this school. AND...gives him an added bonus!" Ryan said, giggling to himself.
"An added bonus, like what?" I asked, and Ryan gave Tyler the floor.
Tyler turned a deep shade of red and was too embarassed to even look up from the table. With a cheeky grin, he mumbled, "She gave me a picture."
"What, like a wallet photo or something?" I asked, and Ryan started snickering to himself as Tyler mumbled something under his breath. "What? Say that again."
"It's...uhh...topless." Tyler started to laugh a little bit more and could hardly keep from bursting out where everyone could hear him.
Shocked, my mouth dropped open. "NO WAY! Aw dude...you're KIDDING me!"
"No, seriously, dude! She just came right over here, handed it to him, and left before Ty here got a chance to say anything." Ryan giggled.
"Oh man...hehehe...what are you gonna do?" Tyler was bashfully smiling and could hardly talk.
"I don't know! I guess...I'll have to tell her 'something'. Hehehe...it's not like I've had a toless picture of anybody before."
"Can I see it?" I said.
"NO! What are you talking about? Get outta here!"
"Come on, Ty, let me see it."
Ryan jumped in to help me, "Yeah, blondie. Share the wealth, let's see what she's offering you."
"Uh-uh...this pic was for my eyes only. It's a gift." Tyler said proudly.
"What are YOU gonna do with it, fag boy? Lemme SEE!" Ryan continued.
"SHUT UP! What are YOU gonna do with it?" He snapped back. And we all went back and forth for a few minutes when we saw Ariel walk up to the table. Everything got quiet, and I watched as Tyler put the note underneath the table so fast it was almost like a magic trick. "Ariel...hi..."
"Hey..." Ariel quietly sat down next to me, accross from Tyler, and I could hear some of the objects on his tray moving slightly as his trembling hands lowered it down to the table. Ryan and I exchanged a smile, and just gave each other a hidden wink as we watched those brilliant sparks fly between our favorite boy toys. "I...I got you some jello." Ariel said just above a whisper. "I got one green one...and one red one. I wasn't sure which one you liked more."
"Actually..." Tyler straightened up a bit, trying to hold back a love so bright that everyone at the table was bathed in it. "...I got a jello, already."
Ariel seemed to get a little flustered almost immediately, but he covered it by directing his eyes quickly downward to the table, his chestnut brown locks rushing to his defense as he mentally buried his head in the sand. "Oh...yeah, I guess I should have figured that. But it's no big thing though. I mean, I can give it away or something. I just thought..."
"I could always use some more though." Tyler put the brakes on Ariel's nervous jitters, and brought out a smile from that boy the likes that I have never seen. It was so damn cute. I really need a camera for stuff like this. "Thanks, Ariel."
"You're welcome." He blushed, and they kinda grinned at each other for a moment before remembering that we were even there. Staring pretty shamelessly.
"Don't you guys have something to talk about?" Tyler said jokingly, and we averted our eyes as our lunch attempted to get back to normal. Like I said...they're just adorable together.
After the bell rang, Tyler informed us that he was going to walk with Ariel to his next class. I guess that means that he'll be setting up their little 'date' for this weekend. What may be the final piece in the puzzle for getting them together once and for all. It was so cool to see things in motion with those two that it made Ryan and me walk a little closer too. I don't know, something about it just made me all giddy and giggly and happy to be close to that beautiful strawberry blond of mine. It was like I felt the love between us intensify just from being around the budding emotions that were growing between Ariel and Tyler. It makes you feel warm inside, and there's no better feeling in the world.
"Randy...glad I caught you." Cody came over to greet us in the hallway. "Thanks for the book, man. I owe you one."
"I see you ditched the sunglasses."
"It's not like they were hiding much of anything anyway. Besides, my teachers seem to be real bitchy about having me look like the Terminator in the back of the classroom." He shrugged. "There's this one girl, Hailey-'something', that I think is kinda turned on by it though. So maybe I should hold onto the look for a bit longer." He smiled, a bit more genuine this time around.
"Hailey? Not a 'cute blond girl', Hailey?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah, that's the one. Why, you know her?"
"I guess you could say that. Hehehe, we used to...'date'. For a VERY short time, though."
"Ohhhh...you're THAT Ryan?" Cody's eyes widened and so did his smile. "Damn! She's not too happy with you there, buddy boy. I'd be checking my locker for poisonous snakes or something if I were you." He laughed. And then...his laughs stopped. "Oh great...and in walked misery."
Ryan and I turned around, and saw the incredible form of Sean walking our way. No matter how many times you saw his face, it always looked as though you were seeing it for the first time. It was so perfectly put together that to even look at him was like being locked in a daydream. That kind of beauty just doesn't make sense to you if you're not ready for it. Sean took a look at Cody's black eye and said, "I see that YOU'RE drawing a lot of friends at this school already."
"Well standing here, looking at you, it makes me wish they had hit me in BOTH eyes, Sean."
"Are you ever in a good mood, Cody?" Sean replied.
"Sure, lots of times. Just not when you're there to see it. I'm surprised you haven't taken the hint."
"Such a darling boy." Sean patted Cody on the head and then turned to me and Ryan to ask, "Listen, I'm looking for the upstairs theater. Can one of you show me where it is? I tried looking at this map, but this thing is incredibly jacked up. I swear, if I make one more endless circle around this place I'm gonna flip."
"Sure, I can take you there. I'm actually on my way up there now for my drama class." Ryan offered.
"So am I. Mr. Mooney?" Sean said.
"Yeah, that's him. You're transfering in?"
"As of today, it certainly looks like it." Sean seemed decent enough, but I'm obviously missing something here, because Cody was practically letting his eyes roll out of his head with every word that left Sean's mouth. "Well, at least I know I have ONE boy that I can keep my eye on while I'm n there." He smiled.
"Keep your eye on?"
"Hey, what can I say? You're pretty to look at." Sean's flirtatious tone could slide so easily into his voice that it didn't look like it took any effort or thought at all. It just rolled off the tip of his tongue with a charm that made it fun to listen to. "I'll be able to control myself, I suppose. Just so long as they don't have you running around in tights. I might blush if I catch a glimpse of a well placed birthmark or something."
Ryan giggled a bit. "Sure...ok. But you don't have to worry about that. My birthmark is way up on my left shoulder." He said, accepting the compliment, but not really falling for it.
"Really? Mine is on the inside of my upper thigh." Sean added with a sensual flare.
Cody, unable to take anymore, added his two cents. "You know, you should really have that thing moved up to match that MOLE on your neck."
"Actually, it's more of a beauty mark." Sean gave Cody a glare that was playful, but far from friendly.
"Considering your personality, I would have thought it was a vampire bite."
"Funny...the only person that I remember using their 'teeth' on me, was YOU, Cody."
"Oh, that's right. I do remember getting carried away. I guess that's why they call something that little, 'bitesize'." Cody matched him comment for comment without a second's hesitation, and Sean forfeited his next response with a snotty smirk. Ryan sort of stepped in and told Sean he'd take him to class, breaking up the little scuffle before it got ugly.
Ryan said, "I'll see you later on, k? Why don't you...come see me after school today? We'll...'talk'." He gave me a sly grin, which was just as good as a kiss as far as I was concerned. I just nodded in agreement and let him go. Waiting for the moment when I could 'talk' the hell out of him when we got home.
"You know, I tend to be defensive from time to time, and I know it probably looks like I'm just being a jerk..." Cody said, "...but that kid really IS evil on two legs, you know?"
"He doesn't seem all THAT bad! I mean he flirts a lot..."
"An AWFUL lot! And it's not always just flirting." I sort of shrugged it off with a smile, but Cody was determined to be taken seriously. "Randy....listen...you don't know him like I do. He's no good."
"I'll take your word for it dude." I guess if it's enough to get Cody to start barking, I should probably keep my eyes open. "I'll make sure I'm watching. But I don't really have a reason to hate him yet."
"You will." Cody replied, grabbing his backpack. "Trust me on this. You'll see." And he walked off to his next class.
It was one of those moments when you wonder if there's a stormcloud building, or if it's just a little rumble of thunder off in the distance. A harmless growl that will probably result in a five minute drizzle at best. But, to be on the safe side, I'll try to see what I can find out about Mr. Perfect. Just in case he's a wolf in sheep's clothing. You never know.