I wanted to wish everyone a very happy Valentine's Day tonight! If you have someone you love close by, make sure you cuddle up and make today a special one. And if you're currently 'unattached', that's awesome! More room for Mr. Right to eventually slide right in! Could be tomorrow! So you can't lose, right? Anyway, enjoy the new chapter of "New Kid"! This was my very first story every written, and thanks to Nifty...it became something that I'll remember for the rest of my life! :) So enjoy, and let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website at http://comicality.gayauthors.org and say hello!

"New Kid In School 42"

Saturday morning.

Normally, it would be a blessing of a day....getting the chance to start my weekend off and actually get away from the horror of school for a while. But this weekend was tainted. Weighed down by the threat of final exams for the semester. Next week, Tuesday through Friday, with only one school day of review to make sure that we get it all together. I think our teachers are truly looking to sabotage us this time around. Three of my tests aren't even multiple choice. They've all got essay questions, and while you can sometimes bullshit your way through a couple of them...missing just one point of reference or one major person's name....and the points start to drop off like crazy. So I was stuck inside still going over my notebook scribblings and trying to remember every boring lecture and every wacky video presentation that we've had all semester long. I was smart enough to take some advice from Sam and Matt this time around, and I saved my old tests and some of my homework to study from. Since they ask the same questions, sometimes word for word, on the final exam. So I had enough materials to study from, and I think I should do ok this time around. The semester was pretty much a breeze this time around anyway. But...despite my serious attempts to focus...I have to admit that my mind was a bit distracted.

Something about my discussion with Cod yesterday just won't leave me alone. It keeps ringing in my ears, echoing over and over again. The weird thing is, I don't have any reason whatsoever to mistrust Ryan at all. I mean, over the years, he's been extremely faithful to me. Even when my own insecurities and paranoia took over and made me think otherwise, Ryan was right there to assure me that there was nobody else that he loved more than me. With the Tyler situation, and the Hailey situation, and all the others...he's been right by my side. Giving me a kiss and forgiving my every sick thought and action, no matter what it was. So why worry, right?

But....there's something about Sean that makes me SO uneasy. And I'd hate to be wrong yet again. It's not fair for me to accuse Ryan of wanting to be with somebody else, and it's not fair for me to assume that he'd be tempted. But as much as I try to keep the sour feelings at bay, they were right there 'flicking' me on the back of my neck and FORCING me to pay attention.

I attempted to bury my nose deeper in my Biology book and just try to keep my mind from dwelling on it for more than a few seconds at the time. My relationship is just fine. Ryan loves me. I love him. There IS no competition. When the hell am I gonna understand that without my mind going nuts over it? Sighhh...I need something to 'fix' my current state of mind.

I heard the phone ring in the other room, and picked up the cordless. "Hello?"

"You didn't forget about Friday, right?" Came a little voice on the other end of the line. I swear...that boy can be extremely persistent when he wants to be.

"Wilson, are you gonna tell me what this is all about or not? Because I am totally confused here." I told him.

"I TOLD you! It's 'Monkey Blowtorch' day! It's a video game! It's rated 10 out of 10, Randy! But it wears a lot! And it's super duper violent! If my mom gets a babysitter, she'll NEVER let us play it!"

I had to slow him down a bit before he got to excited. "Wait, wait...there's a video game called 'Monkey Blowtorch'? What the hell kind of video game is that?"

Wilson sounded like he was practically bouncing in his seat when I gave him the opportunity to explain it to me. "Omigod, Randy, it's AWESOME! It makes Grand Theft Auto IV look like a stupid GIRL'S game! You get to be this escaped mentally unstable cyber monkey with a blowtorch arm that's trying to get through the Brazilian jungle and then he takes over a plane full of terrorists and lands at an airport full of vampires, but you have to get holy water from the bus load of nuns that got blown up outside of the airport before you got there...." What the FUCK was this boy TALKING about??? "...So after you get to the Hollywood red carpet party, you've got to burn off the fake faces of the plastic surgery zombies with your blowtorch, and throw poop at the Oscar committee! THEN...once you get to the underwater bass of Baron Von Anal Rape...you've gotta use a electro ninja sword to cut down the corrupted members of congress, and THEN..you get to level TWO, which is even MORE weird! Because..."

"Wilson! Jesus...are you sure that you should even be...playing a game like this? I mean...Baron Von Anal Rape? Are you KIDDING me?" I said.

Wilson instantly broke out into a whine. "Awwww, Randy! You GOTTA do it! My friends and I are already putting in 10 dollars each to buy it on Friday morning. Franklin's going to get it right after his Uncle Freddy's funeral from the toy store, and I already told everybody that they could come over here and play it because YOU were super cool and didn't care about 'old people' stuff!"

I snickered a bit. "What the heck is 'old people' stuff?"

"You KNOW....all that 'impressionable' and 'little kid' stuff. It's a VIDEO GAME for crying out loud! We're not gonna do nothing! Old people should be worried about other old people, not us. We're just having fun."

"Old people. Right."

"Yeah, like...30 years old or something! I'm staying 11 forever."

"Good luck with that." I told him. My God is this kid gonna be a handful when he gets to be a teenager. "Wilson...dude, I don't wanna rain on your parade, but I don't know if I can babysit on Friday night. I've got finals this week..."

"Nuh-unh! Your mom said your last final test thingie was on Thursday." He said, and I paused for a second.

"Wilson...when did you talk to my mom?"

"Last night while you were in the shower. I know, cause I said, 'Hi Mrs. Stephens, can I talk to Randy?' and she was like 'He's in the shower.' So I had my mom tell her you were coming to babysit so she knew what time to expect you, and your mom said your last test was on Thursday, which is awesome, because then..."

Arrrgh!!! "Wilson...just...ugh..."

"PLEASE??? Randy, c'mon! Please please PLEASE???" He said in a high pitched whimper. It really wasn't fair, you know? Wilson had the bargaining power of a sad newborn puppy when he really poured on the charm. "We'll let you play too! I promise! C'mon Randy! It's a MONKEY...with a BLOWTORCH! What's better than that shit!" Then he corrected himself, "Oops...I mean..um...'crap'."

I rolled my eyes for a moment, and remembered that I probably would need the extra money if Ryan and I were still going to go on this private little 'date' of ours next weekend. Not to mention that Sean, aka Mr. Wonderful, want us all to go to the carnival during Spring Break too. So..with a bit of a frustrated sigh, I said..."Alright, fine. But you and your friends had better be on your BEST behavior all night, Wilson! One problem, and I'm calling an 'old person' to come and take my place. Got it?"

"YAY!!!! I KNEW you were awesome! See? My friend Johnny didn't think so, because you were a homo and all, but I told him you were the best homo ever!"

"You told him WHAT???" I shrieked.

"But then he's all like, 'well then YOU'RE a homo, Wilson!' and I'm like, 'I'm not a homo! YOU'RE a homo!'...but he's a butthole anyway. I wouldn't invite him, but he's got the Monkey Blowtorch vibrating analog controller and the strategy guide, so..."

I stopped him right there. "Wilson, what have I told you about...'telling' people about me. You're NOT supposed to tell anybody, remember?"

He quickly adopted the most innocent voice he could. "I didn't tell that jerk face nothin'! Franklin told him."

"You told Franklin?" I asked.

"No WAY! Franklin's a blabbermouth! I told Jimmy and Vince, and one of THEM told Franklin. I don't know who though. Prolly Vince, cause I think he likes Franklin's sister..."

"Wilson, you've GOTTA stop telling people about..."

"SHIT!!!" He blurted out all of the sudden. "I mean...aw, 'mustard'! I gotta wipe the spaghetti explosion out of the microwave before my mom gets home! She'll be mad! Bye Randy! See ya Friday!" And I got a very loud 'click' in my ear as Wilson obviously went to go take care of his...um...'spaghetti explosion'. Why do I get the feeling that this kid is going to be a brilliant negotiator if he ever gets into the corporate offices. Confusing as he is, trying to figure him out provided a much needed distraction from my...'other' thoughts. Ok, so...next Friday, I guess I'm babysitting. Which means Ryan and I will have to go out on Saturday instead. I guess it's no big deal. A few kids that are obsessively staring at a video game screen can't be all that hard to take care of. A few frozen pizzas and a couple of two liters of soda should be enough to keep them thoroughly entertained until they're too tired to cause me much grief. Maybe it'll do me some good. Help me unwind once my finals are done with.

Besides, there's a little boy in me that is DYING to know what a game about a cyber monkey with a blowtorch looks like!

I think I spent the next hour agonizing over stuff that I could have SWORN I knew all along, but it seemed to be spilling right out of my head now that I actually needed the knowledge for something important. The more I stared at my textbooks, the more the words and numbers started to blur together into this big gelatinous mess of forgotten facts and mixed up equations. No one subject was any better than the other. Trying to get them all to stay still in my mind long enough to actually memorize anything was a task in itself. I was literally beginning to burn myself out when my mom lightly knocked on my bedroom door.

"You've been unnaturally quiet in here. I thought you could use a break." She said.

"Maybe a little later. I just...I had this stuff all ready to go and now it feels like I just forgot it all." I said, putting my pencil down for the first time in over an hour. I rubbed my eyes a bit and tried to focus again as I looked up from the page, feeling a bit of strain in my neck.

"That's exactly why you need a break." She smiled. "I made you some grilled cheese sandwiches. They're on the kitchen table with some ginger ale, alright? Give yourself some credit, and take five while their still warm."

To be honest, that did sound pretty good. I wasn't even really hungry until she mentioned it. Or maybe I was just concentrating too hard for me to really notice. It's so weird how your mom can take something as simple as bread and cheese and turn it into a delicacy capable of lifting your spirits in the blink of an eye. I nodded my head, and she started to leave, but I had to ask, "Mom? Did you tell Wilson I was going to babysit for him next weekend?"

"More like he told me." She said. "He's a sweet boy, but...wow...can he ramble. I don't even know what I agreed to when I said yes, but he seemed to be awfully happy about it."

"Ahhh...so he bullied you." I grinned.

"Pretty much. But don't think you weren't doing the same thing when you were his age." She gave me a wink and closed my door back.

Thank God for a break from the brain busters. It was only a half hour, maybe forty five minutes...but it helped to refresh me a bit. When I came back to my desk, it just seemed like the words were a bit clearer, and my mind was a bit more 'absorbent' than it was before. I guess I'm stressing too much. I really don't want to be worrying about this stuff over Spring Break. I'd much rather be having fun. And spending time with Ryan. Sighhhh...it's gonna be great to have sex in my own bed for a change. Not that Matt's place isn't awesome, it's just...so incredible to have Ryan walk down the street after my mom goes to work, and just wrap me in his arms without holding back. Even now...I find myself staring off into space, daydreaming about his gentle kiss. An angel's kiss. Soft and sweet, his cushioned lips carrying the subtle moisture of warm morning dew, and the breeze of his infatuated sigh landing on my cheek. It's the one thing on Earth that bring time to a standstill and allow my heart to keep beating.

Sighhh...I swear, I love that boy more than oxygen.

As if by magic, the phone rang a few minutes later, and my mom told me Ryan was on the line. "Hey!" I said, anxious to hear his voice.

"Sup? I saw your bedroom light still on from your marathon study session. I thought that maybe you were stressing yourself out, as usual."

"Yeah. I guess I am. Am I being a big dork about this or what?"

"Hehehe, yes!" He said. He certainly knew how to tease me by being brutally honest. "But that's why you've got me to rescue you."

"Rescue me? What did you have in mind?"

"Well, I was thinking....it's Saturday night, it's nice outside, and I've got the car since my dad is still sick. Why don't you and I drive over to the lake for a while. Just you and me."

I felt myself squirm a bit inside, my heart inflating until it touched both sides of my chest. And a huge smile broke out on my face. "Umm...really? Ok. I can be down for something like that." Geez, was I blushing here? What the heck is wrong with me? You'd think I'd be used to this kinda thing by now.

"Cool. I'll come by and pick you up in like five minutes." He smiled. "Oh yeah, we've gotta stop by Frankie's and get something to eat though. My dad cooked some kinda 'chicken stuff' tonight, and it's got, like, this..'gravy' sauce stuff on it that looks a bit too similar to what he's been coughing up lately. So I'd rather eat out."

"Hehehe, deal. I'll get ready."

"Alright. Later. Love you." He added at the last second, and hung up. 'Love you'. Tacked on to the end of a conversation as though it was no big deal for him to say it. And yet, those two words were enough to move to me to tears when combined with the sparkle of his hazel eyes, and the warmth of his smile. I should change my shirt. I wanna look 'pretty' for him when he gets here.

When my mom saw me walk into the living room with a change of clothes on and my hair straightened out, she gave me a smirk. "A ha. I see you found yourself a suitable distraction for the evening?"

"Yeah. Just for a little while. I won't be out late though." I heard Ryan honking his horn, and tried to hide a bit of my 'glow' from my mom as I prepared to be close to him again. "Gotta go. See ya!" I said, and practically skipped out of that house, hurrying to Ryan's car so we could take off for a good time.

Just looking at him...sighhhh...I wonder if he would laugh at me if I leaned over and kissed him right now while he was driving. But when he came to the first stop sign on the block, he said, "Come here."


"Come here!" He giggled, and leaned over to meet me half way as we shared a kiss together. Nothing overly 'erotic', just a peck on the lips to give an affectionate hello. Hehehe, well...sometimes those can be erotic too, now that I think about it. "I'm starving. I wanna get a few chili dogs, so I figured I'd get my smooches while my breath was still sweet enough to be consider 'sugar'."

"Somehow, I doubt that they've made a chili dog strong enough to keep your kiss from being anything but sweet, Ryan."

"Yeah, well...just in case, gimmee another one." He giggled. I did. "And one more." We kissed again. "Hehehe, and gimmee a couple for the road too" We shared as many as we could without anybody seeing us in the front seat. And once we got to a busier street where we might be caught red handed, we had to stop. But the smiles remained the entire time. Permanently fixed on our faces as our emotions tried to figure out how we could go five minutes in our lives without this level of comfort. Ryan drove us to Frankie's for some sloppy teenager grub and then on to the park by lakefront. The sun had already set, and the streetlights provided a warm glow to the park around us, as well as a pleasant hum from the fluorescent light bulbs within. There were families still sitting on the grass from the barbecues and family outings that they had engaged in earlier, trying to make it last as long as they possibly could before going back inside. And there was a healthy amount of traffic from skateboarders, rollerbladers, bicyclists, and dog walkers. But everything was just background to us. Ryan's beauty was more than enough to dazzle me. And we walked towards the lake to sit on the big rocks over by the waves. It wasn't really 'dark', but the light was dim enough to where it felt almost like a candlelit dinner table for two. And as a soothing breeze lifted some of Ryan's Strawberry blond locks off of his forehead, I was almost tempted to lean forward again. The sensation of pressing my lips against his beauty is one that defies all reason. And he must have seen me wiggling inside, because he snickered a bit, biting his lower lip bashfully as he ran his fingers back through his hair.

"I love you, you know that?" He said softly. "You always look at me like I'm the most...incredible guy in the world."

"And you're not?"

"No. But I'm happy to have you fooled." He looked back out at the lake, then back at me for a moment. There was such a longing in his eyes. It looked like he was really holding himself back. "You know...with a perfect moment like this...I wish I could make it 'complete' by kissing you."

You would think such a sentiment would come off as romantic. But the way he said it...he seemed a bit sad. He's been a bit down a lot lately. "We could always go back to the car. Hehehe, maybe 'park' some place private.."

"No, I'm not talking about just the kiss. I'm talking about, the whole moment. You're beautiful, Randy. Right now you're sooooo beautiful, and I'm just..." He paused, and then looked down at his shoes. "...It just sucks, is all."

I knew what he was getting at. And the more it became an issue for him, the more it seemed to bother him. "Yeah. Sucks." I said. I felt...I don't know...guilty, I guess. Ashamed. Ryan was hardly one to yank my closet door wide open...but he was certainly scratching at it. And as much as I NEEDED that door to stay closed, I felt bad for putting the lock on whenever he came knocking. We were both quiet for a moment, and I looked up at him again. "If I ask you something...will you be honest with me?"

"Yeah. What is it?"

I hesitated, but only for a second or two. Might as well know for sure. "Ryan...are you...mad at me? I mean, for not wanting to tell everybody about us?"

"Oh Randy, of COURSE not..." He said quickly, but I was fast to interrupt his defenses.

"Well, ok...not MAD but...you know...disappointed, maybe?" God, I hope I was saying this right. "I totally understand if you are. I just...I wanna know. Ok?"

Ryan was quiet for a second. I think that worried me more than anything. "I know that you don't wanna 'out' yourself, Randy. And I'm fine with that. Sometimes I want it to be a secret too. But..." He looked out at the lake again. "...I just wish that things were different sometimes. Because, honestly? I don't give a shit about those people in the park right now. All I care about is you. And it feels like their stupid judgment is putting distance between us." He said. "I don't wanna be away from you. I wanna kiss you just because my heart craves the contact, not because it's...'convenient'." Our eyes connected for a moment, and I looked away. I don't know why I did...but I did. I heard Ryan sigh, and then he said, "But, you know...whatever. Like I said, I understand."

I was trembling inside when the idea crossed my mind, and I'm sure that Ryan could hear it in my voice when I said the words out loud. "So....is your heart...um...'craving the contact' right now?"

"Like you wouldn't believe." He said, not really looking at me.

I peeked over both of my shoulders for a moment...and the park was extremely 'active'. People were passing by every few seconds. There was a slim chance of us being able to share a kiss and not get spotted by somebody. Or a bunch of somebody's for that matter. But...the fear of being discovered and made fun of was nothing in comparison to seeing some of the shine dim in my boyfriend's eyes. Sure, I was shaking. I felt like a shower of ICE was being poured over my shoulders. My foot began to bounce nervously on the rock, and my hands patted my thighs for a few seconds before I got the courage to say what I needed to say. And then...

"Well...kiss me then."

The trembles inside got worse, but I tried to calm them down enough to look sincere. For Ryan's sake. He was a bit surprised, but told me, "Randy...no. Dude, I wasn't saying..."

"I know. I...I know. Just...kiss me. Ok?" I said. "Please?"

"You don't have to prove anything. I'm...I'm sorry I even brought it up, I was just..."

"HURRY UP, ALREADY!" I said louder, holding on to my nerve for as long as I possibly could...praying that I wasn't making the mistake of my life!

"Hehehe, yes sir!" He replied, and with a smile, he leaned over, and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

"No...Ryan...I mean it." I told him, making sure to look him in the eye this time. "I want you to kiss me. I want you to kiss me...the way you want to kiss me." Ryan gave me the weirdest look, and I made sure to silently give him the signal to tell him that it was ok. In fact, the longer I waited for it, the more I wanted it to happen.

"Are...are you sure?" He asked.

"Yeah. I'm sure." I answered. And even though I could still here people walking and skateboarding back and forth behind us...I braced myself for my lover's kiss with a feeling of...'relief'.

Ryan reached up his hand, and I felt it land softly on the back of my neck. His fingertips gently played with the fringes of my hair for a second, his thumb reaching up to my earlobe as he caressed my cheek, and with a tender amount of pressure, he slowly pulled me forward. I gave him no resistance at all, and when I felt his lips touch mine...that magic collision...I felt the air rush out of me all at once.

I wish that I could say that it was one of those moments when everything else melted away and I didn't even know the rest of the world was there. But...that wouldn't be totally honest. I could still hear voices, and footsteps, and bicycles behind us. I KNEW that they could see us kissing. I half expected them to start throwing stones in our direction. But I did all I could to block out my paranoid thoughts as I attempted to lose myself in his kiss. Our lips slid against one another, a sensual motion, a perfect fit, a practiced skill. And when I first tasted the sweetness of his tongue as it reached in to twist itself up with my own, I began to see why something so lovely, so natural, would mean so much to him. During these random, spontaneous moments of beauty...a kiss should never be denied. Moments like this last forever. If you let them.

I couldn't tell you how long the kiss lasted. But we were both breathless by the time it was over. I could feel myself blushing a deep shade of red, and my first instinct was to look around at the people behind to see if anybody was staring. I think that maybe one or two kids were sharing a giggle or two over the shocking sight of it all, but mostly...everything just kept moving. The world hadn't stopped. No angry mob of ass backwards villagers with torches and pitchforks headed our way. No holy missionaries coming to hand us a Bible and preach to us about how being gay is a one way ticket to hell. No...the only thing left was the glow of the moon on the waves of the lake, and giddy smile on my boyfriends sensuous lips.

"Thank you, Randy." He said, no blushing himself.

"For what? It's not like we've never done it before."

"We haven't." He said, and he took a hold of my hand...so we could stay connected while we watched the waves roll in for the next hour or so.

You know...they say that happiness comes from being truly comfortable. And maybe that's true. But LIFE? And LOVE? They exist just outside of the comfort zone. Always just out of reach. Where you have to put some effort into the rewards it brings. Lucky for us...the reward is always greater than the effort it takes to get it. Always.

Not only did we kiss another time before leaving the lake, but we actually walked back to his car hand in hand. To Ryan it was just....sighhhh....it was AWESOME seeing him so happy, but...

I was TERRIFIED the whole time! I couldn't help but want to wiggle away from him before even MORE people saw us together. I mean, HE might really be comfortable with having people see us like this, but I really really wasn't. I tried my best, I really did...and it was...I mean, it was cool. But it still scared the shit out of me. I wish I had the confidence to completely let go of the bullshit and just...'be' with him like I should. But, I still don't think I'm ready for all of that. Even if he is.

Ryan was especially giggly on the drive home, and I could see him beaming with pride from the driver's seat. I think something about it made me feel even more guilty. Because I didn't know if I could do something like this all the time. I couldn't promise him that I'd be this 'open' everywhere we went. And then what? Do I have to pick and choose when it's appropriate to kiss me on the lips? Or hug me around the waist, or hold my hand at the lunch table? I stayed pretty quiet on the way home, but Ryan didn't seem to notice. And I took some comfort in knowing that, for a short time, I was as much his prince as he was mine.

We got to my front door, and he put the car in 'park'. His eyes gazed at me, and he giggled a bit as he reached for my hand tonight. "Tonight was..great, Randy. Thanks."

Nervously, I giggled back. "Quit thanking me, already. You make me feel like a whore or something."

There was a silence between us, and Ryan said to me, "Do you know why I love you so much?"


He smirked and said, "No, I'm ASKING you, because I seriously don't know either. Hehehe!" We both laughed and I playfully slugged him in the arm. But he stopped for a second and told me the truth. "I love you...because you make everything about me...ok. You make it fun, and less confusing and...special. You're amazing in a way that I was never prepared for...and every minute I spend with you is one of surprise. And I love that in you."

I felt a pressure at the back of my throat, and I gave him a grateful smile for making me feel like such a blessing. The very fact that I could mean so much to a boy so perfect...it gave me purpose. It made me whole. "Thank you, baby." I said, and I leaned over for the two of us to kiss once again. Our lips connected in a loving union that brought us both to another level of bliss. And then I parted ways, and stepped out of the car. "See ya soon?"

"Definitely. G'night." He told me, and put his car in 'drive' so he could go down the rest of the block to his house.

I felt as though I was walking on air. Literally floating on a gust of wind. But when I turned around towards the house, I could have sworn that I saw something in the window. It moved before I could really see anything, but I noticed that the curtain was moving a little bit.

My smile, that uncontrollable ear-to-ear grin...faded instantly. And a grip of fear surrounded my chest in a vice like grip. At first...my feet didn't want to move. They couldn't. I think I actually stood outside my house for a full five minutes before I was able to approach the front door. What if....what if my mom was looking? What if she...I mean...exactly what did she see? Did she just see me after I got out of the car? Or..did she see me while I was still inside...making out with my boyfriend?

Even when I got to the door...it took a minute or two before I was able to stop my hand shaking long enough to put the key in the lock. My mind went completely blank, and I felt numb, from head to toe. If I didn't concentrate on breathing, I probably would have suffocated myself right there on the front step.

I walked inside quietly, almost sneaking in, as though she hadn't just seen me outside. I heard her in the kitchen, and it sounded a bit like she was cutting up vegetables or something. I probably could have just crept into my room and avoided her altogether, but that just makes me look MORE guilty. I mean, it was dark outside, and we were in the car on the street. ANYTHING could have been going on in that car. I could always say that we were just talking. Or...or something. I figured it would be better to at least see her and talk to her, just in case. I mean...yeah...just in case.

"Mom?" I called out.

"I'm in here, hon." Her voice sounded a bit...different. And as I walked around to the kitchen, I could hear her sniffling a bit. I was frozen. Totally frozen. She turned around, and her eyes were dark red and tearing up fast. "Sorry. Onions." She said, and I looked down to see her chopping onions and peppers on the cutting board. She turned her back to me again, and went back to dicing. "So...did you and Ryan have fun?" She sniffled.

I know that she was cutting onions, I could clearly see that. But something about this felt weird. REALLY weird. "Yeah. We....we went to Frankie's and then to the park. You know, the one over by the lake."

"Oh, well that sounds nice. Just you two?" She asked. In the few years that Ryan and I have been dating, she's always known us to be stuck together like glue in almost everything we did. She never once had to ask if it was 'just us two' before.

"Yeah. So....um...yeah. Just us." I said, now trembling even worse as she kept her back to me.

She kept cutting, and then said, "I'm making that salsa that you like so much for a snack tomorrow. I'll get some chips when I go to the grocery store in the morning. The crispy ones." She kept chopping away, and while I stared at the back of her head and heard her sniffling a bit more than usual...I felt what little courage I had failing me.

"Ok. I mean, yeah...that sounds...awesome." There was another silence between us...and I took another step back. "Well...I'm gonna go to my room. Maybe...get some more studying in before bed. Ok?"

"Sure. Sure. You go ahead. I'll just finish this up in here." She said, and I backed away from her without saying another word. I remember how quiet the whole house seemed as I took the long walk back to my room. It was almost like I expected her to call my name any second....and ask me to come back into the kitchen for...a 'talk'. I waited for the voice to ring throughout the house like a siren, and pull me back into a situation that I did NOT want to deal with right now! But it didn't happen. She just kept chopping onions and peppers, and I just kept walking back towards my bedroom.

With me hoping that everything was a hundred times more 'normal' than it seemed....and hoping that she wasn't doing the same.

So much for the 'comfort zone' idea.

I hope you all enjoyed this Valentine's Day chapter of "New Kid In School"! And don't worry, because our week long celebration on the site doesn't stop there! Look for new chapters of "Kiss Of An Angel", "A Class By Himself", and "My Only Escape" over the next seven days! Don't miss 'em! :) Let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website at http://comicality.gayauthors.org and say hello!

Kalen is a boy who's beauty is BEYOND description...

But he is NOT what he appears to be...

"The Boys Of Widow Lake"

~~~ COMING FALL OF 2009 ~~~

(ONLY available in print!)