I know I've been spending time on every other story except for this one lately, but I truly appreciate your dedication to the series while others like "Gone From Daylight" and "Savage Moon" took center stage for a few months! But it always feels like I'm coming 'home' when I go back to "New Kid"! So I hope you guys like the update! Let me know what you think of this new chapter at Comicality@webtv.net or stop by my website at http://comicality.gayauthors.org (And don't forget to sign the guestbook!)

"New Kid In School 43"

Slowly regaining consciousness from a restless night's sleep was an exhausting experience. I didn't even want to open my eyes as I blindly felt around for the snooze button on my alarm clock.

Not finding it right away provided JUST enough frustration to keep me from wanting to go back to sleep. So instead of maintaining some level of comfort that would let me drift off for another ten minutes or so...I ended up opening my eyes and angrily slapping my clock off of the dresser, and being too upset to do anything but get out of bed.

But as soon as I stretched my stiffened arms, legs, and back, out with a yawn...my mind was brought right back into reality with a crash that I had almost forgotten about. If only I was that lucky.

I rolled over on my side, and thought about last night in detail....a cold shiver invading the heated comfort of my morning sheets as paranoid thoughts swept through my troubled mind. My mom....did she really 'see'? Last night when I was in the car with Ryan, kissing my boyfriend on the lips and expressing my deepest feelings for the boy that I loved more than anything in the world...was she watching?

As much as I tried to push it out of my mind...the idea just wouldn't go away. As much as I tried to assure myself that she was just chopping onions last night, and not crying...that it was the vent or the heater made that curtain by the living room window move last night...that my mom couldn't have seen or she would have said something to me the second I came in the house....

...Nothing would calm my nerves. Not even in the least. I was almost too scared to get out of bed, even though I could smell breakfast cooking downstairs. Pancakes. My mom might make eggs and toast, or feed me some oatmeal or something...she was a big 'breakfast' person when it came to me going to school. But pancakes? Pancakes is what she makes when something is 'wrong'. At least that's USUALLY the case. She made pancakes when my goldfish 'Charlie' died. She made me pancakes when my dad ran out on us. She made me pancakes when my gramma got cancer. Maybe it's just a weird habitual response...but I've come to seriously DREAD the smell of them on the stove! I just automatically associate them with bad news.

Now don't get me wrong...sometimes...pancakes are just pancakes, and that's all. But considering what I was going through at the moment...it was a frightening aroma, to say the least.

It took some struggle and a mountain of courage to get out of bed. And even then, I just grabbed some clothes and went straight to the shower without saying 'good morning' to my mom like I usually do. I was being extremely quiet, even taking care to close the bathroom door as silently as possible. It was the scariest Sunday morning that I had ever spent at home, I think. Seriously. I was practically 'shaking' in the shower.

I walked back to my room, closing the door to hide out for as long as possible...and soon I heard a knock at my door. "Y-Y-Yeah?" I said, still trembling inside.

"You can eat breakfast, hon." My mom said softly, and walked away without opening my door. Again...a bit of a strange action for her, as she ALWAYS opens my door when I answer her. But this time she just walked back to the kitchen, leaving the door closed...and my morning jitters got worse.

What do I tell her if she asks? What happens if she comes right out and asks me if I'm gay...and if Ryan and I are boyfriends? How do I avoid the question? Or can I avoid the question? Or SHOULD I avoid the question? Do I have to come clean and tell her the truth? Or can I just deny it until she leaves it alone and figures she had us wrong? Arrrgh...even if I tell her the truth...how much 'truth' do I tell her??? The kisses? The sex? The hotel? Do I have to explain Ariel and Tyler, and going to Matt's house and....? What do I SAY? Or should I say anything at all?

I used to think that my relationship with Ryan would be something that I could keep a complete secret forever. But...what if I can't? I mean...at what point does it become obvious to everyone around me that I'm in love with another boy? At what point does the secret become more 'hurtful' to both him AND me than a simple protective measure to insure our privacy? This isn't just a matter of love, because if it was, I'd shout out my feelings from the highest mountain top every day of my LIFE!!! It's more a matter of....being ready to make that leap of faith with...'everybody else'.

I wish I could say to myself that my mom would be one of those awesome parents that would just understand and accept me for who I am. I mean, she's never given me any reason to think otherwise. But...the most frightening question for me in all this is...what's gonna change once she knows for sure? I'll never be able to look at another boy in the mall again around her. I won't be able to visit Ryan or have Ryan visit me without her knowing why we want to be alone. It would be like giving her immediate access to the most private parts of me...and as a parent...she already knows too much for me to be comfortable being around her as it is. She knows EVERYTHING! She can practically predict my next 12 moves before I can. If she knew about this too...I dunno...I'd just be so EMBARRASSED! I can't say why, I just know for sure that I would be. I couldn't handle being so ashamed in front of her day after day, for the rest of my life. I don't WANT everything in my house to be awkward and weird and suspicious. 'Home' is the only place I've got to get AWAY from all that garbage! I go through enough paranoia at SCHOOL! Why would I want to bring it HOME with me?

Still...what I wanted, and what might already be 'in motion' as far as reality is concerned, are two different things. Whatever was waiting for me at that kitchen table...drenched in the sweet fragrance of pancakes and syrup...wasn't going to change just because of the inconvenience of it all.

I don't know...like I said...sometimes pancakes are just pancakes.

But if she made scrambled eggs TOO...I'm a dead man.

I got dressed and was practically walking on my tip toes when I entered the kitchen. My mom already had three pancakes waiting on my plate, hot with melted butter, and a glass of ice cold milk. Just looking at my plate gave me the chills. She looked back at me and smiled, "Go ahead and eat before they get cold."

I sat down, the butterflies in my gut were fluttering to the point where I was almost certain that I wouldn't be able to eat more than a bite or two before having to settle my stomach again. And then, just as I pulled my chair in, she came over with a hot pan, and used a spatula to put some scrambled eggs in my plate! Nooooooo!!!!!!

"Mom?" I asked, before I even knew what I was saying. I just....I wasn't going to be able to sit her at the table with her and WAIT while I found out what was going through her head. "Is something wrong?"

She looked almost concerned. Not confused, mind you...which might have been more comforting to me. But concerned. "Oh baby, no. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong, ok? Nothing wrong at all." Then she gave me a kiss on the forehead. "I love you, Randy. Ok? And there's nothing wrong, you hear me?" Oh God....she knows! She HAS to know! My mom is being waaaaay too strange to not know! She saw me kissing Ryan last night, I KNOW it! I *KNOW* it!!!

Now....the only question is...what the hell am I gonna do about it?

My mom sat down across the table from me, and stared me right in the face. Was she gonna SAY something??? Was she waiting for ME to say something??? I mean...as scary as the whole idea is, it would be soooo much easier if she just pointed her finger at me the second I walked into the kitchen and shouted, "A-HA!!! You're GAY!!!" Then at least that would get the ball rolling. Instead...I'm left in limbo...trying to quickly swallow mouthfuls of pancakes and sizzling hot eggs before she got a chance to....um..'accuse' me, or whatever.

The clock ticked slowly as I tried to avoid her eyes. Attempting to be normal. Attempting to ignore the feeling that she was 'watching' me...probably envisioning her little boy getting all naked and sweaty with the cute boy that lives down the street. My feet began to bounce under the table, my breathing became labored and short, and every time I peeked up at her, she seemed to be peeking back at me. Which only made my jitters worse. I swear...not having her just come clean to TALK to me about what she saw, or didn't see...or whatever...was driving me CRAZY! Dumping all of this unimaginable PRESSURE in my lap to confess it all on my own. And the more I tried to prolong the silence, the worse it got!

Now I know how the guy in that 'Tell-Tale Heart' story felt!

I thought, for a few brief seconds, that I might be able to tell her. I mean....how bad could it be, right? Even if she had no idea...I'd rather have her hear it from me, instead of just catching me tongue twisting with my boyfriend by accident. For a minute there, it almost felt like it was...you know....time. Time for her to know. Time for me to tell. I imagine that it would be a huge weight off of my shoulders, not having to hide everything about myself from her all the time. But...as I finished my last few bites of food, giving me a quick and plausible 'escape' from that breakfast table...my little burst of courage left me. The ignited flame fizzled out into nothing like a wet match. And I quickly gave her a fake smile as I got up and rinsed my plate out in the sink. Knowing that I was only seconds away from getting out of there without having to 'talk' about it was the only thing that allowed me to breathe again.

I leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom. Breakfast was awesome." Then I said, "Gotta study!" And was gone as fast as my sock feet could carry me on that slippery tiled floor. My GOD...the second I got back to my room, I shut the door and leaned against it until my heart beat returned to normal. I literally had my eyes closed, hand clutching my chest.

She knows. Dammit....she knows. I can't believe I did something so STUPID!!! I could have kissed him BEFORE we were sitting right out in front of my house! I kiss him all the TIME! I could have waited until tomorrow or something!!! I just...arrgghhh!!!!

Needless to say...my mom and I had *NO* real contact whatsoever for the rest of the day! I was NEVER so thankful for semester finals! It gave me a reason to stay locked up in my room all night without question. I even grabbed my lunch and dinner and ate it in my room without much resistance. But how long could this last? How long could I dodge my own mother? My house isn't THAT big...she's gonna cross paths with me eventually. She cooks all the meals, she pays all the bills...she has access to my LAUNDRY for crying out loud! It's not like I can just run forever. This whole thing is still fresh in her mind. Maybe she'll, like...forget? Time will pass, things will go back to normal...she'll start to doubt that she saw what she saw...and I'll be fine. No talks, no confessions, no questions, no revelations of any kind. Yeah...that...that sounds possible, right?


When Monday morning came around, I quickly made myself some cold cereal before my mom had a chance to cook anything else. God forbid if she does the French Toast thing! That's reserved for news like, 'The apocalypse is coming, and we only have a week left!' I'm not ready for that.

I grabbed my backpack and all of my notes to get ready to go. That's when the doorbell rang, and I knew it was Ryan. I froze instantly. And heard my mom walking towards the front door. No! No no no!!! I don't want her to see him yet! I want her to...'cool down' and forget first! I just....she can't....what if he...??? FUCK!!!!

I ran to get to the door first, but stopped myself as I saw her with her hand on the door knob. She gave me a strange look, and I realized that I DID rather crazy trying to beat her to the door. She opened it up, and Ryan was his usual cheerful self. "Morning, Ms. Stephens." He grinned.

"Hi, Ryan. You're awfully dressed up today." She said.

"Yeah, well...dressing up makes me feel good. Thanks." He beamed.

"Me too. Come on in. I think somebody is overly excited to see you this morning." She said, nodding in my direction as Ryan came in through the door. Those soft hazel eyes met mine from across the room, and with the rays of sun hitting them from the right angle, they were more apple green than baby brown today. He was soooo beautiful sometimes. So beautiful that it ached inside to have to share that beauty with the rest of the world. He was the kind of boy you almost wanted to lock in the basement and guard twenty four hours a day to keep anybody else from enjoying the same splendor that you did. I would have melted right there on the spot....if I wasn't TERRIFIED of my mother seeing the change in my expression.

There was a short pause between all three of us, and I was forced to question whether or not I was the only one feeling the tension suffocating me this way. Then my mom gave Ryan a sweet smile, and she said, "I'll leave you two alone. You two be sure to get to school on time, ok? Those last minute reviews are important for those good grades."

"Sure thing, Ms. Stephens. See ya." Ryan said, but I cut his polite 'parental interaction' short as I snatched him by the arm and dragged him back to my room. I think he thought I was just goofing around at first, but when I shut the door and he got a closer look at me, he knew that something was seriously wrong. "Dude, what's with you? You look like you need to hide a MURDER WEAPON or something..."

"Worse!" I said. "She knows!"

"She what???" He said, his eyes wide open. Then he smiled and said, "You told your mom you were GAY??? Randy, that's awesome...."

"SHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" I said in a loud whisper, moving him AWAY from the damn bedroom door before his happy little 'shouts of awesomeness' went bouncing off of every wall in the whole damn house!

"What's the matter?" He asked, confused.

"Keep your VOICE down!"

"But...I thought you just said..."

"NO!!! I didn't actually TELL her that we were....'together'. I mean...I think she might have seen us on Saturday night."

Ryan looked at me for a second, still a bit lost. "Seen us what, exactly?"

"You know..." I told him. "I think she saw us kissing in the car! When we came back from the lake!"

"Ohhh..." He said, now lowering his voice to a whisper too. "...Well what did she SAY?"

"That's just it! She hasn't said anything yet! I don't know what to do, Ryan."

"Well...if she hasn't said anything yet, then maybe she didn't see us after all. Right? I mean...what makes you think she knows?" Ryan asked.

I told him, "She's been acting really strange lately. And Saturday night...I think she was crying a little bit when I came in the house. I mean, she SAID she was just chopping up onions and stuff...but it was really 'weird', you know? Like...abnormal." Ryan looked concerned, but he didn't seem to have a clue as to how to approach this situation. "What do I do, Ryan? Should I tell her? I mean...should I let her know that I know that she knows what I didn't want her to know in the first place???" God, I hope that made more sense to him than it did to me.

"Maybe you should." Ryan said. "I mean...if she knows already, it's gonna be pretty lame for you to keep lying to her. I mean, she'll think you don't trust her. Right?"

"But what if she DIDN'T actually see anything? I mean, I'd be coming out for no reason. Maybe I don't have to tell her at all. You know? Maybe I can just...maybe...if she didn't see us kiss then..." I was trying to stop my head from spinning long enough to come up with a decent excuse that would keep me from making what could be the biggest mistake of my life. But as I caught a glimpse of Ryan's pretty eyes again...I noticed that all of that glorious bright green charm was vanishing fast, leaving a very dull brown color to match his slightly dwindling good mood. I was puzzled by it at first...but then I realized what I was saying, and understood that I was going against his number one wish for us again. "Ryan...I'm not saying that I don't ever want to tell her, I just...I didn't want her to find out like THIS, you know? I mean...it's not like..."

"I understand. No, it's cool. I'm not saying anything." He said, and gave me a rather convincing grin. But...he was so happy a second ago when he thought I had told her. And now...'lesser than'. I couldn't understand why were suddenly beginning to drift apart soooo much on this. I swear, it's only been a month or two...but sometimes I can almost feel this 'coming out' issue building a brick wall between us. Ever since he was able to be 'seen' with Hailey, ever since Sean started strutting his sexuality all around school...suddenly our sexy little secret has become more of a 'burden' on him than the fun little game it used to be between us.

I don't know...sometimes I just feel like...

...He's growing faster than I am. And I'm not willing to keep up...if that's what it's gonna come down to.

So the question remains.

What happens then?

"Ryan....I..." I started, but he stopped me. Then he leaned forward and gave me a sweet kiss on the lips.

"Doesn't matter. Whatever happens, we'll deal with it together. K? Just make sure that you tell me so she doesn't surprise me one morning with, 'so you're pounding my son's ass on the regular, huh?' Hehehe!" My mouth dropped for a second, and he gave me a poke with his finger to make me laugh. "It'll be ok, Randy. No matter what happens...I love you. Alright?"

I blushed slightly, and then mumbled, "Alright. Alright. I'm sorry. You're right."

"Of course I am. Now grab your stuff and let's go. Stop 'thinking' too much." He said, knowing me better than I knew myself.

Then, as we were getting ready to walk out of my bedroom, I told him, "For the record...I would NEVER tell my MOM that you were 'pounding my ass' on the regular."

"Hehehe, I know." He giggled. "But *I* would!" And he slapped me on the ass as I walked past him. Hehehe, bastard!

We were able to get out of the house without much more conversation with my mom....but it was mostly because she seemed to be preoccupied with her own thoughts at the moment. She was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking her morning cup of coffee, and...I just kinda said a soft goodbye before leaving. She smiled, but...I doubted that her smile would ever be the same after Saturday night. And that worried me.

We got to school in no time at all, and the second we walked in through the front door, we could already feel the intensifying stress and strain of every other student in that building. When mixed with the usual high school cocktail of hearsay, hostility, and hormones...the walls were practically glowing with the thick visible ooze of teen angst. It was almost hard to breathe for the first ten minutes until your body got accustomed to breathing this foreign 'air'....if you can even call it that.

I saw Cody and his sister, Ronnie, in the hall and said hello. Ronnie instantly gave me a weird look, and turned to walk away without saying a word. "Geez...it couldn't have been something I said, because all I said was 'hello'?" I told him.

"Ah, don't worry about the vampire princess this morning. She woke up on the wrong side of her vagina this morning. The whole damn HOUSE is getting the cold shoulder!" Cody grunted. "Not that I mind. I enjoy having her locked up in her room for hours and hours on end. It's the most peace I've had since LAST month this time." Cody shut his locker and said hi to Ryan. Again...it was a change for him, seeing him so upbeat. Well....not upbeat by MOST people's standards, as he was still 'Cody Monreau', take it or leave it. But for HIM...it was almost like he was 'high on life' or something.

"You seem awfully....um...'normal' today. What gives?" I asked him, and he looked at me sideways for a moment.

"Why shouldn't I be?"

"Well, for ONE thing, this is the last school day before a murderous week of final exams."

"Psh! THAT?" He said. "Please! I'm hardly the guy to become one of these robots running around worried about their GPA while systematically taking years off of their lives by stressing themselves to the point of exhaustion. All just so they can make themselves into a bunch of heartless rich people someday who will ultimately learn that they can't take the money with them when they die. It's not my idea of a party."

Ryan giggled a bit. "So you're not worried about passing?"

"Oh, I'm gonna PASS, believe me. I'll sit down in that little desk, fill out all the appropriate bubbles with my number two pencil, and I'll make a decent grade on every exam I take. I'm just not gonna stress about it. That's all." He said.

I had to ask, "How can you just...'not worry'?"

Cody shrugged his shoulders, "I dunno. Prolly because I don't give a shit." He said simply. "Hey, I've gotta run. See you guys at lunch?"

I nearly gasped at first. 'See us at lunch'??? Without me having to finesse him and beg on my hands and knees. Something was seriously WRONG with the way he was being so nice to me all of a sudden. "Um.....uhhh....ok..." I said as he walked off.

"Cool. See you guys then." Cody almost bumped into a freshman who had his nose buried in a book while he was walking, and Cody made him flinch. "WATCH it, space cadet! Wait until you stop MOVING to study! Helloooooo?" Ok, so maybe he's only being nice to US...but hey, that's a plus, right?

Ryan and I went to our history class together, and were subjected to the most mind numbing drill session imaginable on everything we were supposed to learn and retain over the last few months. I literally felt my mind filling up to capacity...and I was a walking zombie by the end of the first 40 minutes. A few times, Ryan looked over at me, and we were BOTH flooded with thoughts that were sure to be gone by tomorrow morning when finals began. When class was over, we were all so weak in the head that even Hailey walked out without giving us a second look. Ugh! I wish I was as lucky as Cody, and had just ceased to care. He seemed to have the right idea, but I couldn't just...leave it up to my natural intelligence! High school is designed to DECEIVE our natural intelligence! They are setting us up to fail on purpose! If we make passing grades it's only because of brainwashing, torture, cheating, or just sheer LUCK! Arrrrgh!!! I need to just get through this week and get back to my life before my head bursts wide open and a freaking DEMON flies out of it!

Ugh...I hate finals!

I struggled through another three periods of 'info saturation', writing notes in my notebook until my hand felt like it was gonna fall off...and did all that I could to breathe between classes before diving back in for another brain battering. God, I hope I'm taking the right notes. If not, I'm gonna totally FAIL my exams this week! Especially with this stuff going on with me and Ryan, and me and my mom...it just won't let me concentrate.

I practically ran out of my 4th period classroom and kissed the hallway floor when it came time for me to go to lunch! I swear, if I didn't get a break, I was gonna 'learn' my way right into a freakin' COMA! Knowing that I was just minutes from seeing Ryan's smiling face was probably the most relaxing part of my day. It literally made me rush to toss my stuff in my locker and get the hell out of that hallway as fast as possible. I needed some emotional relief right about now.

I met up with Ryan and practically melted into a puddle on the floor when his smile graced my hungry eyes with it's undeniable charm. "You have no idea how good it is to see you, right now." I said.

"Awww, you look totally 'wrecked' inside, dude! Hehehehe! Nothing that a disgusting spoonful of cafeteria slop can't fix."

"Not today. I'm brown bagging it. Hehehe, it's BBQ beef day. It tastes like they just tossed a whole cow in a blender without even bothering to wash the mud off of it's feet. Ugh! NOT my idea of a good time."

"Great, so you leave ME to do battle with it all alone. I see how it is." He grinned. "I certainly hope you make up for it with a decent dinner on Friday, Mister!"

I shut my eyes tight in frustration. "UGH!!! Friday night! I totally forgot to tell you about that this morning."

"Forgot to tell me what?"

"Awww, dude, I'm sorry. I kinda got roped into babysitting Wilson on Friday night."

"Babysitting Wilson?" He asked.

"Yeah....it's 'Monkey Blowtorch' day."

"AGAIN with the 'Monkey Blowtorch'! Hehehe!"

"I know, I know. But I kinda promised, you know? He just...he looks up to me soooo much, it's kinda hard to say no to him." I said. "Plus...by the time I figure out what the hell he's talking about, he's already tricked me into saying yes."

"Hehehe, well, you can't help being sweet." Ryan smiled. "Another night?"

"SATURDAY! I swear! No changes! It'll just be you and me for the whole night. I swear."

I felt Ryan lightly touch my arm as he attempted to restrain his feelings in front of the other kids in the hall...but I could tell that he was struggling with it. "You and me for a whole night? How can a guy turn down an opportunity like that?" He rubbed the small of my back for a moment, soon pulling his hand back. "I'm there."

"Cool. And then....after the date....?" I smirked.

But as I was looking into the spell-binding glow of those bright hazel eyes, Ryan suddenly stopped me from walking, nudging me urgently in the ribs. "Omigod, dude...look! LOOK!"

I searched the hall, and that's when I saw Ariel and Tyler standing together at Ariel's locker, both of them blushing hard enough to pass out from the lack of blood flow. The way they were staring at each other and giggling, you would have thought that they were all alone in that crowded hallway. That's one of the most special and endearing qualities about real love...it truly puts you in 'the moment'. No previous mistakes in the past, no possible screw ups in the future. Just the here and now, and all the beauty you can handle in one glorious moment of time. It's amazing to see it from a distance. Even more so to feel it happening to you...and the boy you love.

"Should we, like..." I said, watching Ariel fidget and wiggle in front of his dream boy. "...We should probably leave them alone, right? I mean...they're already nervous enough."

"Yeah. Yeah you're right. We should let them slide this time and just enjoy a little privacy."

"Right. Privacy." I said, and neither one of us moved. Our smiles breaking the surface and getting wider by the second. "Hehehe, we're totally going over there, aren't we?"

"Yes, Randy. Yes we are." He giggled. As though we were gonna pass this up. It was ridiculous to even try.

We hurried over, and Tyler and Ariel clammed up the second we said hello. Hehehe, it was adorable! Suddenly they couldn't look each other in the eye, for fear the romantic vibrations would overflow and be obvious to every single person that walked by. Psh! As though it wasn't already.

Ariel lowered his head instantly, his chin touching his chest as his longer than usual dark brown locks hid his eyes from us. Tyler was quick to cover for his shyness though. "Hey guys. We were just...'talking'." He said. Ryan and I looked at Tyler and saw the cutest little smirk appear on his face all of the sudden.

"What's going on here?" I said, and Tyler lowered his head too as he tried to keep from laughing.

"It's nothing. We were just...you know, having a little chat. About this and that." Tyler snickered.

"What is it?" I asked again, and the second Ariel started to laugh, Tyler burst out into a fit of giggles himself. "WHAT, already???"

And Ariel took a deep breath between giggles, and he said, "I was just telling Tyler to kiss my ass, that's all." And Tyler literally lost it and the both of them had to lean on one another to keep from falling over.

Ryan couldn't help but to shake his head. "You two have gotten so damn WEIRD these days!" Then he asked, "We're going to lunch. You lovebirds gonna join us today, or what?"

"Nope!" Tyler answered, turning to look Ariel directly in the eyes while the poor boy sheepishly trembled in his presence. "I want Ariel all to myself for a little while. We've gotta make 'plans'."

"I don't even wanna KNOW what that means!" Ryan said. "Well, best of luck on the final and all. Hey, I've got the car on Wednesday. If you guys want me to pick you up or anything, I can just swing by and..."

"We're busy!" They both said in unison. Ryan and I were a bit puzzled by their sudden reaction, but knew that we wouldn't get an explanation from either one of them. Not the way they were goofing around today.

Tyler brushed some of his blond hair back for a moment, attempting to seem 'calm'. "Yeah, we're busy that day. Well...I'M busy. And Ariel's busy. So....we're busy. With....other stuff. So..."

Ryan raised an eyebrow for a second or two, and then said, "Okaaaaaayyyy...well, if you change your min, just let me know the night before." We both looked at each other, and then backed away from them so that we could go to lunch together. But we hadn't even made it to the steps before Tyler and Ariel started laughing again. We looked back at them, and saw Ariel giving Tyler a playful swat on the arm to shut him up before he made the giggles worse. I never, in my wildest dreams, would have imagined that those two would be SOOOO perfect together. I mean, sure we were hoping for a good match when we went through the uphill battle of getting them together...but...

...I'm convinced that those two are actual SOUL MATES. It takes a true connection of spirits, completely in sync, to laugh like that. And nothing less.

I would have stayed in the lunch line next to my boyfriend, for no other reason than I wanted to absorb as much of his youthful energy as humanly possible before going back to the hell of last minute reviews...but I saw Cody already coming out with his tray already. So I told Ryan I'd meet him at the table, and went over to sit with Cody instead until he came to join us.

"I hear my sister almost made her English teacher CRY today! Hahaha, I swear, she is on a whole other level from me. Believe me." He said as we struck up a friendly conversation. "You know, all this test stuff is 90% anxiety. Once you sit down, take the final, and put it behind you...you'll instantly start feeling better. Plus you get to relax all next week."

"I hope you're right, Cody."

"I KNOW I'm right. So chill out already." He took a bite of the BBQ beef sandwich, and just as he was about to keep talking, his whole face tightened up into the most comical frown. And without so much as a napkin, Cody just opened his mouth, and let the half chewed mouthful of food roll off of his tongue and fall back to his tray with a 'splat'. "Ughhhh....aww...dude, what the *FUCK* is this???"

"I don't know, but somebody approved it worthy of school lunches."

"WHO??? This shit tastes like day old ROAD KILL!"

"Sorry. Hehehe, should have warned you."

Cody picked up a napkin and started to wipe off his tongue with it. "Out of ALL the schools I've ever been to, I think this is the most vomit inducing bite of a sandwich I've EVER had! ANYWHERE!"

"Really? Because this actually comes in SECOND to the school's tuna casserole." I said, and Cody pushed his tray back with a frown.

"I will DEFINITELY make a note of that!" I chuckled at his expression, and he asked me, "So, you and the boy toy got plans to be all snuggly next week, or what?"

"Mmmmm, most definitely. I'm looking forward to it." I said. "I mean, we're romantic all the time, but...there's something about being able to kiss and hold each other in the privacy of my own house that's just so much better. You know? I mean...it's more than just 'horny'. I want...the whole package. Hehehe, I like it better when we're alone."

"Oh..." Cody said quietly. "...I'll bet. Must be nice." Now...it might have been a total misconception on my part, but I could have sworn that Cody's voice sorta...'changed' when he said that. I couldn't put my finger on it really, but when I tried to look him in the eye, he distracted himself by opening his milk. "So you two...I mean...you guys are really serious, huh?"

"Um...yeah." I said. "He's been my boyfriend for, like...forever. Heh..."

"Cool. Very cool." He said, and nodded a bit before peeking up at me, those stunning blue green eyes getting even more dazzling as he smiled at me. "I'm just saying...it's so awesome to see a real 'relationship' these days, you know? Everybody is so busy trying to seek out a 'fuck buddy', that seeing two people in....love...? Well, it's refreshing." Then he lowered his eyes again and mumbled something that I didn't quite hear.

"Say what?"

"I said...if it was gonna happen to anybody...I'm glad it was you, Randy. You're just..." He stopped for a second, and then looked back down at his milk again. "...I just think you're really cool, Randy. That's all. I mean...yeah. Whatever."

I wrinkled my forehead a bit, and with a smile, I asked, "Cody...dude, did you just pay me a compliment?"

He instantly rolled his eyes. "See? This is why I keep this kinda shit to myself. Compliment retracted." He grunted, and swiftly changed the subject. "Ugh! What the hell am I gonna eat now! This food is terrible! Even the MILK tastes like shit!" But before I could give him a few more playful pokes and teases, I saw Cody's face harden, and a much more 'aggravated' roll of the eyes occurred. "Sighhhh...wonderful. Just wonderful. Now I'm kinda glad that I didn't have any food to throw back up."

I turned around to see what he was looking at, and I should have known what to expect. I saw Sean standing just outside of the lunch line, looking at the weird slop on his tray. Even from across the room, his beauty had a way of turning heads. His soft blond hair was the perfect ornament to top a body that looked as if it was just built for sex, and nothing else. The kind of unavoidable good looks that secretly make you jealous and angry whenever you're forced to look at him. And even though I was growing just as upset as Cody was for having his very presence break up our conversation as friends...

...I REALLY got heated when I saw him smile, and realized that he was waiting for RYAN.

Ryan came out, and they shared a smile with one another, and then started to walk over to our table together.

As I felt my eyes narrowing more and more by the second, I realized that I really don't LIKE this growing 'closeness' between Sean and my boyfriend. It's something that I might have to deal with sooner than later.

Next time...I'm standing in line with him.


Don't worry! You'll be getting another section VERY soon! So keep checking back for more! K? Let me know what you think at Comicality@webtv.net or just stop by the website at http://comicality.gayauthors.org and say hello! :)