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It was almost comical the way that the boys all scrambled around once they heard Wilson's mom pulling up in the driveway that night. A brief moment of panic, and the "Monkey Blowtorch" was suddenly replaced with a game so fuzzy and fluffy and babyish that I'm surprised that Wilson even had it on his game shelf. I mean....seriously? It had bunnies and pink and blue bubbles and...wow...it didn't resemble anything that you would buy for a little boy. How the heck did we go from Baron Von Anal Rape to this sugary sweet garbage?
Wilson's mom seemed like she was afraid to enter her own house, peeking around the door to see if I was alright. Almost as if she expected to find the kitchen on fire and me hogtied in the living room. To be honest, I hardly had to do anything at all. It was the easiest babysitting job I could have ever had. Thank you, 'video game induced trance'.
I said hello and smiled, and she wrinkled up her forehead. "How was....'everything'?" She asked.
"It was great. The whole night flew right by me."
"Are...are you sure?" She asked, inspecting the room for anything out of order.
"Yep. They were perfect angels."
Again, she was clearly confused. That didn't seem right to her at all. All of the boys were looking at us from over by the TV, but the second she turned her head, they all quickly jerked back towards the screen.
She was definitely suspicious. She had every right to be. But I just wanted to grab my pay and get out of there before I felt any more guilty about letting them play the game from Hell.
"Well....ok...." She hung her coat up in the closet, and turned to me and said, "They didn't....I mean, you didn't let them slip out of your sight for longer than a few seconds, right?"
"Nope. Not at all."
"None of them tried to go out into the backyard? No...no going under the porch? Or under the sink?"
"Nada. We just ate pizza and played video games. That was it."
She let out a sigh of relief, and finally nodded with her approval. "Ok. Well...wow, Randy. Um...thank you. Thank you so much for keeping everything in order around here. I'll definitely keep you in mind if I ever need somebody to come by." I agreed to do it, but I was already thinking of excuses to use for next time...just in case. "Wilson, honey? Your friend, Randy, is leaving for the night."
As soon as she said it, Wilson got up and ran over to hug me around the waist, his little blond head snuggled up under my chin. "Thanks, Randy! You're the most awesome best friend ever!" And before I knew what was happening, I was being surrounded by a herd of affectionate children. Even Johnny, after his flurry of homophobic comments earlier, decided that he could put it all aside for a group hug. I've got to admit...I was sorta touched by the little munchkins. Well, except for Benny...who continued to cough and sniffle while hugging me tight from under my arm. I could practically feel the germs sinking into the fabric of my shirt. I was just too polite to push the little 'sick factory' off of me.
They finally let me go, and went back to pretending that they were playing...whatever replacement game that was. And his Wilson's mom asked me if I was ok to get home and all. I told her I'd be fine, and she actually gave me forty bucks for watching the kids for the night. It was actually double what I was expecting. Especially since she paid for dinner and all. But I think she was so happy to find the house in tact that she figured I deserved the extra. It makes me wonder how many babysitters have been driven completely insane by Wilson's antics in the past. He maybe a curious kid, and I'm sure he gets up to a ton of mischief every now and then...but overall, he was a really sweet boy. I can't imagine him doing too much damage on his own.
Then again...I don't think I want to test that theory. I'll just consider myself lucky tonight, and leave it at that.
As I made my way back home that night, I tried to figure out a way to explain completely missing my last final. I don't how much damage a big fat 'zero' is going to do to my grade for the semester, but it's not going to be good. I can just sense the tidal wave of bad news that's going to come with my next report card. And yet....I had my Ryan back. I know we were only apart for a few short hours, not even a whole day...but I missed him like you wouldn't believe. Every part of me ached with the threat of his absence. If he hadn't called tonight...if we hadn't licked our wounds and made the decision to start fresh again, I would be a basket case right now. So the rest of my worries, test scores included, didn't mean much at all in the scheme of things.
If I had Ryan...I didn't need much else.
As I walked in through the front door, I saw my mom watching television in the living room, wrapped in a fluffy bathrobe and eating ice cream out of a small bowl. Hehehe, I guess she really did take advantage of having the house all to herself on a Friday night, didn't she?
She asked how things went, and I told her about how easy it was. She asked, "Did Ryan get a hold of you?"
She was quiet for a moment. Then she said, "He mentioned some sort of school emergency?"
"Right. Yeah, we took care of it soooo...it's no big deal."
"Ok." She said. "It's just that...I thought it was a bit strange. A school 'emergency' after the last day of finals, right before Spring Break. Seems a little odd to me."
Sometimes...I think it would just be easier to tell her. To completely come right out and tell her that Ryan's my boyfriend. Some nights I just...I get tired of playing James Bond just to kiss who I want to kiss. Love who I want to love. It's just so exhausting sometimes.
But as much as I would like to believe that everything would be ok and nothing would change...my faith just wasn't as strong as my programming. Score another point for fear and self loathing. Maybe another day. Maybe.
I remember going to bed that night, looking up at the ceiling, and thinking about what tomorrow was going to be like. Ryan and I kinda fell into this relationship so fast that we just skipped right on past the actual dating part. Sure we had burgers and fries over at Frankie's or checked out a few movies together...but a 'date'? I don't know. We never actually made an official go of it. I wondered what would be different. Nothing probably. But just knowing that Ryan and I both wanted the night to be so special...hehehe, there was something romantic about it. It made me feel all wiggly inside. There's something so flattering about having someone to do something special just for you, you know? Just to make you happy. Let's see Sean pull THAT one off.
Oh yeah, that's right...he can't because my boyfriend told him to get lost!
I have got to call Matt and Sam and get them to give me some time to come over and spend an afternoon at their house with my sweetheart. Of course, we could just risk it and do it at his house while his dad was at work, but his schedule is a bit too unpredictable for us to really enjoy it. The sex is soooo much better when we can just relax. Besides, I like just cuddling up to him afterward. It's so cool to lay my head on his chest and just listen to his rapidly beating heart as it gradually slows back down to normal again. It's hypnotic. And he holds me close...occasionally kissing me on the top of my head. Sighing peacefully to himself over and over again. It's just like...this truly 'perfect' moment, you know? Where everything fits. Everything is right. I miss that. We haven't been able to share too many moments like that lately. I look forward to it.
I don't know why I was so tired that night, but I didn't resist the fatigue. I figured, the more beauty sleep I got, the better I'd look for tonight. I wasn't sure what the plan was, but Ryan called me on the phone around 2 PM and I could hear the joy in his voice as he greeted me with a giant grin. "You'd better be getting ready for tonight." He said. "I'm coming to get you at 6:30 because we've got reservations for 7:30, and I want to get there a bit early, just in case."
"Reservations? My oh my..." I said. "I take it that we're not going to Frankie's for dinner, then, huh?"
"What the...? HELL NO, we're not going to Frankie's!" Ryan laughed. "This is a date, Randy. We said it would be special. I think I can do a little bit better than a few chili dogs tonight. We're gonna get all classy and gentlemen-like this evening."
"Oooh! Ok. Does that mean that I should, like....dress up or something?"
"Definitely. Dress up like you wanna impress me."
I said, "If I wanted to impress you, I'd show up naked."
Ryan giggled in the cutest way, saying, "We don't have a strict dress code at this place, but I'm pretty sure that birthday suits will get turned away at the door. But I like the way you're thinking. So keep that in mind for all next week." He was making me hard just hearing his voice. I'm gonna pounce on that boy something fierce when I get the chance. Ryan said, "Just iron a shirt with buttons on it, and you'll be fine. Nobody will be able to get past those pretty eyes of yours, anyway.""
I blushed a bit, and noticed my mom walking through the house, so I turned the energy level down a bit. I cleared my throat, and asked, "So, are you gonna tell me where we're going, or what?"
He said, "It's a nice place. You'll like it." Which didn't answer my question at all. "Listen, I'm going to get my hair trimmed a little bit so I look all sexy for you, k?"
"Nooooo! Awww, Ryan, don't cut it too short. Ok? I like your hair a little bit longer..."
"I know, I know. I promise, it's just a trim. K? You'll be running your cute little fingers through it again soon, just like always. K?"
Feeling anxious, I just softened my voice and said, "Ummm...k. I'll be ready at 6:30."
"Uh huh. Promise."
"Ok. I love you, babe." Ryan said.
And even though my mom was within earshot, I said, "I love you more...." And quickly hung up the phone. I checked around the corner to see if she was listening. Didn't look like it. Good. Yes...that's a good thing.
I got all dolled up for him. Made sure to shower and put on that sweet smelling bath gel that Ryan likes so much. Hehehe, the first time I wore it, he kept his nose and lips connected to my neck for the rest of the evening. I blow-dried my hair and teased it into something awesome. Thankfully, it was working with me tonight. I've had some bad days where my hair and I are just mortal enemies and there's nothing that can be done about it. Tonight was a good night.
All this preparation and extra time really brought home the idea that I have never had to get ready for a date before. This is a lot of work. Not to mention that I felt myself getting nervous for some reason. It was a good kind of nervous though. Warm shivers and short breaths....I kinda liked it.
I had to clear my throat again, and even though I was still a bit tired, I tried to work up some energy so I could have a good time. Looking at the clock, I saw that it was almost time for my 'date' to arrive...and that just caused those butterflies in my stomach to increase the flutter of those excited wings tenfold. And it was then that I walked out into the living room...and realized a big slip up that I hadn't really thought about until it was too late....
"Well, you're awfully dressed up. Are you going out tonight?" I had already walked right past my mom, smelling of fresh bath gel and a fine misting of cologne.
"Am I, uhhh...that is...um..." I had to clear my throat again. This time twice. "...Yeah. I thought...I might go out...tonight."
"What's the special occasion?"
"NO special occasion!" I blurted out. "I mean, me and Ry...um...that is, me and a friend, just thought we'd hang out."
My mom raised and eyebrow. "Does this friend have a name?" How could I not have expected her to ask me that?
Unable to think up a fake name, not that it would have done me much good anyway, seeing was going to be showing up at our front door any minute, I just told her the truth. "Ryan. We were hanging out tonight."
"Oh. Well, why didn't you say so?" She asked. "Do you need a few extra dollars? Just to have in your pocket?"
Ok. That was....odd. Not that my mom is necessarily stingy or anything, but she's never just offered me money for no reason before. I could have told her that I would be ok, since I made a killing on babysitting Wilson and his friends last night. But that would have completely violated the terms of teen/parent relations. Yeah...I took the money.
I thanked her for the extra, but even though the gesture appeared to be random and sweet...I remained suspicious. I'm dressing up and smelling good to go out on the town with another boy on a Saturday night. That just HAS to look weird to her right now.
The doorbell rang, and I turned to open it up before my mom asked me anymore questions. What began as a playful and welcoming smile, turned to a feeling of breathlessness as I saw Ryan standing at the door. He was dressed in a pair sleek, black slacks, black shoes, and black button down shirt that was pressed to the point where the creases could cut you in half if you got too close. And then, had had this light, aqua blue tie with the coolest design on it. His hazel eyes were sparkling just a bright as his smile, his strawberry blond locks, trimmed and cut to perfection. A fragrance of spicy men's cologne coming from the small splashes he put on the sides of his neck. Even after all this time...I don't think I had ever been so turned on by the sight of him. This was a whole new level of sexy for him. Far above and beyond the T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers that I was used to. He looked so good standing there that I actually began to feel faint.
"I....er....I um...hey..." I smiled, and Ryan turned the most beautiful shade of pink.
I froze for a moment, and took another look at him. Then I said, "You know what? I've gotta change! Wait here..."
Ryan took a hold of my wrist and pulled me back. "No no no...you're fine. You look great. Really...sighhhh...really great." He took a whiff. "Is that the bath gel stuff that I like so much?"
"Hehehe, yeah. It is."
My mom looked around the corner. "Hey, Ryan."
"Hi, Mrs. Stephens."
She said, "Wow. Don't you look dashing tonight?"
"You like it? Check me out. Hehehe, but don't let me catch you trying to jock my style, Mrs. Stephens. This is from my private collection. I don't want any lame posers knowing my secret." He giggled, and I just stared at him, falling deeper in love by the second as he joked around for my mom's benefit.
I was enjoying the show in front of me, when I sneezed, and cleared my throat again. My mom asked, "Are you ok, honey?"
"Yeah. I've just...got this scratchy thing going on with my throat today. That's all." I said. I looked back at Ryan...and....and wow! I mean, he REALLY looked yummy tonight. It gave me goosebumps.
Ryan knew that look. He knew it well. "Hehehe! Well, we've got to get going."
"Alright. You boys have yourselves a good time." She said, not asking anymore questions. Could it ever be that simple? Is it possible that, maybe one day in the near future, I can show my boyfriend off to my mom with pride. That they might just get along and share a few laughs before going out to have some fun. For a moment there...it was almost like a fairy tale come true. Yeah...it might just be that simple.
I closed the door behind me, and gazed hungrily at Ryan's butt in those pants. Delicious. He grinned at me and said, "You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear your mom was giving me the old 'cougar eye' back there."
I instantly swatted him on the shoulder. "Ryan! Eww! STOP!"
"Hehehe! What? You think she wants me? Am I her Bieber Fever?"
"Don't start with that weirdness...." I was going to get into his car, but he hurried ahead and opened the door for me. The car had just been washed, and the interior vacuumed out, sprayed with some kind of stuff to make it smell like it had just rolled off the car lot. He waited for me to sit down, and closed the door.
And soon we were off. Ryan even made a CD of slow tunes for the car. We may not have had much money between the two of us...but we were able to work some real magic with what we had. There was no doubt about it. Our love worked. He never failed to take an interest in everything that I was, and I never hesitated to return the favor. We barely made it to the first stop sign before my hand had worked its way over to his thigh.
He smacked it away. "Hehehe, unh unh! First we go get dinner. THEN you can get dessert. If we make it back before my dad gets home, that is."
"Is he being weird again? About us, I mean? Or...or does he know?" I asked.
"Oh yeah, he knows. I told him that I was taking you out tonight, and I pestered him and pestered him until he finally tossed some money at me just to get me to leave him alone. Hehehe, I didn't give him much of a choice."
I didn't know if I felt bad that his father was still a bit resistant to our relationship, or if I felt envious of Ryan's ability to just be straight with him and actually say something like, 'I'm taking my boyfriend out on a date tonight'. Maybe it was a mixture of both. I don't know. But I could truly learn something from him.
We pulled up to this really nice restaurant just bordering the downtown area. An Italian place that I had always seen as my mom drove past it, but never thought twice about going inside before. I mean, just from the decor outside and the look of the people entering and exiting the building...it looked like it would cost 100 dollars just to walk through the door. Evidently, that was an exaggerated perspective though. I doubt Ryan's dad gave him THAT much money. Not just for a date with me, anyway. Ryan was going to have valet park the car, but ummmm...that was a bit more price than the service was worth. So we found our own parking spot instead. Even if it was a few blocks away.
He took the key out of the ignition, and surprised me by quickly leaning over and kissing me deeply on the lips from the driver's seat. Tongue and all. Hehehe, I turned beet red, and Ryan giggled, saying, "Don't move! I'll come and open the door for you."
"Ryan...you don't have to..." Too late. He shut his car door and was already racing to my side to treat me to the full service he promised for the evening. "Thank you, sir."
"You're most welcome, sir." He stuck out his arm to escort me. "Shall we?"
I hesitated. Maybe it was a split second, or maybe it was longer. But it was a hesitation that Ryan noticed....and responded to.
He said, "I was just kidding. Really. C'mon. Let's go."
It was a form of emotional paralysis that kept me from making the extra effort. I should have let him escort me. He worked hard to make this evening so sweet, and I'm...holding back? That's ridiculous. No. No, I should let him take me. I should.
I reached out, and I took a hold of Ryan's hand. He started to tell me that it wasn't necessary or anything, but..I told him to shut up and take my hand before a beat the shit out of him.
That seemed to do the trick.
I know that a few heads turned to look at us. Two boys...well aware of who we were and what we were doing, but just a couple of babies in their eyes...walking hand in hand on a public street. I felt the pressure on me. The harsh, unforgiving, blaze of that social spotlight, practically burning the flesh right off of me. But I would bear all that and much more...just so long as Ryan kept me close. My umbrella in the rain.
We walked into the restaurant, and it was even fancier inside than I expected it to be. With fountains and fish tanks and curtains...it was truly a marvel in my eyes. Obviously, we were the youngest ones in the whole place. The host gave us a slightly strange when Ryan told him that we had a reservation. I think he thought we were playing some kind of a prank or something. In fact, when he seated us, I think he made sure that we were as far away from the front door as possible, just in case we tried to dash out on the check. I know that Ryan noticed it too, because we sat down and he gave me a sideways look and a wicked smile. Like...what was that about?
We were given menus that were huge. Practically the size of my chest. And NICE menus too. I guess I was so used to having to peel Frankie's greasy menus apart with both hands that this struck me as something out of the ordinary. I could hardly tell one dish from the other. But, my GOD, did it look good. Decorated plates of pasta and chicken, smothered in various sauces, breads and bruschetta, butters and garlic cloves...I only wish we were old enough to have a few glasses of wine with it. I did make a point of asking Ryan exactly how 'special' this evening was supposed to be once I looked at the prices. Much to my surprise, Ryan said, "Sky's the limit."
I looked him right in the face, and I said, "Heh...um...really?"
Ryan blushed a little. "Ok, so....maybe not the sky, but...a pretty high ceiling. How's that?"
"Don't worry. I brought some money too. So I can help out."
But Ryan insisted, "No no no...you keep your money. This is my big show, and I want you to feel pretty. Hehehe!"
"I already feel pretty." I didn't mean for it to come out as...intimately as it did, but something about it seemed to touch Ryan's heart.
"I'm glad." Then he looked at me tenderly, and he said, "You're beautiful. Every thing about you is beautiful. I'm the luckiest guy in the world, being able to sit here with you, right now."
"Second luckiest." I said.
"Let's call it a tie." He grinned. There was a moment where he gently bit his bottom lip, and then he spoke so softly that I had to strain my ears to hear him. "I meant what I said last night, Randy. I think I'd go crazy if I lost you. I just want you to know that I'm really sorry, ok? About what happened with Sean, I mean."
"I know. I mean...maybe I overreacted..."
"No. You had every right to be upset. I mean, he crossed the line. More than once in fact. I should have paid more attention to how you were feeling about it."
feeling a warm sensation spreading out from my heart, I smiled and told him, "Thank you. Really, hon. Thank you." We both shared a grin, and I lightly rolled my eyes, feeling so silly about it now. "I skipped my final yesterday. My mom is going to kill me. She is literally going to wrap her hands around my throat, and squeeze until I pass away."
"Nah, she won't be that hard on you, will she?" He said.
"Trust me, dude....she will be.Especially considering the fact that I don't have an actual reason to give her as to why I did it."
Ryan said, "Don't worry. I'll talk to her. She's hot for my body anyway, so she'll be like a big ol' spongy boob in my hands."
"Hahaha! I TOLD you to knock it off with that! You're gonna end up having me throw up my fancy dinner all over that hot body of yours, and your money will have been completely wasted tonight." I said. "I actually had an assignment that I was supposed to turn in the Monday after Spring Break, and now it's locked up in the school for the week. I was actually thinking about getting it done as fast as humanly possible so you and I could spend more time together. So much for that plan. Now it won't get done until much much later."
"Hehehe, so what's the plan now?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I'll just take my sweet time and do it right. Better that than for me to hurry up, turn it in, and get a sloppy grade for it because it sucks. It'll just have to be a little late. That's all there is to it. He'll get it when he gets it."
"You think it'll be all praises and compliments when you hand it to him on a silver platter?" He smirked.
"Hehehe, NO! That man is never happy. Like, with anything! He'll probably say something like, 'FINALLY! I've waited forever!' or 'JESUS! It TOOK you long enough, ya JERK!' or one of a hundred other hurtful and dismissive comments that people would use to totally crush my spirit and disregard ALL of the hard work that I put in just to make him happy. I guess I should just brace myself for the harsh criticism now."
"Rude!" Ryan giggled.
"Yeah, well...some people can't help themselves. Maybe they don't know how much something like that fucking SUCKS when it's on the other end of the sarcasm. But, you know what? Honestly...none of that matters tonight. I'm out on the town with the cutest boy on the planet, I've got an entire week off of school, and Sean is finally out of the picture. So I've got nothing to complain about."
I was smiling wide at the thought of things getting back on the right track again as far as my life was concerned.
Ryan's smile, however...seemed to have dimmed a little bit.
He asked, "Um...what do you mean?"
"Mean by what?"
"About...Sean...'finally being out of the picture'."
I gave him a weird look, and I said, "Well, I mean...you told him to buzz off, right?"
"Ummm....no. Not exactly." He answered.
"What do you mean, no, not exactly?" I asked. "I thought you said you told him off."
"I did tell him off. But I'm not just going to stop hanging out with him. Randy, he's my friend."
"You mean to tell me that you're still going to talk to him? Even after all this mess?"
"This 'mess' was just a big misunderstanding. And he agreed to tone it down..."
"I don't want him to 'tone it down'. I want him to stay away from my boyfriend." I whispered loudly.
"That's not fair. Imagine if I suddenly told you that you couldn't talk to Tyler anymore. How would you feel?"
"Are we back on this Tyler thing again? I TOLD you that I was sorry!"
"I'm not even referring to the Tyler thing right now. You're making assumptions for the sake of a fight. I was just saying that....." Both of us took a moment, and saw how tense we were getting about the whole thing. It was just stirring up another batch of trouble between us, and this was hardly the place for it. Instead of taking it any further, Ryan sighed and said, "You know what? None of this matters right now. Let's just...relax tonight. And have a good time. K?"
I sat back in my chair, and took a few deep breaths myself. He was right. This petty argument wasn't worth it. "I'm sorry. You're totally right. Let's forget it."
"Agreed. I'm sorry, k?" He said.
"Me too. Sorry."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"You want me to suck you off under the table or something?" He grinned, and I laughed out loud, covering my mouth before I disturbed all of the people around us. "Hehehe, shhhhhh! Don't you dare embarrass me, Randy Stephens." He said, in his best 'dad' voice.
Conflict avoided. And dinner went on from there. Without error. It really was a special evening.
The food was delicious. Unnaturally so! I felt like I was eating unicorn or something. I couldn't even compare it to anything that my mom could whip up in the kitchen at home. I almost wanted to eat my napkin once I was finished wiping my mouth. It was THAT freakin' good.
We sat and talked for a while over coffee. Nothing too deep. Nothing too shallow. The way the waiter kept looking at us because of our ages, we half expected him to 'card' us to see if we were old enough to even have coffee. But we stayed all smiles the whole time. We were gracious, we were quiet, we were well-mannered. They couldn't pin anything on us 'rowdy teenagers'. Not tonight.
The check came. And although Ryan tried to hide his expression from me, I could see his eyes widen the second he saw the price of our magical trip to the land of Italy. He quickly turned the check down on the table, and he grinned at me. Already, I could see his mind working out a plan. And I assumed that it was a plan to bargain with whoever put those particular numbers together on that receipt. Hehehe!
I didn't give him the chance to make up an excuse. I just said, "You know, I'd feel really bad if I didn't contribute at least something to all this."
"No. Randy, you don't have to do that."
"But I want to...."
"You're my date. I'm gonna take care of you."
"Well, you're my date too, ya know? So let me help." He didn't want to protest too much, seeing as he didn't really have any other ideas about how to cover the bill.
But my sweetheart, ever the cool one, said, "I suppose I can let you put in a little bit if it'll make you happy. But I'm getting most of it." Awwww, he can be so CUTE sometimes!
Thanks to my mom, we were not only able to cover the bill, but leave a decent tip. Ryan and I walked out with our heads held high, and he opened the door for me as we exited the restaurant, and walked back out into the cool night air.
The city was buzzing with a bit more activity now. We couldn't believe that we had been in there for over two hours. Almost two and a half, to be honest. I guess we made that coffee chat last a lot longer than we thought. But whenever Ryan and I were together, we never felt a need to watch the clock. No matter what...the time we spent together was always WAY too short. I don't think that will ever change. Why should it?
Ryan and I were taking our sweet time walking back to the car. And we stopped halfway, to just lean against a wall and talk some more. He blushed in the sweetest way, and he admitted, "You know...I didn't have quite enough to foot the bill in that place."
"Hehehe, I know." I said.
"That was insane. I mean, really? Did they charge us for every grain of salt or what? I think they put the ice cubes on the bill."
"It's ok. The restaurant, the reservations, this whole evening...it was really really sweet, Ryan. Thank you. I loved every minute of it."
"Yeah, but...I wish I could have done something more...awesome, you know?" He said. "Something with...fireworks and champagne and a kick ass limo ride from one end of this city to the other."
Feeling frisky, I told him, "All of that stuff would have been cool, Ryan. But at the end of the day...all I needed was you. All I ever needed was you. That's pretty much all the excitement my poor heart can take." Ryan smiled, and he took a hold of my hand as we just leaned against that wall and let the people pass us by for a few minutes. It really felt like we were connected. And it made me grin from ear to ear.
At some point, he asked me where I got so much extra cash from. I laughed and told him, "I think Wilson's mom expected my babysitting night to be such an experiment in horror and tragedy that she showered me with riches just for keeping my sanity. Hehehe, you should have seen the look on her face, dude. You would have thought that I spent the night defending the kids against the zombie apocalypse."
Ryan responded with a sweet giggle, and he said, "So, I take it she has no idea about...whatever the hell you were talking about earlier this week?"
"What? The 'Monkey Blowtorch' game? God no! After what I've seen of that video game, I'm pretty sure that I can go to jail for even having it in the same HOUSE as someone under the age of 35!"
We both laughed out loud as I tried to describe some of what that game has in store for any child looking to pick it up. Ryan saw the extreme joy reflected in my eyes, and said, "Wilson really means a lot to you, doesn't he? You seem to have so much fun when he's around. It's cute."
"Yeah, well...I guess I owe him. I mean, he really made me smile when I was in the hospital. He kept me company, and he just...I don't know. There's something about him that reminds me of me when I was that age." I smiled. "When I was that age, hehehe! Listen to me. I sound like I'm 50 or something. I guess being 10 years old...it just seems like it was so long ago."
"Really?" Ryan asked. "You know, I was thinking the same thing not long ago. It's weird, but...it's really hard for me to remember what I did with my day when I wasn't thinking about you. I can't remember what life was like...when you weren't a part of it." Then he saw me getting misty eyed, and he said, "Hehehe, does that sound creepy and weird? Because I can totally stop talking right now if it does."
"No! No, it doesn't sound weird at all. I was just...I was thinking about the exact same thing. I just...didn't know how to put it in words. Not like, you did. Heh...." I said, a timid jitter running its way through me as I fought to be as honest with Ryan as I possibly could. "You know....when I first met you....I had all the self esteem of a barnyard mouse. Hehehe! I mean...my dad had a really...bad impact on me. And on who I was. Who I thought I was." I felt myself getting a bit choked up with emotion, which aggravated that growing scratchy nuisance in the back of my throat. But I continued on as bravely as I could. "I was really scared of you. And I didn't know how to communicate and express myself in a way that might catch your attention. The fear and panic nearly suffocated me as I tried to reach out to you...but...I FOUGHT it. You were the first person who made me want to be a better person than I was. The first person who meant more to me than my silly insecurities." I gripped his hand tighter, even there in the public street. And I said, "I pushed myself...for you. And the first time you kissed me on my bedroom floor, I knew that it was worth it. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life, trying to drown out the noise that came from the pain in my life. But I don't have to do that anymore. You're my focus now. You're my shelter. I just want you to know that...in a lot of ways...you really saved me from myself. I don't know who I'd be if I didn't let down my guard and really take a chance on you. I guess you could say that you really make love easy."
This time, there was no hesitation. Not for either one of us. Ryan leaned into me. I leaned into him. And after a brief moment of us rubbing our noses together with a smile....he kissed me.
It was the perfect end to the perfect night. I felt his tongue against mine, but it was sooooo soft. So slow. A tender kiss. Hardly the lustful 'crush' of two horny teenaged boys who wanted to find the nearest alley to screw in. There was so much more emotion conveyed in the collision of our young lips. Just a touch, a breath, a look, a smile. Right there on the street....Ryan physically demonstrated how much he really cared for me. I don't think I've ever loved him more.
Our lips parted, and we both giggled bashfully as we realized how overwhelmed we had been by the moment.
That's when I saw it....
My stomach felt as though it had suddenly turned itself out. I'm sure that all the blood had drained out of my face, and my expression caused to follow my line of sight...and look across the street from us as well.
Maybe it had just been a typical night out with a bunch of friends. Something that was supposed to go off without a hitch. But even among a crowd of friends, one surprised and disappointed face seemed to stand out.
Staring directly at us...from across the street...was Hailey.
There was no way that we could have known that she would be hanging out in this part of town, on this street, at this particular moment....
But all we could think about at that moment was...did she see us? Does she know?
Something tells me....we just let the proverbial cat out of the bag....