Second Star to the
(straight on till morning.)
The guys said they would draw the line when Jamie started showing up to their practices. Blake didn't like the way the implied threat lingered in the ensuing silence. It made his chest ache and something about the implied violence set him on edge, nervous.
“Don't be stupid,” said Blake, looking around the dugout. “It's not like he's doing any harm.”
Max scowled at him. “Sticking up for the fudgepacker, Blake. Do you want to skip practice to go hang with your boyfriend.”
“Fuck off,” said Jason, throwing off his pitcher's glove. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Blake. “You fight my brother, you fight me. He's right anyway. Kid's minding his business. Shut your mouth, and let's finish practice. I don't want to hear coach bitch.”
Practice resumed and that was that on the matter. Jason was team captain and his word was law on the baseball field. And honestly, no one wanted to be kicked off the Varsity team for fighting when players were looking to be scouted for college teams. Athletic scholarships were the only shot some of them had to leave Odessa. This was Texas and baseball always came second place to football, bottom line. So they had to be that much better to be counted.
“Thanks,” Blake muttered under his breath.
Jason bumped their shoulders together, tugging back on his glove. “Whatever. Not like I ain't ever got your back, bro.”
It was true. As far as twins go they were pretty tight. They weren't identical. Jason was more outgoing, but Blake was kinder. Jason lived in the now and Blake thought about tomorrow. Blake wasn't as popular as Jason, and he was okay with that.
“Look he's drawing in that notebook again,” Jason noticed.
Blake looked into the bleachers near the top seats. Jamie sat in the stands with his head down as he worked. He tugged absently at one of his blond curls. Blake's breath stuttered at the action. His fingers itched, and he rubbed the tips against the sides of his pants. Jamie peeked up at him with those cornflower blue eyes. It was Blake who looked away first, tugging his cap down over his brow, blushing.
Jamie transferred into their high school in the middle of sophomore year. He only hung around girls because the guys called him names behind his back. Cocksucker, fag, homo, and whether it was because of his scarves (“long, thin tentacles of contagious homo” is what Max calls them), then it was his soft English accent that might've been charming, if he was older, but only made the boys think he was girly. Blake liked all these things about him, though he would never admit it.
At seventeen Blake wasn't the tallest boy in the school, but he was a good inch past six foot. His brother was an inch taller. So it was easy for them to spot Jamie standing in the crowded movie theater's atrium with Zoe Landry, school's resident art freak. Jamie's staring at him and when Blake bravely meets his gaze, the smaller boy only smiled and then calmly turned back to Zoe, laughing about something into her ear. Blake suddenly wanted that little adorable smile turned back on him with a aching kind of want.
“The stalkers here,” said Jason.
Blake wished he wouldn't call him that. It was senior year and had almost been two years to date since the first time Jamie had popped up to their baseball practice. He showed up to them sporadically, in the same seat and drawing in his ever-present notebook, and then he started showing up at the games. He made every home game of the season last year, sitting in the crowd and easy to spot with his curls tamed under a bright yellow knit cap. Only Jamie would wear something so loud instead of a normal baseball cap.
Blake glared at him. “The guys give him too much crap about it as is.”
“Hey now, Blake-bear,” he replied, holding up his hands in surrender. “No need to go off. I was just saying.”
He offered a sheepish smile. “Sorry, bro.”
He knew his brother didn't mean anything by it. Of course he didn't. It wasn't in Jason's nature to be cruel. Oblivious, maybe, but never mean. Blake had to get himself under control. He had a bad habit of this: wanting to help people smaller than himself. Jamie with his bright smiles, blue eyes and stubborn curls, brought out all his protective instincts. He just wanted to press his face into Jamie's curly hair, hug him tight, and shield him from the cruelty of the world. Blake wanted to be the one to always protect him.
Blake tore his eyes away moving determinedly to the concession line. He was not going to spend the entire night gawking. His fascination with Jamie was starting to become noticeable. Because more often that not, when he stared he found Jamie returning his stare.
Sometimes he has these dreams where he and Jamie are actually talking, laughing over coffee, and sharing a moment so nice that the utter intimacy of it all makes his breath catch. The downside of this was Blake's never said two words to Jamie. Oh he's wanted to. That's a given. Only when he tries at school it's like he can feel the hallways close in on him and the explosion of judging whispers, and he thinks, this is enough to kill me right here. And then he chickens out like a fucking asshole.
“Have you decided on a school yet?”
“I'm thinking about UT. I think it'll be best financial-aid wise,” said Blake. He grinned at his twin. “Not all of us were lucky enough to get full rides.”
Jason rolled his eyes but smiled at the quiet pride in the words. The full athletic scholarship to UNT wasn't a surprise, since he'd been starting pitcher since he was JV and coaches had been telling him he was a shoe in, but to not have to worry about the pressure of scouts anymore was exhilarating.
They ordered a ton of candy and two cokes from the girl at the register. Jason turned to him while she put the order together. “Just wait, man. You'll be missing this face when you're all lonely and cold in your dorm.”
Blake's lips quirked. “Don't tease me like that. I'm counting the days.”
“Dick,” Jason laughed, pushing at his shoulder. He flicked his eyes over to Zoe and Jamie who are lounging on a bench, talking amicably. “Five bucks says Zoe Landry majors in Art.”
They walk away from the line, holding their food. Blake rolled his eyes. “Suckers bet. Even the janitor knows that girl bleeds paint.”
Jason chuckled as he led them through the lobby to their theater. “What about, English?”
Blake couldn't resist the sigh. It was like Jason could never call Jamie by his name. If it wasn't Stalker, it was Creeper, or English. He settled with a shrug, forcing his voice not to sound like he wasn't bothered by the nickname.
“I don't know. He's always writing in that notebook, so maybe English. But he's really interested in science. He's always answering questions in Anatomy. And he was awesome in Chem. I think he has the period table memorized.”
Jason's looked at him with surprise and something unreadable just underneath it. “Cool.” he said finally.
Blake bit his lip, hard. He cursed himself in his mind feeling like an idiot and wishing he could just close his eyes and die. They took their seats and watched the movie in silence. His fingers were curled tight in his hands and later when he got home, he had four little bleeding crescents in his skin.
Two days later it was Blake's birthday. Specifically, Blake and Jason's birthday. He'd died his hair jet black at the beginning of the school year. A change from the red tinted brown strands. Maybe this year people wouldn't call him Jason when wishing him Happy Birthday, which wasn't asking for much, since they weren't even identical twins.
Whatever awkward moment they had that night vanished like it never happened. Jason was back to his smiley self and was talking Blake's ear off non-stop about what their parents might give them for their 18th birthday. He was hoping for a new car, and Blake told him don't hold his breath on that one.
Blake slung his bag over his shoulder and made his way to the cafeteria. He accepted another Happy Birthday from a classmate and found himself positively happy. This would be his last 'high school birthday' and then college was next year, and that was when the fun really started, and he could finally be himself. Truly and wholly.
He passed through the quad and stopped. Sitting on railing of the handicap stairwell was Jamie and some sophomore he'd seen a few times before. With that red hair and freckles he could only be Sam Olsen's brother. They were leaning close to watch a video on Jamie's iPhone. Blake wished he would go away. Olsen said something and Jamie laughed so hard that his cheeks turned red, blue eyes bright and happy. He narrowed his eyes at Olsen, sitting too close hand lingering on Jamie's shoulder, feeling sick to his stomach as intense, violent rage rose up through him.
Blake himself was surprised at the hurt he was feeling. He was jealous. In this moment he wanted to trade places with Olsen and be the one to put that smile on Jamie's face. If there ever was a birthday wish to make that would be it.
When he schooled his face into a blank expression, Jamie looked up from the phone. He didn't know why he stopped moving, but Blake stood frozen, as Jamie stared shyly at him through his eyelashes. And for the first time, every good feeling he felt today bouncing within him gave him courage, to lift his hand and wave. Jamie looked shocked, and Blake's heart hammered in his chest something awful, then like a sunrise a smile spread across his cheeks, glowy and bright. It made Blake's heart soar, feeling that smile in the tips of fingers down to the soles of his feet.
He walked on air all the way to the cafeteria. If he garnered funny looks he didn't notice. Honestly he didn't care. It was only noon and it was shaping to be the best birthday ever. Blindly he picked out his lunch from the line and paid. With a tray piled with food he sat at a table his brother and friends already claimed.
Thankfully even though they were teammates with Max, he wasn't sitting at their table. He was so into his girlfriend that wherever she went he was on her heels. And currently she was holding court with the Debutantes at a table outside.
Jason squinted at him. “Did you get laid?”
“Virgin since 1993,” Blake pointed at himself. “Can't I be happy it's my birthday? Being 18 and all that. I get to vote, buy cigarettes and porn.”
If anything Jason studied him harder at the innocent tone. “Ri-ight. You'll tell me eventually. You can't keep a secret for shit.”
“Wrong twin,” Blake clarified. “You definitely just described yourself. Do you want my notes for Pre-Calculus or not?”
Sure enough Jason descended on the stack of papers like a lion on a wounded gazelle. He was pulling a C in the class and was trying desperately to master derivatives so he could end the semester with a B average. Blake was glad to see that Olsen had crawled back under whatever rock he lived in, because Jamie was eating lunch with only Zoe and two other girls. There was a slight chill outside, and Blake couldn't help but notice today Jamie's scarf matched his eyes.
School went by in a blur. Blake spent the last four hours with his head firmly in the clouds. He probably looked like a moron, but the teachers didn't bother him. It was his birthday, after all. When the bell rang he was one of the first out of the door. The hallway was swarming with kids. Blake shouldered his way to his locker. He dropped his books inside and then paused. Underneath his Spanish textbook was a glint of metal.
“What.” he said under his breath, tugging on a random piece of string.
No it was a shoelace, black, and looped through it was a silver ring with roman numerals etched into the surface, one through twelve. Blake fingered the ring and was surprised when the band moved, spinning around an inner track, giving the effect of a spinning wheel. He puzzled at the cool ring with a frown.
He looked through the crowd, but no one stood out. It's not like he expected someone to raise their hand or a flashing sign. Blake wondered at the ring's owner. Was it a gift? He could feel heat rising to his cheeks. There was no note attached but as he slipped the string around his neck, with the ring resting between his pecs he knew who he wanted it to be from.
Blake looked around hoping to spot a head of curly blond hair. There was no sign of the British boy. He took the ring in his hand warmth shooting through every bit of him. Please.
“Hey, cool ring,” said Jason, coming up beside him. “Where'd you get it?”
For some reason he didn't want to tell his brother it was a gift. Right now this secret was something he's holding to tight.
Blake shrugged off the question. “Bought it yesterday. Looked sweet.”
Jason nodded. “Ready to go?”
“You driving?” he asked as they walked to the exit.
The keys to their shared beat-up truck span around Jason's index finger. “Driver picks the music. No complaining this time. You know the rules.”
Happy and still feeling carefree, Blake grinned almost blindingly. “Yeah. Bitch, bitch, bitch.”
That night close to bed he spent an inappropriate amount of time stalking Jamie's facebook page. It surprisingly wasn't set to private like a majority of people's, and the profile picture was enough to do him in. Jamie looked particularly adorable in a black vest and a power blue tie. He was grinning at the camera and the background looked like a wedding reception.
Blake scrolled down his Wall till he came to Jamie's last update.
Beckett changed his status: i'm happy because you're happy.
Zoe Landry commented: <3 you, xxx
Marco Olsen commented: after all this time?
Jamie Beckett commented: always.
Zoe Landry commented: lol u and Ron Weasley would reference HP on the sly.
Macro Olsen commented: zoe i think i despise you. redhead hater.
Blake pondered over what that could mean. It was an inside joke that didn't mean crap without a frame of reference. He slapped himself on the forehead. He did have a reference. Blake opened google on his browser. He typed in two sentences. 'After all this time. Always'.
Over eighty six million hits. He clicked on one of those answers site. Sure enough it was a Harry Potter quote. He read it quickly and then one more time slowly. Then he read it a third time taking in the words and making sense of it. The gist of it was about loving someone a long time, through anything, and for always.
Did that mean that Jamie was into someone. Blake bit his lip. He was putting too much thought into this. It was a joke between friends and he was analyzing it like it was prime evidence in a murder case. He needed to get a grip.
The next day Jamie was absent from school.
Along with the following day.
And then their game of the week came with still no sign of Jamie. Blake looked near the top bleachers at Jamie's preferred spot that overlooked center field. He tugged at his uniform shirt, gazing like a hawk for a yellow beanie and blue eyes.
“What are you doing?” asked Jason, tying his laces and adjusting his knee socks. “You look...crazy. Sup?”
Blake sighed staring one more time at the bleachers before giving up in defeat. He stared down at his glove with a dejected frown. “Nothing.”
Jason stared at him, worried. “You want to talk about it?”
Blake shook his head because he didn't even have a label for his emotion right now. He felt like his equilibrium was all off, like the world was tilted and he couldn't find balance. He was used to Jamie watching his ball games, a reassuring presence always there when he looked up. Right now Blake needed to look into those blue eyes and find focus. While his presence irritated the guys, Blake only found warm pleasure.
Sam Olsen came up, clapping Blake on the shoulder. “Game's almost 'bout to start. Get your game face on, dude.”
Jason moved toward the mound. He waved to their parents out in the stands and his red and black uniform looked ridiculously bright under the field lights. Blake turned to his twin when he called out to him.
“Have a good game.”
Blake offered a sickly smile in return.
The game was a personal disaster. As starting catcher Blake usually was one of the team's best players. He felt like a freshmen at their first game with how badly he was screwing up up. He dropped an easy catch sealing the other team's chances of gaining a run, and he even earned his first ever fielding error. Blake was about to collapse in a hole and fall straight to Hades. Meanwhile, Jason was on his way to having a stroke.
They benched him and he wasn't even upset about. He sat in the dugout as his team pulled together, wrangling a win only by Jason being awesome and saving the game. His teammates give him sympathetic glances on their way out of the locker room. Even Max gave him a weak thumbs up. Jason didn't say one word while changing, inwardly seething, waiting for privacy.
The door closed finally leaving them alone. Coach Anderson and Peters were in their office finishing up some paperwork, and the locker room was empty except for the twins. Blake stared at the laces of his Nikes.
“I don't even know where to start.” Jason started quietly, and the soft tone made Blake wince. “I think what hurts the most is I'm your twin, and you can't even be honest with me.”
Blake's head snapped up. “What are you talking about?”
Jason wasn't facing him. He was staring at his hands. “You don't think I've never noticed that when you talk about girls you're always following my lead. I notice a lot of things Blake.”
He couldn't breathe. His vision went black in spots and he blinked hard, holding his stomach and sucking in air. A hand settled on his shoulder and moved to his back rubbing soothing circles in his skin. Jason took a seat next to him on the bench. His eyes were wet and he smiled crookedly.
“Hey it's alright now, okay?” he whispered. “I'm not mad. Jesus, man. You're my twin. Please. Believe me, Blake, I love you.”
Relief soothed the building ache like a balm, and Blake nodded weakly wiping at the stray tears. “How long?”
Jason shrugged. “Awhile now. Tonight I knew for sure.” He ran a hand through his brown hair. “You want to know the reason why I never called Jamie by his name? Yeah, I know you've wondered. I told you, man, I'm observant. You're kind of oblivious, but that's okay. Have you ever noticed that you guys have had all the same science classes, the same lunch period, Hell, did you not notice him and that art freak girl change movie tickets to ours when we were day a couple days ago?”
Blake's breath stuttered in his chest, as something light and airy floated in his stomach. “What?”
“They were in line for that Potter movie, Blake. Then they changed to our movie when we were going into the theater. I saw them at the help desk exchanging tickets.” At his dropped jaw, Jason said slowly, like he was slow, “They were sitting in the row behind us.”
“These last few years I honestly didn't like Jamie,” he admitted, turning his head away. “It's not because he's not tough, or manly or whatever, I just knew, you know.” No, Blake didn't know. Jason paused for a moment, forming his words carefully. “Even then, I knew he loved you. It's in his eyes. He's always smiling, but then he'd look at you, and it changes – it's like they were sad, like you wouldn't get it, like you wouldn't ever feel what he felt. Every time at practice, he'd always look at you and only you.
Blake reached out to hold Jason's wrist. When he opened his mouth nothing came out. His stomach was turning, filling with gooey warmth that was making him feel like he was about to float to the sky and never come back down.
“You can't be serious?” demanded Blake, emotion squeezed his throat tight.
Jason nodded and then met his eyes. “And you're in love with him, too.”
Blake shook his head ready to deny it. After all he hadn't ever had a conversation with him. Jamie was someone precious and holy. Someone that was far too soft for the world he landed in. He was like an angel and he wanted no one to touch him. Yet Blake wanted to. He longed to wrap his arms around him, touch him, hold him, protect him, and be the one he loved forever.
“I love Jamie,” Blake said for the first time to himself with a faint note of wonder. “I'm in love with him.”
“Yes, Pinocchio, you're a real boy.”
Blake snorted. He hugged Jason with one arm. “Guess that makes you the Blue Fairy.”
“If I can borrow your wings.” He winked. “Now if you hadn't gone all sad clown earlier and bit my head off when I tried to talk to you in the dugout, then you would know that I talked to Sam Olsen's kid brother, Marco, right before the game. Your boy's actually at home. His dog is sick, and his parents are out town so he's been playing nurse.”
Blake stood without realizing. “I...”
Jason rolled his eyes waving away the rest of his words. “Go get your man, bro.”
He swooped forward wrapping Jason in a tight hug. They laughed together letting out the buildup of emotions and secrets kept, and they were good again. Blake grabbed his jacket and Jason pushed him out the door. He didn't take the truck. Jamie actually lived closed to the school, like two blocks over. The streetlights were on as Blake walked down Jupiter Drive. The house was a two story sat in the middle of the row of homes. He drove past it every day, reflexively turning his head, watching.
Walking up to the porch and actually standing here was enough to send his heart into an erratic fit. He had to take several deep breaths to press the doorbell. He was dead certain he was going to faint at any moment, crack his head and slip into a coma.
The door opened and Blake's breath caught. Jamie stood in the doorway in a pair of blue athletic shorts and a white hoodie partially zipped, with no shirt, showing pale, smooth skin. Wide blue eyes shone with stark confusion and his face was the picture of surprise.
“Um. Hello.” He stuttered out softly.
“You didn't come to my game, I was so worried, I played like crap, and,” Blake cut himself off mid babble, voice breaking, and he coughed, embarrassed. He was blushing like he'd never stop.
Jamie's cheeks were pink and a bashful grin formed on his face. “Do you want to come in, Blake?”
He nodded feeling his heart beating between his ears. It was weird being this panicky, like this was a make it or break it moment. Jamie closed the door behind Blake, and immediately to the left was the living room. The TV was on, with an image paused on screen, a blanket was slung over the couch, and a puppy golden retriever slept contentedly on the rug.
“Aww, I heard the little guy was sick.”
Jamie looked pleasantly surprised. “Apollo's had better days. He's feeling better now, I think. Sleep has done him wonders.”
His lilting accent brought a smile to Blake's face. Just hearing him talk was calming to his nerves. He was feeling a little more like himself and not some fumbling loser. Blake's face was uncertain as a quiet descended over the room. He tried to smile, but felt terrified and small. If he was rejected, if Jason was wrong, it would be enough to undue him.
Jamie dragged his bare foot against the carpet, looking suddenly shy. “You. Noticed that I wasn't at your game. You were worried?”
Skin tingling, Blake nodded. “Of course, yeah. I looked for you at school, too.” He pulled at the string around his neck withdrawing the ring from his shirt so it rested over his chest. He had to know if he was right, if this feeling he felt was real. “Thank you. For this.”
It was a hunch that paid off. Jamie gave him another bashful smile looking half fearful. He looked at him through his lashes and said so very softly that Blake had to strain to hear it, “Do you like it?”
“I love it.”
The DVD player freeze frame exceeded it's time limit, and the picture suddenly jumped forward as playing resumed. Peter Pan pointed to the night sky and advised the Darling children to fly to 'the second star to the right and straight on till morning' and they would find Neverland.
“It's my favorite movie,” Jamie admitted, adorably embarrassed.
“I want to know everything about you,” Blake said suddenly. It was practically word vomit, but he meant it. Dear God, did he mean it.
Jamie smiled, but it's shaky. “You know – you must have to – Sometimes I think my heart will explode it's too much.”
“Yeah, I mean, I do know – that you have feelings for me.” Blake was breathing deep, chest heaving and he was lucky he wasn't fair of skin, or his whole face would be read from blushing. His heart was so heavy. And when he confesses it's with heartfelt feeling, “And. I feel the same.”
He took a step forward. Jamie took a step forward. There was a complicated maneuver where they didn't know if they should hug or what. Their feet jostled together, and they slipped tumbling over onto the couch. They landed chest to chest spread across the cushions.
Jamie let out a moan burying his head in the curve of Blake's neck. “I think about you all the time. I can remember my first time at school. The kids they teased me, but you told them to stop. You looked so mean, and then you smiled at me I thought, he's perfect.”
Blake laughed softly. Hearing the story from Jamie made him sound like some bigshot knight or something. He had been so mad that kids would pick on some new kid from another country. It was sickened him. Blake buried his face into Jamie's curls and breathed deep, nuzzling, feeling delightfully content. He kissed Jamie's forehead, timid and soft, lips curling into a smile against his skin.
Jamie looked at Blake with blue eyes that looked brighter up close. It was hypnotizing. “Can I kiss you?” whispered Blake, trembling.
Nodding silently, Jamie leaned forward as Blake moved. Their lips pressed together in a soft kiss that felt like the first of many. Blake licked into Jamie's mouth, turning their slow and gentle kiss into something amazing. Jamie straddled him and he fit so perfectly into Blake's lap. He made soft mewing noises of want, and Blake felt like he could listen to them forever.
“I've waited for this. I wanted it so badly. I wished.” Jamie sounded like he was about to cry. Tears fell down his cheeks, but he was smiling. “I can't help it.”
Blake pulled him more fully into his arms. He kissed at Jamie's cheeks licking at the tears, drawing a light laugh from Jamie. The sound made him laugh too, and a voice chanted in the back of his mind I love you, I love you, I love you, mine, please, forever, stay.
“I should tell you,” he leaned forward, whispering into Jamie's ear, “I love you.”
Jamie grinned at him like he knew it to be true, as if he knew it all along. He pressed his face into Blake's, not kissing him, just nuzzling against him, and smiling so widely that it looked like it hurt. Blake beamed back at him knowing that from here on out this was it.
“I love you, too, did I not tell you that yet?” He cocked his head, pouting. Looking terribly distressed that Blake didn't know this.
Blake smiled sweetly. “You didn't have to. I can see it so clearly now.”
Beyond them the movie played on. Peter Pan flew through the sky and the Lost Boys played their games beneath it. On the couch they whispered to each other till the movie stopped, credits rolling, and the screen went black. They kept telling each other I love you, staggered by disbelief that this was real, but it was and they were together. When they fell asleep foreheads pressed together, Blake dreamed of textbooks and studying in a college dorm. The sheets are UT orange, and Jamie lays on them reading a Physics book. He beckoned Blake over and he jumped on top of him, rolling them around, till their laughing and laughing. And he knows that Jamie will always be worth it all.
This is the first of a series of stories I'm going to post. Some will be short pieces like this, some will be multi-chaptered. They'll all be titled something different, but they'll all be found under second star to the right. Figure it'll be easier to keep track of them all.
If you want to drop a line or give me some feedback, which I will always appreciate, you can do it here at Batmanhater@aol.com