#2 of 16 short stories
I watch him standing by his computer, browsing the titles as he carefully drags songs onto a play list; he takes such care in making it perfect, like he knows each song can exist on its own but is infinitely better when paired with certain others. "I'm calling it `Josh and Ryan's Study Playlist," he says, turning around to smile at me. My heart lurches and I smile back.
I sit on his bed, my leg shaking slightly in anticipation, grateful for any gesture affording me nervous release. My eyes scan his walls and stop at a wooden carving of his name: "Ryan." It's childlike in its construction -- colorful and fun - and for a moment I know why he keeps it hanging there; it doesn't really match the rest of his room, but -- I don't know...I feel nostalgic looking at it and it's not even my name.
I look away and take out my books so we can study for our Chem test tomorrow. From his speakers comes the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights," and I smile at the nature of his first choice.
"I really like this song," I say, nodding my head to the beat, the light slowly softening as the sun sets.
"Yea, I do too," he says. "There's something so...I don't know. Like you can just tell he really loves whoever he's singing it to, I guess." The floor creaks as he starts to walk toward me, staring into my eyes but breaking the contact every few seconds; my palms are sweating so much and every time he looks away I surreptitiously wipe them on my jeans.
"Yea, I know what you mean," I say, "Especially the part where he goes `I am thinking it's a sign, that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned.'" His eyes are so stunningly beautiful that whenever they meet my own, my stomach seizes and I'm forced to look away.
"Or," he says, sitting down so close next to me that I feel the heat radiating off of his body, "That part where he's like, "I have to speculate that God himself did make us into corresponding shapes, like puzzle pieces from the clay.' "
He looks at me and I allow my eyes to meet his, staring intently as the tension becomes palpable and swallowing loudly before attempting to speak. He smells so good, like his clothes and his house and his room and his smile are all emanating from his pores, intoxicating me with the very essence of him.
"Yea," I finally say, "It's like he believes whoever he's singing to is like, his soul mate or something."
He's quiet for a moment as he looks to the ground, his hair falling in front of his face, framing it as the tips gently touch his soft lips. His eyes are so incredibly pensive and deep, glazing over and emitting more emotion than I've ever seen him express verbally.
He begins to play with his palm, tracing the familiar lines and following each one until he reaches the three on his wrist. "I always think about that."
"About that line?" I'm struggling to keep my tone level as I hang onto his every word.
"No, not about the song...about soul mates. Like, if there really is one person out there for everyone."
"Oh. Yea I think about that too sometimes."
"It's nice to think about, even if it's not true."
"I don't think it's true," I say, "not for me, anyway."
"How come?" he asks.
"I don't know." I pause -- trying not to reveal too much with my voice. "Sometimes I think certain people weren't meant to be happy, like it's just some cruel joke that most people have someone, but some people have no one."
"Everyone can have someone," he says, questioning me with his eyes.
"Yea," I say, "But not everyone can have someone they want." I look at him, a bit too longingly maybe -- and I'm surprised to see he's looking back.
A chill falls over the room and I shiver slightly.
"Are you cold?" he asks.
"A little bit, yea."
"The heat is broken, I think. Do you want a sweatshirt?"
"No it's ok."
He pulls the covers down on his bed, exposing his pale green linens; "Let's at least get under the blankets," he says, and we squirm underneath the tightly tucked top sheet. It makes perfect sense to us at the time -- maybe because we want it to.
He starts kicking his feet, loosening the edges until they're free from underneath the mattress; I begin to do the same on my side as he stretches out his long body, yawning deeply before turning over to face me; he slips an arm underneath his pillow to support his head. The sheets on my side won't break free, and though I could get up and pull them out, I decide against leaving the warm confines of his bed. When I lie back down and turn to face him -- he's staring at me.
"I've always wanted blue eyes like yours," he says, looking at me intently.
"Are you serious? Yours are so beau...uh, I mean...never mind."
"I can't remember what I was going to say." I look away shyly because he knows I'm lying.
He smiles. "I love your eyes."
"My eyes?" I'm incredulous.
"Yea. They're really...beautiful."
I'm staring at his face as he says this and my heart nearly stops beating. The soft light surrounds us, encasing his arm in a gentle glow as he reaches out to brush his fingers across my cheek. His eyes scan mine, searching for any hint of resistance, and seeing none, he continues. "I think everything about you is beautiful, actually."
He's cupping my face in his hand, the back of my neck encased in his fingers as he drags his thumb gently across my cheek. I close my eyes and just feel him touching me. It's unreal...my face is on fire.
"Actually," he says shyly, his hand moving from my face to my arm and allowing it to rest on top of my own hand, "Sometimes when I'm around you, I can hardly breathe."
I hear his breathing now, quick and light, and I open my eyes when I feel him take my hand in his, allowing our fingers to fall in between each other's. I'm so nervous I pray to God I don't throw up.
"Do you ever...feel anything like that?" he asks, inching his body closer so our legs are touching underneath the covers.
My throat is paralyzed as I struggle to answer; there are goose bumps all over my body. Finally willing myself to speak, I answer with a simple, "Yea."
I see his mouth moving toward mine, his breath warm on my lips. He leans over, his lips brushing my cheek, and whispers softly into my ear, "Can I kiss you?"
My heart is breaking through my ribcage and I can't even concentrate on the repercussions of such because I've never been so utterly exposed in my life. I can do nothing but nod, tentatively, not knowing what to do, or what to expect, but feeling as if everything in my sixteen years has lead me to this moment.
I close my eyes and feel his lips press against mine, and they're so, so soft. I push back against him and wrap my arms around him - feeling along his back, his neck, his hair, his face. He's clinging to me, inhaling deeply through his nose as his fingers run first along the length of my torso and then settle around me, firmly, pulling us even closer together. If I could climb inside him I would.
He opens his mouth and gently brushes his tongue over my lips, begging for access. And oh, how I respond -- I open my lips and we practically devour each other whole. And I realize in that moment - the sweetest candy could never compare to that of his kiss. And I know if I said that he may think it's stupid, or sappy, or cheesy -- but I can't help the words that begin to escape my mouth.
"God, you are so incredible." I say blindly, merely because my brain is malfunctioning and my verbal sensor has somehow been deactivated. "Oh God, you are so beautiful." I say between kisses. `Shut up,' I tell myself. But I can't.
"You are" he says, "You have no idea..." And he looks at me and smiles and touches my lips..."I can't believe this is happening," he says, "if you only knew..." I cut him off as my mouth closes over his and suddenly we're kissing again. Kissing him is my new favorite thing to do. My lips are hungry for his and we kiss for what seems like an eternity...stuck together in a moment that transcends reality. We've created a dream and we're lost in it together.
Our mouths are getting tired but we don't want to stop -- so we just pull apart and hold each other for awhile. He buries his head in my neck, his lips resting on my skin and mine on his. We have no choice -- it's like we're magnets somehow and there's no other way for us to exist in this impossible state we find ourselves.
He lifts his head from off my neck and he looks at me, so deeply, and with so much intensity, that it scares me for a minute. "Promise me you'll remember this forever..." he says, as if it were even a question.
"Forever," I say, with urgency only teenagers possess. "Forever, I promise," And suddenly, I'm lost in his eyes again. How did we get here...I start to wonder - but I don't have time to think because his lips are on mine again.
I roll over and he follows, his weight leaning into me, his body on my body, his lips on my lips, his hardness rubbing against my own. He feels so amazing on top of me, like we're meant to be like this, completely lost in this moment...in this impossibly beautiful moment.
"Josh?" His mom jiggles the door knob and suddenly it's real life again; I push him off of me, frantic, my heart beating so fast I'm afraid I'll pass out. Suddenly, we are not some star crossed lovers conquering the world -- but two teenage boys, on a bed, making out. The reality of our situation slaps me in the face...and it stings.
"Josh? Are you boys in there?" I'm momentarily paralyzed.
"He's right here, Mom."
"Ryan, why is your door locked?"
"Oh. Uh, I dunno. I must have locked it by accident."
"Well will you please tell Josh his mother is on the phone?"
"Your mother is on the phone" he whispers into my ear, lifting his head with a mischievous smile. But I'm so completely overwhelmed that he's forced to lean over me and grab the phone, placing it against my ear and mouthing for me to `say something.'
"Josh, I need you to do me a favor and come home. They need me at work and I don't want Melissa by herself. Ok?"
"I'm sorry, I know you're busy."
"Oh, uh, it's ok."
I hang up and look at him. Where had we been a moment ago? How did we get so lost?
"Um," I say awkwardly, "I gotta go."
"Oh," he says, "Ok." We avoid each other's eyes while I get up. God, it's so big...this thing that's between us. It's just so huge. And I can't understand it...and suddenly I'm lost again -- but not with him.
"I'll call you later." I say, trying so hard to sound casual.
"Yea man, sure." It's cold in his room and we're both so very exposed. This thing is bigger than both of us.
"Well...Bye." I say, inching towards the door.
The music stops and we're suddenly even more naked. There are so many things I want to convey to him but I just...can't. I don't know how. The disparity between these two extremes -- of a moment ago and now -- is so apparent it's killing me.
I'm at the door and he's behind me, and I can feel him there. And suddenly I realize - we can't leave it like this. I turn around to say something, but he's already right there, pressing his lips against mine. I grab him and kiss him with everything I have. Oh God, do I kiss him. I never knew I could feel like this. We're clinging to each other for dear life and it doesn't make any sense.
"Don't go." He whispers in my ear, "Please don't leave, I don't want you to go." He says it with such urgency you'd think we were dying -- but just having to leave him there is breaking my heart. It's terrifying to both of us, I guess - the thought that this may not ever happen again -- that we may lose this feeling forever if I walk out the door. And we won't let go -- we can't say goodbye. I touch his face and his lips. Is he real? He kisses my fingers.
"I have to." My heart is breaking and everything seems paramount. I pull away and he's clinging to my hand. We stare at each other disbelievingly, and I force myself to smile. "I'll see you later" I say, looking into his eyes. He nods and reluctantly lets go.
I walk through his door and back into reality; it's a different world out here -- in the hallway and away from him. But as I'm walking through his house - I hear the music, meant for us, blaring from inside his bedroom.
"They will see us waving from such great heights, `come down now,' they'll say. But everything looks perfect from far away -- `come down now'...but we'll stay."
I smile to myself and imprint the words into my consciousness; this isn't goodbye.
Author's Note: This is my second installment in the Sixteen-Series. I started a yahoo group where you can find more things written by me: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Simple_Stories/
Any questions, comments, or criticism can be sent to me at Doveglion@gmail.com
Thank you so much for reading!