Thank you again for patience. It always takes me longer to write a chapter than I anticipate. I really want to get them out to everyone faster, but I didn't like the way this chapter the first two times I wrote it so I did it a third time and decided that was enough. It is a great pleasure to know that people are reading and enjoying my writing (or not enjoying it too) so if you want to say anything feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
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Things Are Different - Chapter 8
"Hurry up or you will be late!" My grandmother called down to me as I brushed my teeth again after throwing up my breakfast.
"Coming," I called as I bounded up the steps.
For the thousandth time since Sunday morning she asked if everything was alright.
"Fine," I answered. I pretended that my stomach was not tied in knots so tight that I had a hard time standing up straight.
My mind kept playing over the events of the weekend. I had a great time Saturday afternoon with Devon and an even better time with Scott and then I screwed it all up. Underneath it all Radiohead lyrics kept playing:
But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here
I had never felt like this before and I did not like it, but what do I do now? School had always been my refuge and now I dreaded it. I almost told my grandmother that I was sick. There was no way that I could do that and face the questions about why I felt sick. It was better to just play the part of the "normal teenager". A moody, normal teenager, but wasn't that also normal?
At school I did not see Devon by the door with Scott as I had already become accustomed to seeing every morning. Scott was there and I couldn't decide whether I was glad to see him or not.
But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here
Just act normal, like nothing happened, I told myself. I gave Scott a wave and a smile, which he returned enthusiastically. It was my guess that he had not talked to Devon yet, so I decided to act as if the Devon incident had not occurred. Scott seemed more relaxed and outgoing than before. Maybe it was because I 'knew' about him and he did not have to be on guard anymore. Unfortunately I did not feel at all comfortable. My mind continued to turn around on itself, not just about Devon, but about my own feelings and Scott. I had to excuse myself before our first class to go to the restroom and retch dryly into the bowl. I splashed some water on my face before I went back to class, just missing the last bell.
"You okay?" Scott asked as I sat down.
I have to say I faked my way through classes while my mind was dwelling almost obsessively on what Devon would say or do when I saw him at lunch.
That worry turned out to be unnecessary, because he was not at the usual table. Dani was not there either to drag me into that social circle. Why wasn't either one of them at school today? Was it because of the weekend? Was it because of me? What little appetite I had quickly evaporated in a nauseous wave of anxiety. Standing with my tray in the middle of the cafeteria I was momentarily at a loss for what to do next. I dumped my tray and went outside. When did I start having trouble being alone?
I didn't know where to go or what to do. Other than the short walk to Powell's I had not been outside of the school. There didn't seem to be anyplace to hang out on campus. There were no large open spaces around the school like I was used to having in the past.
"Hey, what are you doing out here?" I jumped as Scott came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Just hanging out I guess," sometimes the truth is the easiest.
"I didn't see you at the usual table."
"Yeah, I didn't see Devon or Dani there, so I just came out here."
"I don't really know anyone at that table either, except you. I hardly know Devon and Dani at all and didn't feel comfortable just sitting down with the others there."
"Yeah," what else was I suppose to say: I almost fucked Devon and fucked everything up?
"What were your plans for lunch?" Scott asked.
"Not really hungry," just don't ask me why. I stared at the ground mostly, but I was not currently chewing my nails.
"Really?" there was incredulity in Scott's voice, "I've never seen anyone eat like you. Normally you eat twice as much in half the time as even Devon."
I could only shrug my shoulders in response.
"Come on, let's a least get some coffee," Scott tugged at my arm. "There is a Starbucks' only a few blocks away. Come on, I'm buying." He insisted as I hesitated, but eventually followed him.
The Starbuck's was in a small plaza on Burnside, the main street through downtown, along with a Quizno's that was full of students eating lunch. Students and others were grabbing a mocha or whatever and rushing off. Scott made me take a table while he went to get our drinks. I cannot remember anyone buying me a coffee or anything else before, except out of charity. In a way I didn't feel right about it, but in another way I kind of liked that Scott was buying me a coffee.
"Black coffee for you, right?" faster than I expected Scott sat down with our drinks.
"Yeah, thanks," I took a sip of the too hot brew.
"So . . . you okay?" Scott asked peering over the lip of his cup. I stiffened a little. How do I respond?
"Sorta," I replied and let my shoulders sag a little. Sometimes a little truth is better than a lie when you can't get away without saying anything at all. I looked up and our eyes locked. I don't know how long we were in the most gentle of staring contests when a dropped cup caused both of us to look away. Staring at the small hole in the plastic lid of my cup was a convenient escape. The burning coals in my stomach briefly turned into the ethereal beating of Monarch Butterflies.
"I hope I didn't freak you out this weekend," Scott sipped at his cup coffee and if I understand the meaning of the word: He did it coyly. At least it seemed that way to me.
His statement also gave me a small panic. I was so worried about Devon that Scott's revelation had been completely shuffled aside. Yes I was freaked out, but not the way he thinks and there was no way that I was going to let him know that.
"Nah, I just have some other shit going on." I tried to sound casual about it and not too freaked out.
"Yeah," I watched his dark eyes and the way his lips pouted out when he sipped his coffee. What would happen if I told him that I fantasize about holding his hand, kissing his lips and even . . .?
"We have to turn our project theme in today. You still cool with it?" He interrupted my embarrassing train of thought.
"Yeah," was the only possible answer.
"I can't wait to see the teacher's reaction."
"You think she will be okay with it?" this was one way to get out of it.
"It could be seen as discrimination if she isn't" I could only nod my head at that.
"We better get back to school," I finally suggested.
The tension of worrying about Devon, Scott and what a creep I felt like fell a little to the background as Scott went up to turn in our project theme to the teacher. What would her reaction be? I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding when she didn't even raise an eyebrow. Scott would not need to mount a crusade against the school. Of course, this meant we actually had to do it now. The burn in my stomach flared.
At the end of the school day Scott rushed off to swim like he did most days. My grandmother was apparently running a little late so I waited by the front of the school for her, avoiding everybody else and chewing my nails as my stomach slowly burned. Where was she? Where was Devon and Dani?
"Sorry I'm late," she apologized when she finally pulled up.
"Its okay," I tried to sound at least a little upbeat so she would not start to wonder too much about me. She looked at me briefly, maybe trying to decide whether to pry or not. Please don't, I said to myself.
"How's Devon?" she asked as we headed home. It was the wrong topic with which to start a conversation.
"I didn't see him today."
"Oh? And how is Scott today?"
"Good," I turned my attention out the window and returned to chewing on what was left of my nails. My thoughts kept circling around from Devon to Scott to myself and it was all confusion and fear.
"You know, what I said before still stands. If you need to talk, about anything at all, I am here." She said.
"Uh-uh," I grunted.
"And I am not going anywhere," she added.
I saw Scott in front of the school like usual in the morning. Without knowing quite why, the fact that he smiled and waved helped to lessen the burn in my stomach.
When I woke up that morning I decided that I did not need Devon, Dani or anyone else, so it did not matter what transpired today. I had always been a loner before and survived well enough, there was no reason that I could not do that here and now too. That resolution brought with it a certain calm and I was able to down some breakfast and keep it down.
Seeing Scott brought doubt to my loner conviction.
My uncertainty was doubled when Devon walked up.
"Hey all!" he shouted in greeting, waving at us.
"Hey! Where were you yesterday?" Scott asked right off the bat. I didn't say anything, but I did notice that there was no arm around my shoulder this morning.
"Damn, my Dad made me go to Salem with him so I could experience government in 'inaction', as he calls it." He explained.
Before anyone could say much more the bell rang and we all had to rush off to class. Devon did briefly lay his hand on my shoulder before he ran to his locker.
I tried to steel my resolve by paying more attention in class than usual, avoiding Scott without looking like I am avoiding him and playing Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" in my head.
I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
But every time I looked up to see to Scott's dark gaze and mischievous grin a little of the mortar in my wall crumbled.
Dani was back at lunch, sitting on Devon's lap when we got there. For the first time I sat across from Devon instead of next to him. That seat was actually occupied by Dani's feet. I was sitting next to Scott, also for the first time. It would have been so easy to reach a few inches and lay my hand on his leg. Would he notice it if my leg was against his?
"Missed you yesterday," Scott said to Dani. I can never just say things like that to people, even if I know them. It seems so simple, but it just gets hung up on my tongue somehow.
"Yeah, it was a little monthly trouble."
Every male at the table gave out a collective "ewwww" sound.
"Oh my god! Grow up!" she scolded us.
"So you two got a thing going," Keith spoke up waving his fork at Scott and me.
"Uh?" Scott looked at him and I did too, but like usual I didn't say anything.
"I saw you two at Starbuck's the other day and today you're sitting next to each other," he added with a little bit of a sneer.
"Would you have a problem with that or something?" I didn't think it was possible, but Scott's eyes got darker with his anger.
"Yeah, just what do you mean Keith?" Devon interjected.
"Nothing, if they are into each other that is fine. I just thought it weird that they didn't sit with us on Monday and I see them at Starbuck's instead."
"It doesn't sound like you were fine with it Keith," this time Dani was putting her voice in it.
"What about you?" Scott waved his fork at Keith.
"What do you mean?" Keith responded defensively.
"Well, you are sitting awfully close to Devon there and you usually sit on the other side of the table." Scott pointed out.
"And why were you at Starbuck's instead of sitting here like usual?" Dani pressed.
"This is bullshit! It was an innocent comment!" Keith tried to defend himself.
"You think your words say one thing, but the way you say them says something else," Scott went after him.
"Bullshit! Total bullshit!" Keith grabbed his stuff and stormed away, shouting over his shoulder, "I don't need this bullshit!"
"What the fuck was that about?" Dani asked when he was gone.
"I have no clue," Scott responded and looked at me.
"We had coffee at Starbuck's yesterday, like a lot of people." I finally put my two cents worth in, but my ears felt hot.
"So you two aren't . . ." Dani interjected. She is one of those people that can say something that would get anybody else a shit load of trouble and get away with it. I am sure my face paled.
"What? No," Scott responded, "just because I am friends with a cute guy doesn't mean I want to date him or jump his bones . . . or something." He trailed off a little bashfully all of a sudden. I now felt my face get hot and I stared at my tray of gelatinous macaroni and cheese.
"I'd jump on Jay," Dani said and I jerked my head up as Devon made a scene of clearing his throat, "if I didn't have this hunk here." With that they ground their lips into each other and I felt myself get dizzy. I just sat there blankly neither denying nor confirming anything. Hopefully they would take my silence for embarrassment, which is not far from the truth.
"Oh god! Get a room!" Scott made a much more flamboyant retort than I had previously seen, but you could tell it was an act and not the real him.
"Yeah, Devon's dad would kill him," Dani said when they broke their lip lock.
"She's not kidding," Devon added.
Except for the fact that I was more acutely aware of how close Scott was sitting to me, the rest of lunch returned to normal without Keith. Not that Keith ever seemed to do more than add the occasional barb of a comment. Scott said I was cute! Dani said she would jump my bones, but I didn't care about that. Scott said I was a cute guy.
It made concentration difficult for the rest the day, that word "cute" drown out just about everything else.
I didn't see Devon at the end of the day, but he was there the next morning with Scott when I arrived and he put his arm around my shoulder in greeting like usual. Was it usual? Was it shorter, more perfunctory, and less friendly? I was second guessing every moment of action of everyday. Seeming normalcy did not settle my anxiety.
I was waiting for Devon to say something. I was waiting for Keith to do something, though he was scarce. I kept trying to watch Scott without looking like I was watching him to see if he was watching me. The rest of the week I was carefully scrutinizing every action Devon made around me. Maybe, just maybe, he didn't have any recollection of the event. Maybe he just thought he had an embarrassing wet dream in somebody else's bed. Everything seemed normal. Was it too normal? I second guessed every little thing.
Scott made me promise to come to his house on Friday night for dinner so that we could work on the project. That morning the clouds finally descended into a steady grey drizzle that seeped into every crevice and turned everything into shades of grey and green. I spent too much time getting ready; showering and picking out the right clothes. I did not even stop to ask myself "Why?"
It doesn't rain in Portland the way it does in Texas. In Texas thunderheads build up on the horizon and you can see the line of rain coming, and come it does, in short powerful down pours. In Portland the clouds just meet the ground and rain is part of the air, whether it is a pervasive mist or a drenching faucet from the sky. In Texas you knew it would be over soon, here there is the feeling that it will never end.
I had to run from the car to the front door to avoid getting too wet. My grandmother informed me that real Oregonians don't use umbrellas.
The door was answered by a little girl of about nine or ten with light brown hair and the same eyes as Scott. I assumed it was his little sister, though he never mentioned her. She opened the door and stood staring at me.
"Um, hi," I ventured.
"Scott! Your boyfriend is here!" she yelled into the brightly lit interior of the house. I just about went running down the street.
"Cassy that is not funny!" Scott came bounding down the stairs to the foyer. He was wearing just jeans and a t-shirt, but what I noticed first and foremost was his hair. Gone were the soft blond spikes I had seen earlier in the day, replaced by dark purple spikes. I couldn't help but stare.
"Is that Jay?" a woman called from the back of the house.
"Yes, Mom!" Jay called back.
"Well, bring him back here, dinner is almost ready."
"Come on, time to meet the parentals." I followed his purple head, thinking that the odd color really looked good, it made him look . . . sexily exotic.
The kitchen opened up to the dining room and it was brightly lit and full of the aroma of food, just the way a family house should smell.
"Hi Jay, I'm Anita and this Phillip," she was pretty like you would expect for someone like Scott with shoulder length brown hair and dark eyes too. His father was fit and trim, wearing a tweed jacket he was almost a parody of a college professor.
"And this," Scott brought the little girl right in front of me, "is my little sister Cassandra."
"Call me Cassy," she put her hand out for me to shake. As it is well known I am a social Neanderthal and I am very uncomfortable touching other people or shaking hands, but what are you going to do when a little girl puts her hand out like that? I gently grasped her hand and she clamped onto mine and gave it a good solid shake up and down.
"Pleased to meet you Cassy," I could fake social niceties, "nice to meet you to Mr. and Mrs. Ford."
"Nice and respectful," his father reached over to shake my hand, "He's a keeper Scott."
"Dad!" Scott let out and exasperated sound.
"Um . . . Scott? Why is your hair purple?" his mother asked as she brought the food to the table.
"Um . . . why not?" Scott just shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, I had a mohawk at his age so I can't really complain," Phillip interjected, "but boy did my father complain." He let out a laugh.
Sitting down to dinner like this was a completely new experience for me. I expect everyone was on their best behavior because there was a guest. His parents asked how school was going and seemed genuinely interested in the details of classes. At my grandmother's we usually sat around the kitchen bar since it was just the two of us. She would ask me about my day and I would say it was "fine," I did not volunteer anything and she did not press me, for which I was grateful. Before that I cannot remember sitting at a table with my mother, other than in an occasional McDonald's when some surprise extra cash came our way (I never questioned the source of those rare windfalls). This was like eating in a Kraft commercial where everything is made better because they use that brand of mayonnaise. It was . . . nice, a little unnerving, but nice.
Scott was sitting on one side of me and Cassy was sitting on the other when I noticed that it was very quiet and still on that side of me. Looking over it was clear that Cassy was very carefully scrutinizing me.
"So?" she asked.
"Uh . . . so?" what was I suppose to say?
"So are you?"
"Am I what?"
"Cassy," Scott hissed from the other side.
"Are you Scott's boyfriend, duh?"
"Um . . ." I stuttered.
"No he is not Cassy. Don't be a pain." Scott scolded her.
"Well why not? He's cute."
"Cassy, that is enough." Her father gave a warning that she ignored by just giving her father an exasperated look.
Needless to say my ears were burning and I am sure the blush was clearly visible in my face.
"I must say Jay, I was wondering about your ethnic background?" Anita asked.
Unfortunately that really made me pause, because I did not know how to answer that.
"It's just that you have stunning eyes and very attractive features." she added
"Mom!" "Anita!" both Scott and his father chimed in.
"I was just wondering," she defended herself. I was blushing crimson I am sure.
"Um - I don't really know," I responded staring at my empty dinner plate. There was silence at the table. I got the feeling that I was not the right brand of mayonnaise.
"Don't you two have a project to work on?" his father changed the subject, though not very tactfully.
"Yeah, we better get started before it gets too late," Scott suggested.
We were able to excuse ourselves and Scott showed me to his room. I so much preferred his bedroom to the one I had at my grandmother's. It had a single bed with a wood headboard, a dresser and a desk. The walls were covered in posters for bands, some of which I recognized and others that were new to me as well as a SpongeBob Movie poster. In one corner were a couple of banjos on stands and a mandolin as well.
"Wow," is all I said.
"Yeah, I love your room."
"Yeah, it's so . . . comfortable. It's awesome."
"Yeah, I guess. It's not as nice as yours. What I wouldn't give for that big queen size bed."
"Yeah, it's nice, but it's really just a guest room that I occupy. This is YOUR room."
"Like I said before, you just need to import some of your personality to your room."
"I guess," I did not want to say that I did not expect it to be permanent. One thing I have learned is that nothing is permanent.
After another brief awkward pause he pulled out his laptop and I got mine too. There was only one chair so we both sat on his bed with our computers on our laps mapping out our presentation. It was hard for me to control my emotions as I perused the news stories, opinion pieces and YouTube videos. Some made me angry; others almost brought me to tears. I wondered how they were affecting Scott. I have a lot of experience burying my emotions. What about him? I tried not to think about how close we were sitting to each other and our occasional physical contact when one would lean over the other to see something on a screen.
"Hey guys," Phillip poked his head in the door causing both of us to jerk up with start. "We are going to the movie and will be back in a few hours. Make sure your sister gets to bed on time."
"Sure thing Dad," Scott responded. I just stared at Scott as his father left. I did not know that his parents were not going to be here and we would be babysitting.
"Don't worry," seeing the look on my face Scott explained, "she's nine - she can take care of herself, though she might want me to read her a story before bed."
"Oh," was all I could say.
I wasn't looking at the time and I don't know how long we were working when Cassy came in dressed in a floral nightgown carrying a book and immediately sat down between us.
"Is it that time already?" Scott asked. She just nodded her head.
"Want me to read to you?" she shook her head no.
"I want Jay to read to me," she said in a matter of fact tone.
"Now, you can't make Jay read to you," Scott tried to explain.
"Jay will you read to me?" she asked and held the book out to me; Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Not the Disney picture book, but the original, a favorite of mine. I looked at Scott and he just shrugged his shoulders. How can you say no to reading a story to a little girl?
"Uh, sure," with that she dragged me to her room, painted pink with all the girly touches; ponies, hearts and boy bands. She sat me down on her bed and crawled onto my lap. I opened the book and began:
Now Rann the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free-
The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.
Oh, hear the call!-Good hunting all
That keep the Jungle Law!
Night-Song in the Jungle*
She snuggled into my chest and we both lost ourselves in the story:
He turned twice or thrice in a big circle, weaving his head from right to left. Then he began making loops and figures of eight with his body, and soft, oozy triangles that melted into squares and five-sided figures, and coiled mounds, never resting, never hurrying, and never stopping his low humming song. It grew darker and darker, till at last the dragging, shifting coils disappeared, but they could hear the rustle of the scales.
I was not paying attention to the warm body in my lap until Scott interrupted me by lifting the sleeping child to place her under the covers of her bed. It shook me out of the trance that Kaa had spun about me.
"I would have interrupted earlier, but you seemed to be enjoying it as much as she was," he said. I just looked down at the book and noticed that it was still open to page one. Scott grabbed the book from me and looked at the page.
"You never turned the page did you?" he asked.
"I guess not," I answered sheepishly.
"So you've read this before?"
"Come on, let's leave Cassy to sleep," He just shook his head and turned out the light as we went back to his room.
Our laptops and notes were still spread about his bed so I sat down amongst them with the intention of getting back to work. Scott had a different idea and sat down next to me, but with the mandolin in his lap and started to pick out a soft melody. I didn't know the tune, but it sounded vaguely familiar. It was clear that I was just meant to enjoy the music so I lay back amongst the papers and stared at the ceiling where a movie poster was tacked. I didn't know the movie - Harold and Maude.
My mind drifted with the music as the notes gently pirouetted about the room. I was feeling profoundly relaxed and calm, the first time in . . . ever. I did not want the sensation to end. Reading a bedtime story to his little sister was the most domestic thing I had ever done in my life. Her body snuggled up against me as Kipling's words manifested a fantastic world of claw, fang and bravery felt natural. Had anyone ever read me a bedtime story? I didn't remember closing my eyes, but it did not surprise me. I wasn't asleep, just in an almost meditative state.
My mind went back to my dream with Scott on the winding roads of Maui. Without realizing it that dream had become a place of comfort for me. The mattress shifted as Scott moved. I barely notice that the music had stopped. That was okay, I decided in my dreamy state.
I was not expecting, but perhaps wishing for the pressure on my lips, so I responded in kind. My lips parted and I pushed back. The lips against mine took the initiative and gently explored my mouth further. My entire body reciprocated the action. It was with a mental and physical crash that I remembered how the dream ended and my eyes snapped open, Scott's face was millimeters from my own. I pushed him away from me and instantly got up.
"Shit!" I said out loud. Why is all of this happening to me now? This is not the way things happen to me.
"I have to go," is all I said to a confused looking Scott. I did not stop to get my laptop, backpack or jacket and just rushed out the front door. The dampening drizzle had transformed into a steady downpour and I had no idea what to do or where to go. It felt like I was losing my mind. My mother loomed large in the shadows of my psyche, her long emaciated body with its track marks and sunken eyes. When I was very little somebody once said I had her eyes.
This is not how things are for me. I am not prepared for this. I can't want this. I'm supposed to wander into the sunset never touching anyone, nobody touching me.
Down the walkway I stumbled to the base of the large maple that dominated the small front yard. It offered little shelter from the cold rain. Leaning my head against the tree I lost it.
My tears were lost in the rain, but the sound that emanated from my throat filled the night with the wail of a banshee trapped in the Scottish moors.
"Why?!" the word escaped from the keening that was the voice of too many emotions not expressed for too long. The fire that burned my guts for the past week could not be extinguished by the rain or my tears.
I kicked the tree as I had the wall of the motel room in Texas, cursing my mother and for the first time missing her. How could I miss her? Why did she have to do that to herself? Why did she care more about herself than me? Why did my father leave me alone with her? Why can't I let myself . . .?
I did not have words for the feelings that were overwhelming me all of a sudden. I could not even give my thoughts any sort of coherence. I hugged the tree, pressing my cheek against the bark. The tree felt sold and rooted to the core of the Earth. Without it I am sure I am I would be swept away into the maelstrom of my own confusion. At first I didn't feel the hands on my shoulders, but as they tried to pry me from my safe mooring I clung with renewed ferocity to the maple.
"I'm so sorry Jay," the words barely reached through my storm to touch something inside me.
"No," I moaned and collapsed, sliding down to the sodden ground, my shoulders shaking with a paroxysm of sobs.
"I am so sorry," the voice said again.
"No" I couldn't articulate what I really needed to say: Don't make me feel good. I don't know what to do with that feeling.
My back was now against tree as I sat on the ground and Scott was kneeling in front of me. I could barely see him through the tears and rain, both fell steadily.
"Fuck!" I screamed, but not at Scott, though there was no way he could know that. It was fuck at the world -- my world. Fuck for my Dad killing himself. Fuck for my mother for being a weak drug addict. Fuck my life. I don't want my life . . . but . . . I don't have my life anymore. I'm not poor, my grandmother is everything my mother was not . . . Scott kissed me!
As abruptly as they started, my tears ceased, but the rain continued. I looked up at Scott, his now dark purple hair hung limply wet; his midnight eyes were watching me closely. Did he see a change in me? His lips, I had fantasized about them, now I had felt them. Was Scott crying? It was hard to tell in the rain.
I reached up and put my hands on either side of his head and drew our faces closer together. Bringing our lips together, there was resistance from him at first, but quickly Scott's lips parted and everything else faded into white noise. There was a small corner of my mind asking: Am I doing the right thing? There were large ghosts looming in the shadows saying: What do you think you are doing? You don't deserve this! But they are just ghosts, right?
Unbidden, tears started to well up in my eyes. A small sob threatened my throat and I was forced to break the kiss. I drew a sodden sleeve across my face to the clear my eyes.
Scott took my face in his hands, much as I had done to him.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing . . . now . . . I think," I let a crooked smile pull the corner of my mouth up.
"Really? You scared me," his fingers were caressing my cheek and I leaned into his hand.
"Except I'm a fucked up mess," I told him.
"Yeah? Me too," his eyes squinted and sparkled when he smiled, "I think I've scared a few people in my time too."
"There is nothing to be sorry about."
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Will you kiss me again?" for an answer Scott leaned in, bringing his lips to mine. It was not sparks I felt, more like a slow burn; the warmth of coals in a late night campfire, perfect for roasting marshmallows. It felt comfortable, like I dreamed home should feel. I inhaled the aroma that was distinctly Scott, a mixture of chlorine and soap that I thought was more intoxicating than any cologne.
"I think we better go inside, don't you?" Scott broke the kiss. The rain never let up and the both of us were soaked.
"Yeah, I guess so" I agreed. Scott helped me up off the muddy ground, with his arm around my shoulder we walked back into the house. As soon we got inside I started shivering, as much from the cold as the adrenalin that had coursed through my system in my panic attack.
"Let's get you into a hot shower and I can throw your clothes into the dryer real quick."
In the bathroom, I hesitated in removing my clothes in a sudden fit of shyness. I know that I am shy, but not about my body. There has never been a problem showering in a gym or anything like that, but Scott seeing me naked made me bashful. He was not subtle about watching me either. He stood in the bathroom waiting for me.
"Come on, I am sure you want to get clean and dry before my parents get back." That statement made my head snap around and my eyes dilated with panic. Scott was just smiling at me.
"Here let me help you," he started unbuttoning my shirt. I noticed his hands were shaking at much as mine.
"You must be cold too," I said through chattering teeth.
"More nervous," he smiled at me, "all I have thought about since the first day of school is this."
"You planned this, didn't you?" I asked as he helped me off with my shirt.
"Yes and no," he confessed with a new shyness, "I knew my parents were going to a movie and yes I wanted to be alone with you, but I didn't know what was going to happen." His hands started to work on my belt and jeans. Regardless of the cold my cock was thickening.
"Sorry I scared you," I said.
"I didn't plan on kissing you like that, but I didn't plan on dying my hair purple either. I told you I can be very impulsive, especially when I'm nervous," he ignored my apology. I was so wet that my underwear came off with my jeans leaving me naked in front of Scott. My cock wasn't at full mast, but it would have been had I not been shivering.
"Let's get you into that shower," he turned on the hot water and helped me into the tub, "As much as I want to get in there with you I need to get your stuff in the dryer. As open minded as my parents are, I don't want to have to explain a naked Jay to them," with that he pulled the curtain closed and left with my dripping clothes.
I let the hot water drive away the chill and my teeth slowly stopped chattering. For the first time I started to really think about what was happening. What was happening? What happens next? Did it matter? Fuck, I didn't know what to do.
"I'm cold. Mind if I join you?" he stepped into the shower behind me and I jumped, "You know you jump a lot." He sidled next to me to get in the spray of the hot water, our hips and shoulders caressing. Where we touched my skin tingled even after the touch was past.
I was afraid to reach out and touch his bare flesh; my hand hovered over his chest until he grabbed it and placed my palm above his heart. The chill of the rain had been rinsed away, but this touch gave me goose bumps.
"I don't know what to do," I confided.
"Me either," I don't know if he understood my statement the way I meant it or not. I was not sure if I understood what I was saying either.
"I'm not out like you," I said.
"That's okay," he replied.
"I've never had a boyfriend."
"Me either," his answer made me feel a little better that maybe I was not the only one not so sure of himself.
"What do we do now?" I asked. We were standing face to face under the hot spray as the bathroom was filling with steam. Our hands were randomly exploring the contours of shoulders, arms, waist and even hips. Fully recovered, our cocks stood at attention gently bobbing against each other. I was pleased to see that we seemed to be a close match, though mine seemed to be thicker.
"Maybe you could kiss me again?" he suggested.
"I can do that," I leaned into him and our lips met, my arms encircled his back. Our cocks were trapped between our bodies as we nibbled at each other's lips and our tongues circled about.
"I love your lips," he said breathlessly.
"God, you're amazing," I uttered as we felt the water start chill.
"We better get out before we catch cold," Scott said as he turned off the shower. Again, not sure of what to do, but not wanting to stop touching, we dried each other off. When it got to our crotches and their rock hard members we both backed off, unsure of how far to go.
"When are your parents due back?" I asked, a little in fear and little hoping that it was a long time from now.
"Too soon," he answered, "we better see if our things are dry." Scott did not even put a towel around his waist as he led me to the laundry room. I was not so bold and wrapped a towel around myself as I followed, what I decided was one hot ass.
"What about your sister?" I whispered behind him.
"She's sound asleep."
We must have been in the shower for quite a while, because the dryer was done and our clothes were toasty warm. It took a bit of maneuvering for the both of us to put our still straining cocks into our underwear and pants.
Fully clothed again, Scott took me in his arms and planted a gentle kiss on my lips.
"So now what?" I asked.
"For now, we can go watch some TV while we wait for my parents to get home," he paused, "this can be just between the two of us for now."
"Thanks," I told him.
It was nice; we sat next to each other on the sofa holding hands. I couldn't tell you what we watched.
"So you never had a boyfriend before?" it was a bold question for me to ask, the person that never pries.
"So, are we boyfriends now?" I couldn't believe my own naiveté.
"I hope so."
"What if it doesn't work out?" my fears were at the surface.
"I'm not planning on that being the case."
"But, what if . . .?"
"Do you always over think things so much?" he looked into my eyes.
"I guess," I confessed.
The door opened, cutting our conversation short and we scooted apart before his parents came into the room.
"I see the house has not burnt down," his father joked.
"We tried, but the rain kept putting it out," Scott retorted.
"Smart-aleck," Phillip said.
"How was the movie?" Scott asked.
"Lovely." "Boring," they both answered at once.
"Not a single explosion," his father whispered to us.
"What time do you have to be home, Jay?" Anita asked. I looked at Scott, not really wanting to go home, but I knew that it was already late and I should be going. Scott gave me a shrug.
"I guess I should be going. I just have to call my grandmother and have her pick me up," I stood up and stretched.
"I can give you a ride," his mother volunteered.
I looked at Scott again and he just gave me another shrug. I didn't really want to call my grandmother and have her pick me up so I said, "Sure, thanks."
"Mom, can I go over to Jay's tomorrow to finish our project?" Scott spoke up.
"Of course," Scott's face lit up and I admit that if I dared I would be jumping up and down.
"Come on, let's get your stuff from my room," Scott grabbed my hand and led me upstairs two and three steps at a time.
"Last chance until tomorrow," he said as he put his arms around my waist and pressed his lips against mine again.
"Are you ready?" his mom yelled up to us.
"In a minute," we both had to take a minute of concentration to will our obvious bulges down before heading downstairs.
I sat in the back giving directions and trying to act 'normal' while Scott sat next to his mother.
"I just want to say what a great idea this project is and I am so proud of the two of you for tackling such a serious subject." she said as she drove.
"Um, thanks," I said. It did start me thinking about being out and how can I have a boyfriend and pretend like I don't have one? What if I was bullied? Or if Scott was bullied? Or what if my grandmother found out and kicked me out? The gentle butterflies that Scott gave me were slowly morphing into black crows again, pecking at my innards.
The worst thing was when we got to our destination. There was no way I could kiss him good-bye, even if it was just for the night. I could only get out of the car, wave and dash through the rain to the front door.
Oh, for the sake of momentum
I've allowed my fears to get larger than life
And it's brought me to my current agendum
Whereupon I deny fulfillment has yet to arrive
(Aimee Mann, Momentum)