WHAT LIES WITHIN, Part II:
Falling in love is like being struck by lightning. You can no more make it strike you, than you can avoid it.
-- Indy (Sean Patrick Flannery), Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
Well, here we go with the beginning of part II of the story. Nobody ever said this was gonna be easy, so prepare yourself. The road is definitely gonna get bumpier before it gets better.
I felt like I'd been sitting here for ages. It might have been days or weeks...or maybe just a few hours. I didn't know, and I didn't really care. I could hardly even move, or speak, or think...I'm not totally sure how I even knew I was still alive.
Well, actually I do. It was the pain. Nobody could hurt this much unless they were still alive, I think. God, it hurt so bad...it was completely beyond words.
I knew it was all my fault.
Why dammit? Why did I have to go and fall in love with him? I was being so selfish...so stupid...I should have known better! The last time I felt this way about someone, look what happened...But, it simply felt too good to love him...to have him in my life. The incredible feeling of holding him...just holding him tightly in my arms...was such an amazing drug, I'm afraid I'll be addicted to it for the rest of my life. And now, he's...
Fuck! I don't know how I could possibly live without him now.
It seemed like an entire lifetime ago that he first came into my world. But, it had only been a few weeks, actually. A month...a lifetime...what difference did it make now? I'm, sitting here alone next to the river, and he's...
Dammit God! How could you do this to me...again?
Fuck you, you old bastard!
The world faded into the background of my misery for a little while longer, until I was startled awake by the sound of running and yelling nearby. It sounded like it was coming closer...
"Rusty! Rusty!...There you are! Dude...I'm so glad I finally found you!" he said breathlessly, as he came to a stop beside me...bent over from exhaustion, his hands resting on his knees. "I've been lookin' for you all night..." he continued, gasping for breath. His auburn hair was plastered with sweat to the side of his face.
"The folks at the hospital said you just walked right out of there with this blank look on your face. They tried to stop you...they asked you where you were going, but they said it was like you weren't even totally there, you know? Shit, I was gettin' kinda worried about you, Rusty."
I looked at him blankly, trying to make myself feel something...anything. It just didn't seem to matter any more. The whole world was completely meaningless to me while he was just laying there...looking so...so utterly lifeless...
"It took me a while to find you, dude. Shit, I looked everywhere! I was just about to give up, when a little voice popped into my head, and told me to look by the river...and here you were," he said in amazement. "I should have figured this would be the first place you would go to..."
I just shrugged. Ya, here I am. What difference does it really make now?
"Rusty? Are you ok dude? Talk to me...say something...please!" he implored, giving me a concerned look.
"I knew I never should have done it, Tim. Now look what's happened...it's all my fault! I should have never let myself feel that way about him. I should have known it would happen again...just like Billy...I should have known..." I muttered softly to myself, bursting into tears again. God, I didn't think it was even possible for me to cry any more than I already had...at some point, don't you just run out of tears?
He put his arm around me, and pulled me over to him. My head rested for a moment on his bony shoulder, while I continued to sob. "Rusty, it's not your fault! How could you even say that? So, you weren't there to stop it from happening...nobody was. I wish I had been there myself...more than anything. But, that's not the way it happened. You just have to accept it."
"NO!" I said angrily, "I DON'T have to fucking accept it! It's just like Billy...everyone I love ends up dying...it's a curse...it's...shit, my life is just fucked, dude! I should never let anyone else...I mean, if my life isn't totally cursed, then why is this happening to me again? WHY?" I screamed at him. My eyes begged him for an answer to that question... one that had been haunting me all night.
I just had to know...why?
He looked at me sadly. Instinctively, I think he knew how much I hurt inside. But, he was determined not to let me push him away this time. He took a deep breath and began again, patiently.
"Rusty, you don't know that. They told us both the same thing at the Hospital. Nobody will know anything for sure until tomorrow...or maybe the next day," he reminded me. "They just don't know yet, Rusty. You just have to believe in him, dude. Have some faith."
I raised my head and looked him in the eye. Yes, I could see it...he was trying desperately to maintain his faith...his hope. I guess maybe on the inside he's still the same good little catholic boy I knew in elementary school.
"Rusty, if you really love him, you have to do this for him. Don't let the fear win now...don't run away! Let the love win...let the hope win, dude. You owe it to him..."
"Fuck, Tim...I just don't know if I can...I'm so scared! What if he...I mean, after all this, I don't think I could live without him," I sighed, sadly. "I just need him too much..."
My mind wandered back inside itself again, bringing up images of the happiest moment I'd ever known. The morning that changed my life forever.
No...that changed me forever.
Just a simple hug, really. But, it had been so much more. It was actually more about me embracing who I really was...about embracing my future, my life. He was my future. Suddenly, my life had a purpose, a reason. My universe finally had a center.
As worried as I had been about us being discovered...outed...at school, I never imagined that it would have happened the way it did. It happened because of me.
No, not the time I called him a fag in front of everyone at school. Although it had caused him (and myself, to be sure...) enough grief at the time, that little episode had eventually passed on it's own. It was just me...without realizing it; I was suddenly acting like this totally different person, I guess. Everyone around me started noticing and commenting about it..."Jeez Rusty, you look so happy all of a sudden"...or "Wow Rusty, how come you're being so nice to people now"...or "Rusty, I never knew you had it in you..."
I was just in love. People could see it. People did see it, and they put two and two together. It happened kinda slowly...as different people finally collected enough of the pieces to solve the puzzle on their own. But, like a building wave, it slowly gathered strength, until it crashed right on top of our heads about a month later. Well...crashed right on his head, sadly.
God! Please don't take him away from me now! You just can't...
I had been so proud of him...watching him growing more and more every day into the incredible person that I knew was inside him. It made me so happy to see him coming out of his shell...to see people starting to notice him in a new light. All it took was a little self-confidence...and a little love.
It amazed me how strong he was inside. He just had this resilience...when something would get him down, he had this ability to re-group, start over, and move ahead. As many times as it took. He just didn't know how to give up hope...how to quit on himself.
But, he was still the most humble and honest person I've ever met. He told me that living with ADD all his life had taught him early on that he could never be perfect. He reminded me that he fucked up all the time, and that of course it made him mad at himself, or often embarrassed in front of everyone. But, he had learned to take it all in stride, and let tomorrow be a new day. He never took himself too seriously...or anyone else for that matter. Until he met me, thank god.
The physical transformation was the most amazing to me. Maybe it was just all in my head...but, the way he began standing a little taller, smiling more, carrying himself in a more positive way...he just turned into this amazing person right in front of my eyes. Of course, the little bit of fashion advice from me didn't hurt, either. Man, I was so glad to see him finally get some cool clothes...he was old enough to start dressing himself for a change! It was such a remarkable transformation, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who noticed.
At the time, I couldn't believe how happy I was. I mean, I'm not sure I had ever really known what it was like...I had no idea life could feel like that. At first, I was worried that maybe it really was too good to be true. Maybe I was just lost in this self-delusional state of bliss...and sooner or later the real world would come crashing down on me...
But, it didn't. At least not right away. After the initial love-induced high began to wear off, I discovered I was just that much happier with my life all of a sudden. For the first time in my life I could envision a future with all the things I wanted in it...and the person I wanted in it. I could see it...hell; I could almost taste it. Man, it all seemed like a foregone conclusion. Just a matter of time.
Just a matter of time, until things totally went to hell, that is.
"Dude...stay with me here!"
Tim said, shaking my shoulder to get my attention. "We need to get you to
someplace warm. You're gonna get hypothermia sittin' out here all night.
Rusty!...look at me Rusty!...Have you had anything to eat? Maybe we should get you
someplace where you can eat something..." he thought to himself out loud.
He looked at me expectantly, waiting for an answer. But, I didn't really have an answer to give. I just continued to stare at him blankly. I had no idea if I was cold, or hungry. It seemed totally irrelevant at the time. But then, the whole world seemed totally irrelevant at that moment.
His brow furrowed with the worried look on his face. "Well, I guess I'm gonna have to decide for both of us, here. Get up then, you're comin' with me."
I watched with disinterest, as he grabbed my arm, and led me away like a little kid. I just followed along, trying to keep up his pace, and keep my own balance. Suddenly, it was like my mind was just empty. I had no thoughts at all; just impassive observations, as I watched my view of the world slowly changing before me...like an extremely boring movie...as we walked along the highway back towards town. Soon, we reached the Burger King, which was the first fast-food place you come to on that road into town. Tim sat me down in a booth, put my backpack on the bench beside me, and told me not to move. I didn't even consider moving. That would have taken way more effort (mental and physical) than I was capable of at the moment.
Soon, Tim appeared in front of me again...this time holding a tray with a hamburger, a bag of fries, and a coke resting on it. He sat it down on the table in front of me. I looked up at him. I must have had a confused look on my face.
"Eat up, dude. This is for you, not me. Rusty...look at me!...You need to eat something, ok? You get started, and I'll be right back. And, whatever you do, don't move, alright?"
I just sat there and stared at the food on the tray, unsure of what to do.
Everything had changed so suddenly, it kinda freaked me out in the beginning. In an instant, I had gone from being a practiced loner, to having this person in my life that meant more to me than anything in the world.
But, when I think about it, I guess I was just finally ready for it to happen. Or, maybe it was simply him. In a matter of a few days, he had turned my life completely upside down. He tore down the walls I had built around myself like they weren't even there. And, the strange thing is, I'm not sure he even knew he was doing it at the time. He was just being...him.
God, I love him.
It still sounds so weird to hear myself say it...or even think it. But, the feeling of relief, of deep satisfaction that wells up from inside me when I do, tells me that it's ok. I really do love him, and it's ok! Fuck, it's better than ok...it's fantastic. Terrific. Amazing...
We were both so totally overwhelmed by it all, we started out pretty slowly. I mean, after we `got together' that Monday morning, we both seemed so totally blown away by it, we didn't quite know what to do next. It was very confusing; all of a sudden things felt so completely different, and yet it was just as scary. Maybe even more so...because now there was a lot more at stake: someone I truly cared about.
I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. I was afraid to spend all my time at school talking to him and just hanging with him and stuff, because instinctively I knew that would just be too painfully obvious. But, more than anything, I wanted to do exactly that...as much as I realized it could be disastrous for both of us. Eventually the pull just became too strong, and before long we were together virtually every second we could manage; before school, during passing periods, or any other time we could find. It was like a drug...an addiction...neither one of us could fight it for a second. Heck, neither one of us wanted to fight it. We had to be together, or we were miserable.
But, it was only just that...being together...certainly no sex or making out or anything! Come on, what do you think I am, some kind of sex demon or something? I've spent most of my life trying to convince myself I wasn't attracted to boys, so it was a big step to finally allow myself to feel those emotions. It took me a little time to get comfortable with that idea, as much as my subconscious was enjoying it in my dreams...but, it did begin to `grow' on me, I have to admit LOL.
The first couple of weeks we just talked, and I would often walk home with him after school on the days that I could. We had so much to learn about each other, and I could sense in him that he had the same deep desire to know everything he could possibly know about me, as I did about him.
On our walks home, he told me all about his life...about being adopted, how he learned that his real father had been gay (not to mention a famous writer and artist!), and what his home life was like. I looked at him with renewed respect and admiration when he told me why the last name he used was Sullivan, not his adopted parent's last name of Finestra. After his mother died, and he found out more about his own heritage, he wanted to make a statement to himself, and to the rest of the world. He made it clear that it was not out of any disrespect for his adopted parents, but more out of respect for his real family. Even though all his `official' school records still used Finestra, he spoke to all of his teachers independently and told them he wanted to be known as Ian Sullivan. He swore that the moment he turned 18, he would legally change his name. I believed him. It was one of the few times I had heard him speak that passionately...with that much conviction and determination...about anything.
Of course, it totally freaked me out when he told me that he was already `out' to his parents. I just about pissed in my shorts...I couldn't imagine doing that in a million years! All of a sudden, I wasn't so anxious to meet his parents. I mean, how could I just stand there and talk to them, when they must surely know that I'm...that we're...oh no! There's just no fuckin' way...
Although I made a mental note to myself to be sure to leave before there was any risk of encountering his parents that first day, I did beg him to let me see his bedroom before I left. It was only fair...he'd already been on my bed once. Hell, he'd already puked in my front yard. He owed me that much, right?
It was totally cute. He was kinda embarrassed by the whole thing, really. I have to admit, even though he doesn't seem like a total flamer to me, his room did look...well, kinda gay...to be honest.
First of all, it was way too neat (but, he swore it was because they made him do it, not because he was some kind of compulsive neatness freak...). Second, it was kinda nerdy...with shelves upon shelves covered with books, each of which he swore to me that he'd read at least once, and a pretty nice little computer set up in the corner. Also, the overall style of the room was sooo...boringly Middle America...so Wal-Mart...as was the whole house, to be honest. But again, he promised me that was his parents influence, not his.
The Aaron Carter poster was definitely a BIG clue. I mean, not only were there absolutely no other sports or music posters in the entire room...but the only one being A.C.? Shit, it was even located so that it was on the wall opposite the foot of his bed, so you could just lay there, lookin' at A.C. and...if you were in the mood...well, you know what I mean. Even I admit (privately) that he's good looking, but I would never admit to listening to his music (which is CRAP, we both agreed!), let alone put a poster of him on my wall. Shit, my Dad would have killed me on the spot for lesser offenses than that, I'm sure.
But, the real clincher was the little teddy bear nestled next to the pillow on his bed. I smirked to myself a little bit when I asked him about it. He turned beet red. Instantly, I felt bad because I didn't want him to regret having let me see his room...because it was fascinating to me...it seemed to say so much about him that I would never have been able to get from a simple conversation.
He picked up the teddy bear, and gave me a shy smile. He sat down on his bed, and gazed thoughtfully at the little bear.
"You know Rusty," he said quietly, "when we're together like this, sometimes I feel like I've known you forever. Well, maybe not known you exactly...just like our lives have been connected or something, if that makes any sense. But other times, I realize that we know so little about each other, that it makes me a little scared. Please, don't be afraid to let me know you...all of you. That's what I want more than anything...like I said. I just want to know you," he said, gazing up at me with a hopeful little smile.
I gave him my best dopey, love-struck grin in reply.
"I guess if there's a real reason that I feel like I've known you forever, it's his fault," he continued with a delicate laugh, handing the bear gently to me. "I got it with some stuff from my mother's estate, after she died. It came with a little note from her, saying that it was her first and only present to me when I was born, before she gave me up for adoption. Look at the tag on the back...look at his name," he said with a wistful look.
I read the tag on the back of the bear, and a small tear leaked out of my eye. Of course, the bear's name was Rusty. I gave him a look that I hoped communicated how totally moved I was by his little story. Words just didn't seem appropriate at the time...
After a little while we just sat and talked about everything, and about nothing at all. I was careful not to say anything else even remotely negative to him about his room. I just said it was nice...that it just looked like...him. He laughed a little bit at that, and his eyes thanked me for being so cool about it. I think he was kinda worried that maybe he seemed pretty gay, and he didn't want that to scare me off. Actually, it just made him cuter to me, if anything. I have to admit; I was starting to realize that when it comes to guys, I'm not really attracted to the macho, hairy-chested, studly straight-acting men. Maybe it's just because I hate my dad and my brothers so much...I could never be with anyone who even remotely reminded me of them. Or, maybe being kinda small all my life, I'm intimidated by those types. Perhaps it's just programmed into my brain to like guys like him...who are slim, soft...Comfortable. Cuddly. Smiling. With those big pale-blue eyes...
As I stood there watching him with all those thoughts running through my head, I looked at him physically...sexually...for the first time. At least, for the first time that wasn't in a dream.
Almost instantly, I feel myself beginning to respond.
I could feel a hunger slowly building inside me from that day on...a hunger to know him in a physical way. Not that I only saw him like that. Just the opposite! Knowing him as a person...loving him as a person...had kinda opened my eyes to loving him in a physical way. But, I never looked at his perfectly round, sexy butt the same way again. God, I wanted it so bad all of a sudden, it was just killing me.
I smiled to myself, thinking about it. Ya, I'd had a few girls before...like I said, I've gotten my share of pussy and blowjobs for a seventeen-year-old high school student. But, it was always because it was just there...available...easy. I had never felt the kind of desperate need for it that I was beginning to feel right then, staring at his cute little butt.
As I was lost in my thoughts, he caught me staring at his ass, as he stood with his back to me, and I think noticed the proportions of the erection beginning to stir in the front of my board shorts. Suddenly, his eyes got real big, and he blushed as he looked away in embarrassment. It was almost funny, looking back. When we had left the graphics room that Monday morning, we were both emotionally exhausted. Totally cried out...but happy. We were then officially "friends," but the unspoken truth between us was something much more. We both knew it at the time, but neither of us had been ready to give it words just yet.
I think we were both almost afraid it might not be real. But, certainly we couldn't both be sharing the same dream...
When I began to get nervous about his parents getting home and finding us...well, you know...together, I reminded him I had to leave soon. Shyly, he came up to me, fidgeting with his hands...his eyes looking nervous, but hopeful.
"I, uh...I guess it's my turn to ask this time," he said quietly, totally embarrassed and blushing like crazy. "Um...well...can I have...uh, you know...before you go...another hug? It felt so good before, I don't know if I can last until tomorrow, or...well, until...you know...can I? Please?" he asked, giving me his cutest possible look.
I just smiled at him, and drew him into my arms. He clenched me tightly, and nuzzled his face into my neck, as I heard him weep to himself quietly. We just stood there, hugging tightly, and rocking gently for a minute. As soon as I felt the warmth and softness of his body wrap itself around me, I was instantly aroused again. Before long, I'm sure he noticed it. Because soon, I felt him subtly grinding himself against me, as my hands explored the contours of his cute little butt.
I pulled away from him slightly, so I could look up into his eyes. After absorbing as much the love that I could find in there, I leaned forward and gave him a very soft, light kiss...lingering just long enough to make sure there was absolutely no room for doubt in his mind about how I was feeling about him.
Instantly, those pale-blue eyes grew huge with surprise...and then a shy smile appeared on his face.
"Ian...dude, I really...I mean, I think I...well, I just wanna tell you how much..." I stuttered.
Shit! Why was I having so much trouble saying what I was feeling all of a sudden, I wondered? I sighed, and smiled at him. His eyes told me that it was ok...they were ready to hear what I was trying to tell him.
"I do, ya know," I said, finally getting a coherent thought to come out of my mouth.
"Me too," he replied softly, his eyes sparkling from the moisture welling up inside them.
"I really gotta go..." I said, sadly.
"I know...it's ok. I'll see you tomorrow, right?" he asked hopefully.
"Ya, tomorrow," I sighed.
"Rusty! You haven't even taken a bite yet! Everything's gonna get cold...and it's almost midnight. They're gonna chase us outta here pretty soon," Tim complained. "You have to eat dude, or you're gonna pass out or something. You probably haven't eaten anything all day. How could you not be hungry?" he wondered.
I looked at him, as he sat down opposite from me again. I wasn't sure how long he'd been gone. It seemed kinda like a long time, but it probably wasn't more than a few minutes. My eyes glanced down at the food on the tray. I looked back at him in confusion. I just didn't get it...he wanted me to eat this stuff? But, my stomach wasn't telling me I was hungry. It wasn't even the slightest bit interested in food, at the moment.
"Look, you're gonna eat this crap even if I have to feed it to you, Rusty," he said, with his frustration and concern clear in his voice.
He picked up a french fry, and stuck it in my face. Obediently, I opened my mouth like a child, and he stuck it in there. I began to chew, half-heartedly.
"Ketchup," I said.
"Ketchup?" he asked.
"Ya, needs ketchup," I answered.
He smiled slightly. "Okay. Be right back," he said, as he hopped up to get some for me.
I picked up another french fry, studied it for a moment in resignation, and slowly put it into my mouth.
After he returned with the ketchup, he continued to coax me along while I slowly ate another bite, and another. Eventually, I managed to finish a few fries, and half of a burger. By that time, the store manager was standing near the door, overtly jingling his keys. Nobody else was in the place except the three of us.
Tim pulled me up out of my seat, and guided me through the doors, and back out into the cold night air. Suddenly, I realized just how cold I had been before. The restaurant had been so warm and cozy; it was a little bit of a shock to step outside now. I shivered involuntarily, and he noticed.
"Here, put this on," he said, handing me his hooded sweatshirt, after he had finished peeling it off of himself.
I took it in my hand, but just looked at him blankly.
"Jesus, Rusty! Am I gonna have to dress you too?" he asked in amazement.
"No," I answered quietly, as I mechanically began to go through the motions of putting on the sweatshirt. When I was just about done, I heard a car pull up beside us.
"Thanks for doing this, Uncle Bill," I heard Tim say to the driver.
"No problemo, Timmy. Just hop in, and let's get out of here."
Tim herded me into the backseat beside him, and shut the door. I noticed the driver glance at me briefly in the rear-view mirror...he gave me a strange, sad kind of look. As soon as we were buckled up, the car was in motion again. My mind instantly wandered off, as the scene passed before me through the side window.
Next thing I know, we're back in front of the hospital. Tim pulled me out of the car, and we both stood there beside the driver's window.
"You sure you're gonna be ok here tonight Tim?" he asked with concern.
"Ya...they told me it would be ok to bring him back here. I think it's the best thing for him right now...I, uh...I can't really take him home right now," he said in a hoarse whisper, as if I couldn't hear him. "Anyway, thanks again, Uncle Bill," he said. He looked at me expectantly.
"Uh, ya...thanks for the...um...ride," I said, distantly.
As the car pulled away slowly, Tim looked at me curiously.
"You don't know who that was, do you?" he asked.
"Uncle Bill," I answered robotically.
"Rusty, that was Billy's dad...my uncle...my mom's brother...you know? He knows who you are, Rusty. He's worried about you too. He wanted to do something to help you get through this..." he explained.
Suddenly, I was more alert than I had been all night.
"What?" I asked in amazement. "You mean...he knows...uh, I mean, he knew...you knew?" I said, in shock.
"Yup," he said, putting his hand on my shoulder, "we all did."
Slowly, we retraced the path that I suddenly found myself dreading...the path back to that depressing waiting room...that I could vaguely recall having spent half of the day in already. The waiting room sure was the right name for it...fuck, I hated all of this endless waiting! I think I had finally reached the point earlier today, where I simply couldn't handle it any more. I was sooo tired of waiting...for the inevitable moment when they would just come walking through that door, and finally tell me that he was...
"Rusty...over here," Tim said.
I turned to see him settling into a chair near the corner of the room. I realized that my feet had subconsciously been propelling me towards that door...the door that my heart instinctively knew was the only thing between me and...
I felt an arm on my shoulder, and I turned to see Tim standing beside me now.
"You can't go in there now. They've already told you that a dozen times," he reminded me. By the look of pain and sadness in his eyes, I could see that he knew what was in my heart.
We sat down in the corner. I sighed to myself, and finally looked at him.
"I...I can't believe you knew all this time...I can't believe
Billy told you..." I stated simply, shaking my head in disbelief. "I mean, you
knew...and you didn't hate Billy and I because we were...um, because I'm..."
"No, Rusty...I don't hate you. How could I hate someone for something like that? It's not like you or Billy chose to be that way. I figured that it was just the way you've always been, and if I already liked the person that you were, then I guess it didn't really matter at that point..."
"This is all just kinda hard to handle right now...with him in there..." I said, giving him an appreciative glance, as I nodded towards the door.
He nodded. "Rusty, Billy told us because he was worried about you...in case, you know...in case something happened..." he said, choking back a little sob. "After that day, he was afraid your brother might really hurt you. Billy asked me to look out for you. He wasn't worried about himself, Rusty. He was worried about you. He thought something might happen to you, and there wasn't anything he could do to help you."
I glanced at him briefly, and then stared at the floor for a moment. This was getting to be a little too much for me to deal with right now.
"He told us, Rusty," he said softly, "because he loved you."
I stared at him angrily, through the tears forming in my eyes...wondering why he was telling me all this now. Could my life get any more painful?
I just couldn't take this any more...I closed my eyes, and Billy's face immediately filled my mind. I could see the love in his eyes more clearly than ever. How had I not seen it before? Was it that I couldn't see it? Or didn't want to see it? Wouldn't let myself see it?
"Why are you telling me all this now? Why are you doing this to me?" I asked with a sob.
"Don't you get it, Rusty?" Tim asked softly. "Billy would be so happy that you've finally found someone to love you again...someone to rescue you. I've watched you for the last five years, dude. I was beginning to wonder if you had finally lost your real self inside all of your anger. But he saved you, Rusty. That's why you just can't give up on him now. He needs you to believe in him...you have no idea how important that is right now. You have to believe with everything in your heart. I promise you, it will make a difference. I know it will." He said, with great sincerity.
I took a deep breath and exhaled as I sat there, trying to make sense of everything I was hearing in my tired mind. I was sooo exhausted...physically, emotionally...but I knew he was right. I had to do it. I willed myself to remember the first time we really kissed...You know, as in a serious romantic kiss. I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes...
All through those first couple weeks, we pretty much followed the same routine...spending as much time together in the afternoons as we could manage with homework and other responsibilities...taking the time to really get to know one another. He was so fascinating to me, I wanted to know every little detail of his existence, and he wanted to know every detail of mine.
But, we never went back to my house. Unfortunately, I had to tell him about my dad and my brothers. I didn't want him to feel sorry for me or anything, and I was afraid he'd never feel safe coming to my house again. Besides, I just wasn't quite ready to share this aspect of my life with anyone yet...not even my mom. I think I was still getting used to it myself. But, he was pretty understanding. Nervous, but understanding.
By the time the next weekend was approaching, I was so in love with him, I couldn't see straight. I wanted him sooo badly...those memories of my dreams were stoking my hormones like crazy. I wanted to finally be able to spend some quality time...you know, alone...with him. I hoped he was as ready for that next step in our relationship as I was...
I wracked my brain, trying to think of a way for us to be someplace really cool together...by ourselves, of course. I could rent a motel room, but that seemed a little too sleazy to me. We both loved being outdoors, but there just didn't seem to be a place we could go...
Not being real experienced with the whole relationship/dating thing (well, ok...fine! I've never been on a date, alright?) , I convinced myself to talk to the most experienced, yet eligible, bachelor I knew.
"Mr. B," I asked one day, when we had a moment of privacy, "Like...if you were me, and you wanted a cool place to go on a date...where you could, uh...you know...get away from the crowds...be alone with someone special this weekend...where would you go? Someplace outdoors would be ideal..."
"Well Rusty," he answered, "I know it's gotta be tough, especially if you don't have your own car. But, I might have an idea..." he said, with a glint in his eye.
"Ya?" I asked.
"I have to go to San Diego this weekend to visit with family, and I think I might need to have somebody come by the place...you know, feed the dog...make sure everything is ok..." he said, giving me a little grin.
"Oh...I see!" I said, with a big smile.
"BUT!" he said, his face growing serious, "I wouldn't want you two doing anything un-safe, or inappropriate over there while I was gone. And, I certainly wouldn't want to find out about it if you did..." he added. "Got it?"
"Of course, Mr. B." I replied. "I mean, we haven't even...well, you know...we haven't really been alone together before..."
"How cute!" he smiled. "Well, I hope this is a special weekend for both of you. The weatherman said it should be nice and warm this weekend, and I'll make sure the pool is heated up," he said. "But, I don't want to find any used condoms in the bottom of my pool or anything, ok?"
"Mr. B! Shit...c'mon, it's not like that, I mean..." I stuttered.
"Rusty, you don't have to lie to me," he said with a laugh. "I was seventeen once. I know how strong the drive can be...not that I ever wanted to do it with another boy, but you know what I mean..." he added, blushing a little.
"Jeez, Mr. B...not so loud!" I hissed at him.
"Come see me on Friday before school, and I'll give you the key, and all the pertinent instructions."
"Cool. Thanks Mr. B...I owe you big time for this."
That afternoon, as we were walking alone near the park, I popped the question. Kinda.
"Ian, dude..." I said, suddenly discovering that I was a little more nervous about this than I realized, "Um, I just want you to know how cool this is... uh, you know...us being together and stuff. I'm really glad you didn't give up on me."
He turned and gave me a big smile. Those big, soft pale-blue eyes peering out at me from behind the wisps of his long brown hair told me that he was just as happy as I was...maybe more.
"And...well, I was thinking...wondering...I mean, and it's totally ok with me if you think it's like, too soon or something, but...well, I was...um, hoping we could do something this Saturday...like, a date or something," I said, giving him a hopeful look.
"Well, uh...what do you wanna do...where would we go?" he asked, giving me a shy look.
"I know somebody who wants me to house-sit for them this weekend. We could just hang out by the pool...relax...you know, whatever you wanted to do..." I replied with a shrug.
I locked my gaze onto his, and begged him...pleaded with him...with my eyes to say yes.
"That sounds ok," he said hesitantly, giving me a nervous look.
"Dude...I don't wanna lie to you. I was really hoping we could finally have a chance to...you know...spend some time alone together," I confessed. "If you want to, that is. I'm totally not trying to put any pressure on you or anything...I'm just trying to tell you that...well, I guess I'm that I'm ready for that step, if you are. More that that, I just want to spend some time with you...heck, I wanna spend every possible second with you."
He stopped, and looked at me for a second. I could see both desire, and concern in his eyes. I reached up and gently stroked my finger across his cheek.
"You're just so sexy, dude...I can't be around you any more without getting pretty...well, excited..." I added.
"Ya...I've kinda...um...I noticed," he giggled, looking down at the growing bulge in my shorts. "Rusty..." he said, growing serious, "I've dreamed about it for so long...wanted it for sooo long...but I'm a little nervous. I mean, I've never..."
"Shhh...I know, dude. It's ok. I just want us to be able to do what feels right when the time comes," I said sincerely.
"Me too," he replied, "really."
I flashed him one of my trademark little smiles, and everything was set. This was gonna be the best weekend of my life, I just knew it.