Single Rider 2


`Your Smiling Face'

The usual disclaimers apply: If you shouldn't be reading this, don't. If you decided to continue all I say to you is "Happy Reading".

Theresa stares blankly at her sister. Lisa knew what she had done and she was, to say the least, proud of herself in spite of her sister's unhappiness. Sure, Tyler was her nephew but when she saw him act like an actual kid, she knew it was perfect. No matter how much her sister wanted to kill her from now on, it would be worth it to her.

     "You want me to come home with you?" I ask a bit meekly. Tyler's eyes blow up like fireworks. He grabs my hand and squeezes it like a woman in labour.

      "Do you know how small your house is, Lisa? Kyle wouldn't have a-" Theresa stops herself, realising what Lisa has been thinking all along. "Kyle's to sleep with Tyler?"

Theresa was having second thoughts about it being okay with the boys dating. There was the sex factor, the society factor and the age factor. Then there was Tyler's father. They are separated, Tyler goes to visit him ever other week or so and he loves him. Tyler's father is a good man, but what would he think of Kyle? It would never really be the same or some semblance of the same. She looks at the two boys standing side by side. Something tugs at her from all angles; it's like piece of pizza dough being flattened into shape.

     "Tyler?" Theresa starts with a bit of hesitation, "Is that what you want, honey?"
     The look on Tyler's face is unforgettable; he looks like Ralph from "A Christmas Story" opening up his Red Ryder BB-Gun. Theresa doesn't even wait for an answer. She just starts walking to her car. Tyler and I stay still. I pull out my keys and jingle them.
     "Mom?" Tyler asks. Theresa stops dead in her gait, she looks a bit livid. I drop my keys and leave my hand where it is. Tyler bends over to get them. He grabs my hand and closes it around them for me. He then looks back to his mom.

"Go ahead and go with him Tyler. Would you mind if I took a look at your car and license?" Theresa asks. I know that she's just making sure I don't have some piece of junk car that will break as soon Tyler gets into it. She more than likely is going to take down my plate number. I really don't mind, `cos if meant that I could go home with Tyler, but I have a feeling she isn't at all comfortable with me driving her baby.
     I walk them over to row E5, and show her to my Escape. I open it up so she could take a look inside; right now it has all my laundry either baskets or hanging from the back headrests. She looks it over and appears surprisingly pleased.
     "You hang your clothes?" Theresa asks.
     "Yes, I do. Less wrinkles." I say.
     "Is this your car, or your moms?"
     "This would be mine." I say, absentmindedly rubbing the door.
     "Did you buy it or did your mom buy it for you?"
     "I bought it with the savings account money I got from my gramma."
     "All right. I really am sorry, Kyle. I don't know why I'm being-
     "Ther- Misses?"
     "Misses Baker, I know you love your son. So, we'll follow you there?"
     "Yes, that's fine. Thank you, Kyle." She says with a half smile.

Tyler gives his mom a hug and a quick kiss, and then gets into the Escape like he's getting on another ride at Disneyland. I get in and start it up and put Cartel in. The sound of a needle hitting vinyl plays as I start to follow Theresa's Camry.
     The lead singer's voice punches though the speakers.

And baby don't follow their lead.
'Cause you'll never know-
Just how the story ends, or how the story goes.
And you are so confused.
And baby it's just like you,
To say anything else!

     I smile. I have this awesome boy with me and we're going to his aunt's house. I follow Theresa, who despite inspecting my car and all was not driving very carefully herself. I take my right hand off of the steering wheel and put it on top of Tyler's thigh and squeeze it gently. He pulls himself out of a light sleep, and the front of his shorts pushes out a little.
     "Kyle?" He says looking down at his shorts. I follow his gaze.
     "Sorry. You know how to get to your aunts house, right?" I ask.
     "Yeah, of course I do. What are you thinking?" He says with a hint of naughtiness.
     "I'm a little hungry, and thought you might want to get something to eat?"
     "I'm up for something to eat. I love my mom, but a sandwich for dinner isn't enough."
     "That's what I thought." I smile at him. "Can you call your mom, and let her know we're stopping somewhere. We'll call her when we know where we're going."

Tyler gets on his mobile. As he's talking to his mom I watch his face out of the corner of my eye. He looks frustrated, like his mom is giving him hell about it. I know that she isn't going to go for it, and I'm not planning on going against her about it. Tyler hangs up the phone with a smile on his face. He looks like a boy who walked away from a playground fight without detention.
     "We can go to the diner around the corner from my aunt's house. That's like, the only place she'll let us go." He says.
     "Eh, not exactly what I wanted...but-
     "But we get to be alone, and just talk for a few hours."

We pull into Lisa's driveway and it's close to midnight. She has a nice one-story house with a couple small trees planted in the front yard. The drive is lined with flowerbeds on either side, filled with marigolds and poppies. I look to Tyler. He wears the smile that I've seen so much over the last seven hours. I give him a little nod and we both get out of the car. Lisa waves me over and places a key in my palm. She puts her hands around my neck like she's going to strangle me, but then pulls me closer to her. She gives me a small kiss on the cheek and then whispers into my ear:
     "Thank you, Kyle." I have absolutely no idea how she can be so cool. She and Theresa are total opposites, which is usually the case with sisters [or at least it is in my family]. I have one woman thinking I'm some totally horrible guy and that I'm going to "use" her little boy. And I have another who is thanking me for putting a smile on his face. Can any one say, confusing? He is not Lisa's son; he's Theresa's. The thing that bothers me is that Theresa is just following her sister's lead.
     Tyler grabs my hand and starts to lead me down the drive. I stop him, and go over to Theresa. She looks at me like a newly discovered creature from the Discovery Channel. I give her a hug. Theresa stands stiffly in my arms unwavering like a Redwood in a violent storm. I let my arms fall to my sides and stare at her vacant eyes. What do I have to do? I don't need your approval...I need your approval, I really do. I'm falling in love with your son- your thirteen year old, son. I shake my head and shrug my shoulders as I walk to the end of the drive. I look back and the porch light flickers on, a total contrast to my house where the porch light never gets turned on. It feels nice, knowing that someone wants you to know that they are there; like they're expecting you back.
     Tyler is still wearing my jacket. It's a nice warm night out; I wonder if he's just wearing it `cos it's mine. We walk slowly and in silence, taking our time about everything. It's like both of us know that after this weekend, we won't see each other for a long while. Every house that we walk by, I sort of wish is mine. Maybe we could live here.
     After two short blocks we come to the café. I was expecting it to be a little run down and that I wouldn't really want to eat there. The place looks inviting though. It has giant panoramic windows look out to the street. Thin, tan coloured muslin curtains hang from the windows; they are painted with a forest like scene that looks very out of place in the city. We walk up to the door, it's a heavy with a piece of glass inlaid. The glass is etched with the name or the café: Meticulosity. I open the door for my boy and am met with the smell of freshly baked bread. Why anyone would be baking bread this late at night, I'll never know.
     A lovely lady greets us. She's skinny and probably no older than forty. Her hair is a brilliant chestnut brown and cut short to frame her face perfectly. She bears a giant smile that is brilliant, and her cheeks deeply carved with laugh lines. She picks up two menus and leads us to the back area of the café. Two other couples, both older and very quiet, sit sipping coffee and gumming at bread.
     "Welcome to Meticulosity, boys. It's surprising to see such a young pair out this late." She says in a light Italian accent. "My name is Simona. What can I get for you to drink?"
     "I'll have a Coke." I automatically say.
     "Coke addict." Tyler punches in and Simona giggles. "I'll have a root beer."
     "Thank you, and take your time." She says as she walks to the kitchen.
I already knew what I wanted. I looked at Tyler studying the menu. What it is about him that I like? He's really cute and got a great mind to go with that body. There has to be some one my own age that has the same qualities, right? But no one your age has jumped right in and said. "Sure, I'll go with you. Even though I have no idea who you are."
     He folds the menu up, and sets it on top of mine. I don't look away from him- he just looks back to me and smiles. It's a smile that reminds me of James Tyler's song "Your Smiling Face":

Whenever I see your smiling face,
I have to smile myself.
Because I love you (Yes, I do).
And when you give me that pretty little pout,
It turns me inside out.
There's something about you, baby (I don't know).

Well, anyway that's what his smile does to me. Mushy? It is. True? It is so very true. I think he saw me lip-synching the song, `cos he gives me this funny look. I cock my eyebrow at him, and he mimics my move. Evil child, but I love it!
     "I was just thinking of a song that comes to my head every time you smile." I say, frankly.
     "Oh- hehe, what song?" He asks, genuinely interested.
     " `Your Smiling Face', by James Tyler. It's kind of old, so I don't expect you to know it. I'll play it for you later."
     "Hehe, okay."
     "What kind of music do you listen to?"
     "Mostly rock and some rap. You?"
     "Eh, just about anything. I'm easy- anything but rap basically."
     "Fine- be that way."
     "Hah, and I will. So, I grew up on Chicago and The Association. But as you heard, I do dip into Cartel. And uh...Jesse McCartney."
     "Jesse is hot."
     "Yeah, I've liked him since he was in Dream Street."
     "I've never heard of them."
     "This is true; you were probably about five when they came out."
Tyler gave me a look. He started to say something, when Simona came back over to the table. Simona sets the glasses on these intricately carved wooden coasters. She seemed to always have a smile on her face, like nothing was ever wrong in her world. To say that nothing was ever wrong in my world would be a lie, `cos right now the boy I love isn't happy about something I said.
     "So, boys what will you be having?" She asks as she folds her hands behind her back.
     "You first babe," I say.
     "Can I have a small plate of penne with marinara?"
     "All right, and for the boyfriend?" She says with a knowing smile that I swear had a touch of an evil grin behind it.
     "Mmm, I'll have a bowl of minestrone and some of Tyler's penne."
     "Sounds good, they'll be out in a little bit. Would you like some bread while you wait?"
     "That'd be great thanks."
She leaves the table, which leaves Tyler and I to pick up with our conversation. I sit back and take a drink of my Coke, leaving me a little time to think things over. I knew that I had made an age comment, which normally wouldn't have fazed anyone. This is Tyler we're talking about though, he's thirteen and I'm eighteen. That doesn't matter to me, I couldn't care less about it; but I am older. There is stuff I know about that he doesn't. Let's see, musically there would be Chicago, Dream Street and God forbid, The Spice Girls.
     And here come two of the biggest subjects of all: life and sex. Not that I knew all that much about either, I've only been on this planet a total of eighteen years; and I've only had sex with two boys, my best friend Logan and Alex. I need to be honest with him though, just tell him where you've been and what you've done. He'll understand, won't he?
     "Tyler, I'm sorry babe. You know that I really like you, and I didn't mean for it to come out like that. It was supposed to be a...I don't know. Crap just comes out of my mouth."
     "Usually, it's good crap though." Tyler pipes in. Okay, so he didn't take it all that seriously.
     "Thanks. So...I figure now's as good as a time as any to talk."
     "Where do you live?" He asks, knowing exactly what I meant by "Talk".
     "I live in Redondo Beach, with my mom and my Gramma. We have a nice little one-story place, and the back yard is filled with my Gramma's orchids. She has about three hundred of them.
     "My mom and I work for a small company in Santa Monica. Ehm... I love being outside and acting. I also love music and photography. And I feel like I'm filling out the profile section on Myspace or something." I say. He giggles, and reaches for the bread that mysteriously appeared on the table. Tyler picks up the bottle that has both the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in it. He's obviously done this before, as he starts pouring a little olive oil on the plate and mixes in the vinegar. I follow suit and dip the bread in the mixture, which most people find disgusting. I put the piece in front of my boy's mouth, and he takes it biting my finger in the process.
     "Hey!" I yelp, sounding a bit pathetic.
     "That was just for earlier. Don't kill me?" He says in between bites.
     "I'll have you in a half-nelson and pinned in two seconds flat if you try that again." I throw at him.
     "You wrestle?" He asks, a little shocked I think.
     "For six years, babe." I say, pulling out last years USA card.
     "Wicked. What's your favourite move?"
     "I'd have to say an outside single-leg. Or as our coach so fondly refers to it, the `Scorp-Snake'. `Cos when you do the move it's like you're a cross between a scorpion and a snake."
     "You'll have to show me that sometime! Mine is the mixer."
     "Good move, for freestyle."
Wait a second...Tyler in a singlet. If ever I had an evil smirk on my face, it's now. Please bear with me on this, having sex or even seeing Tyler naked isn't even in the question, right now- sometime in the future, sure. Be honest with yourself here: could you resist thinking of an extremely cute boy in a skin-tight piece of clothing, with every curve being shown off? Thank you.
     "What's that look for? Did I say something wrong?" Tyler asks.
     "Heh, no babe. Just imagining you in a singlet."
     "Hey! Get my butt out of your head, will ya?"
     "Couldn't help it. And don't tell me you weren't thinking the same exact thing about me."

     He sits across from me fidgeting. His hands moving from the top of the table to his lap, and his face making these subtle little smiles and frowns every five seconds. It's not like we didn't just spend all last night together, so why would he be this nervous. He's nervous all right; one second he's calm as a baby who's just been fed- the next minute he's shaking like a little boy with a gun being held to his head.
     Why was this bothering him so much? Leaning against this boy, who was a perfect stranger in the "Tower of Terror" was not even an issue for this boy. Nor was the fact that he could go out onto a wrestling mat in very little clothing and kick someone's butt. Most of all he didn't seem at all surprised or worried when I started talking to him in the queue. Maybe it was just my over attentive and observant self, paying way too much attention to every little thing he does. The problem is, I have no idea what to say to him. Come on! You're a photographer and an actor and you talk to people for a living, just come up with something.
     Yes, you have a good mind for being able to come up with candid and improvisational stuff- but most of the time it's absurd and off the wall. Then again he didn't mind my sense of humour earlier, until you made that stupid "When you were five-years-old" remark. That's the real problem, I'm freaking out. I'm freaking out because for reason I'm worried about saying something utterly wrong, hurting this amazing boy and never getting to see him again. Oh- wait, I already did muck things up a bit.
     It's been about five minutes since a word has been spoken between the two of us, and I've been sipping at my Coke like it actually contains coke. Tyler has been nibbling away at the bread, and will probably be too full to eat most of his meal- and not to mention he's also been nibbling away at your heart. Just say something, anything. God this is going to suck when he leaves! Oh crap- when does he leave? Without even thinking, I blurt out:
     "Tyler, when do you guys fly out?"
     "Monday night. It's the eight o'clock flight." Tyler responds, glumly.
     "O, maybe I can stay with you guys till then? Would that be okay with you? Your mom might not be too thrilled, granted. But, I really want to spend some more time with you."
     "Kyle, you're an idiot." Tyler says, giggling and showing me that smile I love again. I looked at him like he had just offended me. Well he did call me an idiot. I think I may have had that coming though. "I would LOVE it if you could stay with till Monday."
     "It's done then, I'm calling in sick Monday and I'm taking you to Santa Monica. We'll put your guys' luggage in my car and then I'll take you to the airport."
     "Cool! I want to go shopping with you, and we could like have lunch..."
     "Way ahead of you, babe."
     "Crap- If you'll excuse me. I have to go call my mom and let her know I'm staying with you."
     "I thought you were eighteen though?"
     "I am. I just like to let her know where I am."
     "So, you're cool with your mom like that then?"
     "Yes I am. She's going to love you."
     "The fact that you're five years older than me, legal and maybe going to end up in bed with me- having sex- while I'm still a minor isn't an issue?"
     "It's a tiny, insignificant detail that will have to be worked out when the time comes."
     "I'll let you take care of that one."
     "Nope, you're going to be right by my side when that happens." I say with a smile as I exit the booth.

     I walk out on the deck area they have in the back. The deck over looks a little man-made pond full of water lilies and other plants, the waterfall's music plays all over the back. A small fire is going in the centre pit. I take up a seat next to it and ease back into the chair. I dial up my mom on my mobile and wait.
     "Hello?" My mom answers a tad bit groggy.
     "Hey mom, it's Kyle."
     "It's really late honey. Are you going to be home soon?"
     "Actually, I met this really amazing guy at Disneyland and his aunt asked if I wanted to stay with them, at her house tonight."
     "I have to ask, where does she live and how old is this guy?"
     "Lisa lives in Los Angeles, and Tyler, well he's thirteen."
     "Will you and Tyler be sleeping in the same bed?"
     "More than likely, yes."
     "Are you going to keep your pants on?"
     "More than likely, no."
     "Are you going to use a condom?"
     "More than likely- hold on a tic, did you just ask if I was going to use a condom?" She asks, ever so bluntly. My mom and I have an open relationship, and she's just about the coolest mom any gay boy could ever ask for- but asking me about having sex? I guess that I may have taken a little too long to think about my answer.
     "Well, are you?"
     "No, `cos we're not going to even have sex." I said, firmly. She sighed and I knew that she wanted me home.
     "Am I going to see you tomorrow?"
     "Of course mom, I'm going to bring Tyler home and we're going to go the mall."
     "Remember, we have that lunch with Aunt Marie for the October birthdays at P.F. Chang's tomorrow."
     "That's right! Can I still bring Tyler?"
     "I don't see why not. Marie will flip when she sees how young he is, which you know will be a lot of fun to watch. So, bring the boy."
     "Ha-ha, yes she will. We'll be there."
     "I love you, Kyle."
     "I love you too, Mom. Good night."
I hang up, laughing. I forgot about the lunch thing! Oh well, Andrew and Michelle will love Tyler, so I have nothing to worry about. I smiled at that thought. As I walked back to the table, I started to plan out tomorrow morning. I wanted to thank Lisa and Theresa for letting this whole thing happen. I know that this is a totally cliché thing to do, but I at least wanted to cook them breakfast. Also, it gave me an excuse to surprise Tyler in bed. There's a nice little market down the street, I figured I would just sneak out a little early and get what I needed.
     As I got back to the table, I find Tyler holding his mobile to his ear. It has to be Lisa or Theresa just checking up on us. I knew that I should expect at least one call from either of them. He has that smile on his face, so I figure things are going well. I take my seat as he hangs up.
     "That was Lisa. She just wanted to know how dinner was going."
     "Cool and you told her what?"     
     "That I was having an amazing time!"
     "Hehe, that's what I was hoping for. So, I have to ask you something."
     "Shoot, babe."
     "Well, I have this lunch thing going on with my family for our birthdays, and I was wondering if you would come with me."
     "Who all is going to be there?"
     "My gramma, two of my aunts, two of my uncles and three of my cousins. Oh, and my mom."
     "That sounds like it would be cool...but...your whole family won't think it's weird to bring a thirteen year old to dinner?"
     "No...well yes. My aunt Marie and my uncles will. But don't even sweat it. My cousins and I will be there. My cousins are all cool, and they don't let crap happen to guys I like. And neither do I."
     "Okay then, can we go if things get weird though? I just don't want to screw things up for you and your family."
     "Yes, if things get weird for you just let me know. I don't want you feeling weird."
     "Thanks. So where is lunch?"
     "P.F. Chang's. It should be pretty good."
     "All right."
Simona comes with refills for our drinks, along with our food. Basically, everything looks rather exquisitely done. The pasta fresh from the pot, and the sauce and soup freshly made [even though I know that at this time of night it wouldn't be].
     "Eat up babe." I say, handing him a fork.
It's one o'clock by the time we're finished and the bill paid. Tyler insists that he pay for something, which I have to put up a fight with him on. He says that it isn't fair that I was paying for everything tonight. Good argument, but I still insisted that I pay.
     "Tyler, my father is a gentleman. He raised me to be one; even though I only lived full time with him for five years- he made sure I knew what was proper. When I pay for someone's dinner or anything else it's because I want to be with them and I enjoy their company."
     "Thanks, Kyle."

As we walk home I hold Tyler's hand in mine. The air has gotten quite a bit cooler, and I regret not bringing a jacket. But at least my boy is warm. We walk past one house that I just have to stop and admire- it's the same one from before. But this time, there is an elderly couple sitting on the front porch. It's barely lit by the tiny light that hangs in the middle. The man and woman sit on a porch swing, wrapped up tightly in a wool blanket. The husband clutches a tobacco pipe in his right hand like it's the last piece of his youth. As he puffs the pipe his face is graced with a tiny bit of light from the lit tobacco, bringing out every deep canyon of his face.
     His wife leans her head gently on his shoulder, and as he lets the sweet smoke flow out from his mouth it wraps around her face. It's like an extension of him- embracing her and telling her that he loves her. They both let free a sigh and give us a smile. I know they can see our hands, our hands that are tightly clasped together. Tightly clasped together because we want them to be and because both of us know that ours might not last as long as their love [even though we know that it will last], there is that little chance...

     I slide the key into the knob and turn the tumbler slowly. The door swings open easily and without a sound. Tyler and I creep in and slip our shoes off at the door. He leads me down the hallway to the left of the door, and stops in front of the second door down. My boy takes a small breath- it's like he can't believe that this is all happening. I put my hands on his hips and lean in next to his ear and whisper:
     "You okay?"
He doesn't say a word. All he does is begin to turn the doorknob. Light from a small lamp spills out into the hallway and lights up Tyler's face. He has that smile on again. Honestly, I don't know when he ever takes it off. He turns around and grabs my wrist to pull me in.
     As I'm being pulled into the room, it feels like I'm home. The walls are painted a warm crème colour, and the linens and curtains are textured alike with a crosshatch pattern. The bed is open and inviting, and I can't resist the look on this boys face.
     I get down to my boxers and throw on a pair of sweats- I don't even bother with a shirt. Tyler on the other hand strips down to his briefs and stares at me like I'm over dressed. I look at him with an evil smile. I walk up to him and put my hands on his shoulders, then shoot for a fireman's carry. I get him over my shoulders and toss him gently onto the bed without him even making a fuss. I quickly get on top of him, and straddle his tummy. If I had never seen a boner before, I sure saw one as I looked over my shoulder. I could feel him squirming his way up so that it would reach my butt.
     He find it- and he starts to gently push it against my cheeks. Think of how you would react in this situation. Go ahead think of it. I had an erection and Tyler's eyes are trained on it. I slide down, so that our pelvises are right on top of each other, but only for a second. I kiss Tyler on the lips lightly and pull my hips away.
     "I love you, Tyler." I say, and then roll over to my side. I put my hand on his bare chest, smooth and tightly formed. I love the feel of his nipples hardening under my touch. I slide my hand further and clutch him under his armpit and pull him so that he's lying on his side. We're face to face. I look to his eyes and give him one more kiss. I love this boy.
     I click off the light. Tyler looks to me and whispers, "I love you, Kyle."
     "I love you too, babe." I whisper back. Tyler turns his back to me. I hold him close and he uses my chest as a pillow, nestled in the little area right below my nipple. My hand drifts down his chest and lightly over the side of his underwear. It finally stops on the inside of his thigh. I squeeze it and he whimpers quietly. Letting a light "Mmm" out.
     It takes a while for use to get completely comfortable. I finally end up with my hand clasped with his and pressed against his chest. Tyler's leg is lightly wrapped around mine, and I'm pressed against the small of his back. We finally fall to sleep, both content with the entire night.

I wake up with a Tyler tightly tangled amongst my arms and legs. I know he isn't awake. He's still too- lacking a better word at the moment- limp. I ease out of the tangles so I can get on my way to preparing breakfast. I slide on a pair of clean jeans and throw on my blue and white-striped Quiksilver button up. I slip Tyler's house key off the bedside table and glide out the door.
     It's really early; I don't even know what time it is. The sky is still dark with a tinge of purple to it. I'd say it's around six o' clock as I walk into the small market. A tall guy, probably around eighteen leans sleepily against a check out queue. He gives me the "What's up?" nod, so I shoot back at him:
     "Morning, Justin." I say after reading his nametag. "C'mon wake up, I have to find some stuff and I've never been here before."
     "Ha-ha, obviously. I would have known if you had." He says in an oh-so-cool manner.
     "What's that supposed to mean?"
     "That I would have remembered that face."
     "Oh- ha-ha. I'm looking for food, not a boyfriend."
     "Fair enough. What do you need?"
     "I was thinking a little French Toast. And some fruit." I go. He shoots me a strange look as if to say, `Why would you be up this early shopping for breakfast crap?' He knows one thing about me- I'm taken.
     "You are cooking for your boy?" He asks casual as ever.
     "Yes. I'm actually doing it for his aunt and mom `cos they actually let me stay at their house. Considering the fact that he's..."
     "...a lot younger than you?" He finishes my sentence for me.
     "Yeah. He is a younger than me. He's thirteen and I'm eighteen."
     "That is so cute." He says, picking up two loaves of bread, one white loaf and one wheat loaf. He offers both to me and I take the wheat bread. He just smiles at me.
     "You don't think that's at all strange?" I ask him, sort of worried that he's playing me and is going to kick my butt.
     "Nope, not at all." He says as he tosses a small bottle of syrup in to the cart. "I was a freshman in high school and my boyfriend a senior when we met. We've been together ever since."
     "Very cool. I take it he's away at college."
     "Yeah, only two hours away though. My mom still has a fit when he sleeps in my bed."
     "Hmm, I can imagine. Where's the powdered sugar and cinnamon?" He leads me down the next aisle and I guess I spoke too soon.
     "We're getting there, guy. Just keep your pants on."
     "I have no problem with that; it's Tyler who you should be talking to."
     "I know it. All we did for four months was make out and..." He cut himself off as his boss turned down the aisle.
     "Justin, good morning." His tall and "more to love" figured boss says.
     "`Morning Robert. Just helping this guy out, he's never been to our store before."
     "I hope he's been helpful, `cos he should be at the front!" Robert says with a boisterous laugh.     
     "Michelle is working the front for me, Rob. No worries."
     "He's been more than helpful, Robert. Thanks."     
     "Very well then. Hope to see you soon." Robert says bumbling off down the aisle.
     "Thanks, man." He says.
     "The name's Kyle. I'll see you around?"
     "Yeah, come by anytime. I think my boyfriend would like to meet you." Justin says. He gathers up the rest of the items and pulls us up to the register,

Justin rings me up, and I'm off. I get back to Lisa's house and make sure that everyone is still asleep. I head out to the kitchen to scout out a frying pan, a spatula and a bowl. I throw my shirt off and onto the back of a chair and leave my white A-shirt on. I get to work.
     It doesn't take long to get everything cooked, and I start to put on the finishing touches. I put two pieces on each plate and angle the top one so that it looks nice. I get out a small sieve and put some confectioner's sugar in it. I dust the tops of each piece lightly and then sprinkle some cinnamon on, too. And lastly I put a fresh mint leaf on the rim of each plate. [It's all about the presentation, right?]
     Satisfied and a little too proud of my work, I quickly wash everything I used to prepare breakfast. I don't want to leave dishes for Lisa; that would be a serious contradiction to what I'm trying to say. I sneak into my boy's bedroom and slip into bed behind him. I throw an arm over him and tickle his sides. He starts fussing and squirming.
     "Cody...Mmm...stop it!'m going to pee! Cody, stop it!" I climb on top of him and sit on his stomach again. He wakes up under my pressure. His are eyes wide open and looking like he got caught stealing something. Tyler gives me a weak and questioning smile. I lean down and give him a quick kiss while he's still smiling and feel a bit of his smooth teeth on my lips.
     "So love, who's Cody?" I ask with a slight grin.
     "Oh...hehe you heard that?"
     "Uhm, yeah babe."
     "Cody Lindley, the actor from `Hoot'?"
     "Oh- oh! Well, next time tell him he needs to share a piece of that fine, little butt of his." I say slipping my hands under his hips. "C'mon babe. You need to get up, I made breakfast for everyone."
     "You what?" He asks in disbelief.
     "I cooked breakfast."
     "My aunt might kill you."
     "Why? She doesn't like anyone cooking with her stuff?"
     "Yeah, she's kind of protective of it."
     "We'll see. Go get `em."
I go back to the kitchen and wait for my verdict. Tyler comes from the hallway with Lena on his back. He wears a pair of board shorts that fall just below his waistline. They show off the top of his butt and the V shape of his pelvis [I nearly cream my shorts]. His mom and aunt follow him. I stand up in an attempt to welcome them and possibly lessen the blow to me.
     Lisa looks over her kitchen. I guess to check if I have damaged anything or left it clean. I decide to break the silence:
     "Good morning." I say boldly, "Lisa, I just wanted to thank you all for letting me stay with you. So, I cooked breakfast you."
     "Thank you, Kyle. It looks really good, and thanks for not leaving me a mess to clean up."
     "Trust me, I wouldn't have done that." I say a bit relieved. "Well, go ahead. I've got some syrup if you want, too."
     Tyler puts a little syrup on the French Toast for Lena and then slathers his with it. I take a seat next to him at the table and pour a glass of orange juice for him and me. I start sipping at it and Tyler smiles at me between chews. I glance over the table at Lisa and Theresa; they seem to be enjoying it. I know that Lena is `cos her face is covered in powdered sugar. Theresa looks at me and nods her head.
     "Do you guys have anything planned for today?" Theresa asks. Tyler shakes his head no.
     "Actually, Theresa..." I begin, "My family has this lunch that we do for all the birthdays in October and we're having it today. I really would like Tyler to come with me."
     "We were just planning on relaxing today anyway." Lisa goes.
     "I don't see why not." Theresa returns. "Does your family know about you, Kyle?"
     "Yes, and I'll make sure that everything stays cool. Some of my family are totally cool with it, others just pretend it's not an issue and kind of ignore it. Others would rather disown me. But don't worry, he's safe with me."
     "All right," Theresa says with a bit of hesitation. "You're sure that everything will be fine?"
     "Between my cousin Andrew and me, we've got things covered if anyone gets out of hand. I wrestle and he does Tai Kwon Do."
     "Just make sure it doesn't get to that point."
     "Fair enough. Thanks."
What's with this boy and smiling? He smiles at me just about every five seconds. Then again, I'd rather have him smiling than frowning. We finish up breakfast and I wash everything up. Tyler sits on the couch with Lena, watching the morning cartoons. I push him up and curl up with he and Lena on the couch for a while. I absentmindedly glide my fingers up and down along his stomach all the while. We fall back to sleep.
     I wake up to the sound of a foghorn from the television, and grab my mobile from the armrest. It reads: 8:47a. I kiss the top of Tyler's head and a few strands of his awesome hair stick to my moist lips. He wakes up with a start like he doesn't know where he is. I give him a hug from behind to remind him. He remembers- and shows me his smiling face.

I'd like to thank everyone who read, and wrote in. All of your feedback and love has been amazing! Keep reading and bear with me on the chapters guys...and gals 8^).

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"Say Anything (Else)" © Cartel and TMG

"Your Smiling Face" © James Taylor