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"Is apple cider ok?" Tanner asked, coming back into his room with two glasses for us.
"I love apple cider!" I said, licking my lips and sitting up in his bed.
With a wrinkle of his brow, he said, "You put your underwear back on? What did you go and do that for?"
"Hehehe, what? Because...I was naked."
"So? I like seeing you naked. Take 'em off." He grinned.
"Hey, YOU put on undies and clothes too, ya know?"
"Well, YEAH! Because I was walking down to the kitchen at the time to get us a drink. I, obviously, can't walk around the house naked! I'd give poor Janice a heart attack. But, I was planning to take this stuff off again as soon as I got back in your loving arms. I don't want anything between your hot body and mine. Hehehe!" That said, he yanked his clothes off right in front of the open door and smiled in my direction.
In a hushed voice, I said, "Tanner...your mom..."
"I already told you, Derrick...she doesn't think about me. Hardly ever. She's not like your mom. Right now, she's probably watching some celebrity gossip show so she can have something to talk about the next time she goes to a cocktail party. In fact, she's probably multi-tasking by looking for another pair of shoes or earrings to order online. We're totally safe in here. I promise."
"I don't know if I can ever get used to the idea of being 'totally safe' when it comes to my gay lover and his parents..." I smirked.
"Oh, so I'm your lover now? I like the sound of that. Sounds 'scandalous'." I don't know if I could handle being this...ummm...'comfortable'. Not only was Tanner's bedroom door not locked at the moment, but it was, literally, standing wide OPEN for anybody to walk by and see us at any moment!
"DUDE!!!" I whispered loudly.
Tanner wrinkled up his forehead and asked, "Ok, ok...I'll lock the door. Alright? Are you happy now?" He walked over to close the door and turn the little button to make sure it was secure. His sexy little ass wiggling in front of my vision in the most tantalizing way. Hehehe, it wasn't even deliberate. I just think Tanner's cheeks were perfectly molded to naturally taunt and tease in tandem with the way that he walked. I doubt he could hide the sex appeal of it if he tried. "There. Nobody gets in without knocking. Satisfied?" He said, his hardened length now turned to my vision, rigidly wagging and bouncing as he walked back to the bed.
"How can you be so casual about this?"
"You spoiled me." He said. "I want you. All of you. Every other priority falls to second or third place in comparison." Tanner pulled my underwear down my legs, smiling as he saw me still hard and bouncing slightly with every beat of my over infatuated heart. "Now drink your cider and shut up. Hehehe!"
I pressed the glass to my lips as Tanner's lithe, nude, body climbed into bed and lovingly wrapped itself around me. He held me so close. A tender touch that was uniquely 'his'. His arms and legs tangled themselves around my middle in the most intimate way, and I felt his lips kissing me on the shoulder, and then the side of my neck, as he sighed to himself, closed his eyes, and snuggled up at my side...totally blown away by the love he had pouring out of him every moment that he spent in my loving embrace. You have no idea what it's like to experience that in full for the very first time. When you're a gay teen...there are so many reasons for you to believe that you'll never be in this position. That you'll never be able to live this way, love this way...and even if you are blessed enough to find the winning 'boyfriend lottery ticket'...it won't happen until you're so old that you'll end up spending the next twenty years of your life in complete misery.
But, here I am...still in high school...still figuring things out for myself...still trying to understand a sexuality that was pretty much thrust upon me at puberty without my knowledge or consent. And yet, I'm laying in bed with a boy so amazing, so beautiful, so special and compatible to everything that I am or could ever hope to be...that it defies all reason and common sense in my mind. It is a dream that I keep wanting to wake up from so I can get back to reality. But the more I doubt the validity of this fantasy...the more I realize that I want to stay lost. Completely lost.
My gosh...love gets better and better with every breath I take. How do people live this way? All day, every day? Heh...if I had a choice, I'd never get dressed or leave this bed ever again. Do they deliver fast food to your bedroom? I guess we'd actually have to leave the door open from now on for that to happen, wouldn't we?
"So what now? Hehehe!" I asked him, just as he nuzzled his nose and lips into the nape of my neck.
"Now? We just lay here together until the sun goes down. And nothing else." Tanner said. "God, you're warm. This is so cozy." Then he kissed my cheek, and said, "Are you sure you can't just call your mom and tell her that you're spending the night at my house or something? I don't want you to go." He giggled, "I'm almost tempted to tie you to the bed to keep you from leaving me."
"Hehehe, kinky!" I said. "Nah...I've got to find a subtle way to tell my mom that I gave Chris her resume without her permission. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a bit of heat for that one."
"You didn't ask her first?" Tanner said.
"I couldn't. Tanner, you know my mom. She thinks it's overreaching to even think about getting a miracle opportunity like that. If I had asked for her permission, she would have thought that I was just being a silly kid with his head in the clouds. She doesn't understand that, sometimes, the clouds is exactly where your head needs be to accomplish something great. You know? I didn't have enough time to convince her that something like this was possible. Chris wanted her paperwork in, like, a DAY." I said. "I just...I KNOW that she could totally nail this interview and audition if she just walked into that place and gave it her all."
"To be honest, I doubt your mom would even have to give it her best to be a front runner. I'd be happy to curl up at her feet and have her toss me random scraps from her dinner table. Hehehe!"
"Great. Now there's an image that I'm not going to be able to get out of my head for some time to come." I said, getting a tender kiss on the cheek right afterward. I felt the warmth of Tanner's breath on my skin as he sighed devotedly in my loving arms. I held him closer as he slid his leg up to lay across my waist...bringing his lips to mine as we slowly enjoyed a moment of affectionate kissing before stopping to take a break.
"I love you, Derrick..."
"Love you too..."
You really know that you're compatible with someone when you two can just spend a comfortable moment of silence with one another. It's a sign that your hearts can say all they need to say without words getting in the way.
"So...if your mom gets the job, and I'm almost certain that she will...what then?" Tanner asked.
"I dunno..." I said. "I just...I feel like soooo much would change. For the both of us. I can't even imagine what it would be like, having enough money to just be able to live easily. It's almost incomprehensible."
"Live easily?" He asked. "How do you mean?"
"Well, it's just...it's hard to explain, I guess. I've never had the luxury of knowing what it's like to have enough money to do much of anything, so I guess it's all a weird fantasy in my head. I just imagine that it would be...so peaceful, you know? Like...stress free." I said. "It's like the difference between a household pet and an animal in the wild. How cool would it be to not have to live from meal to meal, worrying if you're going to make it another day if you're not careful. Instead, you just get to sit inside on a warm couch and get petted and loved and given three square meals a day without much effort at all. It doesn't seem like something that your average human being should have to think about...but it is. More often than not."
Tanner thought about it for a moment, and he placed his hand over my heart, looking up into my eyes. "If I ask you something, will you promise not to take offense?"
"Yeah, sure. Go ahead."
"Well, I mean...I know what some of the other kids at school have said about you and your mom in the past, and they're just snotty little brats who don't know what it's like to work a day in their lives. They get to sit around the house and actively 'search' for things to keep them busy, or to pass the hours of the day. Somebody with real passion who they can manipulate into entertaining them. So screw what they think." He said. "But...you still seem so hurt by it all. So sad. I guess I was just curious as to why. I mean...you're not poor, Derrick. Far from being 'destitute', no matter what they say about you. You live in a nice house, your mom is one of the most awesome people I've ever met, next to you, of course...and you've got a good head on your shoulders, only matched by the love and empathy in your heart. You're a good PERSON, dude! If I had to be honest, you had more reasons to be unbearably happy than I ever did. I'd love to have the kind of love you have in your life. I mean, maybe I'm making all that up in my head too."
Fair enough. I tried to explain. "I don't want to make it seem like I'm not happy, Tanner. I am. And I'm really proud of who I am and what I've got."
Giggling, Tanner slid his hand down and grabbed my balls in a tender caress. "You should be proud of what you've got! Hehehe! I've got no complaints there!"
"You know what I mean! Perv!" I grinned. Hmmm, how do I say this? "You know...there are times when my mom comes home from the diner...and she's so exhausted. I can see it in the bags under her eyes. In the way she walks as though she's got a collection of sharp little stones in her shoes. I see it in the way that she can't sit in front of the television for longer than twenty minutes without falling asleep, or the way she keeps trying to stretch or lean a certain way to fix the painful misery in her back and shoulders. She works SO hard. For unnecessarily long hours at a job that she's dedicate to, but practically thankless when it comes to her needs or her well-being." I told him, "Sometimes she comes home and goes straight to the kitchen to cook me dinner...and this intense wave of guilt nearly tackles me out of my chair, because there's no WAY that she should be expected to do that. Not after all she does just to keep a roof over our head, and enough food in the fridge to keep us from starving." I almost mentioned how much she spent and hard she worked to cook dinner for us and impress my first boyfriend...but chose not to. I think Tanner might have taken that to heart. "She really tries, and she's the hardest working woman you'll ever know, and still has time to be a pretty damn good mom on top of it. But...it's like running on a treadmill, sometimes."
"Is it?" He asked.
"Yeah. Hard work isn't what matters in our situation. If it was just a matter of 'hard work equals grand fortune', then my mom would be one of the richest women in the world right now. Instead, she breaks her back, day after day, toiling until she's too exhausted to even drive home without being worried about causing an accident because of the fatigue she's dealing with. And yet, when the bills come? It takes every last penny of her oppressive paycheck just to keep us afloat, and nothing else. It's like...she works for the bill collectors and gets nothing for herself. Ever. She knows that she'll never have a fancy car, or a big flatscreen TV, or a maid to clean up the house while she's away. She'll never buy designer clothes, or have some gadget to show off to her friends, or travel to exotic places around the world. And yet, every day, she crawls out of her bed at sunrise and makes sure that I have a decent breakfast, and that I get to school on time, and then she goes to work at some dive across town for people who usually can't even bother to leave a 15% tip on the check, much less say thank you. They don't see how hard she works. They don't pay attention to the long hours she puts in just to make ends meet. And I go to school with kids who will never have to worry about that. Not a day in their lives. I'm sorry to say it, but it makes me sick to know they think we're lazy or uneducated just because we're not rich. Trust me...money isn't based on merit, education, or hard work. It's just a matter of opportunity...and who's willing to give it to you without you having to struggle for it." I saw Tanner's forehead wrinkle up slightly, and I wondered if maybe I was being rude. "Sorry. That was a low blow. I didn't mean you."
"It's ok." He said. "I mean, I didn't really do anything special to live the life I live. I just...got lucky, I suppose."
"That's not what I mean. Honestly." Shit...I'm doing this all wrong. "I guess I just want to feel what it's like to get off of that treadmill for a little while, and just...feel what they feel. Relaxed. I want to know what it's like to not have to conserve toothpaste, or what it's like to get a new pair of shoes every few months. I want to be able to get what we want from the grocery story without examining the price on everything and having to figure out what we need to put back so we can get necessities like bread, and milk, and eggs. I want to know what it feels like to have the TV break down on us and have the option to just go buy a new one. Or to get the car fixed, instead of being embarrassed when my mom drives me to school. More than anything...I dream about what it would be like to have the other kids at school appoint some level of 'value' to me as a human being...making me worthy to walk among them." I was rambling, wasn't I? I should stop. I really should. "The way they look at me..." I felt myself getting a bit emotional just thinking about it. "...I'll never be anything more than trash to them. Never. So how is 'working hard' supposed to remain an incentive for me? I'll never be one of them, no matter what I do. The value of my character was dismissed the second they saw me from a distance. I'd be much happier in my old neighborhood, hanging out with Joel and my true friends than I would exhausting all of my energy trying to prove my self worth to people who don't have any interest in hearing it." I said, sniffling, but trying to keep my composure. "But...I want to be better. I may not have what they have...but, deep down, I know that what they have is all material. Anybody can buy it. Anybody. I may never be able to compete on that level, but I'm going to be the best man that I can be. No matter what. Not perfect. Just at my best. It's really all I can do."
Tanner kissed me, a bit misty eyed himself. "You're much too beautiful to have these thoughts." He said. "For what it's worth...you can have all of me any time you want me. And it won't cost you anything more than a smile and kiss on the lips. You'll never be on a treadmill with me. Promise, k?"
I gave him a kiss on the forehead. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. I mean that."
Tanner saw a single tear fall from my eye, and he wiped it away with his thumb. It was an accident, letting him see that! I mean it! "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine." I said.
"There's something else bugging you about this...isn't there?"
It had been in the back of my mind for ages, but I don't pay much attention to it. I fear thinking about it too much because I didn't know what kind of Pandora's Box I would be opening up if I brought those feelings to the surface. And yet...Tanner's love and affection gave me the feeling that I could trust him with a little bit more.
"You know...my mom was having trouble getting back and forth to work a few years back. My dad helped out. My middle school was taking a field trip to Washington DC...and he wanted me to go and see the nation's capital. I remember our air conditioning broke just before the Summer started, and he didn't know how to fix it himself...so he spent the money to have professionals come in to do it for us..." More tears began to roll down my cheeks, my throat burning with the confession. "He started to...not feel so good. You know? But, when money is limited...you can't just get a sniffle or a dizzy spell and go spend money to see a doctor. For us...seeing a doctor was for emergencies only. If you're not throwing up, bleeding profusely, or turning blue in the face...we can't afford a random check up. We can't spend money to just...be 'sure' everything is ok." God, Derrick...STOP crying! I felt so weak at that moment! "My dad got more and more fatigued after I came back from the Washington DC trip. I'm glad I went, but my mom and I knew that he wasn't the same person that we knew before I left. My mom tried to get him to go to the doctor, but he had to work. And he couldn't take the time off from making money for the household to spend money for a doctor to possibly tell him to take a few aspirin and he'll be fine in a week or two. So...he waited. My dad waited..." I said.
"Oh God..." Tanner replied.
"He bought me new clothes for my birthday that year. And a set of rollerblades that I never actually learned how to use properly. Heh...thinking back on it...it was all so pointless. So...fucking pointless." I started to sob, but held it in. "But my dad was convinced that I deserved the best of everything. He wanted a better life for me and my mom, and he was determined to make that happen. He loved us enough to feel that we deserved it, personal sacrifices be damned." I thought back to the day that I got the news, and it was like a spear through the center of my heart. "To this day...I can't help but to wonder if it wasn't for me and my frivolous needs...if I hadn't asked him to spend good money on some of the things that other kids get handed to them on a silver platter without any planning or sacrifice at all...he might have been able to get himself checked out. The doctors might have caught 'it' in time. And he'd still be here to see me do something meaningful with my life. He might..." I cried..."He might have seen me make something out of myself. And I think he would have been proud. Yeah...I'd like to think he would have been proud." I wiped my eyes, and added, "I guess I'll never know, now, will I? It's just something that I'll have to live with."
"I'm so sorry, Derrick. Your dad has a lot to be proud of. I mean that."
My once controlled tears now becoming a heaving mess of overwhelming emotional baggage that I felt bad for spilling out at Tanner's feet when he didn't deserve the burden of having to deal with it. So I sat up and began to reach around to get my clothes up from his bedroom floor. "I should go. My mom needs t know what's going on with the audition so she can get herself in the right frame of mind. So..." I was getting dressed quickly, keeping my sadness at bay while doing so. Shit...I KNEW I shouldn't have brought this poisonous injection of regret to the surface! I should have left it buried where it belonged. Now I look stupid in front of my boyfriend!
But Tanner was quick to pop up and hug me lovingly around the neck. Not a 'quick and friendly' hug, but one that he held tight until I nearly collapsed and began to cry on his shoulder. "It's ok, Derrick. I swear...it's ok. None of that was your fault. Things are going to be different from now on. I promise." He said, crying as well, kissing me repeatedly on the cheek as if it could somehow suppress the bubbling torment in my gut and keep it from making things worse.
I can't do this right now. I just...I need to go. I have to get out of here. This is so embarrassing.
I pulled away from Tanner and put my shoes on. "Thanks, sweetie. I'll give you a call later ok? I just...I've gotta talk to my mom. I should probably prepare myself for that. Heh..."
His eyes red, I knew that he wasn't buying into my fake sense of indifference. But he let me off the hook. "I'll be waiting. So don't forget, ok?"
"I won't." I said. "I can't. Hehehe!" We kissed briefly, and just before leaving, I said, "If my mom gets this job...it's going to change everything for the better. She JUST needs the opportunity to prove herself. And if it works out...maybe I'll have a big pool party of my own someday."
Tanner wiped his eyes and asked, "Will I be one of the cute boys that are invited?"
With a genuine laugh, I told him, "I'm pretty sure that you're the ONLY cute boy invited! In fact, you're the only boy invited, period."
To which he replied, "I'll clear my calendar."
"Swimsuit optional, of course."
"Optional? I'd say it's discouraged!" He said.
"Agreed. Sounds like we've got a plan in order then."
"Yeah." He sighed. And then kissed me again. "Let me know what happens with your mom, k?"
"I will. You have my word."
Then I had to part from his radiant presence in my life. But it was necessary. I needed time to get my moms head in the game. It's what she would do for me. What she HAS done for me. Time and time again. But that was the deal we made with one another when my dad died. She looks out for me, and I look out for her. It's time I lived up to my part of the deal.
Wish me luck. I might need it.
Adults can be SO stubborn when they want to be!