"Billy Chase #241"

- I didn't sleep all that well last night. I kept waiting for it to be morning, and it just didn't seem to be coming fast enough. So I kept waking up for no reason, tossing and turning in the dark for a few minutes, and then going back to a shallow, not to mention 'pointless', level of sleep. I guess I had a lot on my mind.

I was checking all day to see if Brandon had sent me another email. If maybe this could be like...an actual discussion, you know? But...nope. Nothing. Maybe that was it. Maybe that was one little flare of hope that burned out as quickly as your average match.

Who knows? But it's been driving me crazy all day long and I just don't wanna think about it anymore. Thoughts and questions about it practically manipulated half my day today.

I kinda saw Sam earlier. I was helping my mom get some groceries out of the car, and I just happened to catch a glimpse of him as him and his mom were leaving to go out somewhere in the car. It was from a block's distance, sure...but just seeing him out of the house seemed to create this really weird mixture of feelings inside of me. Partially happy...like 'Go Sam', you know? For at least getting out of bed and not being so heartsick. But also kinda sad...because he was right there, and yet so far away. From me, anyway. I couldn't even call out to him to say hello. He wouldn't want to talk to me anyway. I know Jimmy said that he wasn't really mad at me, but...Sam is just as locked into our friendly routine as I am. And if he wasn't mad, he would have come over or called me up or something by now. He didn't even look in my direction. It's only been a few days and I already miss him. Some homecoming week this was.

I'm actually pretty damn thankful for Trace's invitation today. If it wasn't for our little play date, I'm sure my thoughts would have driven me plum crazy by the time lunch rolled around.

I rang his doorbell around 1:30, and he came to the door in these really cute, shiny blue, soccer shorts, and an old faded t-shirt with a really wide collar on it. It fitted him like it was almost too big, but not quite. That awesome smile nearly blinded me through the screen door, and he gave me half a hug when I walked in. He smelled like fabric softener. I liked it. It was sexy on him.

His little brother ran into the room and said, "Hi, Billy!"

I'm like, "Hey, Mikey!" But I only got a giggle from him before he took his foot tall action figure, spread his arms out, and 'flew' back into the other room. I was like, "He seems to be having fun."

Trace whispered, "Whatever you do...DON'T start playing superhero with him and that crazy doll thingy. I made the mistake of doing that yesterday, and the little shit held me hostage for four HOURS! There's only so much playing I can do. I was starting to hope that he'd run into something and knock himself unconscious just so I could get a break." I laughed at him, and it inspired Trace's smile to brighten up right in front of my eyes. CUTE! I think it made me blush.

We walked further into his living room, and I saw a man at the dinner table, typing away on a laptop, with a stack of paperwork sitting beside him. It had to be Trace's dad. He looked a bit older than I would have expected, with salt and pepper black and grey hair, and a rugged cowboy kind of build. He was dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt with a bathrobe on over it. Trace spoke to him, "Hey Dad? Me and Billy are going down into the basement. K?"

The man said, "Keep Mikey with you." And that was it.

I did the polite teenager thing, and said, "Hello. I'm Billy."

Still, he didn't look up from the laptop. He just mumbled. "Uh huh..." And kept typing. Okaaaay...so much for greetings then. I followed Trace down the stairs to his basement getaway, and I was like, "I guess your dad is the silent type?"

Trace giggled, like, "Hey, at least he said 'uh huh' to you. That's more than I get most of the time."

I sat down and Trace gave me something to drink. It didn't take long for us to just fall into a conversation. He was easily approachable in this really cool way. I liked that. Reminds me of Brandon.

After a while, Trace asked me, "So, are you happy being back home and all?"

I said, "Oh GOD, yes! I mean...I don't miss staying with my dad at all. I love him and stuff, but...arrghh...he can be sooo frustrating sometimes. Is that weird?"

Trace was like. "No. Not really. Makes you a bit of a mama's boy, but it's not weird." I gave him a playful shove, but the smile he gave me was so adorable that I was forced to turn away from him. He was...umm....'exciting' me. Trace said, "Seriously though, as flaky as my dad can be at times, I'd much rather be here than with my mom. She can be kinda psycho when she's in one of her moods. High strung neurotic type. Birthdays and Christmas is about all I can handle in terms of keeping her company around me."

I'm like, "Ouch. I'm sorry to hear that dude." But Trace just shrugged his shoulders and told me not to worry about it. It was like...it didn't bug him at all. Then again, nothing ever does. I was like, "All I know is that it's majorly weird having my family in two different places. Everything has been so unbalanced since he's been gone. I just wish they'd stop being weird and just get back together already so I can stop worrying about it."

Trace was like, "Why? If they hate each other, they hate each other. You can't just push 'em in a closet and force them to make up, you know?"

And I said, "Well they weren't...I mean...it's not like they HATE each other. I wouldn't say it was that serious. I mean...they didn't even fight that much. Not really."

Trace kinda looked at me sideways for a second, then he smiled wickedly. And he's like, "Ahhhh....so which one was it? Your mom or your dad?"

I asked him, "What do you mean?"

He's like, "Well...if your parents are at each other's throats constantly, and their fighting sounds like they're on the verge of literally punching one other in the face...then THAT'S a serious reason for divorce. They're just not compatible, and they probably won't ever get along well enough to stay married. BUT...."

I'm like, "But what?"

He says, "Well...a lot of the kids I know call it the 'silent death'. It means...your parents get all familiar and bored with each other. They stop talking about what bothers them, they get frustrated, and at the first sign of trouble they go running off thinking they're gonna find something more 'appealing'. And that, my friend, means cheating. I've seen it a bunch of times before. Somebody looking for something perfect that isn't out there. SO...if your parents weren't having serious problems that were borderline violent...and they don't hate each other now...THAT means, somebody found themselves a shallow little 'substitute'. Hehehe!" Then Trace leaned forward a bit and asked, "So Billy...who was it? Your mom....or your dad?"

How the HELL would he know something like that??? I said, "Ummm...my dad, I guess. He's got this...'woman' living with him right now."

Trace nodded. "Yeah. That's what I thought. It happens all the time, dude. Everybody's looking for perfection. Nobody knows how to appreciate what they really have in someone else who's willing to love them these days, you know?" I kinda nodded, but I think I lost focus as I was looking into his pretty eyes at the time. Trace has a way of connecting to you like nobody else ever could. And at the spur of the moment too. He could be so...amazing sometimes. He was like, "You wanna know something about my parents, dude? They split up over two years ago, and their lives are both empty shells of what they used to be."

I said, "Really?"

Trace was like, "Dude...my DAD? He literally smothers himself with work all day long, and when he runs out of company stuff to preoccupy his brain, he goes to the cabinet and drowns himself in alcohol, night after night, while he tries to forget how much he loves my mom. He tries to pretend that he doesn't feel anything 24 hours a day, and it's killing him inside to be apart from her. Then my mom? She tried to move as far away as she could to keep from missing us, and then she spends a decent percentage of her bi-weekly paycheck going to a shrink, so she can lie to a female stranger with a pen and pad about how much she doesn't miss the family life. It's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. They're BOTH miserable as hell without each other, and yet they're too stubborn to fix it. So as far as I'm concerned, it's best that I just stay out of it. I'll let them screw up their own lives, just so long as they don't screw up mine or Mikey's. We enjoy being happy. Other people...who knows? Maybe they get off on being angry and alone."

I was curious, and asked him, "But...wouldn't you rather have them both back in the same house with you again?"

He said, "Nah. It's been so long, I've learned to live without either one of them. I kinda like not having responsible parents at this point. Hehehe!" He didn't see me laughing along with him this time, so he added, "C'mon, Billy...really, it doesn't bother me at all. It's been two years, and my dad won't even sleep on the other side of the bed yet. If my mom really wanted to come back, she could. Anytime she felt like it. But I'm not holding my breath anymore. Those days are kinda over. Trust me...you'll see in time."

I said, "I don't know, Trace. I was kinda...hoping..."

But he stopped me and said, "Yeah, right. That's the champion song of every broken home in America. But after a while...you just gotta get past it. You can only ache over it for so long, you know?" I think I lowered my head or started visibly sulking or something, because Trace put a hand on my shoulder. He said, "Then again...who knows? Maybe your parents are the exception to the rule, huh? You never know. There's always a few lucky roles of the dice, right?"

I don't know why, but it made me smile. Maybe just to put Trace's mind at ease long enough to not pursue it any further. I told him, "Maybe, maybe not. As long as I don't turn out like YOU, I guess I'll be ok."

He caught me teasing and said, "Hey! What's so wrong with me? Do I seem unnecessarily 'wild' to you?"

I'm like, "Maybe. Just a little bit."

He said, "Well, it's part of my charm, so get used to it. I'm not crazy just...'parent-less'. Kinda like Peter Pan, but not all faggy and shit."

We both shared a chuckle over it, but...I don't know. That one word...'faggy'...I didn't know if he was just joking around or what? With all the signals I had gotten from him before...that one word seemed to turn my gaydar off completely. All of a sudden, a flood of doubts and fears came rolling in. And I was worried that I had made a mistake until I saw him staring and smiling at me again.

I smiled and said, "Why do you do that?"

He's like, "Do what?"

I'm like, "Stare...and like, not say anything. Hehehe!"

And Trace was quiet for a second as he stared into my eyes. He said, "Maybe I do it because it makes you uncomfortable."

I asked, "Why would you wanna make me uncomfortable, ya weirdo?"

And he said, "I dunno...maybe because you make me uncomfortable. It kinda evens the score." The way he said it, the softness of his voice and all....wow. I swear...I nearly threw myself at him right then and there. GOD, I wish I had kissed him at that very moment! I could SWEAR that that was like...my 'chance', you know?

There was a pause between us...

And then Mikey jumped out from around a corner with his action figure, like, "RAAARRRRR!!!" And he ran towards the couch and fell flat on his face. I don't even think he tripped over anything but his own two feet, but he obviously hurt himself. There weren't any real tears, but the whimpers and whines were in full bloom.

Trace's attention went to his little brother immediately. And he was like, "See, Mikey? What did I say about running in the house like that? Huh? Now you hurt yourself. Come here. You're a crazy person." Mikey sadly limped his way over to the couch with us, and without any hesitation at all, he climbed into his big brother's lap and snuggled himself up under his chin. Trace grinned at me and said, "You see what I mean? Total spaz."

Anyway, Mikey kinda sniffled a bit and just stayed there for the rest of the time that I was there. I felt like I had gotten robbed of my...'moment' or whatever. I couldn't kiss Trace with Mikey sitting there. I couldn't even bring it up. I was kicking myself because I should have made that my number one priority to begin with. Something about Trace makes me nervous. It's like...too good to be true, you know? That boy confuses me.

Shit, I have to go. My mom is bugging me to go to bed. I wonder if I'm gonna see Brandon at school tomorrow. What do I say to him? Should I say anything?

No...no, I'm not gonna start driving myself bonkers over that again. I said I was gonna put it out of my mind, and I am. So...yeah. I'm done.

I'll write more soon.

- Billy

The "Kiss Mystery" List


~Bobby Jinette~



~Jamie Cross~


~Jimmy LaPlane~




~Stevie (GRRRRR!!!)!