There was just something special about that night. Something special about laying in the park with my boyfriend. It’s funny, two months ago I would’ve fainted if you told me I was going to be dating a boy and smoking weed, but now it just feels, natural. No matter how fast my heart was racing, tonight, it’s exactly what I was looking for. It was an adventure, it was spontaneous, it was being, alive.
“You ready for our next stop?” Dizzy teased as we both forced ourselves to stand up.
“Dizzy.” I groaned, barely even having the energy to walk home.
“Don’t worry, it’s your bed.” He softly laughed as he grabbed my hand and showed me the way.
The walk home felt like a blur. It was like my body was moving on its own, desperate to find my bed. And when I finally did find it, I couldn’t help but pull Dizzy down with me.
“Artie, I love the enthusiasm.” He tried to support. “But I really should get down to the couch before I pass out.”
“What’s it matter?” I asked, wishing he would just lay back.
“Adam’s going to be pissed if he comes home and finds us in bed together.” Dizzy pointed out, caring about rules seemingly for the first time.
“He won’t even notice.” I lied as I tried my hardest to convince Dizzy to stay. “He’s going to come home drunk and go right to his own room.”
“You know that’s bullshit.” He giggled, but before either of us could say anything else we heard the front door open.
“Too late now.” I shrugged, grabbing onto Dizzy once more. “Just pretend to be asleep and he’ll leave us alone.”
“I like this side of you.” Dizzy smiled, before planting a kiss on my cheek and cuddling up to me.
After a few minutes we heard a combination of voices and footsteps coming up the stairs. “I should probably get Dizzy out of Artie’s room.” Adam exhaled. From the sound of it, they were standing right outside my door.
“You don’t have to do that.” Mason began, trying to get Adam to relax. “Let them sleep.”
“They’re only sixteen.” Adam explained, starting to use the parent voice he was slowly mastering.
“Think about what you were doing at sixteen.” Mason argued. I’m not sure why, but whenever he gets the chance, he takes our side. “I know I don’t know him, but Artie seems like a really mature kid. Maybe you can give him a little more trust tonight.”
“I don’t know Mason.” Adam said, but I could tell he was on the fence.
“We left them alone all night, if they were going to do something, it’s already done.” Mason pointed out. “So what good is waking one of them up?” He asked but got no response. “It’s just going to embarrass them. Besides,” Mason hesitated. “you’re having a guy over too.”
“I guess I am.” Adam agreed as his attention began to drift. “I’m waking them up when we get up.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Mason dismissed and just like that I heard Adam’s door open and shut.
I let out a small laugh and looked at Dizzy, but he was already knocked out. I landed one more kiss on his cheek before pulling him in close and drifting off to sleep. Unlike the last couple of nights, tonight’s sleep felt like heaven. It was as though I never wanted to wake up.
“Boys,” I heard a strong voice begin. “boys it’s time to get up.” The voice continued as I slowly opened my eyes to find Adam standing next to the bed.
“What time is it?” I groaned as I tried my hardest to wake up.
“A little after ten.” Adam replied, but as I fully opened my eyes I could tell he had just rolled out of bed too.
“That’s it?” Dizzy forced out, as he looked over to Adam. “That’s so early!”
“It’s not early.” Adam corrected. “And I already let you two share a bed last night, so let’s not push it.”
“You mean we shared a bed, and the world didn’t end?” I taunted, as I slowly sat up. “Crazy.”
“Watch the attitude.” Adam warned as he let out a yawn. “This was a one-time thing.”
“Sure, it is.” Dizzy played along with a nod. He went to say something else but as he heard the bathroom door open quickly looked towards the hall. “Hey Mason!” He shouted, making sure to point out the obvious. “Was that a one-time thing too?” Dizzy asked as I began to laugh.
“Go home Dizzy.” Adam dismissed as Mason slowly walked towards the room.
“Good morning boys,” Mason began in an unsure voice. “I wasn’t feeling too good last night, so Adam let me crash here.”
“Uh Huh.” Dizzy nodded, trying his hardest to hold off a smile.
I forced eye contact with Adam as a silent conversation began to take place, but suddenly felt Dizzy discreetly tug on my arm. I went to look at whatever he was staring at, but Mason took a step inside to help hide whatever the item was.
“You know Adam,” I quickly began. “you always say you can cook breakfast, and it is early.”
“There’s a nicer way to ask that Arthur.” He teased as he scanned me one more time before heading towards the door. “You two aren’t laying in bed all day, breakfast downstairs in five minutes.”
“Thank you Adam.” I forced a smile and watched as he slowly walked out of the door.
“I’ll be down in a second.” Mason dismissed. “I just have to ask Artie a baseball question.”
“No more planning surprises.” Adam groaned as he headed further down the hall. “This house has had enough for a while.”
“No promises.” Mason teased, doing his best not to draw suspicion.
“So we’re busted, aren’t we?” Dizzy grumbled as Adam fell out of hearing range.
“Busted?” I asked, giving Dizzy a concerned look. “Busted for what?”
“This.” Mason replied, grabbing something off the dresser before holding it up. I narrowed in my gaze to find whatever was left of the joint in his hand.
“Dizzy!” I yelped, thinking he had thrown it out.
“What?” Dizzy shrugged as he tried his hardest to stay calm. “There was still some left, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was planning on flushing it, but then you pulled me into bed.”
“So you just left it on my dresser?” I groaned, but instead of answering Dizzy looked over to Mason.
“You going to tell Adam?” He asked with a serious look.
“I probably should.” Mason slowly nodded his head. “Especially since it was probably one of his.”
“It was my Mom’s.” Dizzy quickly corrected. “I had to grab an extra bag from my house and swiped that on the way out. I swear.”
“It’s true.” I supported in a serious voice. “It was like a one-time thing, we just wanted to try it, ya know?”
“So this was your first time smoking?” Mason skeptically asked as we both nodded. “And what did you two think?”
“It was pretty awesome.” Dizzy answered with a smirk.
“Dizzy!” I cried out as I gave him a shove.
“What am I going to do? Lie?” Dizzy shrugged as his smirk grew. “You liked it too ya know.”
Mason let out a short laugh as he watched us both closely. “I won’t tell Adam.” He decided as he placed it back down on the dresser. “But next time I’m taking it right to him, and I’m not kidding.”
“Why?” I cautiously asked, refusing to drop my guard.
“You guys are just kids having some fun.” He shrugged his shoulders. “These days are special, there’s no reason to rain on them if I don’t have to.”
“Is that why you convinced Adam to let us sleep in the same bed?” I prodded as our eyes connected.
“You heard that?” Mason lightly began to blush.
“Yup,” I nodded my head. “every word.”
“Why are you helping us out so much?” Dizzy pressured, trying to take advantage of the moment. “There’s no way it’s just because we’re teenagers.”
Mason swayed his head as he thought over his answer. “I didn’t get to have a boyfriend at your age,” He finally began to confess. “and I never realized how much I missed out on until I met you two.” He let out a deep sigh as he nodded his head. “So I don’t, I guess, I just want things to work out for you both.”
“Even if that means breaking rules for us?” Dizzy tempted with raised eyebrows.
“I’m not breaking rules, just bending them.” Mason quickly corrected. “And whatever this weird thing on your dresser is, I never saw it, and I have no idea what it is.” He warned as he quickly headed towards the door.
“Thank you Mason!” I called out with a smile. He gave me a dismissive waive but didn’t bother to turn around.
“Next time we do something stupid, I’m in charge.” I announced, turning back to Dizzy.
“I’d love to see that.” Dizzy teased with a growing smile. “Hell, I’d love to see you even try and plan something stupid!”
“I could totally plan that.” I rolled my eyes, finally starting to get out of bed. “Besides, you got us caught. You can’t judge me.”
“Almost caught.” Dizzy attempted to correct.
“He was holding it in his hand.” I turned back to him. “We got caught.”
“We got caught.” He mimicked in a high-pitched voice. As we started to get changed I noticed the look on his face slowly change. “Do you think Adam feels the same way as Mason?”
“About us smoking?” I asked, unsure how Dizzy had meant it.
“No, about not having a boyfriend as a teenager.” He answered with a serious look overtaking his face.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged my shoulders. “How do we even know he didn’t have a boyfriend as a teenager? Adam was apparently a really bad kid.”
“I’d love to see that.” He began to smirk before quickly catching himself. “But seriously, what if that was us? What if I was falling for you but I could never say anything?” I let out a sigh but refused to answer the question. “Too close to home?” Dizzy continued, trying his hardest to read into my silence.
“I guess so.” I slowly nodded my head. “Would that have been me if I stayed in Texas?”
“I don’t know.” Dizzy answered as he took a few steps closer. “I’m glad we’ll never have to find out.”
“Me too.” I forced a smile as he pulled me into a close embrace.
“Boys!” Adams voice began to sound out from downstairs.
“Let’s go eat.” Dizzy forced a smile as he pulled away and grabbed my hand. I gave him a slight nod as he led us through the house and down to the kitchen table. Adam hadn’t made anything too crazy, just a big stack of pancakes and a tray of bacon.
“No donuts?” Dizzy instantly began to tease.
“Do you think I can just make donuts appear?” Adam replied as their eyes connected. “Do you even know how donuts are made?”
“You get very defensive over donuts, you know that?” Dizzy teased, as he kept the wide smile on his face.
“That was kind of defensive.” Mason agreed in a laugh.
“You get that way when you’ve been making donuts year after year,” Adam explained shifting his gaze over to me. “and it’s all yours to inherit.”
“Oh boy,” I paused, having never even considered that. “we’ll see what the future brings.”
“Is that a no?” Adam asked, caught off guard by my response.
“He didn’t even consider it!” Dizzy burst into laughter as he saw the surprise on Adam’s face.
“Making donuts isn’t for everyone Adam.” Mason teased with a smile.
“It’s a great job!” Adam began to defend. “We’ve got a strong customer base, we’ve kept the business side really well organized and you’d get to be the boss.”
“If it’s so great, why have you been taking so much time off?” Dizzy instigated before I could say anything.
“That’s a good question.” I supported as I noticed it begin to rub Adam the wrong way.
“Maybe I just have reasons to take some time off now.” He shrugged, giving as honest an answer you’ll ever get from Adam. “Besides, Lindsay has been taking off one or two days a week since we started!” He began to grow excited. “I’ve always picked up her slack, now we just balance it out.”
“You can’t blame her if you don’t know how to take breaks.” Mason replied, drawing Adam’s glare.
“Shh.” Adam hushed as their eye’s met. “Just let me be mad for a few minutes.”
“Alright,” Mason backed off with a laugh. “but I still think you and Lindsay could use an assistant.”
“I know the perfect person.” I immediately jumped into their conversation.
“That’s very nice of you,” Adam replied, trying to think of the nicest way to say no. “but you should really focus on high school and baseball. I mean you were going to come help with the shop, but you’re just too busy. Maybe over the summer.”
“That’s not what I was trying to say.” I shook my head. “I was thinking of a more mature responsible adult. One who said she was looking for a job,”
“Artie stop.” Dizzy cut off before I could say anything else.
“But you know,”
“Stop.” Dizzy insisted. As I looked back to him I saw he had grown more serious than I’d ever seen.
“Sorry.” I offered, immediately growing quiet.
“It would be a good job.” Adam looked over to Dizzy, but Dizzy simply looked down to his food. “It’s early hours but you get done by like one. Pay would be pretty good and we even have health insurance. Granted, it’s not great insurance but it’s still insurance.”
“She’s a big girl.” Dizzy forced out, still not looking up from his plate. “She doesn’t need favors from my friends.”
I noticed Mason look over to Adam as he slowly began to connect the pieces. “Kind of sucks for her then.” Adam began to instigate. “Having to work out life all on her own like that. I don’t know anyone who’s had to do that.”
“God knows I wouldn’t be able to.” Mason supported. “I could only make the move here because I had some friends willing to help me.”
“And I had Lindsay, or who knows where I would be.” Adam agreed, happy to have someone backing up his words. “Because that’s what friends do. There’s no shame in needing them every now and then.”
“I needed you guys to show me around before I was really happy here.” I reminded Dizzy as I lightly grabbed onto his hand under the table.
“Fine,” Dizzy submitted, still not looking up. “but that’s a conversation you’ll have to have with her.”
“I’ll call her after breakfast.” Adam shrugged his shoulders, causing me to squeeze Dizzy’s hand even tighter.
“Maybe you could ask her to stop by.” Dizzy forced out. “Just so you can talk about it in person.”
“I can do that.” Adam quickly nodded, locking eyes with me as I attempted to convey whatever I could without words.
Mason watched the exchange but stayed quiet, not wanting to overstep in any way. Besides, he’s already helped much more than he could imagine. The confidence in his voice when he talks, I know it gets through to Dizzy. More importantly, I know Adam gets through to Dizzy too. I know no matter what, Dizzy will take his advice.
As breakfast began to wind down, we all helped clean up before Mason reluctantly left. It was funny watching him linger around the house as neither him nor Adam were ready to say goodbye. There were a few times me and Dizzy had to hold back laughter as they tried their hardest to stall the inevitable. Finally, Mason left and things went back to their normal pace as we waited for Ms. Armstrong to stop by. I could tell Dizzy was nervous, but Adam did his best to distract him with tv and video games.
As a short knock began on the door I notice Dizzy instantly sit up straight. “You sure you’re ready for this?” I asked as he tried his hardest to act calm.
“I’m fine.” He lied as Adam looked over to him.
“It’s okay not to be.” Adam explained as he rose to his feet. “It’s also okay if you don’t want to see her right now.”
“No,” Dizzy shook his head. “it’s been long enough. Besides, I think it’s almost time to go back home.”
“I don’t know about that.” I teased as Adam walked over to the door.
“Good afternoon Ms. Armstrong.” Adam forced a smile as he pulled open the door.
“Hey, and please call me Colleen.” Ms. Armstrong replied, cautiously taking a step inside. “Hi Z.” She offered as she looked at her son for the first time in close to two weeks.
“Hi.” He let out with a blank expression.
“How have you been?” She asked, trying her hardest to hide her worry. “You been eating enough and going to school?”
“Adam’s been making sure of it.” He nodded, before falling quiet once again.
“Thank you so much for that,” She began, turning back towards Adam.
“Don’t even mention it.” He cut off, offering her a seat on the couch. “Why don’t we talk about the job?” He asked, trying his hardest to give Dizzy time.
“Alright.” She cautiously nodded, taking a seat only a space over from her son.
“We’ve got a few spots open actually,” Adam began, getting right down to business. “Me and the other co-owner need an assistant, and we’re also looking for another manager and someone to work the counter.”
“Well I, I’ve got experience managing for department stores.” Colleen began. “But I could also be an assistant or even work the counter if you need that.”
“Your resume.” Dizzy whispered to her, noticing the paper sticking out of her purse.
“Yeah, I have my resume right here.” She announced, taking out the paper and quickly handing it to Adam. I watched her closely as I tried my hardest to figure out if she was nervous from seeing Dizzy, or the possibility of getting a job.
Adam nodded his head as he began to look it over. “Well where in those three jobs do you think your best fit is?”
“I think I make a pretty good manager.” She replied, glancing to Dizzy then back to Adam. “But I don’t know how your store runs from the inside, so I’m not certain I could jump right into that role.”
“I understand that.” Adam supported, happy with her honesty. “We could always get you started at the counter, and find your fit from there.” He swayed his head. “The assistant job would have the best pay if that means anything to you.” He explained. “You’d be a step above the managers and would have to do the scheduling, stock orders, set up any meetings, general work like that along with helping out behind the counter when we need it.”
“Everyone helps behind the counter I take it?” She asked with a smile.
“Oh yeah.” Adam quickly answered. “There are days we need all the help we can get.”
“I actually think I’m most interested in the assistant position.” She decided as she began to put more thought into it.
“Okay.” Adam said as he began to tap his fingers against the side of his seat. “Can you start tomorrow?” He asked as she immediately nodded her head. “Why don’t you come in tomorrow, and we’ll start training you and talk about it more then?”
“Well that’d be great.” She accepted with a smile. “What do you think?” She asked, looking over to Dizzy.
“It’s good.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m glad you have a job.”
“And now what are you really thinking?” She provoked, knowing he was holding back words.
“That you better take this one seriously.” He cut right to the chase. “That you better not be late because you have to take care of a hungover Trevor, or any other stupid stuff he causes that gets in your way.”
“I will.” She agreed as she locked eyes with him. “Plus, Trevor moved out last week.”
“Oh!” Dizzy exhaled, caught off guard by her words. “Why did he do that?”
“I decided there wasn’t enough room for him.” She explained, as Dizzy tried his hardest to stay on top of his emotions.
“And we can afford to do that?” He asked with a gulp.
“Well I did just get a job.” She said with a smile.
“I guess so.” Dizzy forced a nod before quickly scooting over and wrapping himself around his Mom.
“I let you down Z,” She began as she pulled him in close. “I promised myself I would never do that, but I, I did.”
“You did what we had to.” Dizzy corrected, refusing to let go.
“No,” She tried to reject. “it went past that. I was scared and I let Trevor take more than I should’ve.”
“We were in a bad place.” Dizzy shook his head.
“But still, it costed you Dizzy,” She pointed out. “and you should come before anything else in my life.”
“I’m a big boy.” He began as he pulled away and sat back. “I can handle it.”
“That doesn’t mean you should have to.” She exhaled as she grabbed his hand. “You two must think we’re insane.”
“Not at all.” Adam comforted in a confident voice. “Our family has it’s drama too.”
“Plus, we’re kind of used to Dizzy by now.” I teased, relieved that everything between them had been sorted out so quickly. It was clear Dizzy wasn’t mad at her, just frustrated by life. Frustrated at the circumstances they were in, and what they had led to.
“You think you’re used to me now,” He began as he glanced over to me. “but you’re not.”
“This is the best person you’ve dated yet,” Colleen warned him. “stop trying to scare him off.”
“He doesn’t scare easy.” Dizzy replied with a proud grin.
“Yes he does.” Adam corrected. “He gets creeped out by Harry Potter.”
“Adam!” I yelped, unsure how I had landed in his sights. “It, it’s just a little freaky. They’ve got monsters and all.”
“Like the fakest looking monsters ever!” Dizzy shouted in laughter. “Are you scared of shadows too?”
“I know you’re not laughing.” Colleen warned. “You slept with a night light until you were ten.”
“Ohh!” I let out as Dizzy began to blush. “You were scared of the dark?”
“I had a very active imagination.” He shrugged as he tried to hide his embarrassment. “It happens with people of higher intelligence.”
“Because you’re a regular rocket scientist Z.” Colleen continued to tease.
“I’ll remember that next time you need help with your phone.” He warned as she took it out of her pocket.
“Speaking of phones, I think they’ll both get a kick out of this.” She began as she showed Adam her lock screen before turning it to me.
“He was so cute, what happened?” Adam taunted as I looked at an old picture of Dizzy with his mom. He must’ve been around eight with a wide smile which showed off a pair of slight buck teeth with a gap between.
“That was you?” I couldn’t help but giggle as I looked back to the teen next to me.
“I’ve seen pictures of you as a kid in overalls farmer boy.” He teased as our eyes connected.
“It was cute.” I continued to laugh, surprised by how different he looks now. “When did you start doing this?” I asked, tracing the lightening like line that was shaved into the side of his head.
“Year or two after that picture.” He answered in a sigh.
“He saw some boy on the bus with lines and had to add his little twist on it.” Colleen said.
“You always said you liked it.” Dizzy warned, looking back towards her.
“I do like it.” She nodded her head. “And then you got your flight jacket, and it was all systems go.”
“So he hasn’t always been like this?” Adam prodded, as we finally got to learn about Dizzy’s childhood.
“No, he was.” She explained in a laugh. “He just didn’t have the style to back it up. Z’s been bouncing off the walls since he could walk.”
“And I’ll never stop.” He warned as he looked back at me.
“Don’t worry,” I let out a sigh. “I know.”
“And you can handle it?” Colleen checked with a cautious look.
“He needs it.” Adam answered for me. “This kid would sit home with a book all night if we let him.”
“Because that would be such a bad thing?” I asked, looking over to him.
“When there’s a whole city outside to explore, yes it would be.” Dizzy replied, drawing a smile from his mom.
“Maybe if we’re lucky they’ll balance one another out.” Colleen said to Adam.
“I’m not going to hold my breath.” Adam shook his head. “But to be fair, it has been nice having Dizzy stay with us.”
“You like me.” Dizzy happily nodded his head.
“He’s a good kid.” Adam said, refusing to look over at him. “He’s welcome to stay here as long as he wants.”
“Well I was hoping he would come home for a few nights soon.” Colleen responded looking back at her son.
“You getting lonely?” He smiled as their eyes met. “I’ll come home.” He decided as his smile grew.
“Good.” She said clearly relieved by his response. “And I expect both these boys to stop by this week so I can cook them a proper thank you.”
“That’s not necessary,” Adam began.
“Really,” She interrupted. “I want to. I need to thank you somehow.”
“Alright.” Adam reluctantly agreed. “But there really is no thanks needed. He makes Artie happy. That’s enough for me.”
“We need more men like you Adam Price.” Colleen praised causing Adam to blush as she got to her feet. “Ready to go?” She asked looking back to Dizzy.
“I guess.” Dizzy groaned, slowly rising to his feet.
“You’ve been staying here for what? Two weeks.” She laughed. “I don’t think leaving now will kill you.”
“I know.” He shook his head as he started to get his stuff together. “but we’ve got to think about Artie. This might kill him.”
“I think I’ll find a way to survive.” I dismissed, watching closely as he threw on his jacket and grabbed his two bags.
“You sure about that?” He teased, leaning forward and landing a short kiss on my lips.
“Not quite.” I played along as I watched him walk over to Adam.
“You want a kiss too?” Dizzy taunted, but as Adam offered to shake his hand pulled him in for a hug. “Thank you Adam.” He exhaled, before letting him go and giving him a nod. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Of course, you will.” Adam shook his head.
“Thank you both.” Colleen nodded before heading towards the door.
“What do you say we go home and have a couple of beers?” Dizzy began as he joined his mom at the door.
“Z!” She yelped as she gave him a light swat to the head.
“Wasn’t a no!” He shouted with a laugh as the door shut behind them.
I couldn’t help but look over at Adam and smile as silence filled the air. It’ll be nice to have the place to ourselves again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally going to miss Dizzy, but having him here 24/7, that may not have been perfect either. We need to find some kind of balance. Like maybe two or three times a week! Adam will be cool with that! And even if he’s not, well he can never say no to Dizzy!