When I finally made it back to my bed, I found myself more awake than when I had gotten up. I’ve never heard Adam that defeated before. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone I love that defeated before. Would my Mom feel the same way? Is she watching over me, and disappointed in the decisions I’m making? And would she even recognize me? Do I even recognize myself anymore?”
Just like a few other nights this week, my thoughts kept me awake until my mind finally shut down. I woke up still tired, but knew I would have to pull it together before my game tonight. I just have to get through testing, then I should have an hour or two break between school and meeting with the team. That’s more than enough time for a good nap, as long as nothing else comes up!
“Good morning.” Dizzy forced a small smile as he turned to face me. Yet as my bedroom door creaked open, he immediately pretended to be asleep again.I watched him closely, before quickly piecing together what was going on.
“Morning boys.” Adam offered as I quickly sat up. He looked just as tired as me, and as our eyes connected, I could tell he was emotionally drained.
“Good morning.” I forced out, unsure how to respond. How do I talk to him like I didn’t overhear his conversation last night? How can I just act like I don’t know what’s going on in his head? But as I saw him glance over to Dizzy, I knew I had to come up with something. “No work today?” I finally managed.
“Lindsay let me take today off just in case something came up.” Adam explained as his gaze shifted back to me. “But it’s too early for all of that.” He offered a tired smile. “I just wanted to make sure you two were awake.”
“We are,” I nodded my head. “well I am,” I corrected, fixing how I was sitting to cover Dizzy even more. “I’ll wake him up though, don’t worry.”
“Make sure you do it soon.” Adam nodded his head. “You guys have to be out the door in an hour, and breakfasts waiting on the table.”
“Thank you Adam.” I forced a smile of my own. He reflected it back before walking out of my room and shutting the door behind him.
“You still don’t have any clothes on, do you?” I groaned as Dizzy reopened his eyes.
“Why don’t you look for yourself?” He teased but I just rolled my eyes and went to get out of bed. The second my foot hit the floor, I felt Dizzy grab my arm. “Let’s talk for a minute.” He suggested as his gaze grew serious.
“Alright.” I accepted as I pulled my leg back onto the bed and turned to face him.
“I’m not going to apologize for anything I said last night,” He said, getting right down to business. “but I should’ve said it better.” He exhaled as our eyes connected. “I don’t want to fight with you, and I, I definitely never want to yell in your face like I did last night.” He shook his head. “Because what happened last night, didn’t feel like us.”
“Hiding you from Adam feels like us.” I agreed as a faint but genuine smile grew on his face. “I’m not taking back anything I said last night either, but I’m sorry too.” I repeated back to him. “This whole situation, I don’t know anymore.” I confessed with a shake of my head. “But it’s happening. Ezra is here in San Francisco and I, I’m going to do this right.”
“And I’ll be by your side through it.” He supported. I could tell by the look on his face he had to force those words out. But even with the concern still in his eyes, I could tell the fighting was over.
“Worked last night,” He shrugged as I raised myself so he could pull my shorts down. “besides, make up sex is the best sex.” Excitement sparked in his eyes as I kicked my shorts off, giving him the green light.
As Dizzy began to stroke me, I pulled the covers away from him, leaving us both exposed. Yet for some reason, my drive just wasn’t there. I know I’m stressed, but I didn’t have any problems last night!
He let out a groan as he saw the look in my eyes and started to slow his roll. “You want me to stop?” He sighed as I nodded my head.
“I’m sorry,” I quickly offered as he let me go. “I just, I don’t know.”
“It’s alright.” He comforted as he raised his hands and pulled me in. “It was kind of selfish for me to try in the first place.” He forced another smile as he saw all the stress on my face. “Don’t worry about it.” He comforted as he leaned in and gave me a kiss.
“How am I going to play baseball tonight?” I exhaled as our eyes connected. “I can’t even perform right now.”
“Well I would hope your approach to baseball is very different,” He warned with a smirk. “or we’ll definitely have another fight.” I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh at his words, but even then I could feel the smile quickly leaving my face. “What’s the biggest thing on your mind?”
“Just this whole thing with Ezra.” I lied as I looked away from him.
“What part?” He asked but I kept my silence. “Keeping it bottled up won’t help anyone.” He pressured as he moved closer to me. The concern in his eyes grew stronger as he realized I was keeping something from him.
I want to tell him. I really do. But even as it is, Mason and Adam’s conversation isn’t any of my business. Besides, I know Dizzy really cares about me, but I’ve seen how loyal he is to Adam. He didn’t even know how broken Adam was, and he yelled at me for breaking the rules. It’s just better off I keep what I overheard last night to myself right now.
“Alright.” Dizzy groaned as he went to stand up.
“I just feel like I’m throwing the world onto Adam’s shoulders.” I finally confessed. I may not tell him about the conversation, but I should at least tell him what’s on my mind. Dizzy’s earned that much from me. “He just seems completely exhausted.”
“I know Adam’s goofy, but he’s a strong guy,” Dizzy forced another comforting smile. “like very strong.” He insisted. “With barely any money he moved all the way here for a better life.” Dizzy confidently nodded his head as he thought it over. “And I’d say he did pretty damn good for himself.”
“If there’s anyone I’m worried about,” Dizzy began again. “it’s Ezra, because it’s clear he’s underestimating Adam.” I nodded my head, but knew Dizzy could still see how worried I was. "Trust me, if anyone can handle this, it’s Adam.”
“Wait until you see him.” I shook my head. “He looks so, dead.”
“Last night was a long night and he got up early.” Dizzy tried to reason. “He’ll bend, but he won’t break, I know it.” He convinced as I finally nodded my head. As I saw a smirk replace the confident look on his face, I knew he was preparing to distract me from myself. “Good job locking the door last night.” He finally teased.
“It’s still not locked.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I bought into his games.
He shrugged his shoulders and looked towards the door. “We’re not doing anything anyway.”
“And yet you’ve had a boner the whole time.” I joked, as a blush filled his face.
“Look, I can’t help what my body does!” He yelped in a goofy voice, causing me to laugh once more. “Besides, it hasn’t been the whole time, just, when I see yours.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I rolled my eyes as I started to put my shorts back on. “just get a hold of yourself.”
“If that’s how you want me to handle it.” He griped himself as I rolled my eyes. Yet I made sure to egg him on as I bent over and reached under my bed. I know I’m not in the mood, but he clearly is.
“Don’t get too excited.” I warned as I pulled out a condom. “I’m just making sure you don’t make a mess.” I explained as I opened it up and slowly rolled it down his member.
“You’re the best.” He smiled as he watched my hand, yet as I started to stroke him, he stopped me. “I’m not trying to force you to do anything.” He nervously spoke. “Hell, I was just joking about jacking off.”
“Well too bad,” I shrugged my shoulders. “you had your chance to calm yourself, now we’re doing it my way.” I warned as I began to slowly stroke him once more. Maybe it’s weird to help him out while I’m not in the mood, but I want him to know yesterday hasn’t changed the way I feel about him.
Besides, I’ll be dragging him around all weekend, this is the least I could do. Once or twice he went to reach for me, but I shooed his hand away and kept my focus on him. As I began to play with the speed, I saw just how under control I had him. For once, he was submitting to me.
“No way,” His smile grew as I started to pull the condom off of him. “No way,” He repeated as my head lowered to his lap. What happened next, well I think that might bet better left unspoken! Let’s just say, I made Dizzy very happy!
“I thought you weren’t in the mood?” He exhaled with a wide smile. He went to reach for me one last time but I pushed his hands away.
“Guess I got carried away.” I shrugged my shoulders and stood up to get some clothes together.
“Carried away?” Dizzy repeated in a laugh. “That was well past carried away!”
“I guess.” I said as I flashed him one last smile before heading towards the door.
“What just happened!” He yelped as I slipped out of the room and into the bathroom.
I know there’s a lot going on right now, but I needed that break with Dizzy. I needed to feel like I was in control for a little bit, and I needed to make him smile for a little bit. Besides, from the look on his face, I knew I must’ve really surprised him!
“Hey Cutie” He teased as I stepped out of the bathroom. I rolled my eyes and pushed past him as I finally headed towards the stairs. “Is hottie better?” He teased, yet as he saw Mason and Adam look over at us, he grew quiet.
“Nice of you to join us.” Adam called out. He’s trying his hardest to seem as awake as possible, but it was clear just how exhausted he already is.
“Sorry, Dizzy wasn’t waking up.” I excused as Dizzy quickly nodded his head.
“It’s alright, breakfast should still be warm.” Adam said, watching us both closely. “But you only have thirty minutes, so no goofing around.” He warned, looking over to Dizzy.
Dizzy nodded his head, but hesitated as his eyes connected with Adam’s. For the first time today, Dizzy was seeing what I was talking about. “You cooked?” Dizzy asked before glancing over to me.
Yup,” Adam nodded his head. “and you boys have a big day, so I don’t expect to have anything left over.”
“I can do that.” Dizzy happily supported, but hesitated as he looked back to Adam. “Why don’t you two go lay down, me and Artie can clean up when we’re done.”
“Yeah.” I quickly supported. “It’ll be a long day for you two, too.”
“We have all morning to lay down.” Adam shrugged his shoulders. “For now, we just want to hang out.”
“Lucky.” Dizzy teased, but for some reason, stayed by my side.
“So Artie,” Mason began as he leaned back in his seat. “how you feeling about your game tonight?”
“Nervous,” I confessed without hesitation. “and tired, very tired.” I commented, hoping to make Adam smile.
“Then you need a twenty-minute nap before game time.” Mason lectured in a confident voice. “Twenty minutes, that’s all you need.”
“Why twenty minutes?” Adam pressured as he shot Mason a skeptical look.
“Long enough to feel rested, short enough not to make you feel slow.” Mason answered, his confidence staying strong.
“Where do you get this stuff?” Adam began to tease. “Everyday you have these weird tips with no evidence to support them.”
“I totally have evidence!” Mason defended, distracting Adam from his worries the same way Dizzy does with me.
“Okay,” Adam played along. “then what is it?”
“My own lived experience.” Mason answered as Adam began to shout.
“That doesn’t count!” He yelped in a laugh. “You need to test it on other people before you can be confident it works.”
“Alright,” Mason shrugged his shoulders. “take a twenty minute nap after they leave, and tell Artie how it makes you feel.” He taunted as Dizzy flashed me a small smile.
“I’m napping way longer than twenty minutes.” Adam shot down without hesitation.
“Not if I set an alarm.” Mason joked as he continued to push Adam’s buttons. “For science.” Mason insisted as Adam began to stare him down.
“You’re driving me crazy today, you know that right?” Adam asked as Mason nodded his head.
“It’s part of being a boyfriend.” He confidently answered. “Right Dizzy?”
“Oh yeah.” Dizzy quickly answered as he looked back to me. As our eyes connected, I could tell we had the same idea.
As I stood up and grabbed my almost empty plate, I noticed him do the same. “Whoa,” Adam called out. “I said I didn’t want any leftovers.”
“If we all show up early, we can start testing before school starts.” Dizzy lied as I nodded along with his words. “Just wrap up what ever is left, and I’ll eat it when we get home from school.”
Adam went to argue with him but as he looked over to Mason, nodded his head. “Alright,” He accepted. “but there really better not be anything left tonight.”
“Trust me, there won’t be.” Dizzy teased as we both brought our plates to the sink.
As we finished cleaning up after ourselves, I asked Dizzy to give me a minute. He walked over to the couch and pretended to scroll through his phone, but I could tell he was watching me.
“What’s up?” Adam asked as I walked over to him, but instead of answering I forced a hug on him. “You alright?” He asked in a surprised voice.
“I’m sorry for putting you through all of this.” I offered, trying my hardest to keep my voice down. “You do so much for me, you don’t deserve all the stress.”
“Sometimes taking care of a kid is stressful.” He quickly answered, acting as though it wasn’t a big deal. “You do what you need to, to find peace. I’ve got your back the whole way through.”
“I don’t know where I’d be without you.” I reminded him, trying my hardest to hammer home how important he is to me. I can’t tell him I was listening in on him and Mason, but I can try my hardest to dismiss his doubts. He’s not failing me, and he never has failed me. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He offered as I broke away from our hug. As I walked back towards Dizzy, I noticed Adam’s eyes staying on me. I flashed him one last smile before leading Dizzy out of the house and starting our short commute to school.
Just like during breakfast, I noticed Dizzy had grown quieter than usual. He stayed close, and held my hand but only spoke if I said something first.
“What’s wrong with him?” Charlotte asked as we waited for the homeroom bell to ring.
“We just had a long night.” I answered as I realized Dizzy was keeping quiet
“Disgusting.” Charlotte rolled her eyes as she looked back to her phone.
“Not like that.” I quickly shut down, but as I looked back to Dizzy, noticed a smirk filling his face. “Not like that!” I insisted as I gave him a light push.
“That’s not what Dizzy’s face says.” Charlotte observed in an unamused voice as she glanced back up from her phone.
“It was only twice between last night and this morning.” Dizzy finally spoke, drawing an annoyed look from me.
“Fine.” Charlotte accepted in a sigh as Ky walked in and joined us. “Then why was it a long night?”
“Just family drama.” I shrugged my shoulders, accidently piquing her interest even more.
“Family drama?” Charlotte repeated as she thought it over. “Between you and Adam?”
“I guess you could say that.” I nodded my head as Dizzy watched me closely.
“You’re being shady Price.” Charlotte warned as concern entered her eyes. “If you’re hiding something I’ll figure it out.”
“Are you hiding something?” Dizzy quietly asked me, but we both knew Charlotte could still hear us. “Because she will find it out.” He supported as he began to stare me down. “Like this evening, at a certain baseball game.”
“What’s going on at the baseball game?” She asked as she looked over to Ky. “Do you know what’s going on at the baseball game?”
“No idea.” Ky answered as he joined in on Charlotte stare.
“I’ll just have more family there than usual.” I cryptically spoke as my eyes dropped to my desk.
“More than Mason and Lindsay?” Charlotte questioned, refusing to let up.
“Do you consider that family?” Dizzy tried to distract. “I mean I guess Lindsay counts, but Mason is just Adam’s boyfriend.” He started to ramble. “He can become family, but I feel like that’s premature right now.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes as she ignored Dizzy’s ranting and looked right back to me. “Spill it Artie.”
I looked back to Dizzy but he only offered a shrug of his shoulders. “Ezra will be at the game today.” I finally confessed, causing Charlotte’s eyes to grow wide.
“I don’t know what’s going on.” Ky dismissed as he pulled out his phone.
“That’s Artie’s biological father,” Dizzy began to explain, capitalizing on the chance to escape me and Charlotte’s conversation.
“So Ezra will be at the game.” Charlotte repeated as she nodded her head. As the surprise started to leave her eyes, I couldn’t tell what was replacing it, frustration or sadness. “When did this get planned?”
“Not too long ago.” I answered, choosing my words carefully. Yet, as she began to stare me down, I could tell she wanted an answer. “Like, last weekend.”
She stayed quiet and nodded her heads to my words. “That’s very nice.” She forced out, but I could tell she didn’t mean it.
“Don’t be mad.” I groaned as I saw her work through a number of emotions.
“I’m not mad” She shrugged her shoulders and looked away from me.
“Charlotte.” I called out as Mrs. Mowry finally entered the room, but Charlotte refused to look back at me. “Char,” I began again.
“We’ve got a test to prepare for.” She interrupted as she finally looked back to me. “You kept it to yourself until now, I think you can handle a few more hours.”
I let out a sigh but the bell rang before I could say anything else to her. “Alright everyone, clear your desks.” Mrs. Mowry instructed. “This is the last day of testing, so you guys all know the drill.”
“I’m sorry Charlotte.” I offered one more time, but she continued to ignore me.
That day was easily the worst day of testing yet! The test itself wasn’t bad, but I just couldn’t keep focused! Between Ezra’s visit, what I overheard last night, the baseball game and now this new drama with Charlotte, I can barely keep my head straight! And worst of all, I did it all to myself!
Every now and again, I would look over to Charlotte, but she kept her eyes on her test. During breaks she would get up and walk to the bathroom or just give me one word answers. Dizzy and Ky shared a few concerned looks over it, but knew in the end we’d figure it out.
When testing finally ended, we got out an extra thirty minutes early, and yet, that was the longest day of school I’ve ever had! I’d much rather sit through a normal full day, then go through a half day with Charlotte this mad at me!
“Charlotte,” I called out as we entered the hallway. This time as she turned to me, she finally looked me in the eyes “I’m sorry,” I offered. “I wasn’t trying to keep it from you, there’s just, so much going on right now.”
“So in the past seven days, you couldn’t have brought up that Ezra was visiting?” Charlotte asked, not buying my words. “Not even over text?”
“I’m sorry.” I repeated in a sigh. I looked back to Dizzy, but he and Ky had already waited a few steps to give us some privacy. “I just didn’t want to talk about it.”
“Seems like you were talking about it with everyone else.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I mean a few weeks ago you tell me you have his business card, then you don’t bring him up again.” Charlotte began to pressure. “And now he’s just here.”
“I know it’s sudden, but I did a lot of thinking about it,” I tried to explain. “and me, Adam and Dizzy had some really long conversations.” I shook my head. “I don’t know, I was just so sick of talking about it.”
“Clearly.” Charlotte remarked, still partially giving me a cold shoulder.
I let out a frustrated groan as my emotions started to turn to anger. “I don’t tell you one thing, and you’re getting this mad at me?”
“It’s a pretty big “one thing,” wouldn’t you say?” She asked, matching my tone.
“I’m not doing this.” I shook my head once more. “I fought with Adam last week and Dizzy last night.” I began to vent as we left the school. “I’m not fighting with you too. This, this is exactly why I kept it to myself.”
“You kept it to yourself because you were worried I would argue with you?” She asked, still hesitant to believe me.
“That’s not what I’m saying.” I whined as I let out another sigh. “I just knew it would cause drama, and I’m so sick of drama.” I let out as I felt my emotions start to come undone. “I’m so sick of everyone telling me how to handle it, or why I shouldn’t let Ezra back into my life.” I rambled as my voice grew angry. “I’m so sick of everyone’s stupid advice!” I yelped, but she stayed quiet and let me rant.
“They want me to do everything their way, but I’m not them!” I shouted as we approached the park outside my house. “And most of all, I’m so damn sick of talking about it all over and over again.” I forced out. “So I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” I apologized as I finally looked back into her eyes. “I just wanted one friend who felt like normal.”
“Sorry,” She offered back, caught off-guard by how quickly I had come undone. “I, I should’ve known you’d have good reason.” She let out, trying her hardest to read my changing emotions. “I just hoped that by now you knew you can just vent to me.” She tried to comfort. “You can tell me to hold my opinions, and I’ll just listen.”
“But how’s that fair to you?” I asked as I began to calm down.
“It’s not about being fair, it’s about being a good friend.” She explained as she reached out and grabbed my hand. “You’re the closest friend I’ve ever had. Even closer than Dizzy and Ky.” She said, barely able to believe the words herself. “I mean, we tell each other everything, you come to church every Sunday with my family, and I’ve even starting using some of your weird Texas phrases.” She couldn’t help but laugh.
“So if you ever need to just get something out without hearing someone’s opinion, you can come to me.” She tried to encourage. “And if everything feels like it’s falling apart, I’ll always be here for you.” She shook her head. “Because coming undone on your walk home from school, isn’t you.”
“I know,” I slowly nodded my head. “part of me just wants this weekend to be over.”She nodded her head and carefully thought everything over. “You can give me advice.” I couldn’t help but smile as I saw her holding back words.
“I don’t know the whole story, but it sounds like a big part of you wants to give Ezra a chance.” She shrugged her shoulders. “So even if this weekend is long, try to enjoy your time with him, if you can that is.”
“We got coffee last night and I enjoyed that.” I nodded my head. “I even came out to him, and he took it in stride.”
“Hold up,” She called out with another shocked face. “he accepted it?”
“Accepted is a strong word.” I corrected, reflecting back on his reaction. “He kind of more tolerated it.”
“That’s at least a good sign.” She tried to encourage. “Plus, you’re being honest with yourself about it.” She pointed out. “I’m not even worried about you.”
“Really?” I asked, glancing back at Dizzy who was no doubt venting to Ky about the same thing. “Because it feels like the whole world is.”
“Well I’m not.” She supported with a now confident look. As she glanced back to Dizzy I saw a smile form on her face. “And he’s only worried because he likes you more than he knows how to handle.”
“Yeah.” I hesitantly nodded my head.
“You don’t think he cares about you that much?” She asked in a surprised voice.
“I know he cares about me a ton.” I corrected, hoping she wouldn’t get me wrong. “But I think he also really likes my Uncle and the situation we have going on.” I shrugged my shoulders. “I wouldn’t want to date anyone else, and I know he feels the same, I just don’t think we’d like, die for one another.”
“That boys been with you since you got here,” Charlotte shook her head. “and since you both got back from Texas, he’s been extra glued to you!” She exclaimed. “Just look at him today, he’s so worried he was actually quiet for once!” She pointed out as she tried to set me straight. “I didn’t even think he’d give us time alone to talk.”
“He’s just happy because I sucked his dick this morning.” I grumbled as Charlotte began to burst out laughing. “What?” I began to blush, not understanding her reaction. “We’ve spoken about this before.” I whined as things between us went back to normal.
“I know,” She tried to calm herself down. “but it’s always so unexpected!” She continued to laugh. “And I’m sorry, but hearing it come from you is funny!” She dropped my hand and gave me a side hug as she saw my blush growing redder. “I love you Artie,” She shook her head. “and Dizzy does too, even if he’s too scared to say it.”
“Oh I,” I stuttered as nerves suddenly jumped me. “I don’t know about that.”
“Sorry,” Her smile grew. “I probably shouldn’t have thrown that at you this weekend, but deep down you both know it’s true.” She confidently nodded her head. “One day soon, you’re going to see it, I can tell.”
I looked back to Dizzy and felt my smile grow a little as the blush stayed on my face. “What’s that about!” Dizzy exclaimed, acting like himself for the first time since we woke up.
I let out a groan as he quickly began to close the gap between us. “Nothing”
“You sure about that?” He loudly insisted.
“Positive.” She confidently spoke as he and Ky reached us.
“What you guys talking about?” Dizzy dug as he watched us both closely.
“Just everything with Ezra.” I shrugged, hoping that would dissuade him from asking more questions.
“Bullshit tomato face.” He dismissed, looking back to Charlotte. “He tell you about last night or this morning?”
“About his dream with a much hotter guy.” Charlotte lied, knowing it would get under his skin.
“I’m gonna bet this morning.” Dizzy confidently nodded his head as our eyes connected. “Because you seemed pretty proud when we wrapped up.”
“When you wrapped up.” I corrected drawing a loud laugh from Ky.
“Bedroom isn’t the place to be selfish.” Ky teased, making sure to jump on Dizzy’s case.
“He wouldn’t, I, Artie doesn’t like talking about our sex life.” Dizzy finally said, finding his out to the conversation.
“What’s the matter Dizzy?” Charlotte began to giggle. “You started this conversation.”
“Yeah, don’t wimp out now.” I challenged, but instantly regretted it as I saw the devious look fill his face.
“You sure about that Artie?” He teased as I left Charlotte’s side and began to rush Dizzy. “Because we had some pretty interesting moments last night and this morning.”
“I take it back. I take it back.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I found myself face to face with him.
“And I mean this morning, just, wow,” He continued as I wrapped my arms around him and began to pull him away. “You made both my heads explode.” He said, low enough so only I could hear him.
“Now they’re getting all coupley.” Ky whined as Dizzy and I slowly began to move away from them.
“They’re a couple, what did you expect?” Charlotte dismissed, showing it really didn’t bother her.
“Arthur,” I suddenly heard a voice call out, freezing me where I stood. “what are the odds running into you here?” Ezra asked as he slowly approached.
I quickly let Dizzy go and stood up straight to face him. “My schools right around the block,” I explained as our eyes met. “and me and Adam live right along here.” I said, motioning to the nearby houses.
Ezra nodded approvingly and he took a good look around us. “I have to admit, when I saw he ran a donut shop, I was skeptical.” Ezra spoke. “But clearly he must be doing something right.”
As Ezra spoke, I glanced back towards Ky and Charlotte. Ky was trying to back away from the introduction, but Charlotte walked forward without hesitation.
“He does a few things right.” Dizzy corrected as Charlotte reached us, Ky not too far behind her.
“Ezra, these are my friends Ky and Charlotte.” I introduced in a nervous voice. “I go to church every Sunday with Charlotte and her family.”
“Really?” Ezra asked as he turned to face Charlotte. “Well thank you for taking my son with you to hear and be saved by the word of God,” He began to preach. “as we know from proverbs, iron sharpens iron. I know he will help you, just as much as you have helped him.”
Dizzy shot Ky a disinterested look while Charlotte politely nodded. “He’s been a big help since he got here.” She replied, but I could tell her burst of confidence was quickly fading.
“So what brought you around here?” I finally asked as he looked back at me.
“I figured I’d spend the time until your game sightseeing.” He explained, as he looked around the neighborhood once more. “I came to see the painted ladies. Little did I know your school and home were right here.”
“Crazy how things work out.” Dizzy commented. His words were innocent, but it was clear he was suggesting something different.
“It is indeed.” Ezra agreed as he looked over at him. “Got any recommendations of where to look next?”
Dizzy carefully thought over his answer, and for a second I saw trouble spark in his eyes. But as he peered over to me, I saw his attitude change. “Golden gate park isn’t too far,” He finally answered. “it’s worth checking out.”
“Thank you Dizzy.” Ezra forced a smile, but Dizzy refused to mirror it back to him. “I would invite you guys along with me, but I reckon Adam wouldn’t be too happy with that.”
“He wouldn’t be.” I agreed, glad he wasn’t looking to push the line. “I have to rest before my game anyway.”
“Just a couple hours away now.” Ezra happily nodded. “I’m excited to finally watch you play.” He reached out his hand, causing me to do the same. “You’re going to do amazing.” He shook before turning back towards my friends. “Hope to see you all there too.” He forced a smile before turning away and continuing his walk.
We were all quiet for a few moments as we walked the other way to my house, but a few times I saw Dizzy look to Ky as if to say, “See what I mean!”.
“What do you think?” I finally asked Charlotte as we reached the steps to my house.
“Seems nice.” Charlotte forced a smile, but I could tell she was holding back words.
I looked over to Ky but he simply shook his head. “As far as first impressions go, that one was pretty good.”
“Be honest.” Dizzy pressured as their eyes met.
“It was pretty good.” Ky insisted. “I mean, it was pretty weird too, but not like, creepy.”
“Sure about that?” Dizzy asked as Ky quickly nodded his head. As soon as I looked over to Dizzy, he dropped it.
“We’ll give you time to rest.” Charlotte suggested as she took a step forward and pulled me in for a hug. “Take your mind off of this, and just sleep for a little while.” She comforted. “You’re going to do great this evening, I promise.”
“I love you.” I hugged her tightly.
Ky took a step forward and pulled me in for a half hug. “Relax man,” He instructed. “you’ve got nerves of steel, you can handle your game tonight.”
“Thanks Ky.” A small but genuine smile filled my face as I felt all their support. Charlotte flashed me one last wink as me and Dizzy began to climb the stairs. It’s weird, in the park he almost started to act normally again, but as soon as he saw Ezra, well, he shut it all down.
“How you feeling?” He asked me as he grabbed onto my hand.
“Tired.” I answered, trying to get him to smile. “Maybe if we’re lucky, Adam will let us nap together.”
“I don’t really need a nap.” He shrugged his shoulders. “But I mean, if you want me to lay with you, I can do that.” He quickly offered as our eyes connected.
“No, it’s alright.” I accepted as I gave him a friendly push. “I forgot you were out like a light last night.”
“You have a comfortable bed.” He shrugged his shoulders, yet as we reached the door, he stopped me. He went to say something, but opted to kiss me instead. “I’m sorry you had a rough morning at school.” He suddenly offered. “It seems like you and Charlotte patched it up, but if you didn’t, well, you’ll always have me.” As he spoke, I could tell he was speaking from the heart and not saying anything he had prepared in his mind.
“She always tells you she’s your best friend, but she’s wrong.” He spoke, pulling me in closely. “I’m your best friend.” He insisted in a confident voice.
“I thought you were my boyfriend?” I asked, seeing what he would say.
“I’m lucky enough to be both.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I guess that’s why I’m so crazy for you.”
“Guess so.” I happily agreed before leaning in for another kiss. “Ezra definitely saw me hugging you before.”
“He knows we’re dating, so what’s it matter?” Dizzy reminded me with a smile. “But that was kind of weird,” He started to tease. “I mean we were in public, and you were all over me.” He said through some laughter. “Get a hold of yourself Price.”
“You know me.” I played along as I let him go and began to unlock the door. “I just can’t keep my hands to myself.”
“I’ll say.” He giggled one more time until finally the door pushed open. As we stepped inside, I noticed Mason and Adam asleep on the couch, but as soon as the door shut, Adam started to wake up.
“Hey boys,” He offered through a yawn. “how was school?”
“Last day of testing.” I shrugged my shoulders as I dropped my bag to the floor.
“That’s good.” He forced a smile as Mason began to wake up. “Think you boys did good?”
“Doubtful.” Dizzy answered as he walked through the living room and towards the kitchen.
“Doubtful.” I repeated in an effort to make Adam smile.
“You better be kidding.” Adam warned me before looking over to Dizzy. “You better be kidding too.” He repeated, reminding himself just how close he and Dizzy were
“He is, I’m not.” Dizzy shrugged as he pulled the left overs from this morning from the fridge.
“One for two isn’t so bad.” Mason offered, as he continued to wake up. “Worst case Dizzy can always clean the kitchen at your shop.”
“I’m going to be a programmer,” Dizzy warned as he glanced back to Mason. “and last time I checked, there’s no high school state test for that!”
“Isn’t there AP testing for that in high school?” Mason teased as Dizzy shook his head.
“I won’t be in AP until next year because of class size.” Dizzy replied, showing just how much he had been planning his future.
“He’s really good with computers.” I supported as Dizzy flashed me a smile.
As the room grew quiet I looked over to Adam and made eye contact. “What’s up?” He asked, bracing for what was on my mind.
“We uh,” I nervously started as Dizzy gave me an approving nod. “we ran into Ezra on our way home.”
“You ran into Ezra?” Adam asked, trying his hardest to take the news in a calm way.
“Me, Dizzy, Charlotte and Ky.” I answered with a nod. “We were goofing around in the park, and he happened to be walking by.” I explained. “We didn’t talk for long, just a quick hello.”
“He said he was sightseeing.” Dizzy complained, but made sure to watch his attitude. “Also said he didn’t know you lived around here, but didn’t he send you those papers?”
“He sent them to the shop.” Adam corrected in a sigh. “I don’t know, maybe he was just sightseeing.” Adam looked over to me and forced a smile. “Thank you for telling me.”
I forced a smile to match his. “I wouldn’t hide that from you.” I said, trying my hardest to show I was still with him. “I, I’m gonna go take a nap now.”
“We’ll keep your boyfriend entertained.” Adam groaned as he looked over to Dizzy.
“Borderlands?” Dizzy excitedly suggested a video game as he put down his plate. I couldn’t help but smile as I started to climb the steps.
Mason let out a sigh as he shook his head. “Go ahead.” He instructed as Adam reached for his controller.
“Does it have to be borderlands?” I heard Adam complain as I reached the top of the stairs. “I don’t even like that game all that much.”
“But you’ve gotten so good at it.” Dizzy encouraged in a confident voice. “I mean, not as good as me,” His voice faded out as I reached the hallway.
Today’s been a bit messy, but between goofing around at the park and right now, well, things actually seemed normal! Sure, Ezra showing up in between threw things off, but he was nice to Charlotte and Dizzy even gave him a place to visit. It’s been a rocky start, but maybe things will fall into place after all.
As soon as my head hit the pillow, I passed out. Sure, I’m still stressed about everything going on, but that was no match for how exhausted I was! By the time I woke up, I was well past the twenty minutes Mason recommended. I still felt a little groggy, but nothing I couldn’t shake off before game time.
As I checked the clock, I was happy to see I still had another thirty minutes before our meeting time at the school. I gathered all my stuff, got changed and made my way towards the stairs, but just like last night, I heard a conversation that froze me.
“I don’t know Mason, he seems pretty impressed with him.” I heard Dizzy complain.
“I understand that, but I still think you two are doing a lot of worrying over nothing.” Mason tried to argue. “I understand I don’t know Artie as well as you guys, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders.” Mason warned. “And you two haven’t been giving him enough credit for that.”
“I’m trying my hardest to.” Adam argued. “Why do you think I’m letting him make the decisions about this?”
“Letting him make one too many decisions.” Dizzy grumbled, unafraid to show he disagreed with how Adam was handling the situation.
“Is this about last night?” Adam asked in a serious voice, but Dizzy stayed quiet. “Dizzy, you can’t blame Artie for wanting to see his father.” He softly started to lecture. “Ezra has been one big secret to Artie his whole life, if you had that secret looming over you, wouldn’t you be curious?”
“I never really knew my father, and I don’t want to see him anytime soon.” Dizzy pouted in a much quieter voice.
“But was he a secret?” Adam continued to pressure. I could tell he was hesitant to push Dizzy, but confident enough in their relationship to try.
There was a moment or two of silence as the question sank in. “No.” Dizzy finally answered. “He left when I was little, but my Mom answers questions if I have them.”
“Imagine if she didn’t?” Adam asked, trying to help guide Dizzy into seeing my side. “Now in my opinion, neither of you boys owe your birth fathers anything, hell, I hate even calling them the word father!” Adam exclaimed but did his best to keep his voice low. “But I would never blame either of your for being curious about it.”
“So what, you think if Artie’s mom was upfront about Ezra, things would be different?” Dizzy challenged as Adam’s lesson began to sink in.
“I mean, I’m not trying to put blame on her.” Adam clarified. “But people will always be drawn towards whatever’s forbidden.” He explained in a sigh. “So keeping Ezra from Artie, was really just pushing Artie towards him.”
“Why can’t he just take what he has and be happy?” Dizzy began to vent. “It just feels like, like,” Dizzy hesitated. “forget it.” He muttered as he fell into his own head.
“Like you’re not enough?” Adam asked, causing my heart to freeze. Dizzy stayed quiet, but I could tell that meant Adam hit the nail on the head. “I felt the same way,” Adam tried to comfort. “but think about how silly that sounds?” Adam asked him. “Artie’s not allowed to meet new people because he has us?”
“He’s allowed to meet new people.” Dizzy grumbled. “They just have to be people we both like.”
“You don’t mean that.” Adam had to hold back some laughter.
“I know.” Dizzy grunted as he finally started to open up. “It’s just scary.”
“Well Ezra will be gone soon,” Adam comforted. “just two and half more days, and then we can figure it out from there.”
“I don’t think that’s what he meant.” Mason spoke up, unsure how much he should say.
“No, that’s what I meant.” Dizzy insisted, but it was obvious he has something else on his mind.
“Go ahead, what’s scary?” Adam encouraged in a parental voice. “Me and Mason won’t judge you, we promise.”
Once more Dizzy grew quiet. “How much I like him.” He finally confessed in an emotional voice. “I know were young and that’s crazy, but I, the only person who I’ve ever felt this close to was my Mom.” Dizzy confessed in a heavy breath. “I mean, Ky has been my best friend since we could walk and I don’t even feel this close to him.”
“Just because you’re young doesn’t mean it’s crazy.” Adam continued to support. “You guys are building something special, Ezra won’t be able to take that away from you.” Adam reminded him. “Artie won’t let him.” There was some quiet, and I could tell I missed something. “You don’t agree?” Adam suddenly asked, suggesting that Dizzy shook his head.
“I don’t know,” Dizzy complained in a conflicted voice. “I feel like he doesn’t even understand how much I care about him.”
“Ahh.” Adam let out as he began to understand what was going on. “Well how could he?” Adam suddenly asked. “He grew up in a culture where boys didn’t date boys.” He started to explain. “His whole life, he’s been told loving another guy is off limits.” Adam reminded Dizzy. “So whether he knows it or not, he has a wall built up but I promise you, once that wall comes down, you’re not going to know how to process all the love he sends you.”
“But if he,” Dizzy began in a nervous voice. “if he has a wall built up, how come he still does,” Dizzy hesitated once more. “some stuff.”
Adam groaned as he heard that question, and Mason began to uncomfortably laugh. “Physical love is different than emotional love.” Adam pulled it together enough to speak. “And if you ask me, physical love is easier, you get an instant sensation and its just so, straight forward.” Adam exhaled, trying his hardest not to go into detail.
“But emotional love is complicated.” Adam started again. “It’s complicated and ugly, there’s a lot of good, but there’s also a lot of bad.” Adam said but was struggling to put his thoughts into words. “He just, needs to untwist some knots before he can give you the confirmation you’re looking for.” Adam finally decided. “But trust me, he’s crazy about you.”
“Mhm.” Mason hummed in agreement. “Nights you’re not here, it’s pretty clear he misses you.”
“Yup.” Adam quickly agreed. “He goes to bed earlier, and keeps to himself.”
“Well I should talk to him about that.” Dizzy let out in a laugh. “I want him to be happy with or without me.”
“That’s more like it.” Adam encouraged as his own confidence began to rise. “Next time you feel this way about anything, you come talk to us, alright?” Adam asked. “Growing up sucks, but you have help. So use it.”
“I, I think I lied,” Dizzy suddenly began again as the nerves returned to his voice. “I, I think I might be starting to feel as close to you as I do with Artie and my Mom.”
“I feel the same way.” Adam replied without hesitation. “Okay,” Adam exhaled and I could tell Dizzy had forced a hug on him. “no matter what happens going forward, you’re always welcome in this house, alright?”
“You’re gonna regret saying that.” Dizzy replied in an attempt to lighten the mood.
I really hope Adam sees the impact he’s had on both Dizzy and me. Last night, he was questioning himself, but I hope this moment puts an end to all of that. Ezra may be here, but Adam is the father figure Dizzy and I have been looking for.