That night I found my mind kept wandering back to Dizzy’s words. There was just something about them, some sweet sincerity to it all. Maybe I am a little scared of him. He’s just so free and adventurous, can I handle that? Should I just keep going after Ky? But then am I choosing the safe choice? Am I holding myself back?
“Dizzy stop!” Adam shouted into a headset, causing me to jump.
“You’re actually playing with him?” I asked, glancing over to Adam.
“He wouldn’t stop spamming me with invites.” Adam shrugged. “But if he doesn’t stop running ahead I’m going to leave!” I heard some faint laughter on the other end, before Adam turned back to me. “He says Hi.”
“Hi Dizzy.” I greeted, unsure if he could hear me or not.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Adam asked, seeing the confusion on my face. “It’s not magic. You plug the headphones into your controller and it’s like you’re on the phone.”
“Oh.” I replied, taking a longer look at the big headphones over his ears. “Then how do you hear the T.V.?”
“The T.V. audio comes through the controller too.” He dismissed, before turning back towards the screen. “He’s not clueless.” Adam defended. “He just grew up under a rock.”
“Hey!” I shouted, trying to draw his attention back to me.
“It’s fine, I grew up under a rock too.” Adam dismissed, not even bothering to look over. “Yes I’m from Texas.” He replied to Dizzy, except this time I rose to my feet and stared at him. “I, mind your own business and let’s just play the game.” He warned Dizzy before covering the mic with his hand. “Sorry, I didn’t know you were trying to keep secrets.”
“I’m not trying to keep secrets.” I clarified. “I’m just, someone told me that playing your cards close to your chest is important.”
“It is.” He agreed with a nod. “Just not with me, you know that right?”
“You keep your cards from me.” I shrugged as I began to walk towards the stairs.
“That’s different.” He defensively began. “Artie, don’t be keeping secrets from me!”
“We’ll see.” I couldn’t help but tease.
“You don’t have any secrets.” He said, trying his hardest to bait something out of me. “You’re too good of a kid.”
“If that’s how you feel.” I replied with a smile as he turned back to me.
“I’m watching you.” He played along before turning back around. “No, not you Dizzy! I’m going to leave the game in another minute.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at their bickering as I headed up the stairs. I know they’re probably going to fight all night, but I can tell Adam is enjoying it. In a way it’s nice to know they’re playing together. It means Dizzy is home safe and not out doing whatever Dizzy does late at night!
The next morning when I got to school I found Dizzy asleep at his desk in home room. “Stayed up too late playing video games with Adam?” I couldn’t help but tease.
“No.” Dizzy lied, not even bothering to pick his head up.
“Adam?” Charlotte repeated, glancing from Dizzy to me.
“My Uncle.” I quickly clarified. “Dizzy is making him play some video game with him.”
“I’m not making him. I’m just sending him invites until he deletes me or joins.” Dizzy teased as he finally picked up his head. “Besides, we’re a good team.”
“Is that why you were fighting all night?” I asked as our eyes finally connected.
“We weren’t fighting.” He lied with a smile. “That’s just how friends talk to one another.”
“So you’re friends now?” I couldn’t help but tease.
“You could say that,” He laughed, making sure to keep his eyes on me. “but like I said. The younger models better.”
“Dizzy.” Charlotte groaned as she heard his tone. “Can you not be gross this early in the morning?”
“I’m not being gross.” He mumbled as a blush entered his face. “You don’t call Ky out like this.”
“Maybe I just trust Ky more.” She remarked as his stare glanced over to her.
“This isn’t like that.” He insisted with a serious face. “Maybe I’m just as invested as Ky.”
“Maybe Artie doesn’t want either of you invested.” Charlotte warned him. “Maybe he doesn’t want to be flirted with constantly.”
“He totally does.” Dizzy smirked, looking back to me. “You’re loving every second of this.”
“Am not.” I lied as a blush began on my face.
“Look at him!” Dizzy couldn’t help but laugh. “He’s such a little flirt!”
“Am not!” I repeated in a whine.
“It’s alright, I like it.” Dizzy winked. “The chase is half the fun.”
“Oh my god!” Charlotte complained in a loud voice. “Now you’re both just being dumb boys.”
“Artie’s not being dumb.” Dizzy began before I could say anything. “He’s just exploring his options. I don’t blame him for it. I would get to know Ky before choosing me too.”
“And you’re just fine with this conversation?” Charlotte sighed, looking back to me.
“I don’t know if I would say I’m fine with it.” I swayed my head. “But he started talking about it yesterday, and at least this way we’re addressing the pink elephant in the room.”
“Artie!” Dizzy yelped as he fully woke up. “You shouldn’t call Ky an elephant! I know you prefer me, but that’s not very nice!”
“What if I don’t prefer you?” I teased, ignoring his bad joke.
“You do.” He confidently spoke. “I won you over last night. Now it’s just a matter of time.”
“Are you really confident enough to say that?” I provoked, refusing to break eye contact.
“He’s not.” Charlotte interjected. “Deep down he’s just as nervous about this whole thing as everyone else.”
“Wrong!” He called out, leaning back in his chair. “And I’ll prove it too.”
“I’m listening.” I led, excited to hear whatever crazy plan he was hatching.
“I’ll back off all day,” He said, making sure to keep the confidence in his voice. “I’ll let you spend it with Ky. You can even eat lunch alone with him.” He rose to his feet before either of us could say anything and headed to the door. “But I know you’ll still want me when the day’s done.”
“Ugh.” Charlotte rolled her eyes as he left the room. “He can be such a pig sometimes.”
“I kind of like it.” I confessed, looking down at the desk in front of me.
“Artie!” She clicked her tongue.
“What?” I asked, picking my head up. “It’s funny and I don’t know it’s nice to be flattered sometimes.”
“When did he even start being that open with you?” She asked with a skeptical look.
“Last night,” I shrugged. “he came over and we watched Game of Thrones. Then he told me he knows I’m not a trophy but he would show me off like one, and that I’m not something to conquer and he’s never felt that way before.” I explained as a blush over took my face. “Then he kissed me on the cheek and left.”
“Do you believe him?” She dug, wiping any expression from her face so she couldn’t influence me either way.
“I think so.” I nodded my head. “The moment just, it was like time stopped. It was like it was just us and nothing else mattered.”
“How do you know he meant it?” She provoked, keeping the blank face.
“I don’t.” I confessed. “But that’s what I need you for!”
“I can talk to him, and drill it into his head.” She agreed. “But at the end of the day he only listens to himself. He could be being genuine with you, or he could just be playing you.”
“But why would he do that?” I replied with a skeptical look. “Why would he risk losing both you and Ky like that?”
“Honestly, I don’t think he would.” She admitted in a sigh. “But it does kind of scare me that we have to even ask.”
“I guess so.” I nodded but before either of us could say anything else Ky walked into the room.
“Good morning.” He smiled, retaking his seat before Dizzy could get back. “So you make your decision on baseball yet?”
“I’m going to do it.” I answered as our eyes met.
“That’s great.” He supported as his smile grew wider. “You’ll have to let me know when your first game is.”
“You don’t have to come to my games. It’s no big deal”
“I don’t mind.” He insisted as his normal calm demeanor filled the air. “I’m more than happy to be there for you.”
I fell quiet and let the moment take over, until finally Dizzy returned to the room. “Morning.” He cheered, interrupting the moment.
“Good morning.” Ky let out, but kept his eyes towards me. I noticed Dizzy nod his head, but follow through on his plan and quietly sit behind Charlotte.
It was weird for Dizzy to stay so quiet. He simply tuned out and just let me and Ky do our thing. He didn’t even bother us during computers, and when lunch rolled around I found myself alone with Ky at one of the smaller tables.
“So you’re really enjoying your first week and a half here, huh?” He asked as he forced a smile.
“Yup.” I nodded my head. “I needed something like this.”
“Yeah?” He asked as his smile grew. “What’s your favorite part?”
“Having so much to do.” I answered, thinking it all over. “Back home you could go to the river to fish, play something in the fields, dirt bike or work. That was about it.”
“I remember last week when you said you were quiet and stayed in.” He teased. “Now look at you.”
“I guess I just needed a push in the right direction.”
“And now that you got that push?”
“I don’t know, I guess we’ll find out.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Well why don’t I take you to the wharf for dinner on Saturday?” He asked, trying to be as smooth as possible. “We can try and figure it out there.”
“Sorry, I’m going to the Zoo with Dizzy on Saturday.” As he heard those words I notice the smile beginning to fade from his face.
“Oh.” He exhaled, looking down at his food.
“It’s not like that.” I tried to clarify. “You and Charlotte called the Zoo stupid, and we’ve had it planned for like a week now.”
“I know.” He muttered, glancing up at me. “Just feels like you two hang out a lot.”
“Does it?” I asked, unsure what he meant.
“To me it does.” He shrugged, looking back down.
“You’re just overthinking.” I tried to comfort. “It’s just Dizzy, you know how he is.”
“I do.” This time when he spoke it was more of a complaint than an answer.
“You guys have to stop fighting.” I insisted, starting to grow serious. “We can all go to the Zoo together.”
“That’s not happening.” He shook his head. “Besides, the fighting will pass. Dizzy just needs to get his head on straight for once.”
“Look, I don’t want to get in between you two,”
“It has nothing to do with you.” He lied, looking back to where Charlotte and Dizzy were sitting. “It’s been stirring before you even got here.”
“What has been?” I dug, refusing to let it go.
“Just, all of him.” Ky answered. “He just takes everything for granted. Enough is never enough with him. He always goes for more.”
“Have you told him that?” I asked as our eyes reconnected.
“No,” He confessed. “but even if I did he wouldn’t listen.”
“You don’t know that until you try.” I encouraged. “Dizzy’s a good guy, I’m sure if you tell him when he’s imposing he’ll stop.”
“You give him too much credit.” Ky dismissed as he started to pick apart his food.
“Why do you say that?”
“He just, he’s not this great standup guy you may think he is.” Ky answered. “He vandalizes any building he wants and the way he acts with girls. It’s disgusting.”
“How does he act with girls?”
“He just says whatever he needs to get into their pants, and a week or two later they break up.” He explained, staring right into my eyes. “I love the kid, but come on, do you really want to get wrapped up with a guy like that?”
“No.” I sighed as I fell into my own head. I know Charlotte said his ex-girlfriends call him crazy, but I didn’t know it was like that. I didn’t know he was such a, a, womanizer.
“Anyway, you don’t have to worry about any of it. It’ll all work itself out.” He tried to comfort. “But about dinner at the Wharf, what do you think of Sunday night?”
“That works for me.” I forced a smile.
The rest of the day I found myself thinking about Dizzy once more, except this time it wasn’t in the light joyful way it was last night. What if he is saying all of this just to get laid? What if he’s trying to take advantage of my curiosity? Ky said this has been brewing for a while, what if this is Dizzy’s way of getting even?
“Everything okay?” Charlotte asked, noticing how quiet I was on our walk home.
“Just fine.” I nodded with a forced smile.
“Your day alone with Ky confuse you even more?” She prodded with curious eyes.
“Is Dizzy really that bad with girls?” I groaned, unable to keep it inside any more.
“Man, you really are hung up on him.” She giggled, but when she saw I was being serious let her smile fade. “I think that’s a conversation you’ll have to have with him.”
“But didn’t you talk to him about it during lunch?” I provoked as we reached the stairs to my house.
“Sure, but he figured out why pretty quickly.” She shrugged. “Turned it into some big joke. Said we’re right to be worried, and he just wants to see if everything is bigger in Texas.” I felt a blush coat my face as I heard those words. “He was just kidding though.”
“But what if he’s not?” I complained, running through it all in my head once more. “Ky said he sleeps with girls then breaks up with them a week later! What if I let him in and he does that to me?”
“For someone who wasn’t too okay with gay people a week ago, you sure are comfortable thinking about sleeping with Dizzy.” She couldn’t help but tease.
“That’s not helping!” I groaned in a loud voice.
“Sorry, I’m just saying, maybe you’re a lot more comfortable with your sexuality than you think.” She pointed out with a smile. “But I don’t think I can help with this.”
“Why not?” I exhaled as she began to walk away.
“Because Ky has it wrong,” She shrugged. “but that’s for Dizzy to tell you. Not me.”
“Charlotte!” I whined as she kept walking. “You’re supposed to have my back!”
“I do.” She turned and started to walk backwards. “This time I’m just watching from the shadows! Don’t worry, I won’t let anything bad happen!”
“But what if you do?” I asked as she shrugged her shoulders. “Wait, come over and watch T.V. we can even,”
“Goodbye Artie.” She laughed before turning back around and heading towards her bus stop.
With a large sigh I climbed the stairs and finally entered my house. “What was with all the yelling?” Adam asked, glancing over to me.
“Just goofing around with my friend.” I dismissed, quickly heading towards the stairs.
“Everything okay?” He asked, pausing his game and fully facing me.
“I’m fine.” I answered but as he stood up I stopped moving.
“You don’t seem fine.” He said, sniffing out my lies. “Talk to me, what’s up? Girl problems?”
“Something like that.” I muttered, looking down at the couch instead of him.
“Well what is it? Scared to ask a girl out?” He asked but I simply shook my head. “You get rejected?” He continued, but once more got a shake. “You have to choose between two!” He suddenly caught on as I grew quiet. “I got it! Am I good or what?”
“It took you three guesses.” I shot back, finally looking to him. “What do I do?”
“Well what are they like?” He asked with a smile.
“They’re both nice.” I swayed my head. “Ones calm and patient and the others just, giddy.”
“Giddy?” Adam repeated but dropped it when he saw the look on my face. “Well you don’t have to make any decisions before you want to. You want my honest advice?”
“Yeah.” I forced out as our eyes connected.
“My honest advice is there is no answer I, or anyone else could give you.” He began in a calm voice. “This is something you have to work out on your own. Your heart will let you know when it’s ready, just be patient and don’t over think.”
“Don’t over think?” I asked with a cautious look.
“Yup.” He nodded his head. “Your head will just keep over analyzing everything until it ruins it for you. So don’t think, just, live. Can you do that?”
“I think so.” I nodded as my concerns slowly began to fade.
“See,” Adam began as he sat back down on the coach. “you can come to me with things. I promise I won’t judge or ask more than you want to share.”
“Nope, you’ll just make bad jokes.” I laughed, starting to walk up the stairs again.
“You love em!” He shouted as loud as he could.
I hate to admit it, but he’s not wrong. Everything from the bad jokes, to the surprisingly good advice, well, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants me to be happy here. He wants me to feel welcomed. It doesn’t even have to be like this. He could lock me away in a room and only let me out for school if he really wanted to. But that’s not him, and I don’t think it ever could be.
That night when I came back down Adam helped to distract me. He didn’t ask me any more questions, but decided we needed to watch the third Harry Potter movie and relax. There was a debate over diner, but eventually he won and it was pizza, again. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza just as much as the next guy, but I don’t need to eat it three times a week!
When I finally laid down to fall asleep I shut off my mind the best I could. I’m finally in a spot where I can date anyone I want. Boy or girl! So I’m not going to ruin this for myself because I can’t stop thinking. Sure, it may be a little confusing, but that’s alright. I’m fifteen. This is supposed to be confusing!
When I finally nodded off I found myself fast asleep. The type I could swear nothing would wake me up from, that is until I heard a light knocking on my door.
“What?” I forced out as I slowly opened my eyes. “What?” I repeated as I heard the door start to open. “Adam,” I managed out as my heart began to race in my chest. “Adam is that you?” I asked a little louder as I grabbed my phone off the bedside table.
“No, just, shhhh.” A familiar voice responded.
“Dizzy?” I asked in shock as I reached over and flicked my lamp on.
“Surprise.” He forced a smile, but I could see him trying to hide what looked like fear and concern on his face.
“Are you crazy? What are you doing?” I began, trying my hardest to keep my voice down. “How did you even get in here?”
“Your Uncle leaves a spare key under the back mat.” He shrugged, taking a seat on the edge of my bed.
“And he told you that?”
“Well, no.” Dizzy said, looking away from me. “But I just need a place to crash tonight.”
“What’s wrong with your house?” I asked, as my nerves finally began to calm down.
“Nothing.” He lied, still not looking at me.
“If you’re going to stay here I need to know what happened.” I pressured with a stern look.
“I just, I got in a fight with my Mom’s boyfriend.” He confessed. “I just can’t go back there tonight, alright?”
“So you came here?”
“Not originally, I was sleeping in the park, then a cop came and started asking all these questions, so I just, booked it.” He shrugged in a quiet voice.
“You ran from a cop?” I asked accidently letting my voice grow louder.
“Shhh!” He hushed, finally looking over to me. “I wouldn’t say I ran. I just kind of quickly walked away. It’s fine, I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
“No, you were just sleeping in a park then breaking into a house!” I pointed out as my voice grew agitated. “How did you even get into our backyard?”
“The alley between your houses are big enough to squeeze through.” He explained, trying to keep as calm as he could. “I’m sorry Artie, I-I wouldn’t’ve done this if I had any other options. I usually stay at Ky’s, but that, that’s not an option right now and Charlotte’s Dad hates me.”
“And if you woke Adam up?”
“Then I would’ve explained myself to him.” Dizzy answered as our eyes met. “He’s a cool guy, I’m sure he would understand.”
“So if I go wake him up right,”
“Well let’s not do that!” He interrupted, inching closer. “I’ll be quiet and just sleep on your floor. I really am sorry Artie.”
“It’s fine.” I groaned, grabbing the extra pillow off my bed and throwing it at him. “Just don’t make it a habit.”
“I won’t.” He let out a sigh of relief before getting off my bed and disappearing onto the ground.
“What would you have done if you walked into Adam’s room?” I asked, not quite ready to go back to sleep yet.
“I wasn’t worried about that. I’m naturally drawn to you after all.” He began to flirt.
“I’m sure you are.” I rolled my eyes.
“I am.” He confidently replied. “I used to think it was cute guys in general, but I’m starting to think it’s just you.”
“You sure you don’t just want to see if everything’s bigger in Texas?” I asked in a serious voice.
I heard him let out a sigh as he thought it over. “Is that an offer?” He joked but when he got only silence back sat up so I could see his head. “Charlotte tell you that?”
“Maybe.” I shrugged as I sat up myself.
“I was just kidding when I said that to her.” He shook his head. “Like I told you, this is different.”
“Is it?” I pressured. “Because I hear that’s one of your favorite lines.”
“What?” He asked, finally getting serious. “I don’t know why Charlotte would say that to you. Out of all people, I've trust her the most lately.”
“It wasn’t her.” I rejected, watching him closely.
“Ky?” He asked in a betrayed voice. “I-I’m going to kill him tomorrow.”
“Look, if you like to mess with girls then leave, that’s on you. I don’t know why you’re blaming Ky for the way you act.”
“That's not me though.” He insisted. “Have I had a lot of girlfriends and some boyfriends? Yes. Have I had sex with most of them? Possibly. But it’s them who leave, not me.”
“Dizzy,” I began in a skeptical voice.
“I swear to god!” He yelped, standing up and looking over to me. “No matter what I do, they always break up with me.”
“What?” I exhaled as our eyes met in the darkness.
“They say I’m too wild, that I’m not normal enough for them. They like to use me to freak out their Dads then when they’ve had enough I’m thrown away.” As he explained more and more I started to hear emotion breaking through his voice. “I used to think it was fine, I was getting laid and just, whatever. Then I met you and you’re not like that. You actually care and I-I don’t care what dibs Ky had. I’m not letting that define what happens.”
I fell quiet as it all began to connect in my head. “I’m going to fight for you Arthur Price. I’ll fight Charlotte. I’ll fight Ky. I’ll fight your Uncle. I’ll fight…”
“Your run out of people?” I smiled as he grew quiet.
“That’s not the point, the point’s,”
“It’s late,” I interrupted scooting over in my bed. “and the floor is uncomfortable. Come lay up here.”
“You’re such a flirt.” He remarked, calming down and grabbing his pillow from the floor before walking up to me.
“Am not.” I exhaled, making more room for him. “This isn’t anything romantic. This is me sharing so you don’t have to sleep on my floor.”
“Alright.” He accepted, climbing into bed. Before I knew it we were face to face. “So does this mean you believe me?”
“Charlotte did say Ky had it wrong.” I nodded my head.
“I love that girl!” He smiled, moving a little closer.
“That’s not what you said a minute ago.” I giggled before reaching my hand out and keeping him at bay. “Stay on your side.”
“Fine.” He grumbled, allowing me to push him further back. “But what made Ky say that?”
“He said it feels like we hang out a lot, and I said we don’t really.” I began. “Then he said you’re not like I think, and that you sleep with a girl then move onto the next.”
“Is he that mad at me?” He asked in a sigh. “I would never shit talk him like that. Sure, I said he was the boring option yesterday, but I was just playing around.”
“Maybe he thinks it’s true.” I defended. “I think you two need to sit down and talk, because he was also complaining that you cross the line too often.”
“What? When do I do that?” Dizzy asked, drawing some laughter from me. “I’m being serious.”
“Never Dizzy.” I shook my head. “It’s not like you just broke into my house or anything.”
“Oh I,” He paused trying his hardest to think of a defense.
“You can be a lot.” I finished for him. “And I, I kind of like it, but I think it’s been a lot on Ky recently.”
“Why wouldn’t he just tell me that?” Dizzy wondered as he began to fall into his own head.
“Maybe he just doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.” I offered, trying my hardest to see the good in both of them.
“Maybe.” Dizzy agreed as a smile crept across his face. “You like that I cross the line.”
“I wouldn’t say like.” I lied as his smile grew.
“No?” He pressured.
“It’s just nice to have someone pushing me.” I admitted as I caught his smile. “Is that so bad?”
“Not at all.” He exhaled leaning over and kissing me on the forehead. “How was that for a push?” Once more I fell quiet as he pulled away. Before I could find any words our eyes connected, seemingly taking me to another world. I took a breath and remembered Adam’s words. Don’t think Artie, just, live.
Without warning I leaned forward and found his lips with my own. As they met I felt my soul leap and a burning begin within my chest. “Woh.” Dizzy exhaled as I pulled away. “That was nice.”
“Yeah, it was.” I agreed letting him grow closer than before.
“I want the record to show you initiated that.” He smiled as his blush kept growing.
“It will.” I laughed as our eyes connected and we both grew quiet. “This doesn’t mean I chose you.” I tried to clarify as reality started to set back in.
“I know.” He nodded. “You want to give Ky a chance to convince you either way.”
“It’s alright.” He comforted. “Go on a date with him, hell, kiss him if you want. I know it won’t have the spark we have. I know you’ll choose me.”
“And if I don’t?” I asked growing serious.
“Then at least I have tonight.” He responded, moving close enough to plant another kiss on my face.
“We’re not doing anything.” I warned, feeling my heart begin to race once more.
“I know,” He smiled “except maybe cuddle?”
“You want to cuddle?” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, duh.” He teased in a laugh. “Why else would I be getting so close to you?”
“Fine.” I groaned acting as though I was doing him a favor.
“You want to be little spoon or big spoon?” He asked as I shot him a confused look. “Just be big spoon.” He laughed, turning over and backing into me. “Now place your arm around me,” He instructed helping to guide my arm. “There you go.” He encouraged as we finally got into place.
“You’re such a brat.” I laughed, realizing what had happened. “You were supposed to be on the floor.”
“You had to know when you offered a spot on the bed we would cuddle.” He giggled, comfortably laying into me.
“I didn’t know guys did this.” I defended with a smile. “I thought it was a girl thing.”
“You still think that?” He asked in a curious voice.
“Not at all.” I answered, holding onto him. “Besides, this is just a friendly cuddle.”
“I think another part of you disagrees.” He couldn’t help but tease. “I guess things really are bigger in Texas.”
“Dizzy!” I yelped as my cheeks turned red. “Do you need to go back to the floor?”
“Why? Need a few minutes alone with yourself?” He continued to joke.
“Pig.” I complained, but refused to let him go.
“Flirt.” He happily shot back. “But like I said this morning, I like getting to chase after you.”
“Even when that means fighting with Ky?”
“I’d fight with dozens of Kys just to hold you.” He replied in a soft voice. “After all, I feel the safest I have in months.”
“Why’s that?” I led, excited to hear his response.
“I got a big ol cowboy protecting me.” He giggled in a proud voice.
We spent a few more minutes talking before we both finally fell asleep. Okay, maybe I am a bit of a flirt! But I’m just testing out some options. Besides, when a guy like Dizzy comes to your house in the middle of the night how can you not cave in and kiss him! Especially when he let me in so close! I know Ky wouldn’t lie, so how could he get Dizzy so wrong? Did Dizzy lie to protect his pride? And how much longer until Ky figures out what’s really going on between Dizzy and I?