I found Tom exactly where I thought he’d be; at the entrance of the driveway. The puff of smoke once again gave him away. He didn’t say a word, he just looked up when I sat beside him. Equally silent, I took the cigarette from his fingers; he let me and I threw it away.
“We really should stop meeting like this,” I said, as he watched where the cigarette landed in a spray of small sparks. “The parents are gonna talk.”
“Why, what’ve you heard?” I grinned at the deadpan reply.
He stayed silent at that for a long while. I thought he wouldn’t reply at all, until he moved a little; then his head slid onto my shoulder. I raised my arm and he scooted closer until he sat right beside me. Laying my cheek on his head, I tightened the one arm around him.
“Why the mood swing?” I asked, inhaling the scent of his hair.
“Why?” he replied, his tone sour. “You gotta ask? Look at them. They love the idea of you being the boyfriend. Of you, they approve.”
“And that’s bad?”
“You don’t even have to work for it. One smile and you’re golden boy. They’re smitten with Mr. Perfect.” I couldn’t help but grin.
“Envious,” he corrected. “I’m not the jealous type.”
“I am.” He turned his head up, as well as his eyebrow. “What; you think I don’t know myself? Oh, I do. I can be very jealous, sometimes arrogant…”
“And bossy, dominant, possessive, annoying, emo…” Looking down, I smiled and a corner of his mouth went up a fraction.
“Guilty as charged. See? I’m not as perfect as you, or they, think. But it’s easy to focus on the negative. I’m also loyal, steady…”
“Yeah, you’re a regular poodle.”
“…positive, kind, stable, mellow,” I continued, ignoring him but squeezing my arm a little. “Smart, although not as smart as you. Yes, I admit it. And I know you think I’m boring.”
“Mmm…, okay, so I might’ve been….too hasty on that one.”
“Hah…” He hesitated then. “I’m wrong for you.”
“I don’t believe in happily ever after.”
“Maybe you should start believing in it again. You’re far too young to have such thoughts.” He huffed at that.
“And maybe you’re far too old to still believe there is such a thing as happily ever after.”
“Why? Because you say so? Because you had a bad experience? And that what; makes you more knowledgeable of the two of us?” He remained quiet for a minute.
“I didn’t have a bad experience. It ended bad…but the experience itself wasn’t.” The silence grew loud as I pondered that reply. “Sandro wasn’t bad. He was a good guy.”
“I can’t say he was, I didn’t know him. But good or bad, I can’t compete with someone who’s dead; they make few mistakes.” He stiffened beside me; then he slowly relaxed as my comment sank in.
"You've said that before, once, but until now I never realized....” He sniggered softly. “Damn, that’s actually very astute.”
“Can’t take the credit; it’s from a movie Taylan showed me. It's worth repeating.”
“Honest to a fault, aren’t you? Even so; it registered with you, movie or not. So, yeah, it’s still astute.”
“Thank you. I guess.” He looked up again, this time his gaze pensive. Then he moved, fluid and fast until he sat in my lap. I was a little surprised and even more so when he slipped both of his hands into my neck, knitting the fingers together there. Then he rested his forehead against mine and took a deep breath. His eyes were closed.
“You really want to do this?”
“Do what?” I asked, whispering it while I settled my hands on his sides. His body felt tense.
“Be my boyfriend?”
“Don’t you think it’s a little late to…” He softly bumped my forehead with his. “Yes.”
“You sure? Because you have no idea what happens if I do this…”
“Do what?” I asked, my chest beginning to feel constricted.
“Give you my heart…” Oh god…did he mean it?
“What happens if you do?” I was almost afraid to ask.
“I’m not going to go sit meekly in a corner. I’ll be the shitstorm in your life. Say things that hurt you, just because I’m smarter than you and will only realize that I did, after I said it. I’ll do crap, be a dick, drive you nuts, find your borders and cross em, every time… pull stunts you won’t believe. Think you can put up with that?”
“Tom, did you forget what I said?”
“I said you were mine. I meant it…” He opened his eyes.
“You said that because we were…”
“No,” I slipped my arms around him, pulling him closer. “I meant it. You can be the shitstorm in my life, because I want you there. Idiot.” He was downright shaking.
“God, I can’t actually believe it’s you…”
“Don’t call me baby.”
“I’ll call you whatever I fucking want!” He stared, grinning.
“You swore. Again.”
“Well, yeah. You seem to have it in your head that…
I didn’t get to finish the sentence. His mouth found mine in a ferocious kiss, as if he poured every pent up thought, every frustration, into it. And damn, was it good! It was teeth, tongue, arms constricting around waist and neck, both at the same time. It was the both of us trying to get the upper hand. And as much as he tried, I won. He tried fiercely, but I still won. And somehow, that was it. This moment, was it. And it was me who ended the kiss, even if he started it. And he was smiling, a genuine smile, when I pulled back.
“Jerk. Happy now?” It sounded angry. Yet not. I grinned.
“Yes. Very much. I won.”
“Fine. You win.” I planted a fist in the air.
We returned to the house, hand in hand. Corny, yes, but also a statement. Not just to me, from him, but also to his parents. So when we came back inside, and both sets of parents turned towards us, from what seemed to be a deep discussion, and seeing all eyes go to our linked hands, it was Tom who had the last word.