When I heard my phone ring that night, I sort of expected it just be Lori calling to gab about whatever she forget to talk about earlier while she was doing her best not to scream in my ear. Hehehe, but I welcomed her call. I definitely needed the distraction.
Imagine my surprise when I picked up my phone and saw the 'J. Kyler' name attached to the number beneath it. Oh wow! Pick up! Pick up! PICK UP!
"Hello???" I said, slamming the phone up against the side of my face with excitement.
"Tristan! Dude, omigod...he did it!" Jesse's voice came right through that phone and caused this intense fluttering in my stomach. I'm already smitten with this conversation, and we've barely spoken ten words to one another.
"Who? Did what?"
"Jimmy Jukebox! He posted his new video a few hours ago, and he mentioned my channel! This is crazy! Jimmy Jukebox actually endorsed our site and told people to check us out! He posted the address and everything! That was just a few hours ago, and we gotsevennew subscribers already! We've never done that before! We might hit the big 2K mark by the end of the night at this point! Artie's freaking out. Hehehe!"
Jesse sounded sooooo happy. I had to hesitate saying anything at first, because there was this slightly weird part of me that was jealous that it was the actions of another cute boy that had him all riled up this way. I know I shouldn't be. But deep seated emotions and common sense don't always make for the best of friends.
"Oh! Well, that's cool." I said. "So he uploaded it already, huh?"
"I know, right? That was fast!" He giggled. "He really is a fan. That's so bananas, dude. We're gonna try to come up with a video to say thank you as soon as we can, and maybe try to film it on Sunday or something. I just put some laundry in the wash so I could wear my lucky shirt and get stuff ready. I wonder how many more new viewers we'll get. If we get evenhalfof what Jimmy Jukebox gets, we'll be, like...famous! That's so wild!"
"Hehehe...yeah. Totally." I said. "I'm so proud of you guys, Jesse. You work hard. You really deserve the recognition." Be happy for him, Tristan. Quit being so selfish. Geez...
"Well, I mean, it's not that we don't appreciate the fans that have been with us from the very beginning or anything. It's just...they kinda get complacent after a while. And Artie and I get complacent right along with them. Having some new subscribers who are excited to be there and write in and leave comments and like the videos...it just re-energizes the whole tedious process of making new content, you know?" He said. "Just having seven new people sign up and say hello makes me want to shoot 20 more videostonight! Hehehe! I've got so many new ideas!"
"I'll bet it's a good feeling." I said.
"It's just really cool to know people are watching. That's all. It inspires us to do so much more." Jesse seemed to be bouncing around to the point where I could hear little squeaks in his desk chair. "Ugh...I've already started writing down more notes in my notebook! And I'm sure Artie is going to be drawing up a whole storm of new storyboards for us. Maybe we can look online for some more challenges or something. Or maybe we can do a personal Q & A with our new subscribers! That could be cool! I'm sure there's stuff that they'd want to know about the channel and the both of us. I'd have to find a way to get Artie to talk though in the video. You know how he is about that sort of thing..."
"Wow. Yeah. Sweet..." I said. But this time, Jesse hesitated before he said anything else. I didn't sound like I was sulking, did I? I didn't mean to.
"Are you...I mean, is everything ok?" He asked.
"Of course!" I said, faking a little chuckle. "I'm listening. I think you should celebrate."
"Am I blabbing about Youtube again? I'm sorry." He grinned.
"No. No way. This is a big moment. Youshouldbe super happy about this!"
"I just don't want to sound like too much of a dork about this whole thing. If I'm boring you..."
"Hehehe,Jesse...you are NOT boring me. I promise you." I told him. "Trust me, I've never been bored when it comes to you."
"Awwww, look at my new boyfriend being all sweet and romantic when it comes to my insane ramblings. Mwah!" Just hearing him call me his 'boyfriend' again did make me smile, but then I felt like I was being clingy or needy for attention. And, I swear, I really wasn't trying to be. I'm just not used to being with the hottest gay teeneveryet. I'm building up a tolerance though. I'm coming to grips with it all. I've got nothing to worry about, and neither does he. So...this is cool. I'm learning. This is a good thing.
"So what are you and Artie thinking about for your big 2000 subscriber milestone?" I asked, and he seemed to get all hyped up again.
"Omigod, I dunno! We've got some ideas though. Artie has an uncle that lives just over the Indiana border on the South side of Chicago, and fireworks are legal over there. So we might actually do that, but we'll need extra lighting and stuff, since we'd have to do it at night. But we've got a few other ideas swimming around, just in case that one doesn't work out. And we'll definitely give Jimmy Jukebox some props for the big cosign! Oh man, wouldn't it be cool if he could be in the video too? That would be SO epic!" He said, but then softened his voice a bit and added, "Of course...no pressure or anything...but you're always welcome to come with us too. Even if you're just off camera...it wouldn't be much of a celebration without you. I mean, you know that, right?"
"Hehehe, NOW who's being the big romantic?" I said, blushing profusely while fidgeting from my seated position to the point where I had to stand up and gently pace back and forth in my room.
"I'm serious. No tricks. No foolery. I just want to share this moment with someone who means the world to me."
"Jimmy Jukebox?" I taunted.
"What the...? NO!" He giggled. "Dude, don't make me come over there and smack you."
"I'm just kidding."
"Are you though?" He smirked. "You'll always be my number one boy. Promise, k?"
"Ok." I sighed, feeling weak again.
"Unless you get hit by a bus, of course. Then Jimmy's free game." He heard me laugh out loud, and that caused him to laugh too. "Sorry. That's the deal. If you get bumped off, I get Jimmy. And if I get bumped off, you get Artie. We have detailed plans concerning all of this."
"What if Jimmy and I both bite the big one? Does that mean that you and Artie get each other?" I asked.
"Ewww..." Jesse cringed. "Ummm, no. That's not gonna happen."
"I don't know. That KISS you two shared on that one video was pretty hot..."
"Annnnnd...forgetting that video ever happened, we're moving on to another subject now!" Hehehe, Jesse was so adorable when he was being timid about certain things. I really do cherish that part of his personality. It's just so damn cute!
"Well, sliding into the next subject...I talked to my neighbor friend, Scotty. I was thinking that I might bring him by tomorrow. But I'dtotallyunderstand if you and Artie are working on your big 2K video. We can do it next weekend if you want."
"Wait! You mean the really cute boy you told me about? No way, dude! Bring him by! Are you still free for tomorrow afternoon?"
"Are you being serious?"
"Dead serious!" He said. "This would actually be perfect. Because Artie is running back and forth to my house all the time now with new drawings and ideas, we can trick him into being here when your cutie gets here."
"Hehehe, do we really need totrickhim? I thought Artie would be happy to maybe meet someone special."
"Well..." Jesse started. "...You know how Artie is sometimes. He's super boy crazy in a major way, but it's all theory and no practice. I mentioned it to him a few times, and he always seems to shy away from the subject altogether."
"To be honest, I was the same way when it came to meeting you for the first time. So I guess I can relate." I said.
"That was before you knew what a total klutz and part-time idiot I was. Hehehe, but theglamouris real, bitch! From a distance, I'm the shit!"
"Hahaha!!! Why do I even encourage you?" I cackled.
"It's because you love me. Right?" He asked. It almost sounded like a sincere question on his part. Which was weird. Why would Jesse-101 ever have any doubt in his mind that any boy on Earth would think twice about being head over heels in love with him for the rest of their natural lives? Gay or straight?
Beauty of this caliber should never be humbled. He's too perfect for words.
"It is. I do. I really...truly...love you." I said, and Jesse paused as he leaned back on his bed and let out an audible sigh.
"Geez..." He said. "...I completely forgot what we were talking about now. Hehehe..." Then he asked, "So, like...ummm...are you gonna come over tomorrow then? It would be cool to see you again."
I could feel the emotion in the back of my throat building up as I smiled, my face hot with a deep rose colored tint. "Yeah. If you want. I want to see you too."
"What time? I'll see if I can get Artie to be here for your friend, Scotty, whenever he's ready."
"Oh...yeah, about that..." I hated to interrupt our intimate moment, but I didn't want to get wrapped up in my deep cravings for Jesse's kiss and forget the hidden agenda part of this whole idea. "...Ummm, Scotty doesn't exactly know about...well...about you and me. You know?"
"Yeah, I kinda figured. It's cool."
"He also doesn't know that this is, like, a set up. So...he's going to be even more in the dark than Artie is, you know? Is that ok?"
"Hmmmm...I think it should be alright. I don't know. I guess we'll work all of that extra stuff out when we get them in the same place at the same time."
"Hehehe, I'll keep my fingers crossed." I said. "So...would two O'clock be ok?"
"Sounds like a plan to me. I'll be sure to clean up for company." He grinned.
"K, see ya then." And with only a brief pause, I said, "I love you, Jesse."
He melted. "Oh wow...I love you too, Tristan. I love you so much."
"Awesome..." I whispered. "See you tomorrow, k?"
There was always this fierce sensation of 'disconnect' whenever I had to hang up and stop talking to Jesse for the rest of the evening. There's nothing more painful than hearing your first true love 'clicking' his phone off...starting the seemingly endless countdown towards the next time that you'll get to talk to him again. It just makes you sore in the heart sometimes, you know?
But, all those dreamy, lovey dovey, feelings aside...I couldn't help but to go over to my keyboard the moment that I said goodbye. I just...I don't know. I was curious. Just...just curious. That's all.
I went directly to Youtube, and I looked up 'Jimmy Jukebox'. I figured if this was his most recent upload, it should come up right away, right?
Sure enough, he had a long string of videos that popped up immediately...each one with thousands of views, thumbs up, and new subscriptions to his channel. I hate to say it, but he was even more well known than Jesse and Artie were...by a long shot. Sighhhh...he really was cute. I shouldn't care, I know. It doesn't matter. I'm ok. Really, I am. Just...why does he have to be so cute? He could just be an average, heterosexual, Youtube content creator. Why all of...'this'?
What the hell is wrong with me? Don't worry. I'm fighting it off. I promise.
I saw one of Jimmy's videos that just went up about four hours ago, and I clicked on it. There was a touch of anxiety flowing through me as I watched the professional logo for his channel and the accompanying music that went along with it. He had definitely put some money into his projects. It showed. And there was even a short montage of him taking pics with some of his fans in different cities and stuff. He seemed to be pretty well known. I mean, I never heard of him before meeting him at Cheesy Pete's...but apparently I was late to the party on this one.
The video started with him facing the camera with a swanky, button down, shirt and a pair of designer skinny jeans. He brushed his fingers through his hair to push it out of his eyes and greeted the camera like a professional model. He knew what he was doing. It was SO obvious! Ugh! I could be pretty for the camera too, you know? Whatever. Who cares, right?
"What's poppin' you guys? Welcome back to the Jimmy Jukebox Youtube Channel, I'm your boy, Jimmy Jukebox! Wishing you all the happy of happies, today as I smack you in the lips with another musical sandwich! How are you guys feeling? Wait...don't answer that! Because, by the time we're done here, you're going to be feeling like kings and queens! No doubt!"
He definitely had the whole online charisma thing going for him. I wonder how many people fall for this stuff on a daily basis. Why is he so happy? What's he got to be happy about?
Oh god...am I turning into a hater? I'm seriously being a hater right now. I suck for that. Sorry.
"Before we get started with some new music for you guys to suck up and enjoy for the first time, I want you to go down to the bottom of this video and SLAM your fingers on that 'Like' button! Comment and subscribe, and be sure to hit the bell icon so you can get updates on all of my new videos and content as it gets released, k? Quit being a passive fan and stealing your entertainment for free! Hehehe, you know you love me! Show some love! Passive fans are just plain RUDE! Get in the game already, will ya?"
I kept watching, and I was trying hard to find things to dislike about Jimmy with every word that he said...but, if I had to be totally honest, he ended up being pretty entertaining. Even though he was presenting himself in a way that would seem bratty and arrogant to most people...there was this subtle allure to him that made you realize that it was all in fun. And after meeting him in person, I already knew that he was far from being some kind of ego driven maniac. If anything, he was just as sweet and approachable as he was online.
If I didn't feel so threatened by his very presence in my boyfriend's life, I'd probably subscribe and become just as obsessed with his videos as I was with Jesse's.
Sighhhh...come on! This isn't fair! Can't he just be...flawedin some major way? This is really fucking with my self confidence right now.
Then...at the end of his new video, he says...
"As always, I'm gonna miss you guys until the next time that we're together! So stay real, and love life for all it's worth! K? ALSO...I want to send a shout out to a couple of cute boys that definitely deserve a second, third, and fourth, look when you guys get the urge to do some Youtube surfing! I'm sure that a bunch of you guys have heard about 'Jesse-101' long before now, but if you haven't...you've been missing out! I can, honestly, tell you that I am a BIG fan of this channel! Jesse and Artie have a lot of cool skits and discussions and commentary that you guys can jump into and give your thoughts. They never cease to put a smile on my face. Artie is one of my all time faves! And Jesse is just as HOT in real life as he is on screen! And yes, they're both openly gay teens, just like I am. So go on over there and give them your love and support! They are about to reach 2000 subscribers, which is a big milestone! So let's help them reach their goal, and then go beyond it in the future, ok? It's all for the cause! So let them know how much you love them! Cool?"
I mean...did he have to say that Jesse was hot? Why even put that in there? No wonder Jesse was so excited to watch this video. Not only is this Jimmy Jukebox guy practically drooling all over my boyfriend in his super popular video channel, but he's drawing attention from thousands ofotherhot gay teen boys from all over the planet now. NOT cool! Not cool at all.
"I've gotta run! But you guys know how much I love you! So I won't be away from you for long! Hit that 'Like' button! And you can find links for my Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, down below! Follow me everywhere! Try to keep up! You never know when you might be missing out on something! I might post nudes of myself somewhere by mistake, and then I'll have to go and erase it. You wouldn't want to miss out on THAT before I deleted it forever, would you? Hehehe! Yeah...that's what I thought!"
Then I saw the video coming to an end as Jimmy flashed that killer smile of his, and cut everything off with...
"This has been another Jimmy Jukebox adventure! Come back next week for more! And I'll see you on the flip side like old school vinyl! Peace out!"
It was a cool video and all, but...despite Jesse's declarations of love, I still felt inadequate. Jimy was a celebrity. A REAL celebrity! And he was giving a full endorsement of Jesse's channel, his number one passion...withimmediateresults. I could never do that for him. I would if I could...but I can't. I just don't want them bonding over something like this. That's all. I KNOW that Jesse loves me, and I love him back. God knows I do. But this whole Youtuber thing is one arena that I can't compete in. It's all so far over my head, you know?
I keep trying to convince myself that this is the stupidest, silliest, flurry of useless emotions that I could ever entertain concerning a boy who,obviously, loves me more than I could ever hope to deserve. And for no reason at all. He loves me just for me. But am I wrong for feeling a little competitive when it comes to things like this?
I want Jesse to get this same level of joy out of what I can do for him. Although, I don't know what that could be just yet.
I'll figure it out...but for now, I'll just have to rely on my denial of how awesome this Jimmy Jukebox kid is in his eyes.