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Not Like The Others - 1. Chapter 1

I sit and listen to them at lunch. Always wishing that I could still feel as comfortable as I'm 'supposed' to feel around them. Four of my best friends in the whole world. Rob, Gary, Alex, and Rachael. We've been the closest of friends since we were old enough to know what a friend was. We all lived in the same neighborhood, grew up at the same time, played the same games...it was so much fun. So why is it that, suddenly at 14, I feel so different from the rest of them? So alienated from their world without so much as a window to peek into. They say puberty does weird things to you, but I doubt it would be anything like this. Maybe it's that teenage insecurity that everyone talks about in the textbooks, but somehow I feel like it runs deeper than that. Because as much as I would like to believe that I am making this all up in my head...I know for a fact that I'm not. I see it with my own eyes, hear it with my own ears. And while they are constantly treating me like a cherished member of the gang, it feels 'forced' somehow. Unnatural. Oh, how I would love to have a button that I could turn on and off when I didn't want to be this paranoid.

It's the little things that I notice. The fact that they can sing the same song lyrics to each other, or laugh about a moment in a TV show they've all seen, or share an inside joke that seemed to appear the ONE day that I wasn't around. They can relate on a level that I seem to be banned from. And I'm jealous. It's a strange thing to try to keep yourself from appearing anti-social...and yet knowing that you have nothing to add because you might as well be from another planet as far as interests are concerned. We're like 'people', like 'minds', like 'personalities'...but all in all, when broken down into specifics, we're nothing alike. Or should I say, I'm nothing like THEY are. We all love music, it's something we all have in common. We just listen to two different KINDS of music. The kind that I like, and the kind that 98% of all the people I talk to like. Those odds aren't so bad. That leaves at least one person who's with me. Yeah...someone who likes the exact same music that I do, knows my favorite song, and can sing it back to me because he or she has found the same beauty in it that I have. That would be awesome. And not only that, but he'd have the same sense of humor. He'd get every joke I ever told right away without looking at me like some kind of stranger while I attempt to explain it to the rest of my little clique. And he'd like the same movies, and TV shows, and type of clothes, and we could hang out in the same places because we always love to do the same things. Not just me 'adapting' to whatever everyone else wants to do. I could actually make suggestions based on what I like as opposed to trying to figure out what is on everyone else's mind for an activity. A perfect companion, with some differences, naturally. But differences that I could learn from. And that I could take a great interest in while he does the same for me. Wow...like...he would attempt to look into my world and see some of the things that I like. He could try to see things from my point of view, and together we could just...grow. Cool. He would listen to me, and I could share things with him. Things the other guys aren't really concerned with. As I sat at the table and daydreamed about the whole thing, I was almost getting excited about it. Calm down Kev! It's not real. I mean, what the hell was I going to do? Build a robot? Whatever.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my friends! Immensely, in fact. We've had some great times, and every now and then, I can put my little differences aside, and dive into their world full force. They're the best. I can laugh with them and dance with them and everything. And it feels awesome. Sigh...but at the same time, I wish they could be involved in even more of the important parts of my life. Parts that mean a lot to me. To keep an open mind and try to see the beauty in certain things the way I do. To not look at my drawings, or my homemade movies from when I was younger, or my stories, and give me a 'that's nice' kind of pat on the back. Trying their best to be friends and show support, but not really understanding what went into it, or being excited about the choices I made in doing it, or even being interested enough to discuss it with me for more than a minute. But why should they? There's no reason for them to make an effort at liking something that I find interesting, when they can talk to each other so effortlessly while I sit in silence. I'll admit, I get jealous when I see them connect on so many levels. When I see them get into long conversations about something that they can all talk about and form different opinions on because they're on the same page. But to me, the conversation is so foreign to me that I can only sit back and listen to them ramble on about it, hoping that maybe I can learn something and have a say in it next time. Wondering if maybe I could lock onto the things they enjoy, read up on it, study it, force some kind of 'love' for it on myself, and finally feel like a piece of the puzzle. Change my interests to fit into their world. But, it never worked. It wasn't me, and I hated trying to be someone I'm not. Why should I have to be? SOMEBODY out there must feel the same way that I do about SOME things SOME time! You just have to believe that this magical person is out there somewhere. Waiting to show you this Utopian garden where everybody understands and accepts you. So, while in search for this mysterious stranger, I made changing my attitudes and interests 'out of the question'. I liked who I was, and in many ways, so did they. There was nothing wrong with me other than a limited amount of interests or topics of conversation to share with the people in my circle. And sometimes that may have made me seem depressed to them, or quiet, or boring...but until they're willing to see into my heart, they'll never understand what 'fun' means to me. Nor will they ever see how cool I could be when I can actually make a connection with someone the way they have with one another. Until then, I'll still care for them, still laugh with them, and recognize them as the people I trust the most. But some selfish piece of me, some tantrum throwing child inside, wants even more. Wants to be more than an equal, wants to be missed when he's gone. Geez, I'm such a brat!

"Hey Kevin, you coming with us to the concert this weekend?" Gary asked with a smile. I had almost forgotten to be paying attention.

"Huh? Oh...actually, no. I can't." I replied.

"Can't? C'mon dude, what's with you? You haven't joined us for the last two concerts we went to." Rob said with his usual friendly grin. And it was true, but the fact of the matter was, I didn't really have the money. Well, I did...but not to spend. Certainly not on a band that I had never heard of before.

"Nah, I've got some stuff to do this weekend. Maybe the next one, k?"

"Suit yourself, but you'll be missing out." And with that, they went right back into their 'connection' as I watched from the sidelines.

When I'm sitting with them, I'm in constant turmoil. Repeatedly telling myself to join in. To say something, to share a piece of myself, to just...be ME. And I CAN'T! It's like being socially impotent, paralyzed by the fact that I don't have the knowledge to talk to them on their level, and further paralyzed by the fact that anything that I take interest in is of no interest to THEM. It's a weird stalemate, and the only solution is silence until the opportunity for a joke arises. What the heck is wrong with me?

We split up for the day, and Rachael and I walked home together as we always did after school. I swear, if I liked girls, she'd be my first love. She was beautiful, witty, smart, funny...short brown hair, pretty smile, and while she is feminine, I've never seen anyone pitch a baseball with more grace. Not only that, but we could talk about things that I couldn't touch with the other guys for some reason. It always seemed weird if I tried to be too 'un-macho' around them. But with Rachael, I could let go a little. Of course, she doesn't know that I'm gay, none of them do. But she knew my heart better than anyone else on the planet, and it was an incredible experience when she and I were alone. "So what's bothering you today?" She asked. I'll never know how she does that.

"Nothing. Just thinking."

"That's just it, Kev. You've been 'just thinking' all day. You've got something bugging you. I can tell. So spill it."

She already knew something was up, so I gave it a shot. "Rachael...do you...do you think I'm a dork or something?"

"Hehehehe, I do if you have to ASK!" She grinned.

"No, I'm serious. I mean...sometimes...I feel like an outsider with you guys. I mean, you all have your laughs, and your music, and your deep conversations. But me...I'm just sorta there. You know what I mean? Am I making all of that up?"

"You're serious, aren't you? Awww man, don't think that way. We love you just the same as we always have."

"Yeah, I understand that. But...love isn't a replacement for a true connection. You know? We don't listen to the same music, or watch the same shows, or play the same games, or..." But she stopped me by putting a hand over my mouth.

"Kevin, listen to me ok? None of that stuff means anything to us. We're friends, we'll never stop being friends. We have different tastes, but that doesn't mean we don't like you any less or that we don't want you around us." She was trying hard to reassure me that I had a place in their circle, but even though I was pretending to understand, she wasn't helping. I wasn't even sure that she got it. It wasn't that we were all different from each other, it was the fact that I was seemingly in a circle where I didn't belong. Or at least not anymore, and that's what hurt. I never want to lose my friends, not a single one of them. But something just doesn't 'fit' here. Sigh...how could I make her see that? Hell, what could she do to change it? Fake an interest in my life as a charity just to make me feel better? That's not what I wanted. "Kevin we just want you to be happy. Don't worry about what we like and what you like. Just know that we're there for you. Ok?"

I chose not to push it any further, and just gave in like I always did. So I gave her a hug and said, "Thanks Rachael." and left it at that. Then we walked home pretty much in silence until we parted ways at her house. It was a strange feeling, because I should have been happy and content to just have people who care about me. People who are willing to accept and love me. But I wasn't, and I began to realize that I didn't just need 'friends'...I needed an equal.

I needed someone who I could talk comfortably with one on one without trying. But with them, it would be strained a little bit more. There would only be a few select topics that we could really talk about, and when we used those up, uncomfortable silences would creep in. I would sit there and think to myself, "I'm boring them, aren't I? Shut up, shut up! Talk about something THEY like! Try to make it natural." But there are a lot of people that I never have to do that with. Besides, it never worked for long anyway. If I invited Alex over to my house, he'd be constantly wondering where Gary was. If Gary was over, he'd be constantly wondering where Rob was. And Rob would be quick in saying, "So...is Alex coming over or what? Where is he?" Then, when somebody 'else' showed up, the fun could begin. And some days...that really hurt. Because I knew that I wasn't good enough to entertain him on my own. But the pain had to be ignored, and then covered up, just so that I could keep the friends that meant so much to me nearby. Like I said, it was an odd situation, and I couldn't help but wish for a way out. Daily. Wanting to have the guts to just disappear and let them be friends while I go and do my own thing with people who cared. Well...not 'cared'...but...oh, I don't know what I mean. I just get fatigued from the effort sometimes.

The weekend finally rolled around, and I spent a lot of time avoiding them while trying not to seem like I was avoiding them. I didn't want to bare witness to their excitement of how fun the concert was going to be for them. And on Saturday night, I took my phone off the hook, praying that they wouldn't make a last attempt to get me to go. They were the best friends that I could have, and I was trying to keep my distance from them. How strange is that? I sat around the house for a while, watching reruns of shows that I probably never would have watched before if I wasn't too lazy to look for the remote control, and decided to grab a video from the store a few blocks away. What the hell, the walk would do me some good. It usually helps to clear my thoughts when something is bothering me. It seems the only time I really get some peace of mind these days is when I'm alone. I snatched up my Walkman and put in a tape of some old jazz tunes that I had borrowed from my mom a while ago and never gave back. Something a little soothing to mellow me out. And I walked out into the street as the sweet sounds of Ella Fitzgerald filled my ears. Sweetness. I tell ya, the loud guitar, rock and roll, heads known as my friends don't have any idea what they're missing.

The video store was half empty as always for a Saturday afternoon, and I figured I'd lurk around for a while and pick out something old that I haven't seen in a long time. Something to maybe match my mood a bit. Maybe even 'improve' it. I left my Walkman on as loud as it would go, allowing Ella to sing her sweet lullaby into my ear and not be interrupted by whatever pop song they were playing over the loud speakers of the store. She sounded so good. I saw one of the workers give me a look, meaning that they could probably hear it coming out of my headphones. And probably surprised that I was listen to jazz as opposed to some Brittany Spears pop icon. But that only made me want to turn it up even louder. There was a freedom in it. Knowing that I was different, but not overpowered by the majority this time. I could be me, and not give a damn what everyone else thought. If only I could do this around my friends. Turn my music up, and let them hear it without feeling...alone. But I'd be outnumbered, they'd either tease me or give me a vibe that would basically tell me to shut it off, and my individuality would be swallowed whole by the collective opinion of the people around me. Not being mean, but not being excited either. It sucked during those times, but for this particular moment...being me felt pretty damn good.

I walked around the video racks blasting that sweet music in every direction, and trying to keep from smiling from the brief moment of contentment. I was so lost in my thoughts that I accidently bumped into somebody. "Sorry dude." I said just above a whisper.

"No problem man." I read on his lips through one of Ella's perfect notes. He was about my age, give or take a year or two. Average looking, light brown hair and clear blue/green eyes. Not ugly, not cute, just there I suppose. I walked on and kept going. I must have walked around that store for another fifteen minutes before I just figured that I'd grab something to watch and head home. So I bent over to pick a copy of 'The Beach'. I guess there can't be much wrong with a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio half naked through most of it. The tape was in between songs when I heard a voice say, "Don't do it man. It sucks."

I looked up and saw the same kid standing next to me. The next song started, and I took my earphones down, hanging them around my neck. Now I could hear how loud they were. Hehehehe, no wonder I was getting weird looks. "I'm sorry, what'd you say?"

"The movie...it sucks. I was kind of hoping that it would be a bit better, but it wasn't anything special." He smiled, and I couldn't help but smile back.

"Thanks, you just saved me a few bucks. I think I'm going to just get something old instead."

"You want something cool, try out 'The Last Supper'. That one is pretty weird, but it's cool. It's about these people who invite all kinds of racists and homophobes and stuff to dinner, and debate their issues with them calmly..."

"...and if they don't change their evil ways, they poison them and bury them in the backyard." I said. "Yep, already saw it. It was awesome."

"Ahhh...good man. What about...mmmm...'The Doom Generation'?" He asked.

"Yep! Highly disturbing, but cool anyway." I grinned. "Have you seen 'Pi' yet?"

"Oh HELL yeah! That one was awesome." And believe it or not, we went back and forth like that, trying to stump each other without much luck. Then we came to 'The Ice Cream Man' movie, making us both laugh out loud. "Aw, dude...that movie was TERRIBLE, but it was SO funny though!"

"I KNOW! But a true classic! I haven't seen that flick in forever. It's awesome just to rent and have a few laughs, you know?" I giggled.

"Yeah, but my friends don't get it. I guess if it's not some award worthy picture, they're not interested. Sometimes, movies just have to be fun, ya know?" He said, his eyes sparkling a little bit. Geez, and to think that I didn't even know this kid. "Hey, I'm Kieran." He said, happily extending his hand.

"Kevin. Cool, somebody who understands the fine art of video rental." I said, and the smile on his face was just as big as mine. It was almost like having a heavenly light shine on me. You would have thought that we had been friends for years now.

"How Long Has This Been Going On?" He asked.

"Say what?"

"Ella Fitzgerald. 'How Long Has This Been Going On'...made in...ummm....1961 I'm thinking?" WHOAH! Did he just say what I think he said? The music was still pouring out of my Walkman earphones and he was able to pick it up right away.

"A-A-Actually...1959. You know Ella?" I asked in amazement. This was way too good to be true. I was almost ready to look for the candid cameras.

"A little, I wish I had more though. I was really surprised to hear you listening to it when we bumped into each other a few minutes back. That's cool. A lot of guys our age have no appreciation for that stuff." I was a bit speechless for a minute, and could only giggle a bit to myself. I had never experienced something so...strange. And when I looked at my watch, I realized that we had been talking for over 20 minutes, standing in the same spot...effortlessly. I hadn't even noticed it, and I never struggled with one word. Never had a moment of silence, never felt out of place, or boring, or rejected in any way. It made me wonder if this is how Alex and Rachael and the others felt when they were talking to each other. As though the lines were secretly scripted and rehearsed somewhere behind the scenes, and we just rattled them off with ease. As though our minds were somehow connected and the communication was free to take shape without limitations of any kind. It was a beautiful thing, and yet shocking at the fact that it came upon me so suddenly from someone who I had never met before walking into this very store.

We continued to video shop together for a while longer, and when another song came over my Walkman, I decided to test him again. "Ok, which one is this?" I asked.

"Lemme listen..." Then he did something that made me a bit nervous. He grabbed one of the earphones from around my neck, and leaned closer to listen. Much closer. I wasn't sure why at the time, but I felt an almost ticklish sensation of energy rush through me, and I almost blushed. "...oh, that's TOO easy! 'Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me', with Mr. Duke Ellington, 1956." He said with confidence.

"No way! You're good." I grinned.

"Damn skippy." He said. "My mom used to sing that song on stage when I was little."

"Your mom's a singer?"

"Yeah. Not famous or anything, but she used to do theater and benefits and the like. She was great." It was then that we came to the horror section of the store, and saw one copy of 'The Ice Cream Man' left. As soon as we saw it, he looked at me, and raised his eyebrows comically. "I'll flip ya for it?" He said.

"I get heads." And he pulled a quarter out of his pocket and tossed it up. Heads.

"Shit! Fair is fair, go ahead and take it bro. But you BETTER have it back on time, because I'm coming back for it!" He grinned.

There was something inside of me that was driving on cruise control at this point though. A piece of me that has been dying to get out, and it made everything else so damn easy that I decided to take a chance. "I've got a better idea, why don't we split it, and you come over to watch it with me?"

He paused for a second, and I thought he might say no. "Are you kidding?"

"Nope. I only live a few blocks away. And it would be a shame for me to hog all of the laughs to myself. It'd be cool to have a buddy around who could enjoy it as much as I do for once. What do ya say?" I couldn't believe that I was actually doing this, but like I said, it was easy. He understood me without even knowing me. Everything was just open and simple and quick to develop. Conversation was the least of my worries. I actually had something to SAY. Well...I ALWAYS had something to say, but now I've got someone who gives a damn. Hehehe! It was like being a whole new person. A more confident, fun loving, interesting person. I felt alive again.

"Kevin, I think you just got yourself a movie partner. I'm going to have to let my mom know where I am though, ok?"

"No problem." He seemed to be displaying that same level of ease with me that I felt with him, and it was like being a five year old boy again, picking up some strange new 'best friend' on the playground after only knowing them for five minutes. We split the cost of the video and walked back to my house, laughing all the way. He was really a cool person. Almost a male version of Rachael in a sense, but multiplied by 10. He talked about the shows that his mom use to do, and how she use to sing him lullabies for him to go to sleep. And I told him about how my grandfather used to play in a jazz band, and would play old records for me whenever I went to visit. It was so weird. We were different people...and yet completely in sync with one another. Everything that we agreed on was right on target, and everything we disagreed on, we were still close enough in our amusements to easily see the other person's point of view. I felt as though I had just found the other half of me, and enjoyed testing it out to see just how close we could come to being identical.

We got to my house and I gave him the nickel tour, ending up in my room. And I saw his eyes light up the second he entered. "Wow...oh man! Hey, are these your CDs?" He walked over and looked at my little stash. "SWEET!!! Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong...ahhh...Miles Davis! Beautiful!" I just sat back and smiled as he became more and more impressed with my tastes. The things I had, he liked, the things I didn't have, he recommended. "What? No Nina Simone?" He asked.

"Nah, not yet. I only heard a few songs by her. She's alright I guess. Not one of my favorites." I said.

"Not one of your favorites??? Blasphemy! Dude, you have been listening to the wrong stuff then. I've got some Nina at home that'll make you an overnight fan for life." The mention of that made me feel so good inside. The idea that he was actually here, and was making plans to return again someday...wow. He was entertained just by having me there, by talking to me and not having to wait around for somebody else who was more worthy of his attention. This was so AWESOME! I couldn't stop saying it to myself. And soon I was walking over to join him by the cd rack to show him even more stuff. "Diana Krall, excellent choice if I do say so myself."

"She's cool, but have you heard Laverne Butler? Even better!" I said, pulling the cd from the shelf.

"Oooh, there's a new one I haven't heard of before." This went on for almost a half hour, and then we sat back on the bed to talk some more as he looked at my drawings on the wall. He actually asked questions about them, ones that I had never been asked before. Most of the time, people just looked them over. But Kieran saw little details in them that even I had overlooked. We chatted for hours, just enjoying each other's company. I found myself telling him stories about when I was in summer camp, and when I was in little league, and a bunch of stories that none of my other friends would sit still long enough to listen to. I went from being socially impotent, to being engaged in what was sure to be an eternal conversation had we not stopped it when we did. It was past getting dark, Kieran still hadn't called his mom, and he lived a twenty minute bus ride away. We never even got a chance to watch the movie.

"Say, the next time you come over, we'll have to actually WATCH the movie!" I grinned.

"Hey, how about tomorrow? I mean, if you don't mind. I could bring that Nina Simone by if you want." It gave me a rush to think of this beautiful person suddenly becoming a part of my life. His blue/green eyes sparkled again, and it made me smile uncontrollably.

"Yeah. Sure. Give me your number and I'll call you." He scrawled it down on one of my notebooks and was ready to take off. "Oh wait...here, take this Laverne Butler and give it a listen. Tell me what you think."

"Aw thanks dude! I'll treat it like gold, I promise. I'll...uh...seeya later. Ok? Adios man."

"Seeya Kieran. Nice hanging with ya!" After he left, I shut the door, and just stood there for a second...amazed. I tell you, it was like having caffeine injected directly into my veins. I was tempted to jump and scream until my energy gave out. And at this point, that could be a long time. It was the closest and in tune as I've felt with ANYBODY in years. I believe that I got more out of this one afternoon with Kieran than I did with weeks of hanging out with the gang. I couldn't stop smiling. And he was...you know...cute. But I won't get into that. We'll stick with 'cool' for now. Hehehe am I a geek, or what?

But, before passing out for the night, I started to feel a little bit guilty about the whole thing. I mean, there was nothing wrong with Rachael or Gary or Alex or Rob at all. It wouldn't be cool for me to suddenly trade them all in for somebody new. To just replace them like an old pair of shoes. They were my friends for crying out loud, and I didn't want to let my excitement suddenly squeeze them out of the picture. I guess it was just fun to be wanted as opposed to just being...around. Something to sleep on. Maybe tomorrow, I can use some of this energy to share with the rest of them. I mean, I finally had somebody on my side for a change. And if I can be myself around a total stranger, than I can CERTAINLY be myself around my best friends. I'll invite them ALL over tomorrow, Kieran too, and show them a good time. Yeah, that's it...let the real me shine through. Let them see some of the things that I like for a change and see if maybe they'll find something that they like about it too. If they just give it a chance. Kieran will be on my side, and I won't feel so different this time. Maybe they'll catch on, maybe we can all get along and be 'connected' together! I can't wait!

The sun seemed to shine a little brighter on Sunday morning. My mom and dad were basically zombies that morning, but I felt like a million bucks. I cleaned up a bit, ate a little breakfast, and set everything up to have some friends over. I think my parents were looking for some peace and quiet that day, and decided to leave the house for the evening once I told them. Hehehehe, actually, I think my mom used it as an excuse to get my dad to take her out to dinner. I called everyone up, saving Kieran for last. But when I talked to him, he gave me some bad news.

"I'm so sorry Kev, but I'm not going to be able to make it. I got stuck babysitting my little brother tonight. It was kind of a last minute thing."

"Oh...well, that's ok..." I said, not really hiding my disappointment too well.

"I will come over as SOON as I can! Maybe later this week, ok? And I'll bring you the CDs I promised you." As he said that, I heard the Laverne Butler playing in the background.

"Cool, just let me know. So...how's the Laverne treating you?" I asked.

"Excellently! I listened to it like three times last night, and I'm taping it right now. You were right, she's way cool." He said. He really had a cute phone voice, he sounded a little bit older because of the slight rasp in his voice. It was neat.

"Well, I'll hold onto the video until you get a chance to come over, k? Late charges and all."

"Awww, how sweet. Hehehe! Ok, deal." He agreed, and we parted after that. Just as well, two days in a row might have seemed like a bit much anyway. I didn't want him to think I was stalking him.

Rob and Gary came over together, and Rachael showed up, followed by the forever late-comer, Alex. It felt so good to see them, mostly because I was anxious to show them how lively I could be when given the opportunity. I had things to say, topics of my own to talk about, things to teach them, to show them. I felt so good inside. As they all sat around in my room, I tried my best to entertain them with the same ease and joy that I amused Kieran with, and for a while, they were responding...but, in the end, something wasn't connecting. I was still being me, still happy, still full of energy...but something wasn't connecting. What was it? It was like their closeness and friendship had drained all of that creative energy right out of me. Every joke bounced off of them, every comment on my drawings was dismissed, any story that I had to tell, every topic that I could possibly talk about...was all just mindless ramblings as far as they were concerned. And that feeling of being an outcast settled in again after only being in their presence for 15 minutes. I tried, boy how I tried, to keep the energy up and just let loose. But it didn't work. I had nothing to say anymore, and I felt boring and stupid and ugly all over again. Ultimately intensified by the fact that I knew how much fun it was to be with someone who understood me. Arrrrgh!!! What the hell was I doing wrong???

In a last desperate attempt, I got up and put some soft jazz on the cd player. Turning it up a little louder than necessary to make sure that they could hear it. I thought that maybe one of them would stop and say 'who is this singing? That sounds nice.' Or something to that effect. But they just didn't pay attention. I put it on my favorite track, and talked to Gary first. "Dude, check this out! Listen to this...it's so smooth that I can hardly believe it's human." I said.

"Yeah...that is smooth. Cool." He said without much enthusiasm, and then they went back to talking about their rock concert last night. He heard it, but he didn't 'get it'. The music just didn't phase him at all. It sounds so childish, but I was almost pouting at this point. Thinking to myself, 'if KIERAN was here, I bet HE'D get it.' Weird.

I later tried again, "Here it comes...the perfect note. THERE! I love that note. It's almost like you can feel the emotion in it..." But they weren't really listening. They weren't impressed, or entranced, or even trying to be. They just didn't care. I guess I couldn't hold it against them, they're entitled to their own tastes. Still...I felt a bit of sadness creep in to my heart as I became aware of the fact that I was the only one in the room who found my tastes about anything even remotely special. And I looked on as I fell back into my role as the silent little geek with nothing to say and not a single original thought in his head at all. I hit stop on the cd player and just turned it off in mid song, getting Rachael's attention.

She stopped talking and smiling with the others and said, "No, you don't have to turn it off, Kevin. It was cool. Really. We liked it." She said, but it wasn't real. And even if her intentions were good, I knew that they just didn't need it. And as long as they had each other, they never would.

"I was tired of it anyway. You guys can put on anything you want." I said solemnly.

"Sweet! Hey Kev, check this one out!" Rob said, pulling out his cd case and putting on some loud music that was cool, but the EXACT opposite of what I had on before. And of course, all of them got into it, singing along and enjoying it much more than I ever could. So there we have it, the final judgement. My interests and pleasures were beaten out of me yet again, and the majority ruled me out of the equation. I think my perspective was just majorly screwed up in one way or the other. I'd have to change that somehow. In the meantime, I think I'll just sit here, and try to pay attention while thinking about how awesome it wold have been for them to meet Kieran. I know it sounds weird, but I missed him.

The night went on, and things proceeded pretty much the way they always did. And after a while, Rob started teasing me a bit and we all had a good laugh about it. Like I said, I could dive into their world with both feet sometimes, I just wish I could stay there. They all left around 8 or 9 o'clock, but at the door, Rachael lagged behind for a second. Giving me a hug.

"We did it again, didn't we?" She said.

"No, no...it's fine. You guys be you, and I'll be me. No sweat."

"Hehehe, liar." She could always tell. "Look, I know this probably didn't turn out the way you wanted to, but don't let your head get the best of you, ok? Remember what I said yesterday. We're here for you, no matter what." She gave me a peck on the cheek and walked out. I suppose it did make me feel a little better. Or it at least put a stop to my inner 'whining' for a while. I know that things will get better. I've just got to try harder, I guess. If that's possible. Who knows?

I watched some TV, finished up some extra homework before school the next morning, and was getting ready to go to bed when the phone rang. "Hello?"

It was Kieran's voice, "Hey, is Kevin there?" Awww, it sounded so cute having him ask for me like that. Hehehe!

"He's been shipped off to Bulgaria." I answered, and he giggled a bit. "What's up dude?"

"I finally got my bastard of a little brother to go to bed, that's what. So...how was your party, man?"

"It wasn't exactly a 'party', just a get together for some of my friends."

"So I'm a friend now, huh?" He smiled. It came through in his voice, and something about that made me blush.

"Hehehe...yeah...I suppose."

"Ok...hehehe...cool..." And there was a short moment where I would giggle a bit, and he would respond with giggles of his own. That's when that ticklish energy came back to me, and I just felt so weird inside. It was like my body didn't fit me anymore and breathing was almost a struggle. "Say, you still have the movie right? Because I still wanna watch it with you. I'll have to run by home first after school, and then I can drop by if you want."

"Yeah, definitely. That would be fun. Um...what time does your school let out?" I believe the schools in Kieran's district let out about fifteen minutes before mine, but I wasn't sure.

"About 3:30, is that ok?"

"Sure! I'll talk to you then, ok? Do you remember how to get here?"

"Yep! Couldn't forget if I tried. I'll see you then, dude!" And he was actually happy. HAPPY! We said our good byes, and I felt...I felt...wonderfully confused. I hung up the phone and just let it all go. I don't think I ever made a friend so fast before in my life. I dozed off shortly after that, but it took me a while to stop smiling.

The next morning, I opened my eyes with a surprise. My alarm was blaring and I shut it off in anger! My heart was beating, my head was spinning, and I was probably blessed with one of the hardest morning erections that I had ever had before in my life! What the hell? I was dreaming...and that damn alarm snapped me out of it! I'd never get it back, never! I sat up, trying to make sure that I remembered every single detail, every sound, every word. Oh wow...as I recalled all of the specifics, I began to feel weightless inside. Every breath tickled my ribs and spread a wave of pleasure to all the parts of my body. My lips were curled up into some kind of goofy half grin that wouldn't go away, and I fell back onto my bed, trying to keep myself from giggling out loud. I remembered dreaming about my friends, about Rob, Alex, Rachael, Gary, and Kieran. All of them in the house. I vaguely remember the rest of them being in the living room while Kieran took me into my room to play some new jazz for me. And as we listened to it, smiling, sitting next to each other on the bed...he kissed me. One of those exciting 'dream kisses' that couldn't possibly be as good in real life. Not that I would ever know. I remember kissing him softly, but deeply, feeling my hands crawl up and down his backside. Then Alex would bust in for something, and we would stop. But I would try to get him alone in the kitchen, where we would kiss again. Then Rachael would go into the fridge, and we'd stop...only to look for somewhere else private where we could go. The dream was basically a huge tease, Kieran and I going from one room to another, looking for another opportunity to lock lips and make out some more. The dream felt so real. The softness of his skin, the texture of his hair, the gentle pressure of his lips against mine. Omigod...what does this mean? Awww...shit Kevin! You JUST made a friend who means everything to you! Do go screwing this up NOW! How many people in the world are ever going to be this easy to talk to or to get along with? How many are going to make me laugh like he can? How many are going to understand me like he can? Not many. So please...just let this be a stupid little dream. Let me forget it ever happened and I can go back to having a friend again. Come on, don't ruin this for me. I'll be fine, I'm fine, I'm cool. I let out a long breath, and just relaxed. Feeling that wonderful feeling inside, and hoping, praying, that it would go away.

- To Be Continued -

Last updated on November 23 2008 21:29:41.<br /><br />All Stories and Original Content Copyright © 1998-2008 by Comicality
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Are we really going to have to wait 10 years for the next chapter? This is TOOOOOO GOOOOOD to not continue, when it says "to be continued".

Edited by MarkE
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This is a really good story. I can honestly say that I still feel this way with my main group of friends. Hope there's more for this story.

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