It's hard to come up with things to say to him. Hard to make idle small talk when Dallas' very presence makes me scrutinize and feel self conscious about every word that comes out of my mouth.
I'm not really used to being shy. Bashfulness has never really been an emotion that I've learned to embrace. You want something? You ask for it. You go AFTER it. How else do you expect to make any progress in life, right? The worst thing anybody can say to you is 'no'...and even then, keep pushing until they either give in to your demands, or walk away angry because you made such a fucking *PEST* out of yourself! Either way, I get my answer right away and I either get what I want or I get the opportunity to move on and get it elsewhere instead of wasting my time. I don't like feeling as though I have to appeal to someone else in order to get them to play ball. Either give it to me straight or leave me alone. It's been a very stable and successful structure that I've built for myself over the past few years, minimizing the 'would be horror' of an adolescent life spent in angst, worry, and never-ending torment.
But Dallas was different.
For some odd reason, a rejection from him seems like it would be a terrible, life altering, ordeal. One that I'm afraid to face. I don't know what I'd do if I was forced to distance myself from him and his invisible aura of goodness. I don't know why my heart has decided to place him in such an exclusive category...but I find myself frightened by the thought of him feeling awkward around me. That fear, alone, is enough to keep me at bay for as long as I think he doesn't want to be bothered. He makes me feel like such a mess.
We pass by a few people in the halls, all of them with bags under their eyes, yawning and fatigued, practically having to lean against the walls for support. Dallas said, "Everybody looks so tired around here. I mean, I suppose it's a good thing...keeping anybody who's sick from getting in here with the rest of us, but...I'm surprised that some of these soldiers and doctors haven't actually lost consciousness standing up. It's hard to tell who the real zombies are these days."
His voice was so cute. Boyishly deep, but friendly in the most alluring way.
"Yeah, well they're only going to get worse if they keep bringing in trucks at all hours of the night." I said. "They started out small, originally. Ten people here, twenty people there. But now? I think the last few trucks were practically spilling over with people. Possibly 40 or even 50 people per truck, from the looks of it. They're actually talking about getting more trucks to go out with every convoy."
There was a silence as he sort of looked down at the floor. An uncomfortable pause that I couldn't ignore. It compelled me to say, "I'm sure they're figuring things out as fast as they can. The soldiers and doctors and all...they're saving lives. That's kinda what they do."
"I know but...the more people they bring in here...the more I'm starting to realize that things are getting worse out there." He said. "I'm starting to think...that things aren't going to get any better any time soon."
I chuckled. "What? You mean, like, the end of the world as we know it?" I was attempting to be confident in front of him, but rolling my eyes might have been a bit too much. It comes off as snobbish, I think. Ugh! You SEE??? He makes me second guess everything! "Do you know how many times we've been told 'the end was coming'? The wars and the riots and the nuclear threats and the environment and the killer comets from space...everybody is looking to be the next Paul Revere...riding through town with a warning for the rest of us, so when it all goes down they can shout, 'SEE? I told ya so!!!' The world's been ending since it began. We survived those threats. I'm sure we'll survive this one too."
"I don't know, Sonny." He said. "This seems like a special case. I don't think this is going to get any better. Not any time soon, at least." A slight cough caught him by surprise, and he covered his mouth as his longish, light brown, hair jerked forward. If he thought he was going to be able to hide that radiant level of beauty and grace behind a thin curtain of shimmering bronze...he was sadly mistaken. "Ugh...the last thing I need right now is a cold."
"And here I was all geared up to make out with you on a moment's notice." I grinned. So did he. Unfortunately, I wasn't really trying to be funny.
Shit! Come on, Sonny! Get it together! Stop talking like that! You sound like such a lame!
"You know...there's so much stuff that I wish I had done out there." Dallas told me. "So many parts of the world that I was hoping to see someday. Accomplishments that I was hoping to achieve, dreams that I was hoping would come true. I never expected everything to fall apart so fast. It still doesn't even feel like this is really happening." Dallas kind of stared off into space, and added, "...Civilization is so damn fragile, you know? You never really understand how fake it is, how much of a pointless 'show' we all put on for others...until it all comes tumbling down."
Feeling the melancholy quicksand sucking us both down into a miserable moment, I told him, "They'll figure something out. They always do." Dallas looked at me, and gave me a bit of a crooked smirk...but it wasn't necessarily a genuine expression of relief. I continued. "Right now, people in this place, and I'm sure in every other place around the city, the state, the country...hell, maybe even the world, are working 'round the clock to fix this. Things suck for right now...but in a couple of weeks, some brilliant scientist somewhere will find a cure or a vaccine for whatever is causing this to happen. And then the outbreak will be contained, society will adjust, and the President will get on TV and make some inspirational speech about how we won the day, and how we're heroes for running away from the threat and hiding out in the halls of Hillside High. Ultimately, a few years from now, we'll all look back on this as some kind of fucked up memory that we alter and modify to make it a more interesting story at parties. The time when we thought all of humanity was doomed...and we struggled together for another inevitable win against the forces of evil. You know...cinematic bullshit. Heh..."
This time, Dallas's smile seemed a little more authentic. And that made me wiggle in my own skin.
"If you say so." He grinned. Then...I noticed that he reached a hand out to the side to place it on one of the lockers to balance himself.
"You ok?" I asked.
"Yeah. Just...a little dizzy, I think. The doctors must have drugged me up with something during my last check up. I feel weird."
"Well...here, let's just sit down for a little bit. We can talk." I said.
"Yeah? Ok...sure. That actually sounds like a good idea." Dallas leaned his back and shoulders up against the lockers and slid down to the floor, with me taking a seat directly beside him. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes for a few seconds, as if to stop the world from spinning. I took a secretive glance at him, watching his soft, pink, lips part slightly...a colorful contrast to the pale smoothness of his cheek. His long eyelashes curling slightly at their ends. No matter what Dallas did, the presentation was breathtaking. "I'm sorry. What were we talking about? I lost my concentration."
"The end of the world, I believe." I could do it, you know? I could lean in and kiss him right on the lips while his eyes were closed. By the time he realized what was going on, it would feel too good for him to want to stop. I just wanted a taste of what it would be like to be with him. What it would be like to kiss those lips and have them kiss me back. Not just to reach an orgasm...but to actually display some sort of exclusive emotion for me the same way that I would display it for them.
"Oh yeah, hehehe...right. Duh..." He snickered. "Yeah, I'm just...feeling weird these past few days. It comes and it goes, but...I don't know."
"Feeling weird, like how?" I asked.
"Just...off. You know? I get these random headaches sometimes. I get really thirsty all of a sudden, without warning. It's hard to sleep, hard to focus...I don't know if I'm just super exhausted or what."
"You know what's an awesome way for you to get rid of all those symptoms?" I asked.
"A really hot...really slow...wet and sexy blowjob." I was trembling slightly when I said it, but I was hoping for a positive response.
Dallas opened his eyes and turned his head to look at me, giggling at my brazen approach. "And I take it that you're going to be the one to help me out with that, huh?"
"Well, I feel it's my duty to help out whenever and wherever I can. You know...for public safety reasons and all, of course." I said. Why am I still shaking this way?
He coughed again, and then said, "You're a real pal, there, Sonny. Hehehe!" I swear, I could almost taste him. "Cameron told me to keep my eye on you."
"Only because he wants you for himself, I'm sure." I replied.
"You two are too horny for my tastes."
"I won't deny being horny for your taste, Dallas. That's for sure." I laughed, and we clammed up as some more people walked by us in the hallway.
That's when Dallas said, "Nah. I'm flattered, but...zombie apocalypse or not...I still want my first to be something special."
"You're breaking my heart. You know that, right?" Then I thought about what he said, and I was like, "Wait...did I hear that right? Did you say 'your first'?"
Now it was time for him to roll his eyes. But it's soooo much more adorable when he does it! "Don't. Ok? Just...let's move on."
I giggled unintentionally. "Wait...you've never had a blowjob before?"
"That's not moving on." He said.
"Hehehe, NO! Seriously! Off the record. I just wanna know!"
He seemed to squirm a bit from the announcement of the question itself, which pretty much gave me the answer that I was looking for. "I didn't say that." He told me.
"You're a virgin, aren't you? Like...a total virgin? You've never gone beyond some tissues, some lotion, and a few dirty thoughts, have you?"
He blushed instantly. The thing is...it wasn't really a good blush. As someone who thinks that everything that Dallas does is utterly adorable...I could tell that this was something that he was slightly embarrassed about, so I worked hard to erase the flirty smile from my lips. "There's nothing wrong with that." He said. Confidently at first, but then followed it up with, "Right? I just turned 16 last month. It's not THAT weird, right?"
"Weird that you're a virgin?" I asked with a grin. "Sorry, but...you just don't seem like the type."
"There's a type?" He said sarcastically. "What does a virgin teenager look like, in your world?"
"I dunno! Ummm...not like YOU. That's for sure." I said.
As beautiful as he was, I think he actually felt somewhat 'self conscious' about such a flattering comment! For boys that cute...I didn't think that was possible. Isn't he used to being drooled over by now? "What's that supposed to mean? Hehehe!"
"It means...you just..." I stumbled for a second, and the best thing I could come up with was, "...Boys like you don't make it to the age of 16 and remain virgins. Not in this day and age."
Dallas gave me such a strange look. "Boys like me? This day and age? Hehehe, you're just being silly now, right?"
"No! Like...ugh..." Straighten up, Sonny. Let the words come to you. "...I think..." Steady your voice. Stop TREMBLING so much!!! "...I think you're really cute, Dallas." I saw his blush deepen a bit. Omigod, it was so adorable that I had to turn away. "Hehehe, it's just...boys like you...you usually start getting playful little love notes and kisses on the cheek from girls in your class by the age of ten. By the time you're 12 or 13...you're making out, and some are even dry humping on the living room couch when nobody's home. People are drawn to you, Dallas. I, naturally, half expected you to have a few tic marks on your scorecard by now."
"Heh...yeah, well...I don't." He said. "I don't know, I just think...I can wait for a time when it can be special, you know? I can be patient. If that's what it takes. Call me crazy, but I kinda want to share that special moment with somebody that I really love."
I said, "Love is easy enough to find, dude."
He replied, "SEX is easy to find. Love has to be earned. Like...through challenges, and shared interests, and sacrifice. It's something that you have to work for, and I don't mind working for it. I don't mind being alone until I find somebody that's worth the effort. If it was just served up to me on a silver platter...what would be the point?"
I was in awe of him, but ashamed of myself at the same time. I never knew what to feel when I was staring into those gorgeous eyes of his.
He asked, "Have you really had sex with six people since you've been here? At Hillside, I mean?"
I never once felt 'dirty' about the things that I've done until he asked me that question. Something about the look in his eyes caused me to lower my self esteem to levels that barely allowed me to speak. "I don't know. Maybe." I lied.
"It's ok. It's not a judgement or anything. Sometimes I wish I was getting laid too." He smiled.
"You think it's dirty...don't you?"
"No. I just...I don't know how you do it. I mean, did you even know them beforehand?"
"I got to know them pretty well during." I chuckled, hoping to lighten things up a little bit. "You know...it feels good. And I know that it won't last for very long. I don't expect it to. But...in that one moment, when you're right in the middle of the act, when your body is on fire and your heart is beating out of control, when your breath is heavy and you're both racing towards that sexual finale...you feel alive, you know? Like you matter to somebody. Like...you can give them just as much pleasure as they're giving you. Sure, it's fleeting, but what 'feel good' moment isn't?"
Dallas, quite innocently, asked me, "Well, don't you feel good when you're not having sex?"
I knew the answer to that question...but I've been avoiding it for longer than he could ever imagine. It's hard to say out loud. "You know, my mom...she started dating this 'guy' after my dad left. He was...some kind of accountant or something. I don't know if my mom had any real feelings for him, but she was getting the bills paid and had a steady supply of alcohol in the dining room cabinet, so she didn't complain." I thought back to him and his ugly mustache. The memory of his scent came back to me in an instant. "He found out that I was gay by snooping around on my computer. My mom never outed me to him. I think she thought it would screw up her chances if the guy knew he had a fag in the house. She never really came out and said it, but I'm pretty sure she was ashamed of me." I said. It's weird, but while parts of this story should hurt me deeply, I had grown a rough callous around my heart. I barely felt anything at all. "Well, once he found out that I was queer...he basically made me an offer. If I kept him happy...I could stay."
"Kept him happy?" Dallas asked.
"Yeah. 'Kept him happy'." I replied, looking him in the eye as he took the hint.
"Hopefully, you got the hell out of there."
"Nope. I kept him happy. He got what he wanted...and I got to stay. End of story." I said. "People only love you as long as they can use you. Once you stop being useful, you're not worth the effort anymore. I had to learn the hard way that my happiness doesn't matter to anybody else but me. Give just enough to trick people into paying you some attention, and then take what you can before they lose interest. I'm not one for fairy tale endings, Dallas. It's a fool's bet, expecting someone to care. I'm better off making somebody appreciating a sexy orgasm, or blowing a hot load of cum in my mouth, than I am wishing for rainbows and pixie dust. It's just not my vibe."
The way that Dallas looked at me...he seemed so...disturbed. I avoided his eyes. I didn't expect him to understand. What does he know? He's still a virgin anyway. It's my life, and I worked things out the best way that I knew how. I don't make any apologies for it. Why should I? I'm happy just being me, the rest of the world be damned. I don't ask for permission. I don't beg for forgiveness. Deal with it.
"I care." Dallas said softly.
Those two words...they hurt me. I don't know how. I don't know why. But they stabbed me right in the heart. I felt this intense pressure on my chest, and tried to scoff at the idea to keep from tearing up. "You're supposed to save that for AFTER the slow and sexy blowjob, genius. Heh..."
"I don't need all that. I'm sure plenty of other people would agree with me." I looked him in the eye, and he smiled at me. "I'm totally satisfied just sitting here talking to you. So give me some credit."
"Credit given." I said. "You're still a big ol' virgin, though."
"Hehehe, my day will come. Just you wait."
"Well, don't say that I didn't make you an offer." I grinned.
"Trust me, if I liked guys, I might just make an honest man out of you."
"Ha! Yeah, good luck with that." I said. Dallas started to giggle, which turned into another series of coughs. And then I saw a small trickle of blood running out of his nose. "Dude...your nose..."
Dallas didn't even feel it until the narrow stream rolled over his lips. He wiped it off on his sleeve. "Sorry. Jesus. That's the third time today. My bad, that's gross."
"Maybe you should see if one of the doctors can give you something. That's not a good sign." I told him, genuinely concerned.
"Oh please, it's just a little nosebleed. Besides, the medics in this place are already about to faint from exhaustion. By the time I get in line behind the rest of the incoming refugees, they'll be dead on their feet." He said. "Speaking of which, I'm feeling a little drowsy myself. I should probably get back and lay down for a while. Once I get some sleep, I'm sure I'll feel much better."
"Yeah. I'm fine." He said. So I stood up on my feet and offered him my hand. I pulled him up and his head was spinning. He leaned back against the lockers with a cute little grin. "Whoah...I got up a little too fast there. Hehehe!"
Without even knowing what I was doing, I was suddenly leaning forward. The 'pull' of his smile had completely rendered me helpless, and gave me no warning as gently kissed Dallas on the lips. It was brief, but it electrified me, inside and out.
Obviously, he was surprised. "Hehehe, what was that for?"
I blushed, and looked down at my shoes. "That's...for caring about me...when you didn't have to."
There was a quiet moment between us. Then he just put an arm over my shoulder and started walking back to the sleeping area with me. "Don't get too used to doing that. I've got a reputation to uphold around here." He laughed.
He seemed so close, and yet sooooo far away at the same time. Of all the people I could have had a heart crushing infatuation with...I had definitely chosen the wrong one.