It's not like this was my first time in the backseat of a taxi before. It's not like I hadn't seen the same environment of local neighborhood shops and suburban houses scroll by the typical bus window a million times either. But as I stared out of the side window to avoid an awkward conversation with the driver, I couldn't help but notice that the entire world around me looked different somehow. Lifeless. More lifeless than I had ever seen it before in my life.
It wasn't just the lack of people walking the streets, or the darkened windows of stores that were usually open at this time of night and much much later. It was the unfathomable cloud of utter silence that hung over the town as a whole.
No homeless. No college frat boys. No traffic. In fact, the very act of seeing the cab driver stop at a red light seemed pointless. Even if he had disregarded the law and rolled right through the intersection, I doubt there were any police officers around to give him a ticket for the offense.
The whole aura surrounding the situation was odd beyond words.
Then again, I rationalized that out to mean that I was still just being insecure and suspicious about sneaking out of the house, and my brain was doing its best to play tricks on me in order to free itself of the guilt and send me rushing back home again.
I've come way too far for that now.
I felt myself getting increasingly nervous as I got closer to the party. My breath was reduced to boyish heaves and frightened gasps for air. The line between fantasy and reality was decreasing with every rotation of those taxi tires. I'm almost there. I'm seriously about to walk into a party and tell the biggest addiction in my life, a crush that I've been harboring to an unhealthy degree for the last couple of months, that I'm...'okay with it' if he wanted to do stuff with me. I've never done stuff with anybody before, but...if Jason wanted me to perform some kind of sexual act on him...even if he wanted me to do it tonight, right there in front of EVERYBODY...I think I'd probably do it! Is that weird? Because I'm *SO* insane over him, and I really want tonight to be nothing short of perfect.
I don't know how I'm going to get an older boy to take notice of me at all, but I'm going to try my hardest. I swear I am.
"Just pull over here. On the right." I told the driver. "I can get out right there, at the corner."
"Here?" He asked. "It's your dime, boss."
The cost of the ride was 10 bucks. I had only brought 13 bucks with me. I don't know why I only gave the driver 12 dollars and kept one for myself instead of going for broke and adding a little extra on his tip. My mom always taught me to keep at least one dollar on me at all times, if for no other reason than to make a phone call if I needed to. I have no idea where I would even find a pay phone in this day and age, but the lesson stuck with me anyway. Go figure. Brainwashing children is a parent's specialty.
I was walking the half block down the street towards the house while trying to brace myself for what was coming my way. There were cars parked all over the place, up and down the street, and the party seemed as if it was getting ready to really go into full swing. I could hear it from a distance. There were some people milling around in the front yard, and more on the front porch. My heart began to beat even faster as I felt my feet still clumsily shuffling in the party's direction. Almost as if some invisible undertow was dragging me towards my fate, with me helpless to fight against it.
Shit...I really hope that I'm ready for this.
I pulled out my phone to let Eddie know I was there.
I slowed down a little bit, my feet turning into mushy blocks of water saturated clay. My knees weren't much better. I didn't want to walk into the place looking terrified for my life! I wanted to be cool. Just like the high school kids. So, I took a moment to tease my hair a little bit, and I took the bottle of spray cologne out of my pocket to make sure that none of it wore off on the way here. Just one extra spray. Ok, maybe two. One on either side of my neck. It wasn't strong or anything. It was just enough for me to feel...you know...'sexy', I guess.
As shaken up as I was, I couldn't help but smile when I saw Eddie charging out of the front door of his house and skipping out to the front lawn to come look for me. I guess it was too late to run away now. Before I could catch my breath, Eddie was looking right at me, beckoning for me to hurry up and come meet him already. Here goes nothing.
"You got here pretty quick! I thought it would have taken you another half hour at least!" He said, giving me a hug and a grin.
"Yeah. No traffic. The whole town is dead for some reason."
"Probably because EVERYONE is coming to this party tonight! I'm telling you, Walker...this is it! This is your night! Even Mike didn't expect this many people. Everything is already popping off, and more people are on the way! It's gonna be awesome! You'll see!"
Eddie was lightly 'pushing' me in the right direction, and I felt as though this was all going so fast. I held back. Eddie could sense it, and he stopped for a moment. "What is it? What's the matter?"
"Nothing!" I insisted. I swallowed hard, and then mumbled, "So...he's right inside, huh? Jason..."
Eddie smiled, "Don't you dare turn coward on me, Walker!"
"I'm NOT! I just...I'm trying not to freak out here."
"Good! Because Jason is here all by his lonesome! And I'm sure the girls are already scoping him out from a distance. If you ask me, you've got just as much of a chance as they do. Boys that cute don't go this long without having at least one girlfriend. Not the popular ones. I'm thinking you've got a legitimate shot at coming out of this all aces, man! I mean that."
"Always the optimist..." I sighed.
"Say, I may be an optimist, but that doesn't mean I'm a liar! The truth is, fate might be rooting for you on this one." Then, Eddie reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Pick 4 Lottery ticket and a piece of paper that he scribbled on with a pen. "Check this out, dude! You see?"
"See? See what?"
"Look at the NUMBERS, man! Geez!" He smirked. Was this his way of distracting me while he walked me back to his house?
I looked at the numbers he had written down, and then I looked at the ones on the lottery ticket. "Ummm...these don't match, Eddie. Like...at all. "What do you mean? LOOK at 'em!" He said. I took a closer look. "Don't ya SEE it??? Look at what I picked! 3-1-3-0! Those are MY numbers, dude!"
I said, "The ticket says 8-4-3-3, Eddie. That's not even close!"
"It IS close, bro! Double 3's! I picked double 3's...and the ticket has double 3's! I got HALF the winning number right!"
"Hahaha, I don't think that counts!" I told him.
"Sure it does! As long as my cousin keeps taking my money to play a number for me once a week, I still got a chance to win! And once I hit the big jackpot, you and I are going to go some place where we can have all the hot girls and gay boys we could ever ask for! Just you and me! Brother to brother!" He was beaming so brightly that I didn't have the heart to drizzle a light rain of reality on his parade. I just made him promise me that there would be ice cream. No fantasy is ever truly complete without a decent dose of ice cream.
"Be honest with me, Eddie...am I making a big mistake here?"
"WHAT? No way! Shut up! You'll be fine! Just come inside! We've got a KEG coming, dude! It cost like 50 bucks, but it'll be enough beer for everybody! And then some! Once you get inside and start having fun, you'll forget all about the nervous jitters you've got happening right now and just go for it."
"Just go for it, huh?" I said.
"Just GO for it! I've got your back, dude!"
"I don't think that's going to be enough, Eddie..."
"Then you've got FATE getting your back, dude! Even better! Remember the lucky numbers?"
"Those aren't lucky numbers, Eddie. They're just numbers."
"Hehehe, they're NOT lucky!"
"Are you coming in with me, or what? Come on!" He giggled. The pushed me even faster by putting an arm over my shoulder. "Damn. You smell good! You put on cologne?"
"Yeah. A little bit."
"Nice!" He said. "Did you spray some on your balls? Jason's never gonna catch a whiff unless you put it on your balls!" He made these lewd slurping sounds and it made me laugh.
"STOP THAT!!!" I yelled, thankful for the momentary break from the tension inside. "You'd better be right about this. I mean it."
Just then, we heard the sound of police sirens screaming around the corner! Eddie turned my shoulders away from the street and lowered his head. "Fuck! Hold on a sec!" He whispered. But the squad cars just raced past us and the party, their tires gripping the pavement as they took a seriously hard turn at the end of the block. There were THREE cars this time! All in a row! I have to admit to feeling my heart leap up into my throat as I saw them approaching us. Eddie was just as worried, but instantly relieved once the flashing lights were out of sight. "FUCK!" He said, holding his hand over his heart. "I thought they were coming to bust up the party! Thank God!"
I watched the last car speed around the corner at the end of the next block, and I said, "I wonder what they're chasing tonight. The cops seem to be pretty agitated tonight..."
more beautiful to watch him from a distance. Interacting with other people at the party as if being in the presence of your average high school student wasn't some great privilege. Something they'd never be able to appreciate as much as I did. Not ever.
All I needed to do was to steady myself and be patient. As long as I'm patient...I can get this to work out just the way I planned it.
"WALKER! Dude, what the hell, man? Go talk to him! Now!" Eddie said in my ear.
Sighhh...fuck it all...
I swatted him away from me, and nervously walked over to where Jason was standing. God...he looked so good. He really did dress up tonight. Then again, he would have looked gorgeous in just about anything, right?
Every inch of him was padded with this sensual force field that warned me to keep away, and yet still demanded me to move forward. Enticing me with the aura of beauty that surrounded him every moment of the day. How could I not be breathless? How could anybody hope to escape the charm that he exuded with his very presence in the room?
I felt my breath go cold as I attempted to walk up to him for the first time tonight. His back was turned. My arrival might shock and startle him. But even that excited me a little bit, you know?
I approached with caution...and I was scared to reach out and touch him. He looked so good and he seemed so sweet. His attention was elsewhere. It felt like a total blasphemy to try to redirect that divine light on me alone when he could be sharing his beauty with the rest of the world. Still...I took a deep breath, and I let my trembling hand reach forward to tap him on the back of his shoulder with a single finger.
Jason turned around, and I gasped as if I didn't expect his infinite beauty to rattle me to the very core the way it did.
He said, "Hey!" One word, and I was already at a loss for words to match him.
I started to rumble and quake inside, but managed to say, "Hi, Jason...." Nothing else. That was all I had the breath to say.
Jason smiled at me. Omigod! Hehehe, I think I nearly WET myself over that smile!
"What's up? You're um....you're Wyatt, right?" He asked.
"Ummm...Walker, actually. Close, though." He wasn't even close, but who gives a shit? He's talking to me!
"Cool! Well, glad you could come out, man! Get comfortable! It's gonna be a great party!" He said. And before I could really unclog my throat of jumbled phrases and confused emotions, someone was shouting out Jason's name to get him to help with some more of the festive decorations. He was quick to answer the call, but told me, "Hey, maybe I'll see ya around later. K?"
AHHHHH!!!! Did he really just say that???
"Um...ok! Yeah. I'll...I'll see you later." I swooned, and watched him walk away from me...falling back to lean on the wall and sighing out loud as I tried to use my wobbly legs to hold me up. Is this love? Because it feels like love. A LOT like...like...actual love. Sighhhh!
I think I spent the next hour trying to get close to Jason, but the party seemed to swell more and more every fifteen minutes. Jason was so popular! Everybody that came to the party got a warm reception from the rest, and they all gave Jason a hug and engaged in some small talk while I bashfully stood off to the side, waiting for them to finish so I could maybe move in and talk to him myself. I just...I wanted to be close to him like everybody else was. But they didn't give me much of an opportunity to slide in and take over where they left a hole. I just...I wasn't cool enough. Not yet. I was thirteen. How was I going to be a part of it all without looking like some dork who was working too hard to force his way into the conversation? Shit...why couldn't Jason just abandon his friends and walk over to a corner of the party where he and I could be alone for a second? Some privacy? You know?
I'm going to keep staking out the situation. I'll be patient. Because the second everyone else gives him some breathing room...I'm going to zero in on my sweetheart and do what I came here to do!
I try to have fun. Another 20 minutes passes me by. I see Jason talking and laughing with other high school buddies, and I try to eavesdrop a little bit to see if maybe they're talking about something that will allow me to contribute to the conversation. But they seem so much more sophisticated than I am. I'm not all that immature, but...I didn't know that high school guys were so much more experienced with something as simple as 'small talk' at a party. I felt as though I was being left behind. What the hell was I going to say to Jason when he had so many other people to hang out with? I kept trying to wait until he stopped talking to this boy or that girl, figuring that I'd take a step or two forward to maybe make my play for his attention...but before I could reach him, some OTHER high school kid would be calling his name and he'd be distracted all over again.
By the time I had spent two hours at this birthday party, I'd almost given up on getting a chance to talk to Jason at all. What was I doing here? Almost everybody is older than me, and they're all having fun and drinking alcohol and stuff...and I'm just sort of leaning against a few walls, looking for the golden opportunity to make a pest of myself around the most gorgeous boy at the whole party. It all seemed so damn stupid all of a sudden. I should have stayed home.
"He's on the porch, dude!" Said Eddie over my shoulder. He seemed to be having the time of his life, but I wasn't able to join him. I was making an epic fail out of this whole fiasco, and I hated myself for it.
"You know what, Eddie? I think I'm gonna check out, dude. This isn't the time or the place for some big confession like this. You know?" I said.
I was surprised that he didn't totally agree with me. Instead, he said, "Fuck you, dude! Hehehe! GO! He's tapping the keg out there! It's dark, it's quiet...go talk to him! All this time you've been telling me about your big secret, but you don't DO anything about it! Ever! Here's your big chance! YOLO, dude! Go get that sweet ass! You earned it!"
I told him that I'd go out there, if for no other reason than I wanted him to quit shouting about my sexual desires out loud in a giant party where anybody could hear him! I said, "FINE!!!! Ok? I'll do it! Just...stop screaming!"
"Yeah! That's what she said!" He giggled. And he gave me a rather hard shove towards the back porch, where I could vaguely see a blurry image of Jason through the window. Still looking beautiful beyond description, even through the distortion of cheap clouded glass during a high school party. Eddie saw me trembling, and he gave me a poke. "GO! It's our lucky day, remember? Hehehe! 3-1-3-0!"
"That's NOT lucky, Eddie!" I grinned.
"It is too! You just lack vision, bitch! Now go! Go get you some of that succulent boy dick so you can stop whining about the lack of gay booty in your life!"
"Fuck you, Eddie. I mean that." I sighed, but it didn't stop him from ushering me outside. After a few hours of being here with NO advantage gained whatsoever...I figured that my microscopic bundle of courage deserved a little visibility for the night, right? Ok. I can do this. It's just talking. Like I do with Eddie...but...with the most gorgeous boy on Earth! How hard can that be, right?
I heard a few screams coming from the front lawn, and figured that the party was definitely reaching its peak now. From the sound of the people out front, there must have been some really popular kids showing up to this party! Kids who were a lot more popular than I was. Kids who would probably be taking more and more attention away from Jason than I could ever hope to inspire with awkward conversation and an eventual revelation about me being gay that will probably make him sick.
I had to be quick. REALLY quick!
I felt the coolness of the night air as I stepped out on the back porch. It helped to calm me down a bit. Jason was standing at the keg, pumping the nozzle for a few other boys and girls to fill their cups. I loved the way that he was so comfortable in social situations like this. Everything just came so natural to him. A smile and a wink and a few unrehearsed outbursts of dialogue, and he managed to charm every single person who was fortunate to gaze into those beautiful eyes for a few seconds up close.
"Hey! Sup?" He said. Oh God...I'm getting a boner now! WHY? All he did was say hello! Oh please don't do this to me now! Not NOW! Go away! GO AWAY! "Ummm...sorry...Walter, is it?"
"Walker, actually." I blushed. I don't care if he never gets my name right. The fact that he recognized my face was more than enough. It just filled me with so much energy that I found it hard to keep from fidgeting in front of him.
I watched his long fingers work the pump for the beer keg. It made me grin.
"You want some?" He asked.
"Want some what?"
"Hehehe, some beer, silly! I was just trying to get some of the foam out of it, but you can get some if you want it. I won't tell. Where's your cup?"
Now, I don't drink beer. I've never had a drop of alcohol in my life, to be honest. But...for Jason, I'll have some. I'll be damned if I tell HIM that I've never had an adult drink before! Not now. Not tonight, when I'm trying to seem mature enough to tell him that I...ummm...LOVE him!
Another scream or two came from the front of the house. It was really loud this time! Both Jason and I looked at each other, and I could tell that we were thinking the same thing! This party is going to get busted if they keep making a ruckus like that!
I saw Jason wrinkle up his forehead in the CUTEST way! And he says, "What the hell are they doing up there? Hehehe!"
Omigod, I LOVE it when he giggles!
This is it! I need to tell him! This moment is crying out for me to act on my impulses! How do I say it? What words do I use?
At this point...the partying screams from out front stopped being the kind of joyful 'party noises' that we were used to. In fact, they were so loud, and so odd in nature, that some of the other kids on the back porch and in the backyard with us started to wrinkle up their foreheads as well.
I watched as most of the high school guys on the back lawn started to walk around both sides of the house to see what the hell was going on out front. I was actually relieved to see them leaving! That meant more privacy for me and my sweetie to talk alone.
I think Eddie was right! How lucky was it that some random disturbance out front just happened to take place while I was on the back porch with the boy of my dreams? That's GOT to be a sign for something, right? Hehehe!
I mumbled shyly, "So...Jason...I was thinking..."
"Wait. Do you hear that?" He said.
"The party? Yeah. They sound like they're getting pretty wild in there. But...before we go back to all that...."
"No! I mean...wait..." He said. I heard more screams. Not happy screams. Not the kind of screams that come from people enjoying the beat of the music and dancing their asses off. This was different. So different. "Hold on, Walter...I'll be right back..." He said.
"Actually, my name is..." But before I could finish, he was already rushing through the backdoor and into the kitchen. "...Walker." I sighed again.
Ok, something is seriously going nutty right now. But how bad can it be?
Shit. Let me just go on in and see what's wrong. What the hell is everybody losing their heads over NOW???