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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Luke Hanson's Mind & Punishment: A Teen in Despair - 11. Chapter 11 - Insecure Aren't We?

As I drove towards Macky park, my anxiety levels were creeping up. I kept having urges to rip the steering wheel and drive into a ditch. An irrational thought, but most of the time, when I'm feeling like this, rarely does anything make sense.

Let me tell you, I'm super excited and nervous all in one. This vast range of emotions never happened when I was younger, and I've had to deal with loads coming on in a very short time. I always seem to associate the anxiety with death too. It's like my brain has an excuse to be morbid. Like this journey now. Thoughts keep popping into my head that I won't make it to see Leander - That because I'm looking forward to something, a truck will come out of nowhere and smash into me. Or the fact my windscreen has a small crack in it, and any moment now, it's going to split, and shards of glass are going to slice my neck open and kill me.

But none of this ever comes true, whatever horror story I write for myself. It's all bollocks, I know. But you never get hindsight until you get hindsight.

~

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~

As it was after midnight, all the street lamps had been turned off; I assumed to save energy. I had my window open, and all I could hear was my noisy engine and the breeze as I raced through town. There were no other cars on the road, and once I got on to the short country lane to Macky park, it seemed to go darker still.

I put my full beam lights on and carefully followed the isolated road until I saw the sign for the park come up on my left. I turned onto the gravel car park and came to a stop, switching my engine off and immediately noticing the silence. There was one other vehicle in the park, a Ford Ranger, which looked empty. I pulled my phone out.

[00:58] Me: I'm here?
[00:58] Leander: I saw, come into the park.

I slid my phone into my back pocket and slowly walked into the darkness towards the trees. A brief unpleasant thought came into my head that maybe Leander would kill me violently and bury me somewhere in the park, but I quickly extinguished it. He was too lovely for that. But then again, Ted Bundy was lovely to all his women before he... oh shut up Luke!

In the distance, on a wooden seat, I could see the silhouette of a person, their arm slung over the length of it. I then saw a head turn.

"Hi," came the voice. "thanks for coming out."

"Oh, I did that a while ago," I replied jokingly, trying to break the tension that was probably all mine.

Leander patted the seat. "Here, come sit."

I did as he asked and gently fell back beside him. I immediately took in his scent, smelling that familiar and intoxicating aroma of both him and his cologne.

"Just like I remember," I muttered,

"Sorry?" Leander replied, sitting forward.

"Your smell... I mean, it's lovely. It's just been so long since... never mind.

Leander chuckled. "It's fine; I know what you're trying to say,"

"Sorry, I'm quite nervous."

"Me too, a little."

"I've, erm... I've always had so much I've wanted to say to you in my head, and now my mind is blank."

"That's okay. I'm a bit lost too. I've never met up with a boy before; I mean, in a sense, for the reason I have tonight."

"Are you okay about that?"

"I think so. After I left you earlier, I thought about when I first saw you with your Dad. At the time, I remember you being really sweet and asking so politely to find your phone. After that, the memory faded because helping to run the fair with my family is a lot of work, long hours, and you see a lot of people, and I mean a lot."

"Yeah, I guess you must." I said, softly.

"But meeting you again tonight? Well, something just stayed with me in my head, and I knew that somehow it would not be our last meeting. My gut was telling me all night to contact you after your Pal gave me your number. Everything seemed to be fate, and I couldn't ignore it. But I must admit, I was a bit shocked when Taz handed me the bit of paper. I didn't know what to say... and I almost didn't take it. But something said I should. I guess part of me didn't want to admit."

"Admit? Admit what?"

"That seeing you was stirring something a bit alien in me. The feeling i mean. The feeling I had after meeting you. It's not something that comes along very often."

"So erm, do uh... do you like me?"

Leander looked at me and smiled his warm smile. "Isn't that obvious?"

"I'm not sure, I guess. So in that case, I need to ask this."

"Am I into guys? Not before tonight, probably still not even now. Damn, I don't know. Like I said, this feeling... the one I've got with you, it's very rare. I'm confused. Well, I mean, sure, I've looked at a guy and thought he was good-looking. The truth is, I like people, not gender specifically, but sadly I deal with many unkind and selfish people, which turns me off from natural human drives. To like this person or that person? Well it's not so black or white to me. I rarely lift my head up out of my job to be interested in anyone. So I really just keep myself to myself."

"And no one has ever asked you out or tried to get romantically involved with you? A friend or someone from the fair? I mean you should be a model or something. You're really attractive."

Leander snorted and looked away from me, the darkness I was sure, hiding his red cheeks."Thanks," he said, bashfully. "To your question? Sure, I've been asked out, but my way of living is complicated, so it's best not to let your heart rule your head. As I said, I am the fair, and the fair is me. My family expect, and even demand that I am where I should be, helping to strengthen the family and give each of us a living and a life."

"Can I ask a personal question?"

"Sure, go for it."

"Your erm, your way of life? You're not what I expected. I mean you... you're different."

"You mean I'm not a rough red neck with classic gipsy traits and bouncing out of a caravan with a shotgun?" Leander laughed. "You read or hear too much bullshit. We're actually nice people with morals, standards and decency. We're just nomads who move around. Unfortunately, what you see in the media is of people like us getting chucked off private sites and leaving rubbish everywhere. It's the few families that give us a bad reputation. Take our fair, for instance. The rides we have are probably safer and better maintained than those at Alton Towers or Thorpe Park. We take pride in our living and look after the assets that make us money. So, no, I'm not like you would expect."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude."

"You're safe, Luke; I'm not offended. I just wanted you to know the truth and reality."

"I was more talking about you than your family or way of life. I'm not explaining very well am I? I mean you in this environment, the work you do and yeah a little of that traveller ethos, somehow you don't fit."

Leander giggled. "You really went around the houses there. Look I know what you are saying. I've had it said to me before that I should be working on a hotel reception desk."

I smiled and nodded, before laughing a little. "See, yes, exactly." My brain suddenly clicked into a question that I had wanted to ask for a little while now and I felt my smile fade. "I erm, I really like you. Does that scare you?"

Leander wrapped his hands around the bottom of the bench and squeezed it. "A little, I suppose."

"Have erm, have you ever kissed a boy before?"

"No," Leander said nervously, almost in a whisper.

"May I kiss you?"

"Erm..."

He got up and walked forward a few paces, breathing out quickly. I stayed sitting to give him space. He rubbed the back of his neck, quickly rushed over to me, and pushed his lips against mine. My whole body went into an electric fizzy spasm as we contacted for the first time. His lips were soft, his breath clean and warm. I placed my hand around his neck to experience him even more, but then he pulled away.

"Sorry, I'm sorry, that was just a little too quick for me. Please don't hate me."

Leander backed away from the seat before turning around and facing away from me. His breathing was fast, almost panting. This time I got up and just rested my hand on the back of his black tank top. He made no attempt to say anything but didn't move away either.

"It's me who should be sorry. Asking you to kiss me so soon was my bad. You don't know how long I have thought about it or how many times I ran the video of what it might feel like in my mind. It was selfish."

Leander turned around to face me, his eyes damp. "Luke, I'm so mixed up. If my family found out about this, I would be... God, I dread to think."

"Would they not be accepting?"

He shook his head. "You don't understand the way we live. It's not like it is in the normal world. We're like, fifty years behind in that way of thinking. At least, my family is. Look, I'm tired. You probably are too. I'm glad we met up, but perhaps it was a bad idea this late at night. Me still with the buzz of the fair in my head and you being up so late in general."

"What are you saying? Is this it, you don't want to see me again?"

"Insecure, aren't we? All I said was we were both probably tired. I need a clear mind for this and better words. Better words only come after sleep."

"Man, you are just too cute. Your voice, Jesus." I shook my head and smiled. "Look, erm, if it's not too forward of me. I would like to see you again unless you don't want to. Actually, that WAS too forward of me. I should wait for you to decide what you want. I really hope I ha..."

Leander pressed his lips softly against mine again as we met in a whole new way. This time he felt more confident in our kiss. This time I got to feel his tongue touch mine for the first time, and it was electric. My whole body yearned for him by this point. My mind ached with passion as I wanted to consume his very essence and soul. Finally, after a few seconds, we slowly came apart, his lips briefly sticking to mine, locked in each other's gaze.

"You talk too much. Did I tell you that? And yes, I'd like to see you again."

~

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~

I thought about Leander all the way back to Taz's. I don't remember how I drove home, which lights I stopped at, or even if I had my seat belt on. The only time reality hit me was when I tried to find Taz's bloody spare key under the pot.

Eventually getting through his back door, I tip-toed upstairs and into his room, closing the door. I could hear his rhythmic breaths indicating he was fast asleep. I put my phone's torch on dim, so I had just enough light to see around the room. I placed it at an angle to shine into the room while taking my clothes off. A cool breeze floated into the room as I was about to get under the sheet, and a spiritual thought came over me, wondering whether it was Leander kissing me good night.

I laid on my back, pulled the sheet up to my neck, and remained deep in thought. It was so nice to have someone give me affection tonight, even if it was brief. Perhaps it was the start of something special. Perhaps Leander was right when he talked about fate. Maybe our encounter in the bakers was the push I needed to try and make contact with him, even if it was Taz who did all the work to make this meeting possible.

I let my head fall to one side, looking at my best friend fast asleep in dreamland. He really was a unique soul who generally put others before himself, and I wondered... truly wondered where I would be now if it were not for him in my life. Would I be lonely, lost and insignificant?

I felt myself starting to drift off after a long night. My mind still felt quite racy, but my body was spent, it seemed. I resisted constant urges to message Leander, just to say good night or arrange our new meeting, but I knew how delicate the situation was - his situation, and I didn't want to push him away. So instead, I tried to put it out of my mind and think about tomorrow's lazy day with Taz. Sitting supping bottles of Czech Budweiser and feasting on burgers and chicken.

Damn, now I was hungry. But all thoughts of anything were suddenly pushed from my mind as Taz started fidgeting, rolled over and placed his hand over my chest. He was snuggling his head up to my left pec. I thought about gently moving him away from me, but instead, I carefully reached down the side of the bed with my right hand and brought my phone up. Accessing the camera, I held the phone out and took a wide-angle selfie for discussion tomorrow. As for being snuggled up to after the night, I had had?

Meh, It was just Taz, after all. I could live with that.

Copyright © 2022 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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Trying a different style and a couple of new things in this book and my only benchmark on how that is going is you, my loyal readers. So I have a small favour. Please do click a like if you're enjoying the story and please do recommend the book. If you have a thought or comment I'd be made up to hear what you think. All feedback is relished and of course I do love hearing your ideas, opinions and banter. Many thanks, folks! Now, let go forth on to the next chapter :) 

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Luke and Leander are like two, creaky merchant marine vessels that are leaving harbor, with hulls that aren't solid or seaworthy... their holds carrying dangerous cargo... @weinerdog pretty much hits the proverbial nail on the head

Remarkable: Two Ships Passing in the Night Meet for the Very First Time ...

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3 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Luke and Leander are like two, creaky merchant marine vessels that are leaving harbor, with hulls that aren't solid or seaworthy... their holds carrying dangerous cargo... @weinerdog pretty much hits the proverbial nail on the head

Remarkable: Two Ships Passing in the Night Meet for the Very First Time ...

This Picture is actually quite calming on the mind. Your point is brilliant, but your picture greater still. Nice choice! :D

 

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