This is just a fun short story I really wanted to write. I finally got around to do it, so here it is, I hope you enjoy it!
"Come on, hurry up! I have to get ready!” Tanner shouted, knocking on the door of the bathroom where his little sister seemed to have been barricaded for the last half an hour.
“Ugh, relax, you won’t be late!” a sharp, girly teenage voice came from the other side.
“Well I won’t if you come out now,” he replied a little softer, but still loud enough so that she can hear him.
The lock clicked a few seconds later and Brenda came out, her face covered in makeup. Tanner stood there for a second and raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t sure if she attempted to look pretty or go audition for a clown.
“Does mom even allow you to wear makeup?”
“Duh, I’m fourteen!” she said, sounding offended that he would even question something like her right to wear makeup. Grabbing her phone, she plopped on a nearby lazy bag and started scrolling through her Instagram feed.
Tanner went into the bathroom, anxious to finish getting ready and get on his way. It was a big day for him, probably the biggest day ever! You see, it’s not every day you win the prize to meet one of your favorite singers at a local radio station.
When he heard Jonathan White was coming to town to promote his new album, Tanner knew he had to enter the contest and try and meet him, or at least see him from afar. He knew the chances to win were slim, but he had nothing to lose. On the other hand, if he won, it would be a great experience he would cherish for a long time.
At twenty-five, Tanner was way past his teen angst phase during which he listened to punk rock, and was now a big fan of more mellow, acoustic music. Browsing through YouTube videos one day, he stumbled upon an indie singer’s song that was stuck in his head all day after just one listen. He’d never heard of this Jonathan White before, but he was curious to find out more about him. Soon after, he bought his albums and became a fan of his music, but if we’re being completely honest here, he also didn’t mind the way the guy looked.
Jonathan was only two years older than him, with a buzz cut and a neatly trimmed beard. In all of his promotional photos, he always smiled, and that smile was reflected in his warm, deep blue eyes.
The warmth of his eyes could only be matched by that of his voice, which had the power to instantly put the listener – especially if that listener was Tanner – in a good mood.
And the best part of it all – he was gay. Of course, Tanner didn’t have any illusions that he would somehow end up with the guy who didn’t even know he existed, but that didn’t stop him from daydreaming.
As he was brushing his teeth and trying to calm himself down, thinking of what to say when he finally meets Jonathan and how not to completely embarrass himself, his sister suddenly called out, breaking his concentration.
“I don’t get why you’re so nervous,” she said without looking up from her phone. “It’s not like you’re meeting Justin Bieber.”
Tanner did love his sister, and he knew she loved him just as much, but sometimes it was hard to endure just how much of a typical teenage girl she was. This was one of those times.
“If Bieber was coming to town, I’d probably take the first flight out, just so I don’t have to hear you scream all day,” he smirked as he rinsed his mouth.
“Ha-ha, very funny,” Brenda shot back. “I mean, the guy’s not even famous.”
“He makes great music, though, you should give it a try some day.”
“I guess it’s not bad,” she had to admit. “Of course, don’t act like that’s the only reason you want to see him.”
Tanner stood in front of the mirror, fixing his wavy black hair, ignoring his sister’s remark.
“He’s super cute!”
“Yeah, he is,” he couldn’t help but smile. “So sue me.”
“And I’m super jealous! You get to meet your boyfriend, but when am I gonna meet Justin?”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Tanner said, thinking “I wish…”. “And if Bieber ever comes here, I promise I’ll take you to see him.”
He turned around and gave his sister a warm smile, and she smiled back gratefully.
“Well, I gotta go now, wish me luck!” Grabbing his car keys and checking himself in the mirror one last time, he was ready to head out. He was pleased with how he looked, wearing a simple white shirt and tight faded jeans, along with black shoes and black sunglasses.
“Good luck! And have fun! And when you come back, I wanna hear if he’s a good kisser or not!” Brenda teased and he couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
“Yeah, in my dreams,” he mumbled and walked out the door.
The drive to the radio station seemed never-ending. Tanner kept checking his phone to see the time, afraid he’d be late even though he headed out way earlier than necessary. Of course, when he arrived he realized he was a good twenty minutes early. Just as well, he thought, at least he’d have time to gather his nerves.
He was sitting in the lobby, reading a magazine, when he heard a door open and a man approaching him. It was one of the radio hosts, the guy Tanner already talked to on the phone.
“Are you Tanner Wilde?” the man asked, extending his hand.
“Yeah, that’s me,” he replied, shaking the man’s hand.
“I’m Cole, nice to meet you. We’re just about ready for you, I hope you are too,” the host said cheerfully.
“I hope so too!”
“Well, follow me, Jonathan’s here in the studio with us.”
Feeling his palms sweating and his heart beating faster, Tanner stood up, straightened his shirt and followed Cole into one of the rooms on the other end of the hall.
“Ok, keep it cool, don’t be a fan-boy, act like a normal person…” he thought to himself as he approached the studio.
The door opened and he entered, quickly glancing around and trying to soak in everything that was going on. There were several people in the room, including two radio hosts, and in the middle was the guy he came to see – Jonathan himself. He was sitting on a chair in front of a microphone, smiling. He wore a light grey shirt and black pants, looking good enough to eat. The top two buttons on the shirt were open, revealing a hint of hairy chest. As Tanner entered the room, they all turned and greeted him, welcoming him to their radio station and the show. The host was still talking into his microphone.
That’s when Tanner realized what was going on. “Wait a minute, they were still on air?!” He thought he would just have a quick chat with Jonathan after the show, have him sign an autograph or take a selfie, not that he would be IN THE SHOW, talking with him for all the listeners to hear!
As he was trying to wrap his head around this sudden turn of events, Jonathan stood up from his chair and came to greet him, offering his hand for a handshake.
“Hey, I’m Jonathan, nice to meet you,” he said, flashing a smile that could melt glaciers.
“Well of course you are,” Tanner grinned and shook his hand. “I’m Tanner, great to meet you too!”
“Ok, boys, sit down and let’s have a chat, shall we!” The radio host was still talking into the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been joined by our contest winner, Tanner Wilde, a fan who got this amazing chance to come here and meet Jonathan! So, Tanner, you nervous?”
“Yeah, a bit. I didn’t expect I’d actually be on air with you guys,” he decided to be honest.
“Well, we like to surprise our guests!” The other host said, causing others to chuckle. “So, is there anything you wanna say to Jonathan?”
“Lots of things, but some of them are very explicit,” Tanner thought to himself. “Oh, where do I start…? I just love your music, been listening to it for a couple of years now. My neighbors probably know all of your songs by heart now,” he said, drawing a round of laughs from everyone.
“Then we gotta get you some good headphones,” Jonathan said, giving Tanner a smile and making eye contact with him. “But thank you, I really appreciate the kind words.”
In just a few minutes, Tanner found himself completely relaxed, chatting with the singer and radio hosts as if he was just chilling at home with friends. There were laughs, jokes and even an attempt to make him sing, which he skillfully avoided as he always thought he was a terrible singer.
Jonathan was everything Tanner thought he’d be, and more. If he had liked him before, he was now completely nuts about him. He just hoped it wouldn’t be obvious; he preferred keeping his impossible dreams to himself.
“Ok guys, you know how I said we like to surprise our guests? Well, we got another surprise for you!” The radio host announced and Tanner’s eyes grew wide. What more could they throw at him?
“Uh, ok…” he said, trying to sound relaxed.
“We’re gonna play a game – well, you and Jonathan are gonna play a game – it’s called ‘How well do you know me?’ Here’s how it goes: we’re gonna ask both of you five questions about Jonathan, just to see how well you know him. Tanner, if you have more correct answers, you win… What does he win, Jonathan?”
“You win a lunch with yours truly,” Jonathan said, pointing to himself, a coy smile appearing on his face.
“Oh, wow,” Tanner said, stunned at how this day was turning out to be more and more awesome by the minute. “Good thing I read your entire Wikipedia page before coming here,” he joked, making Jonathan laugh.
“Ok, guys, here are your pens and writing boards. You get five seconds to answer each question. Are you ready?”
“Yup, ready,” both guys said, sitting opposite each other so they couldn’t see what the other would write.
“Ok, here we go! First question: Where was the picture for the cover of Jonathan’s first album taken?”
That was easy, Tanner thought. He quickly wrote down the answer and lifted his board up, indicating that he had the answer. Jonathan did the same just a second later.
“Let’s see, what did you write?”
“On the bridge in his hometown,” Tanner said casually.
“Yup, that’s true,” Jonathan said, nodding.
“Ok, that’s one – one so far. Let’s go to question number two: How old was Jonathan when he wrote his first song?”
“Fuck! I don’t know this one,” Tanner thought, knowing he doesn’t have much time to think. He’d just have to write a random number and hope he’s right.
“Time’s up, let’s see your answers,” the host said after a few seconds and the guys turned their boards to reveal what they wrote.
“Tanner, you wrote seventeen. Jonathan, you wrote fifteen. Jonathan, you know yourself pretty good, it turns out,” the host chuckled. “The correct answer is fifteen.”
Jonathan gave Tanner a slight nod, as if to encourage him.
“Ok, third question: How many weeks did Jonathan’s hit ‘Be there for you’ spend on the US charts?”
Tanner immediately scribbled down the answer, sure of himself. Jonathan gave it a quick thought and wrote down something as well, but didn’t look too certain. He never paid much attention to charts, so he could only guess.
“Let’s see what you guys wrote. Jonathan says twelve, Tanner says seventeen.” After a dramatic pause, the host revealed: “Tanner, you’re correct!”
Tanner gave a sigh of relief and looked up, the singer making eye contact with him once again.
“You know your stuff,” Jonathan teased.
“Or just a lucky guess… I’ll never tell,” Tanner quipped back.
“Ok, guys, you’re tied again, two – two. The fourth question is: How many siblings does Jonathan have?”
Both guys quickly wrote down a number and lifted their boards above their heads. The question was easy and there was no doubt they both knew the answer.
“Of course, the answer is three, as both of you have written. You’re still tied, three – three. Tanner, if you get this next one and Jonathan doesn’t, you win!”
“I hope so, I’m starving!” Tanner joked, making Jonathan chuckle and his eyes lit up.
“Here we go, the final question is: How many views does Jonathan’s latest music video have on YouTube? Just write down the number of millions,” the host said.
Tanner quickly wrote down the number, his heart racing. He’d just watched the video today, so he was sure of the answer. As he looked up, Jonathan seemed to be erasing his answer and quickly writing another one.
“Time’s up, let’s see your answers!”
Both guys showed their boards, smiling contently.
“Tanner, you wrote twenty-three. Jonathan, you wrote twenty,” the host said, turning to look at Tanner. “Tanner, you’re correct and you win! Congratulations and enjoy your lunch! We don’t know who picks the restaurant, we’ll leave that up to you, guys!”
“Well, since I’m paying and all, I think it’s only fair I pick the place,” Jonathan said half-jokingly, as he shook Tanner’s hand to congratulate him on his victory. There was a strange smile on the singer’s face that Tanner couldn’t help but notice. He’ll have to ask him about it later.
“Fine by me,” he replied, thinking the day couldn’t get any better.
The next two hours were a dream come true for Tanner. Jonathan and he had lunch in an Italian restaurant Tanner visited a few times and thought was very romantic. Did Jonathan bring him there on purpose or did he pick it randomly? Tanner couldn’t help but wonder.
The conversation was pleasant, interspersed with jokes and anecdotes from their childhood and personal lives. Tanner hoped that Jonathan was having at least half as fun as he was having. At times, he was even close to touching the singer’s hand, but would always pull back at the last second, feeling nervous.
After finishing their lunch, they left the restaurant and Jonathan offered to walk Tanner back to his place.
“So, your new song ‘Unrequited’, is it about a personal experience?” Tanner asked before realizing it might be a sore subject for the other man. “Uh, sorry if it’s too personal, you don’t have to respond to it.”
Jonathan just smiled and said: “No worries. Yeah, it’s from my own experience, a few years back.”
“Wow, the guy must’ve been a fool,” Tanner said bluntly. The other man just closed his eyes and laughed.
“Not a fool, he just didn’t like me that way,” he shrugged. Tanner raised his hands in disbelief.
“What? You think I’m messing with you?”
“No, it’s just… Hard to believe. I mean, you’re talented, obviously very intelligent, and some might even say you’re not bad on the eyes,” Tanner smirked.
“Is that so?” Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “Well, not like I’m the only one who fits that description. In fact, I can name a certain guy right here who is all of those things as well.”
“Ooh, I’d like to meet him,” Tanner grinned, feeling the heat in his cheeks. After gathering the courage, he spoke again. “Can I ask you a question?”
“And what have we been doing for the past few hours?” Jonathan teased, gesturing with his hands. “Sure, fire away.”
“Why did you let me win?”
A moment of silence.
“What do you mean?” Jonathan asked, acting confused. He knew he was busted, but couldn’t resist teasing Tanner for just a bit longer.
“At the last question. You knew the answer, but you wrote the wrong one on purpose,” Tanner said, giving him the ‘am I right’ look.
“Ahh, so you got me,” Jonathan tilted his head, admitting defeat. “Because this way, I won as well.”
It took a few seconds for the words to register in Tanner’s brain, but when they did, he looked up and his brown eyes met Jonathan’s blue ones.
“If you wanted lunch with me, you could’ve just asked anyway,” Tanner smiled, pretty sure he was blushing from head to toe. Jonathan’s smile got even wider.
“And I intend to, many more times. Or did you think this was going to be our last date?” Jonathan was enjoying the moment to the fullest.
“Oh, so this is a date now?” Tanner pretended to be surprised. “I don’t recall agreeing to a date.”
“Of course it is, what made you think it wasn’t?” the singer asked, linking his left arm with Tanner’s right and pulling him closer.
“Call me old-fashioned, but I think a date should involve a kiss at some po…”
Not even getting to finish his sentence, he felt Jonathan’s hand quickly turning him so that they were face to face, their lips meeting for the kiss he’d been fantasizing about for so long.
Feeling one hand gently caressing his neck and the other on his waist, Tanner put his arms around Jonathan and eagerly returned the kiss, savoring the taste and feel of Jonathan’s soft lips on his own.
As the two guys broke the kiss, they looked at each other as if they knew all along this was where they would end up.
“So, did you see this coming?” Jonathan asked, his hand still around Tanner’s waist, as they kept on walking.
“No… Guess I don’t know you that well after all,” he chuckled softly.
“Well then, let’s start working on that!”
Thanks so much for reading, I hope you had fun on this little journey with Tanner and Jonathan!