Noah arrived at school ten minutes early and went straight to the teacher’s lounge. It had become his habit now to get a brew from the coffee machine before starting off his day. So he grabbed a mug and began pouring his coffee.
His mind reflected over the incident that happened last evening. Things pretty much got out of hand when it all heated up between him and Luke. Not that he regretted it, because his emotions for Luke were purely romantic and far from lust ... but he feared if anyone else found out, they wouldn’t understand it at all.
He sighed and took a sip of his coffee. While he was thinking, he thought he heard a soft ‘psst’ coming from somewhere, and he looked around. Except for one other teacher, no one else was present in the room.
“Psst! Noah!” A hushed whisper fell on his ear, and he figured it came from somewhere near him. He looked here and there, searching for that mysterious person. Someone tugged on his pants and he bent down to see who was there underneath the table.
“Luke!” He said in a loud whisper, totally surprised. The blonde guy gave him a sheepish smile and waved at him. “What are you doing here?”
“First get out of here, before anyone sees you.” Noah said offering his hand. Luke hesitated, peeking over Noah’s shoulders. “Nobody’s here. Come out now.”
Luke stood up quickly forgetting he was under the desk, and hit his head on the desk. “Ow!” He said and took Noah’s hand. Noah couldn’t help but chuckle as Luke came out rubbing his head.
Noah brushed away Luke’s hair that fell over his forehead, giving him a longing look. “You are so cute, you know that?” Noah said in awe, the anger long forgotten.
“Thanks... I guess.” Luke blushed.
“But anyway, why were you hiding here beneath the table?” Noah asked furrowing his eyebrow. He feigned anger on his face, but he could hardly keep a straight face watching Luke right now.
“Uhm... I wanted to say something to you.”
“What?” Noah searched for his answer in Luke’s eyes as they bore deep into his.
“It’s about the amazing time we shared yesterday.” Luke said stepping closer to Noah’s body. “I just want to say thank you, for making me feel ... so happy. I have never felt so happy in my life until yesterday. I couldn’t even sleep for a long time last night. Flashbacks of you and me together kept replaying in my mind.”
Noah had felt the same thing, but he didn’t feel this was the right time to say it. They were almost sneaking around and meeting like this; it didn’t seem right. School was not a safe place to discuss their budding love.
When Noah didn’t say a word, Luke thought he would rather show him how he felt about him, so he cupped Noah’s face and leaned in to kiss him. He had been dying to this since last night, after Noah had dropped him off at home.
Noah became wary and he heard footsteps. He quickly pushed Luke, much to the boy’s dismay, and helped him hide back beneath the table. One of his colleagues walked in and smiled at him on his way to the coffee machine.
Noah couldn’t smile back, and he held his breath, as he saw his mate so close to the table. He only prayed Luke wouldn’t get caught. Fortunately, the man took his coffee and left the room instantly. “See ya later, Mayer!”
Noah nodded to him before he vanished outside, and then he heaved a sigh of relief. He angrily looked at Luke, who warily stepped out of his hiding place and looked towards the door, sighing as well. “Phew! That was close.”
“Yeah, you think?” Noah sarcastically snorted and continued, “You better go before anyone else walks in here.” And Noah literally shoved him out of the door.
However, Luke stopped at the door and looked lovingly at him before he blew a flying kiss towards him. Noah rolled his eyes and wiped his sweaty forehead. He knew now, ‘Luke is really something ... cute, but could bring trouble.’
Joe was confused when he saw Gust talking with Candes. He thought things were tense between those two, but right now they looked like they were doing just fine. Gust was holding her hand, patting it, as if trying to assure her something. She looked as if she was crying. It all made him suspicious.
But he shrugged it off and went over to them.
“... I will always stand by you, no matter what. It will be just fine, trust me.” He heard Gust talking in a hushed tone as he got closer.
“Yeah Candes, it will be alright, whatever it is.” He smiled looking between them, before focusing on Candes saying “hey” to her.
“Have we met before?” Candes looked at the stranger funny; why was he trying to act all friendly with them?
“No, but ...” Joe looked at Gust for help.
“Oh Candy, meet Joe, he is a ... friend.” Gust had trouble saying it out loud, but did it, “We just started dating.”
Candes was taken aback. She always thought Gust had a thing for Luke, and that’s why he broke up with her. But all her suspicions proved to be wrong after meeting Joe, and she glared green-eyed at him.
It was a pleasant surprise for Joe as well, when Gust introduced him like that. He didn’t expect it, but was awestruck. “I have heard so much about you from Gust.” Joe said.
“I hope it was all good.” She looked bitterly at both of them.
“Of course, why will Gust talk bad about you?” Joe asked, and looked at Gust in awe. “I doubt he even ever trash-talks his enemy. He is that good.” Gust looked back into his loving eyes and they just stared at one another.
Candes felt like puking at that moment.“Would love to stay and see you two lovebirds interacting, but I have to be somewhere important.” She said, and excused herself before one of them had the chance to say ‘bye’.
Gust looked behind her with worry, as she kind of stormed away from them.
“What’s gotten into her?”
“She is just stressed.” Gust whispered while still looking in the direction where she went. Then he looked back and said, “Never mind her.”
Joe shrugged and changed the subject, “Hey listen; I have two movie tickets for tonight. They are showing ‘Love and Other Drugs’. God! I have been waiting to see that movie for so long.”
The childish excitement in him made Gust chuckle. “Chick-flicks, huh? Didn’t think you were that inclined to your female side...” He laughed, pointing at him and walked to get to his locker.
Joe smiled following him by his side. “I don’t know, test me when we get that far and you will know how inclined I am to my female side.” He teased. “But there’s a special reason I have been dying to watch this movie.”
“And that is ...?” Gust asked as he opened his locker and put his backpack away.
“Jake baring it all... DUH!” Joe said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Ah!” Gust controlled the bubble of laughter forming in his throat, and gathered his books for his class. “But I can’t go anywhere today. I have to be somewhere important.”
“Am I not important to you?” Joe really wanted to know.
Gust pursed his lips. “Look Joe, I know I have been acting like a party pooper recently. But I promise I will find some time just for us. That doesn’t have to be today though.” He tried to explain. Joe sighed, and looked down to hide the grimace on his face. “But hey, you should go without me. Don’t spoil your excitement because of me.”
“Yeah, I will ask Steve to come with me.” Joe said coolly with a sudden mood change. “He will go crazy if he knows I have the tickets for this movie.”
“Steve who?” Gust wondered aloud.
“Oh, Steve and I used to be a couple. He is a great guy; you should meet him.”
“I don’t need to. He sounds pretty moronic to me.” Gust grumbled looking away from him.
“What’s moronic about being a great guy?”
“Not that. But you said you ‘used’ to be a couple. I am pretty sure he broke your heart by dumping you.” Gust was angered by the thought of him hurting his Joe.
“Ok that’s funny.” Joe giggled. “Because it was the other way around...”
“What’s the difference?” Gust frowned. “He sure must have done something that led to you calling it off. And why do you even talk to him now? The relationship is over, right? I don’t think you should take him to the movies, or anywhere else.”
Joe looked at him with an amused look on his face. “Gust, are you jealous?”
“Jealous, my fucking ass!” He almost screamed, and banged his locker door shut with an intense force. But in the process, he hurt his own thumb that was half inside the locker.
Joe laughed as Gust began jumping up and down in pain, holding his aching thumb. Gust shot him an angry glare, and Joe had to control his laughter. Joe reached for his hand and taking hold of it, he brought it near to his face.
Gust took a sharp breath in as Joe began to suck on his thumb. He couldn’t breathe any more, and he felt like there was no air surrounding them at all. His thumb ... he couldn’t feel the pain anymore, no ... instead, it had gone numb. Joe was working his tongue over his thumb, and he broke out in goose bumps. He just closed his eyes enjoying the feeling. Joe kept looking at him and smiled to himself.
“Disgusting things going around school” A voice fell on both of their ears and they both recovered from their tender moment they shared seconds ago. “Dad says they are all going to hell.”
Joe looked at his classmate standing on the other side with his group of mates, looking at them in revulsion. “I don’t fucking care what your dad says, Ralph. He is a fucking heartless queer; secretly hunting for young butts to fuck.”
“What the fuck did you say? I am going to ...” The guy named Ralph ran forward to attack Joe, but his mate stopped him, saying. “Cool it man! You don’t want to get into trouble.” But Ralph kept fuming, glaring angrily at Joe.
Joe also looked back challengingly. But Gust pulled him back. “Let’s go, Joe.” He put his hand around his shoulders and took him away from the scene.
Noah was assessing all the assignments one last time, deciding on whom he would give credits to, and who wouldn’t get them. He smiled when he saw Luke’s name on an assignment. He had done fairly well on this one, and Noah felt proud taking into consideration Luke’s past records over the subject – showed that he did take some effort to do well.
A warm breath blew over his nape of his neck, and a soft ‘hey’ tickled his ears. Noah almost jumped in his seat, twirling his seat around to face Luke with a look of shock. “Shit you scared me.” Luke was leaning over his side, shooting one his best smiles in his direction. His intense staring made Noah break into a loving smile as well and he said, “Don’t ever do that again.”
Luke blushed. “I was wondering if we can have lunch together today during the lunch break?”
Noah scowled, rubbing the back of his neck. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Luke. Remember, we decided to keep this a secret from others? And if we do things together like that, some would get suspicious.”
“But it doesn’t have to be in front of others.” Luke reasoned, in a tone as low as a whisper. He was actually taken by the sight of Noah’s tempting lips in front of him; his lips were so close. “We can meet in the backyard ... the place where we first met? It’s pretty secluded and no one comes over there, so we will have some alone time for ourselves.” He leaned in and placed his lips softly on Noah’s, luring him for a sensuous kiss.
But Noah controlled his urges and got up from his seat. Luke also stood up straight, his face showing utter disappointment. “Luke, stop it. You could get us in trouble.” Noah said forcefully. “Why don’t you understand? I have my career at stake. I shouldn’t have given into my feelings for you to begin with.” He ran his hands through his hai,r looking away from Luke. He was pissed.
On the other hand, Luke didn’t know what he did was so wrong. “I just wanted to kiss you.”
“... in school, where there are thousands of people who would stand against our relationship pointing fingers accusingly at us. It’s ...” Noah was frustrated but he calmed himself down. He faced Luke and held him by his shoulder. “Listen to me Luke. What we share together, is special to me, but we can’t act like other couples ... holding hands, kissing in public... hell, it would be wrong even if they see us together out in public.”
“But all I wanted was a kiss ...”
“The fuck you wanted to.” Noah yelled at him. He can see that Luke was offended, but he had to set some things straight before a mess is created from this. He looked over Luke’s shoulder and saw one his students walking in. A few more came in right after. He glared at Luke and said, “Take your seat, Mr. Snyder. The class is about to start.”
Noah dismissed him, and sat at his seat, getting back to work. Luke stared at Noah in disbelief for some time, and then walked to his seat with hard steps. Noah watched him from the corner of his eyes, suddenly feeling the worry and guilt take over him. He decided he would talk to him later, when they were both calm.
Joe dipped the potato wedge in the ketchup and fed Gust. “You know you still have the time to say ‘yes’. I haven’t asked Steve yet to come with me. So the offer is still open to you.”
Gust was stuck in the middle of two important things. He wanted to go with Joe; not only because he wanted to keep Steve away from his guy so badly, but also because he missed spending time with him. “I told you I can’t. I really want to, but ...”
“Ok I won’t push you.” Joe said sincerely and went back to eating his lunch.
“Really?” Joe nodded. “But that doesn’t mean I approve of you going out with your ex.” Gust narrowed his eyes at him.
Joe rolled his eyes. “Why do you care? We are just ‘dating’ anyways.” He made air quotes. “Didn’t you say a few days ago, that you weren’t ready for us to be exclusive?” He snapped.
Gust went quiet. Yes, Joe had asked him to be exclusively his; to become his boyfriend, but Gust had plainly turned him down, saying exactly what Joe had said before. He knew Joe was hurt even if he had said he was cool with it, and that he can wait for Gust to come around, but from what he said just now, he didn’t seem to be fine with it.
“I’m sorry.” Joe mumbled while looking down at his food. He sensed someone approaching their table and looked up. “Hey Luke!” He perked up and broke into a huge smile.
Gust’s head shot up hearing Luke’s name, and saw the gorgeous blond standing near their table. He almost smiled when he looked at him. He had missed him so much during the time they hadn’t seen each other. But then, all the bad memories came back to him and he grimaced.
Luke observed his friend who had ignored him. Gust went quietly back to eating. “Hey Joe. Hey ... Gust.” He said, hoping the boy would respond.
“Hi.” Gust plainly said and that annoyed Luke. But he didn’t say anything.
“Can I sit here?” Luke asked.
Gust was about to say no to him when Joe quickly said “Sure.” He gave Joe an angry glare, and looked at Luke in disapproval.
However, Luke overlooked his glare and took a seat in front of them. Joe picked up on the tension between them, and thought it was better to leave them alone to talk. He had sensed there was some problem between the two friends, and he sincerely thought they should make up with each other. So he excused himself, saying he needed to use the bathroom, and left.
Before leaving, he gestured for Luke to talk to Gust.
“Gust, I have been meaning to talk to you for so long ...” Luke started saying, and watched for Gust’s reaction to his voice. “I wanted to apologize to you but couldn’t get myself to do it. But as the weeks went by, I began missing you so much.”
Gust got uncomfortable being alone with Luke right now. He wanted to talk, but his ego wouldn’t allow him to say a word. In his discomfort, he started eating all his food faster than usual, thinking this way his mouth would be engaged in chewing and swallowing, and he wouldn’t feel the need to talk. And if he didn’t talk, Luke might finally shut up.
But Luke wouldn’t shut up. He kept saying sorry and explaining things to him. “But it all backfired on me that time, so you can say I got punished for what I did to you. Really Gust ... I am guilty and I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I just didn’t know you had such strong feelings for me.” He saw that Gust wasn’t looking at him nor replying to him, so he asked, “Um... Gust? Are you listening to me?”
And Gust burped out loud. All that chugging of his food had gotten excessive, and he ate more than he should have, which resulted in an unpleasant sound escaping his mouth.
Luke bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from laughing. “Ok ... that was so not what I was expecting as an answer to my question, but ... um ... well put!” Gust couldn’t hold it anymore, and burst into loads of laughter.
When Joe came back, he smiled in relief watching the duo talking and laughing with each other, like good ole friends. The happiness on Gust’s face at that moment, was what he was trying to find for so many days. Now watching him in delight, made his heart content as well.
Luke grabbed his backpack and began to head out after the last bell rang. Several other students stood around the lobby in groups before they would be heading out as well, emptying the school area.
Today was pretty much okay, he thought. Except for Noah’s outburst on him just before the history class, everything went quiet good. He made up with his best friend again, and also Rob was punished for trying to hurt him the previous day. Noah had taken his complaint to the principal, and the principal sent for Rob. Rob didn’t agree to his misdeed, but Noah figured it all out, that the evil jock was determined to take revenge on Luke. So, the principal suspended Rob for two months.
He thanked God for not having to face Rob anymore. He also wanted to thank Noah for what he did, but he didn’t dare go talk to him.
As he walked out of the school building, a hand suddenly grasped his and pulled him away. “Hey!” He screeched, watching Noah drag him away. They reached the backyard, and Noah took him below the tree exactly where he had laid eyes on him for the first time. He pinned Luke to the hard trunk of the tree and stared intently into his brown eyes.
“Noah...?” Luke managed to whisper his name out, but he couldn’t say anything else because his mouth was closed shut as Noah’s mouth captured it. They kissed each other passionately before they broke apart, panting and in need of breath.
“So you see why they say that patience is a virtue?” Noah teased.
Luke giggled in happiness. This day couldn’t get any better he thought, and leaned into Noah giving him a warm embrace.