I can't argue that Ariel's Grandmother's soup didn't make me feel a lot better. I mean, when I was standing up and walking around, I still felt a bit of 'swimming' going on behind my tired eyes, but one microwaved bowl of that soup did more for me in a day than heaps of medicine and cough drops did for me all weekend. Maybe his Gramms is a witch and we just didn't know it. Hehehe, whatever. As long as she's on my side, I'm cool with it.
I knew that my mom was probably already leaving work at this point, so I decided to give Cody a ring before she got home. You know, so I could talk openly and not have to use 'coded language' for every gay related word that came flying out of my mouth. Even though I feel as though I'm inevitably inching towards the day when I just spill my guts and tell her all about me and Ryan and how I've never been more in love in my whole life. I mean, that's the endgame, right? The ultimate goal? The winning touchdown, or whatever? I know that Ryan came out to his father in the hospital, and I would never say that it was easy for him to do that...but a near death experience works wonders when it comes to loosening the tongue. Maybe I need more danger in my life, just to make things easier.
All that aside, I don't think I've ever had a doubt that Ryan was the one for me. Not a day in my life. Out of all the gorgeous boys in school and at the mall and all over the place...nobody really inflamed my heart the way that Ryan did. No one gave me the love and affection that he did. He was just...he was something special. I'd have to be a complete idiot to even try to find a boyfriend more complete. More beautiful. More giving when it came to me needing someone to lean on. I got the winning lottery ticket with him, and I got it on the very first try. How could I possibly mess up something so amazing? What the hell else could I go searching for in the world when I have everything that I could ever want in one sexy package?
And yet...the worry comes into play when I try to see myself through Ryan's eyes. Only then do I begin to wonder if he sees me the same way. Or if maybe he's simply gotten bored with whatever it is that I had to offer him to begin with. I wonder if he's merely mumbling the words 'I love you' because he thinks I expect him to. I wonder if he's just being nice...and he's just going to disappear on me one day so he can go be with somebody more interesting. He wouldn't break up with me, face to face. I doubt he would have the heart to do that. He'd just go be with someone else, hope that I wasn't severely hurt by it, and he'd wait for me to give up the hope of ever hearing from him again. That's more his style, I think. Or...at least I'm assuming. He wouldn't want to hurt me...even when he's obviously hurting me.
At least he'd be taking my feelings into account when he kicked me to the side without warning.
€‹ I've got to stop bringing myself down. I need to call Cody and distract myself for a while. Going in circles like this will just end up getting me in trouble.
I dialed his number, and the phone rang a few times without an answer. I was almost expecting it to go to voicemail when his sister, Veronica, picked it up. "Yeah?" She said. That's sort of like a 'hello', right?
"Hi. Ummm...I was wondering if Cody was around?"
"Fine. Hold on." That girl always sounded like she was annoyed with the whole world. Then again, Cody wasn't always the brightest ray of sunshine either. Maybe I'm just more used to getting it from him. I could hear her knocking on what I assumed was Cody's bedroom door.
Right away, he said, "Don't feel like talking to anybody. Please, go away."
She said, "You've got a phone call."
"That would require talking to somebody, wouldn't it? Not interested."
She told him, "It's the Randy Stephens kid. If you want him to fuck off, you're gonna have to tell him yourself."
Gee, can you feel the love?
There was a brief silence...and then the door opened and he took the phone. "Go. Skidaddle." He said, and she grunted before walking away. "Hello?"
"Hey..." I said, not really sure if I was interrupting him or something.
"What's up?" Ok, that was a little more, ummm...pleasant.
"Nothing much. I was just calling to see what you were up to. If you're in the middle of something, I can call back later."
"No. I'm not in the middle of anything. I can talk. What's on your mind?" I'm glad he warmed up so quickly. Cody has a big heart, but you have to approach him with caution sometimes. Like with an angry attack dog, it's never safe to assume too much.
Our talk started out friendly enough, with a few jokes peppered throughout to keep things lively, but once it got around to me thanking him for the help he gave me with that whole Sean business at the carnival...he could immediately tell that it bothered me more than I let on. I wasn't whining, was I? I was honestly trying not to complain. Maybe the stress of it all just leaks out of me, even when I'm trying to avoid it.
"Give it to me. What's bugging you?"
I told him, "It's nothing."
"Come on. Spill it." Cody said. "You know you want to." I hesitated. When I have to put the actual emotions into words, I just feel so petty and silly saying it out loud. Like I'm being some sort of a jealous brat, and totally unfit to be in a relationship with someone who has demonstrated nothing but love and loyalty since the first time his sweet lips ever touched mine. But still...those sour feelings lingered. Like some sort of foul hangover after a long night of being 'love drunk' over the most beautiful boy in the world...trying not to get sick from it as it spun my whole world around in circles.
"I really shouldn't have said anything. It's so stupid."
"Yeah, well...this is how feelings work. That's why I put so much effort into trying to get rid of them as often as humanly possible. Get used to it." He replied. "Go ahead. Get it off of your chest. I don't have any friends at school to blab to! So it's not like your secrets aren't safe with me. Give me the dish, dude."
With an audible sigh, I made the decision to open up...JUST a little bit. Maybe one or two moments of honesty will lead to a more productive discussion on the matter. You know...since Cody is giving me an 'off the record' opportunity here and all.
"Sometimes...I mean, not all the time, obviously...but sometimes..." Get it out, Randy. Just say it. "...Sometimes I think...I get the feeling that Ryan would much rather be with someone else...instead of me." Jesus! Did I really just say that to Cody? I can't believe that I worded it that way. How long has that miserable confession been lurking in the deepest, darkest, corners of my consciousness?
"Wow..." Cody said. "What the hell would make you think something like that?"
"I don't know. I really don't. That's the saddest part." I said. "It's just...I never KNEW how many cute boys were out there in the world until I was suddenly forced into a situation where I'd be forced to compete with them all at once. Like...on a daily basis. Ryan and I are totally PERFECT when we're together most of the time. But...then there are those other times when it seems like he'd rather be sharing his smile with somebody else." I felt the need to add, "I'm not being jealous here, ok? I just...I can't STAND the feeling I get when I think about all of the other people who want my sweetheart all for themselves...and who might be moving in and talking to him on an intimate level behind my back. It just bothers me to the point of being sick. You know?"
"So, you're jealous." Cody stated plainly.
"No. I said I'm NOT jealous! It just bugs me to think that I'd have to share his awesomeness with somebody else who didn't have to do anything to EARN it. You know? That didn't prove that they deserved it. That he might be tempted to look elsewhere for somebody 'better'...and that he might actually find them while I sit at home all alone, not knowing what the fuck was going on."
Cody said, "Yeah...that is, like, the literal textbook definition of jealousy. Google it." Then he added, "It's ok to be jealous, Randy. I mean...I get it. Ryan is hot. You'd have to be delusional to think that other boys aren't looking at him with the same infatuated stare that you are. And...chances are, he knows that he could have his pick of any one of them if it ever came to that. I mean, he might have his insecure moments of bashful doubt every now and again...but he's GOT to know how slim the chances are of any other boy turning him down once he shows a touch of interest. He just...he's got to be aware of that fact." There goes Cody...making me feel 'grand' again with his brutally honest comments. But my ears perked up when I heard him say, "I know what you're going through, Randy. I know from experience. But Sean and Ryan couldn't be more different. Trust me on this, ok?"
"But...how?" I asked. "Please, don't get me wrong...Ryan is the sweetest boy in the world. He has sooooo much heart! I know that he would never do anything to hurt me deliberately. I know that." I was surprised at how I was starting to get all choked up, now that I was finally saying these words out loud. Words, I guess, that have been waiting at the emotional gates for a lot longer than I ever realized. "But...how do I know if Ryan bothers to put up with me because he really loves me? Or if he's just doing it because he's a good guy who doesn't want to obliterate my deep feelings for him by breaking my heart? I can't help but to think that he's constantly searching for some 'safe' way out of this relationship so he can go out and...explore, and have fun, and be happy. I think..."
Cody interrupted me. "I think...you think too much."
Even with misty eyes, the comment gave me a grin. "Sorry. Hehehe, the funny thing is, I kinda say that to myself all the time."
"Good. Well, you should listen to yourself more often. The 'other' you makes a lot more sense." I wish I could say that it defeated the sadness within me, but it didn't. I give him credit for bringing me some much needed comfort, though. "Boys like Sean are an immediate reward for some weak-minded individuals who want an easy fix for a hard dick...but outside of that, everything about him is totally shallow. Everything."
"Yeah, but does Ryan know that?"
"LOVE knows that." Cody said. "That's all that matters. If you've given Ryan a true glimpse of what true love looks like...not just the 'fun' stuff, but the caring, supportive, unconditional, forgiving, parts of love that last and really matter? Then Sean's little shell game becomes irrelevant. 'Love' recognizes when it's being taken for granted. It understands when the temptation to cheat just isn't worth the risk of losing something truly beautiful...no matter how cute the other boy might be. I'm surprised you haven't figured that out by now."
"Umm...wow." I said. "That was...rather poetic, Cody."
"Damn straight. I'm a sensitive mother fucker." Hahaha, he never fails to catch me off guard when he feels the need to shake me up. "It can be hard to trust people sometimes. People are flawed. They make mistakes. And sometimes people get hurt in the wake of whatever mess those mistakes might cause. But, if you ever start feeling like you're having doubts about your boyfriend, just remember to have faith in 'love'. It counts for a lot more than you might think."
A bit moved, I said, "Thanks, dude. I told you it was silly."
"Yeah. Pretty silly." He replied. "But I've seen you two together. I highly doubt that you have much to worry about. Sean is a bastard. He's the personification of sprinkling sugar on dog shit and calling it ice cream. When he and I were dating, I made every excuse that I possibly could for keeping him around. I told myself that he was just too cute for me to let go of him. I told myself that he just liked flirting with other guys, he wasn't really going to cheat on me. And when I found out he was cheating on me...I tried to tell myself that I was lucky because he loved me more than the others. I was so dumb. I dove, head first, into a pool with no water because I was too clueless to realize that I deserved better than a pretty face and a few orgasms a week. I can't even imagine how many golden opportunities I passed up, chasing behind the 'blond wonder' and ultimately wasting my time." Cody's voice began to tremble as a hint of shyness crept into his voice. It was subtle, but noticeable. I've never heard Cody being shy about much of anything. "You're a good guy, Randy. You're one of the few guys out there who have the heart and the magic to actually deserve a boy like Ryan and have him love you the way he does. Just one look at the way you smile at one another, and it feels like you've been a couple for almost twenty years now. Heh!"
"It actually really feels like that to us too sometimes." I giggled. "Maybe we're getting stale. We're teenagers. Our most heartfelt infatuations can turn on a dime at any moment. Maybe we're just holding each other back."
"Or..." He said. "...Maybe you're holding each other together. Sometimes, love gets things right on the first try. You know?"
"I'm thinking that's rare..." I said softly.
"Rare? Maybe. Impossible? Never." He replied. "Listen...love didn't work out for me...but I'm willing to bet that it's possible for it to work out for you. Let's just say that I've got a pretty strong hunch."
There was a brief pause between us.
I'm not exactly sure where it came from, or why it seemed to hit both of us at the same time...but I felt it. He felt it. And we spent the next few seconds unable to really move forward in our conversation. Something really weird got in the way.
"...yeah..." I said quietly.
"...yeah..." He said, just as softly. Then, "Right, so...all of this 'being nice' stuff is exhausting. I think I'm gonna go. Besides, if I talk to you any longer, Ronnie's gonna think I made a legitimate friend in this place. I'll never hear the end of it."
"Hehehe, no worries." I told him. Better to let him have his big escape before I accuse him of being too sweet. "And Cody...I mean it, ok? Thank you. Just for letting me smother you with my problems like this."
"It's alright. Sean has that affect on people." He said.
"True, but it feels so good to be able to just...talk about this. If for no other reason than to get that jumbled clutter of emotions out of my system. it helps." He didn't answer right away, so I added, "It would help if he wasn't so goddamned 'TV beautiful', though. People who suck should be ugly on the outside too. Instead, he looks like he should have some kind of personal fragrance on the perfume counter at the mall."
"Hehehe, oh yeah...that's what I want to smell like all day. Freshly pounded ass with a hint of slut shame. We'll sell it by the crate." I laughed out loud when he said it, and I could tell that he was smiling too, even if he didn't want me to know about it. "Seriously, Randy...I've got to run. Just...don't worry so much. Alright?"
"You're right. Gotchya." I said. "See ya later."
"Right. Later." He was quick to hang up the second he got the chance, but I still felt connected to him somehow. Who knows? Maybe it's the medicine. I can't say that I've been in my right mind for the past few days. It's a little too soon to start thinking I'm back to a clear and rational mind just yet.
My mom kept trying to take care of me all night long, making the healthiest dinner she could and constantly asking me how I was feeling. I think she was almost disappointed that I was feeling so much better so quickly. Hehehe, she might have suspected me of nearly overdosing on medicine to rush things along, but the truth was another good night's sleep and a warm shower might have me well enough to get back to my normal self. Or at least I'll be nearing the finish line. Which is a lot more than I could say when Wilson and his friends first hit me with the kiddie plague! Ugh...
When I woke up the next morning, nearly blinded by the glory of a happy sunshine day...I checked my own breathing. My nostrils seemed open and clear. No drainage or anything. My lips weren't dried out, my joints didn't ache, and my sheets weren't damp with night sweats. When I sat up and actually spun around to place my feet on the floor, I was amazed at how much better I felt. And not just better than 'deathly ill', but I actually felt GOOD! Damn good! Hehehe, I had overslept about an hour or two longer than I wanted to, but it was worth it. SO worth it.
I took a shower and got myself feeling all squeaky clean, putting on my bathrobe and smiling to myself for no reason at all. I turned my TV on and just felt relaxed from head to toe. Now THIS is what Spring Break is all about! Chillin' until you ache from it. Hehehe!
I opened up my bedroom window to get some fresh air and took a moment to simply enjoy the moment. Wow, I actually have energy today. I've got to call Ryan up and see what he's up to. This feeling is too good to waste on just lounging around the house today. It was then that I noticed something...
I looked at Tyler's house across the street, and I noticed Ariel walking with a pretty fast and determined stride. He was visibly nervous, even from this distance, but once he rang Tyler's doorbell and his favorite blond showed up...he practically melted right there on the spot. Hehehe, those two are so unbelievably cute together.
A smile was exchanged, and a few bashful words passed between them, but Ariel was desperate to get past the 'hello' phase and get into something a bit more intimate. He stepped inside, and I actually saw him wrap his arms around Tyler's neck and start kissing him before Tyler was even able to close the door.
My jaw dropped and I giggled to myself in shock. Whoah! Go, Ariel! Hehehe!
I heard my own doorbell ringing downstairs and almost didn't want to leave the window. A naughty impulse made me wonder if I'd be able to see anything through Tyler's bedroom window. I know, I know...I'm being a perv, but...wow. I can't imagine what it would look like for Ariel and Tyler to be...'doing it'. That's GOT to be so hot!
The bell rang again. Three rapid times, as if to tell me to hurry up. Hehehe, it's Ryan. I can tell.
I opened up and my sweetie gave me a kiss on the cheek before handing me a cupcake from the local convenience store. "Hey, babe. You feeling better?"
"MUCH better! You have no idea."
"Damn. Well, you certainly sound a lot better." He said, and I smiled as he placed his hands on my hips. "Look at this. I can actually touch you without having you cough and swat my hands away. This is definitely an improvement."
"Hey, come here!" I said, and took Ryan by the hand to come up to my bedroom window again. "Dude, I just saw Ariel race over to Tyler's a few minutes ago. They are getting pretty hot and heavy these days."
It was Ryan's turn to drop his jaw. "Hehehe, are you serious? Little Ariel's gettin' some?"
"Dude! He practically attacked Ty before he could get him in the house!"
Ryan looked further out the window. "Can you see in his room from here?"
"Nah. He's got his shade down and the curtains pulled." Glad to know I'm not the only pervert in this relationship.
With a smirk and a wicked gleam in his eye, Ryan said, "Dude...call Tyler's phone. See if he picks up."
"Hahaha! I'm not gonna do that!"
"Why not? I just want to see if he's gonna pick up all breathless and shit."
"Leave them alone. Don't be mean." I snickered.
"I'm not being mean. I just want to hear what Tyler sounds like naked." He said. "They are naked, you know. Both of them. Right now. Just think about that for a second."
"Naked. And hard. And touching. And rubbing. Ariel's sexy little booty and Tyler's soft pink lips..."
"I don't know why I even tell you about these things." I said, shaking my head.
"Whatever. Anyway, I've decided to take you out on a field trip today. Since you've got a little pep in your step, I'm getting you out of this germy bedroom and back out into creation. So get dressed."
"Where are we going?"
"I don't know. Doesn't matter. As long as we have to go outside to get there." He kissed me on the cheek again and told me he'd meet me downstairs.
Ok, so...I guess I'm going outside then. Couldn't hurt to at least enjoy the second half of my Spring break. Let's do it.
Heh...Ariel and Tyler. That still blows my mind. Wow...who knew that would work out so well for them?