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Whispered Words

by Comicality

Out of all the little fast food jobs and yard work jobs and the wonderful world of *Retail Hell*, I thought that waiting tables in a little restaurant downtown would be an easy gig for this summer. I only had my senior year left in high school, and then I'd be long gone. Hopefully to the other side of the country where my parents were comfortably far away. Not that I disliked them. No, not by any means. But hey, at 17, every guy starts looking to get a little bit of space. Especially when he's a closeted homosexual. My GOD...when I get to college, I am going to probably start humping the leg of every cute boy that gets within reach of me. I look forward to seeing how the gay side of me interacts with other people for a change. Well, other people besides Lindsay.

Lindsay has been my best friend ever since the fifth grade when we saw the sex ed video in class and decided to play 'doctor' up in her father's attic. Playing doctor at fifteen or sixteen years old might have had a completely different meaning. A completely different purpose. But at age wasn't much more than suddenly becoming aware of the fact that hers was an 'innie' and mine was an 'outie'. Thank goodness she turned out to be understanding when the harder questions came to me. That awkward time around age 12 and 13 when I discovered that it was another 'outie' that I was looking for. Compatible or not. She's a great girl, and fortunately for her she was blessed with the right chromosones to make her normal as far as sex was concerned. In fact, we pretty much had the same taste in boys. And BOY did THAT suck! You can't imagine how many times I've wanted to strangle the living shit out of her for getting the opportunities to cuddle up and kiss all of the boys that I only got to stare at briefly out of the corner of my eye. Which reminds me...whoever inveted the idea of high school boys all showering together in the same room at school...Bravo.

"Jesse, you are NOT going to believe what I just heard! Lisa thinks she might be getting a yeast infection." Lindsay, by the way, was a huge gossip. Even when it's something I SO don't want to know about.

"Lindsay! Ew! Please! People are trying to eat in this place!" I told her. One thing you learn about working in a restaraunt, especially a small one like this, is that everybody talks about everybdy else. You could flip a quarter, and everyone there could tell you if it were heads or tails by the time it hit the floor. Lindsay was in heaven, working in a place like that. I, on the other hand, had to keep my sexuality an even MORE closely guarded secret than I usually do. If even a whisper of me being gay got out, the whole restaurant would know it. Then all of the customers. Then my PARENTS! Then, by the time I went back to school in September, they will have spray painted my locker pink and signed me up for the cheerleading squad. I can do without that.

"Jesse, you got a new table. Party of four." One of the hostesses told me.

"Big tippers?"

"Out of towners. You've got about a 50/50 chance."

"That's the story of my life." I said, and got my service industry smile ready.

Lindsay made sure to say, "I'll tell you more about what I heard when you get back."

"Yeah...thanks for the WARNING..." I said, and walked out to wait my table.

It was one of those days that didn't really go 'badly', but you wanted to be anywhere but work on that day. It was like everybody that was eating there that day was laughing at me because there was so much beautiful sunshine outside, and I was stuck here bringing them food and drink like the gods of Olympus. I wanted to go home. "What's wrong with you today?" Lindsay asked. "You've lost some of your pep." She was counting out what looked like an awfully big tip.

"I'd feel better if I got tips like you did. How in the hell do you do that?"

"Hey, what can I say? I've got tits." She smiled at me. "Men are predictable...well...MOST men, anyway." Then she pinched my butt, knowing it would startle me.

"QUIT IT!" I whispered loudly. I looked around at everyone within earshot. I don't know why the paranoia had such a strong hold on me in that place, but any spoken remark that even REMOTELY addressed me liking guys made me extremely nervous. It was as if I could hear the whispers around me starting already.

"Oh come on, nobody knows what I'm talking about." She continued.

"That's not the point."

"I'm not gonna tell your little secret, Jesse. For fuck's sake, lighten up." She just kept dragging it out, and now I flet like my head was going to explode from the horrifying thoughts running through it. She mentioned a 'secret'! She mentioned ME when she mentioned the 'secret'! She mentioned me not being like most men when she mentioned me when she mentioned the 'secret'! ANYBODY could come along and put 2 and 2 together....and there you have it. Jesse is a 17 year old homosexual and now we all know it! Let's laugh and point at him now.

"Ok, ok, whatver. Just...forget it." I said, hoping to do anything to just shut her up before she said anything else.

"You're so touchy."

"I know. I know.'s done with. Ok?"

She waited for a second, and then started to open her mouth to say something else. "You know..."

"Not a word!" Then I walked away to greet another table. "Hi, I'm Jesse and I'll be your server for today. What can I get for you guys this evening?" I could practically see Lindsay fuming playfully out of the corner of my eye, but I paid it no attention. What can I say, I'm cautious. And Lindsay, while she has kept her promise to not spill the beans about me in all the years since I've told her...she doesn't neccessarily have a talent when it comes to whispering.

When we left for the night, and all of my tables were closed out, I counted about thirty eight dollars in tips. Not bad. Not GOOD...but not bad. Especially since it wasn't that busy. Lindsay had an idea to go out somewhere and maybe hang for a while. But I didn't really have the energy.My enthusiasm would have been at complete zero, especially after having to fake it all day for every customer that sat down in my section. So I told her I'd skip it. And we split shortly after. I was just a 20 minute bus ride from home, and some peace and quiet.

I kicked off my shoes and laid back on the living room couch for a few minutes before turning the tv on. My Mom and Dad were now getting into that routine of being in bed by the time the late night tv talk shows came on, so I pretty much had the house to myself. Even if they were both awake. You should see them sometime. Sitting in that big bed, my Mom on the right, my Dad on the left, taking the same positions that they have been taking for the last 12,345 nights in a row. My mom with her glasses and a book, my dad with a remote, and his bloated half open wallet next to him on the nightstand. You've never seen two people so close together, and yet could be in completely different worlds. It was kind of funny to watch.

Anyway, I let my thoughts go numb for a bit while I flipped through the tv stations. Just looking for something that interested me. But you want to know something? And maybe it was just me being tired or maybe just having a moment of self awareness or whatever...but I suddenly felt like there was nothing on tv at all for me. Have you ever had that feeling?'re just flipping from channel to channel, looking for something that relates to you, and is funny because you understand? Or better yet, because THEY understand you? There wasn't anything though, and it left a little hole in me as I sat there watching. Boy meets girl. Boy meets girl. Boy meets girl. Boy meets boy...and talks about girls. Boy loses girl and is willing to cut off right arm to get girl back. Boy meets TWO girls and tries to keep them both. Boy meets two girls who meet each other and boy is sad because girl only likes girl. It's ridiculous! You'd think that out of 700 channels on Direct Tv, that there would be ONE good 'Boy meets Boy' story that wasn't treated like some kind of...special broadcast. Like, 'here, we made this one for the fags to enjoy. Let's throw them a bone and then get back to making REAL programs.' Maybe I was just in a moody state of mind. But I was looking forward to a day when there could just be some gay characters in stories and movies and tv shows that weren't treated as anything other than a regular person. Instead, they end up being the token prize of the show. Weird. Whatever. I'm going to bed.

I finally had the day off from work the next day, but Lindsay had to cover a shift for the 'yeast infection' girl so she could go to the doctor. "I swear...women and their nasty private problems. No wonder I'm gay." I told her, and she hit me in the stomach. "Ah, Jesus!"

"Watch it, pig! I already don't want to be here today." She said. "Not to mention that the lady at table 23 is being a total BITCH to me! NOW she says her fries are cold. We'll see how cold they are and I soggy them up with dirty dishwater, the old bag."

"Hahaha! Bitter much?" I laughed.

"Yes, much. VERY much!" She grumbled. "So what are you doing here, anyway?"

"I've got the day off, and my only best friend is here working for a girl with a loaf of bread growing between her legs. I figured I might as well come in and get my paycheck and wait for you to get off so we can do something."

"Oh, how sweet." She said, and then elbowed me in the stomach again. "All except for the loaf of bread part."

"Now who's being touchy?"

"GO already! Get your check. I'm gonna bring this fat buffalo bitch her damn fries before she starts chewing the table cloth." I love to see Lindsay smile, but I love her even more when she's angry.

I walked into the back to get my paycheck from the office, and waved a hello to everyone in the kitchen on my way through the kitchen. However, I found myself doing a double take, maybe even a triple take, as I saw three new people that I had never seen before standing on the cooking line. Obviously new employees, decked out in their dorky white hats and hairnets, a gleaming white apron that had yet to be trashed by the harsh war known as food service. There was a girl in the middle of two guys, the first guy was your typical 'Maxim' magazine reading, nerd pounding, high school jock with broad shoulders. Cute, but unoriginal upon first glance. The other boy, however, was a whole other story. He was the entire reason that I did a triple take in the first place. Being face to face with something with that can be paralyzing sometimes. It's almost like having your eyes learn a new word for 'gorgeous'.

He stood a little bit taller than me, but not by much. And he had this mixed light blond and sandy brown hair that was just long enough to tie into a short ponytail for the sake of working in the kitchen that day. He had a long smooth neck, and skin that looked soft from a distance. And his eyes? He had these dark blue green eyes, and when he looked up at me briefly I halted in my tracks. Holy shit he was cute! It was hard for me to pull myself away from that part of the kitchen to avoid looking like some kind of weirdo. I was silently thanking the stars for the guy who decided to hire THAT one!

After getting my paycheck, I hurried back to make sure I could get another look at him. He didn't really notice me that much, because all thre of them were concentrating on learning the way the food is prepared. It's kind of a training session, where all new employees have to work in every part of the kitchen so that they can get a feel for how everything works. I guess his attention was right where it should have been. I wish I could say the same for me.

"Dammit! I can't BELIEVE this lady!" Came a growl from just inside the door as Lindsay came storming inthe back to let out some much needed steam. Everyone looked up as she grabbed a cup, shoved it full of ice, and angrily filled it with coke before stomping back out to her table. I heard the kitchen staff say something to each other in Spanish and they all shared a little laugh. I couldn't help but smile myself. I couldn't understand a word they said, but just the sound of it translated into 'watch out for the crazy chick' pretty easy. Then...I looked back over to that vision of lovliness while still smiling...and his eyes met mine again. He had a smirk on his face too, and it looked I froze up, and got serious instantly. Then I turned away and rushed out of the kitchen and back out on the floor. I don't know what just happened, but it felt good. TOO good. Like...'scary' good. I am being a total nut today.

I walked over to Lindsay, who was in a corner wiping down a table while grumbling to herself. "Aw, poor baby." I said.

"DON'T! Ok? Just don't start with me right now. Because the only thing keeping me from slitting this lady's throat is the fact that I can't find a knife big enough to slice through the grissle on her enlarged neck!"

"Hahaha!" There was no way I could hold that one back.

"Don't laugh at me." She pouted, and I gave her a one armed hug to hold her close to me.

"Listen, why don't I take you out after work tonight? We'll go to a good restaurant and give them the same hell she's giving you."

"Yeah, whatever. Fine."

"Well don't sound so thrilled. You're making a spectacle of yourself." I said sarcastically.

"Whoopee. I'll be there with a party hat on." She moaned.

"That's more like it." I gave her a brotherly kiss on the cheek. "I'll just...wait here for you until you're done for the day." She gave me a strange look.

"Hon...I've got to work for another three hours. I don't think you want to stay here that long on your day off."

Boy was she wrong. "That's alright. It's no problem. Just don't go putting rat poison in the ladies food, ok? Our summer activities would be greatly limited if you were to go to prison." She agreed, and I went right back into the kitchen, hoping that I'd have the guts to stay for a bit longer. No matter how cute he is. It's just a pretty face. Nothing to be scared of.

The first few minutes were kind of weird, trying to command my feet not to run away, and trying to tell my heart to stop beating so hard for some stranger that I don't even know. But going back in there was probably the best three hour activity that I could have gotten myself involved in. I made sure to talk to the rest of the kitchen staff nearby, so it didn't look like I was just sitting there staring at him. But only the kitchen staff that was close enough to the line to keep him in full view at all times. Yes...stalking is fun. And he evidently wasn't a wiz in the kitchen, not on his first day at least. He dropped stuff, burned his arm once or twice, and had a few near misses with a butcher knife while cutting up onions. But it was fun to watch, and he was a bit clumsy, but good natured about it all. It reminded me of when I started back there. He was one of those people that didn't mind making an occassional joke, and wasn't afraid to laugh at himself either if he screwed something up. It was so...CUTE!

For the entire time I was back there, I kept thinking about how sexy his neck looked, or how cute his laugh is, or how slim his waist was. And the way his thin lips were just begging to be kissed, and the way his long fingers seemed so delicate and firm at the same time. It was like watching a movie, it was great. Then, Lindsay walked by me and told me that she was getting off at last, and just needed to count out her bank and get dressed. It was the fastest three hours I had ever spent in that place. To think...this new boy just might make working here fun again.

I heard the kitchen guys call for a break, and they let the three trainess come over by where I was sitting and take a seat at the counter next to me. The object of my newfound affections however, went to get himself a drink of soda first. Please sit next to me. Please. Here he comes, he's coming....closer...closer...YES! Right on my left side! Not only that, but he looked up and smiled at me with a gently spoken, "Hi."

"Hi. So you're coming to join the asylum, huh?" I said to him, but then noticed the other two trainess looking over at us too. I guess my paranoia got the best of me, and I didn't want to look like I was jumping on the new cute piece of ass. So I made sure to address them all at once. A decent cover, if I do say so myself.

"Yeah, I suppose so. But just to wait tables though. I suck as a cook." He replied.

"Heh, yeah, I kinda noticed that." I grinned. "I'm Jesse. I'm on waitstaff too."

He shook my hand firmly and said, "I'm Nick."

Then, came another hand from the other guy, an even firmer handshake. One of those 'hey, let me prove I've got a big ol penis' handshakes. "I'm Tony." He said.

Then the little lady in between, "I'm Cheryl. Hi." And after meetng them all, I tried to focus a little bit on my new toy at work without appearing too eager to do so.

"So...I think you'll like it here." I said.

"I figured it might be a neat place to work for the summer and make some extra money. Everybody here seems cool so far, I'll bet you all have a lot of fun here."

"Yeah, it's a lot of fun sometimes, actually."

But bythe time I had gotten the words out of my mouth, Lindsay had returned. "Let's get OUT of this fucking place before I lose the rest of my mind and burn it to the fucking ground!" She muttered.

"Sure...see? Tons of fun." I felt a bit embarassed, but Nick smiled wide and had a little giggle over the whole thing. "Ok, we're out of here. Maybe I'll see you again." I said, then looked over at the others, just to make sure. "ALL of you..."

"Yeah, definitely." Nick replied, and the other two followed right along with him. As Lindsay dragged me out of the kitchen, I saw Nick kind of look over his shoulder and smile again at us. Damn he was absolutely amazing. Unnaturally beautiful. And from what I've seen in that incredibly short exchange, a cool guy on top of it. He's just too lovable to be true. He's gotta be straight. They don't make gay boys that perfect.

Three days went by, and I was actually anxious to go to work every single one of those days. I kept a smile on my face all the time, and did everything I could to keep my customers ordering food. Just so I could get a chance to go in the back and see Nick again for a few minutes. It was a feeling like I had never felt before. Just seeing him for a few quick moments, whether he was looking at me or not, just filled my heart with helium. I don't think I had ever danced around that kitchen so lightly on my feet before. And those times when he DID talk to me, were even MORE special. That was the really interesting part, was that we were able to engage in these little effortless episodes of conversation by the second day. I was still excited and intrigued by him, but I can't say that I was really scard of him anymore. Not like I was in the beginning. And on the fourth day, we were basically friends as far as the workplace was concerned. Like I said before though, he's got to be straight. This is way too easy. It's damn fun to pretend that he's not for a few minutes a day.

That's when the 'incident' happened. On the fifth day, I came in around the five o'clock rush hour to start work, and things were definitely jumping. I got changed quick, and was going upstairs to grab my apron and all, when I overheard two of the managers talking. Something had happened. One of our new employees had just quit on us without notice or anything. ONE of them. But who? NOT Nick! PLEASE tell me it's NOT Nick! I'll go into instant depression and throw myself in the deep frier right now if it was Nick!

I rushed over to the schedule and looked at it. Yep...Nick was supposed to start work at five for his first day working as a host before starting waitstaff. Naturally, I went searching for him. I saw Cheryl there and gave her a rather impersonal hello. I liked her too, but I had an angel to find at the moment. Back and forth, back and forth, looking around every five seconds to see if I saw him somewhere. But he was nowhere to be found. Shit! Please oh please don't tell me that he quit! Dammit! I LIKED him! Time went by, minute after minute, and when 5:20 rolled around, I was convinced that my cute blond bunny had hopped off to another location where I'd never get to see him again. Not that the idea of searching the entire city didn't cross my mind. 5:22 exactly...I saw Nick hurry in through the front door and hotfoot it over to the timeclock to punch in late. He's HERE! He's actually HERE! That means that 'what's-his-name' quit instead! Yes! Luck strikes again!

"Sorry, sorry, sorry! My car wouldn't start today and I had to take the bus. I didn't think it would take me this long to be here." He said to the manager while getting his host cumberbun and bowtie on. I never hought that he could possibly get more handsome than he was in that little white apron, but seeing him in those black slacks with a glaring white shirt and black heart melted instantly.

"Hi, Nick." I managed to get out with a smile as he passed me.

"Oh hey, Jesse, what's up?"

"Late, huh?"

"Yeah, I look like such a jerk. I haven't even officially started yet, and I'm already 'tardy'." He looked a bit worried.

"Don't sweat it. If they started firing people for occassionally coming in late, there wouldn't be anyone left to cultivate the crop of marijuana plants in the back." Yes, I'm a weirdo, so what. He looked at me for a second before letting a big grin blossom out of his panicked rush. It was as if the whole room lit up.

"Hehehe, I think you just helped me put on a happy face for the day." He said, and he patted me on the shoulder before going up to the host stand. It might have just been a friendly gesture to him, but to me, I was practically shaking inside. You have no idea how hard it is to not read into every action and gesture when you're so deeply involved with the idea of someone you like. I think I managed to get away from the wishful thinking long enough to keep my visible joy from getting too out of hand though. And believe me, it wasn't easy. Because Nick had a really hot ass, and I never really got a chance to look at it before. Now that I did...I had to exert extreme control over the blodflow to a certain part of the body that will go unsaid. Let's just say that I would have had a third hand to carry food trays if I allowed myself to think about it for too long.

I spent the rest of the night even happier than before, and I kept going back up to the host stand to talk to him. Especially once things slowed down. I just stood there with him, joking around and getting to know him a little better. He was 19 years old, just two years older than I was, but you couldn't really tell by looking. And he was an English major in college, but thinking of changing it later on. He was living in the dorms and had fun telling me about all the wacky stuff that goes on there between him and his roommate. He was working over the summer so that they could get an apartment for the next semester and get out from under the regime of the residence center. I stood there, barely blinking, absorbing every word. He was so cool. Nothing he said was short of impressive. I felt the same way a 10 year old feels looking up to his big brother, it was silly. But I just sucked up everything he said and fell deeper and deeper into a trance that I couldn't escape from. It drew me ever closer to him, and it consumed me from top to bottom in every possible way. Wow...this was more than I ever could have expected from a boy who was already as hot as a 'visually stimulating' hottie could be. I could have fallen in love with his looks alone. I never thought I'd find...substance underneath it.

Lindsay and I got off a bit early that night, and Nick had to work for another hour or two. So I said my goodbyes and told him that it was good talking to him. You wouldn't believe the way my chest was shaking while I was saying those few simple words. Terrified doesn't begin to describe it. But I forced myself to get them out anyway. I don't know, maybe I meant it as a hint to let him know that I really liked him. Or maybe I was just too damn scared, and meant it as a way to HIDE the fact that I really liked him. Or maybe I'm just stupid and couldn't think of anything else to say. Whatever it was, it felt good and bad and confusing all at the same time. I don't think aother boy has ever enticed me this much before. He was awesome.

Lindsay and I sat over at the bar in the other section of the restaraunt to get off of our feet for a bit and just relax before going home. Things had slowed down considerably, and it was just us two, and one guy way on the other side of the bar, who comes in three times a day for his drink of Sutter Home Merlot. The cool thing was...if I leaned forward a little bit, I could see back to the host stand and see Nick from accross the room. I couldn't really do it and be inconspicuous about it...but it was possible. That was all I needed.

"What do you guys want to drink?" The bartender asked us.

"Two whiskey sours." Lindsay said, knowing we couldn't drink there.

"Two Shirley Temple's, coming up." He gave us some Sprit with grenadine and a few cherries and put it down in front of us. "Sorry 'youngsters'...I happen to like my job."

"Can't blame us for trying." Lindsay took a sip and we relaxed for a bit. "So, I guess that one guy, Tony, quit huh? That's too bad. He was kind of cute, you know?"

"Ugh! Lindsay, come on. Are you kidding me?"

"WHAT? He was cute! And strong too. Big hands. VERY big hands." She wiggled her eyebrows and I turned away.

"God, you're weird. You can have him." I said.

"I guess I should have seen it coming. He bumbled a bit more than the average newbie, you know?"

"Yeah...but that guy, Nick, is pretty cool." I said, and I felt a tingle go up my spine. I think just the idea of saying his name outloud to someone else gave me a shiver.

"I haven't talked to him much. He seems cool though. He should be here for a while. He's crazy enough." She smiled. "So what days are you working next week?"

"Um...I think Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. I gave Nick my Thursday night because he's officially starting that week and he wanted to make some tips so he can have some spending money. You know, before his first paycheck comes through. Those things take forever when you're first starting."

"Well that was nice of you." The subject changed shortly afterwards, and we finished our drinks. We just sat back and talked for about 20 minutes, and were almost ready to go. Then...I think I made a bit of a mistake. "Just think, Jesse. We've only got one more summer left after this before we go off to college. Can you imagine?"

"I was talking to Nick about that, and he said that it's never really the same unless you're really close friends. Then things tend to stay the same between you. So I think you and me should be just fine. We'll keep in touch all the time. Nick told me that..." I stopped talking, and noticed her giving me a strange look. "What?"

She leaned over and looked behind her, over to the host stand, and the beautiful blond boy standing behind it. Then she looked back at me with a wicked half smirk on her face. "Jesse....?"

"WHAT?" I asked, agitated at the possible knowledge of me liking Nick becoming clear to her.

"What's the new girl's name?"

"What's whose name?"

"The new girl, the one that started this past week. What's her name?"

"'s like...Shirley, isn't it?"

Lindsay jumped with a smile. "NO!!! It's CHERYL!"

"So? So what? It's only been a week. You know I'm not good with names."

"You're not good with names unless it just happens to be a cute blond boy named NICK!" She said it louder than I was comfortable with, and could feel myself blushing already. Geez, I'm surprised Nick didn't hear it all the way in the other room.

"SHHHHH! Jesus! What are you getting at?" I said, looking around the room.

"You know what I'm getting at, ya little cock jockey! You LIKE him, don't you?"

"What? NO! He's just...he's cool..."

"Unh-unh! You mentioned him like five times since we've been sitting here. That's not a normal 'Jesse' reaction. I know you." She said grinning and poking me slightly with her finger. "I know an instant infatuation when I see one. I practically INVENTED 'like at first sight'! So just admit it. You like him."

She was getting louder and louder. Of course, it was at a normal indoor speaking voice, but to a closet homosexual whose newest crush is standing RIGHT THERE in the other room...that's like a bullhorn in a library! "SHHHHH!!!!! Can we talk about this later??? Somewhere else?"

But after a slight silence, she smiled and replied. "No."


"No. Admit it. THEN I'll leave it alone." She was really pushing it here!


"C'mon! Just SAY it! One time, and I'll leave it alone. Promise." She saw me starting to break down with a frustratd sigh. "I know you want to say it." She giggled. "ADMIT IT!" She said a little bit louder, and at that point, I was ready to do anything to shut her up.

"SHHH!!! Ok, ok!" I looked around for a second, and then said under my breath, "I think that...'said person' cute."

"And you 'like' him, right?"

"Sighhh..." Leave it to Lindsay to push it een further than she already has. "Yes. I like him."

With a huge smile on her face, she got up and told me she was ready to go all of the sudden. I asked her whatshe was up to, but she simply responded with, "Nothing. We've been sitting here drinking soda for a half hour now. Let's go."

"I swear...if you do ANYTHING to embarass me..."

"Well aren't WE important!" She scoffed, and grabbed me by the hand to lead me out. We passed the front door, and I felt some resistance on her part. Like she was going to stop and say something to Nick, which I was sure was going to embarrass the HELL out of me. So I clutched her hand even tighter and pushed her out of the door. "Good night Nick!" She said as I shuffled her out into the street. Nick waved with that awesome smile of his, but I was leaving too fast to really stare at it for any length of time. Why do I suddenly get the feeling that I'm going to deeply regret telling Lindsay about this?

The next two weeks of my life proved to be more stressful and backwards than I could have ever expected. Just knowing that Lindsay knew what I wanted made me nervous as hell all night long. Every second that I was there, I was searching around to make sure that they didn't spend more than fifteen seconds alone together. So help me, if that girl spills the beans to him about me liking him, I'll KILL her! And I don't mean that in a playful way. I mean that I'll lure her out into the alley after work, knock her out with a lead pipe, cut her up and put her on the menu as a special for the next day. I can't believe I was stupid enough to tell her.

Everytime I'd catch the two of them talking together, I'd basically have to grab her by the collar and carry her away. And everytime I'd ask her what they were talking about, she'd always say something like, "You and your sexuality. In a world full of topics what else could I POSSIBLY have to talk about?" And that would only frustrate me more and lay down a 'loophole free' set of rules and regulations for her to live by whenever she addressed him. I just wanted her to leave him alone. Nick was too cute and too cool to throw away by telling him that I wanted to get in his pants. He was cool, but he wasn't THAT cool. He'd shy away from me and probably stop talking to me altogether after another week or so. I didn't need that.

Another painful week went by, and the more I got to know Nick, the more he got to know me, the more I wanted him. Until it reached the point where we knew each other's schedules by heart, and looked forward to every day that we spent together. This wasn't a crush anymore. My heart was pushing for something more, and I kept pushing back as hard as I could. Something about the idea of finding out for sure that it was ruined the fantasy. And I 'liked' the fantasy. It's better than total rejection any day.

"You've got that look on your face again." Lindsay told me while waiting for a table in my section to be seated.

"What look?"

"That look where you're thinking about stuff way more than you probably should."

"I guess so." She looked a bit puzzled, and I purposely let it slip. "Sigh....Lindsay? I think I'm in love." Her eyes expanded so wide I thought they wold pop. "I said, I THINK!"

"You think?"

"I think." She peered deeper into me. "Ok, I know. God I'm so fucked up right now."

"No you're not! It's a good thing. It's a GREAT thing. Be happy." She grinned, completely forgetting about her table.

"I think your table wants their check..."

"I know, that's why I'm pretending to not even see them. Look, here's what you do. You ask Nick out for some coffee or something, and have a good time outside of work for a change. Get to know each other. Then you..."

"What are you talking about? No. Lindsay, no. I'm not PERSUING this. Are you crazy?"

"Not persuing it? Are YOU crazy? You just said you were in love."

"Yes, but that's all that means. I was just letting you in on a bit of my sad situation. It wasn't cause for you to start thinking up a 'plan'. It's not gonna happen. I just...I can't help it, you know? I want to get rid of this feeling inside of me and it won't go away. I'm going to end up messing up everything..."

Lindsay grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. "Dude..listen to me. You like Nick, you get along, you're attracted to him..."


She lowered her voice, " torturing yourself and go for it. Just make a play for him. It'll WORK! You're cute, you're fun..."

"Newsflash, sweetie...those things don't work on straight boys. Or have you forgotten that I'm not exactly 'asking a girl to prom' here?" She sighed and folded her arms, pausing for a quick moment.

"And what if he was gay?"

"SHHHH!!!" God, I HATE it when she says that word outloud!"

"What if he was...'un-straight'? Would you do it then?"

"I don't know. I don't know anything, I just..."

"What if I suddenly told you, that he was gay? And that he had only one boyfriend, and they had broken up, and that he had never been past second base? What then?"

"You're going a bit far with this hypothetical, aren't ya?" But she only shook me harder.

"GO...AND...TALK...TO...HIM! NOW!" And she pushed me towards the other side of the restaraunt where he was standing. He was leaving for the day and packing his apron and stuff away.

I never felt so awkward. Just walking was a challenge when it was in his direction. If I could just get these butterflies in my stomach to leave me alone for just five damn minutes, I'd be able to talk to him like a human being. Instead, my heart kept putting him on such a high pedestal that I didn't feel worthy to even be around him. How do normal people do this? "Hey Nick." I said.

"Hey. You getting off yet?" He asked, and my sexed up mind went wild with the question.

"Excuse me?"

"Work? Are you getting off from work yet?"

"Oh!, not for an hour or so yet. I've got to stay here." I said, feeling that tightness in my chest and that quiver in my limbs as he smiled in my direction.

"Too bad. I thought maybe we'd go somewhere. Maybe chill for a while." He asked me to go somewhere....he asked me. I heard it. I KNOW I heard it. And it terrified me.

"Oh...well, I have So..."

"Well, maybe some other time?" Sexy, he was so sexy. Cute and sweet and funny and...dammit, I really am in love, aren't I? How did this happen? "Hehehe...or not?" He said after I realized that I hadn't said anything in response to his offer.

"YES! Yes...some other time. We'll do something." Ouch! Did I say 'do something'? "I mean when we get off..." No no no! Don't go there! "I'll...I'd be happy to...go someplace. And...chill." I carefully crafted each word, and probably came off sounding like a robot. But at least Igot something out, that was more than I thought I was capable of. "Gotta go. Bye." And I turned tail and ran. Yeah, I was a chicken. But I would have made things MUCH worse if I had kept talking to him. He left shortly aftewards.

He must think I'm a total goofball. Some dumb high school virgin with half a brain. I didn't know what it was about him that kept my mouth watering the whole time he was there. I don't know why I couldn't seem to just talk to him like a normal person. Every bit of intelligence just seemed to shut down when I got near him. Not just out of fear and confusion either. There was something else in the way, and I couldn't define it if I tried. When I left that day, I had mentally kicked myself until I was almost too embarrassed to come back for my next shift. Nick, of course, didn't make anything of it over the next few days. Adding even more charm to his already perfect personality. He was gorgeous, and if I had any guts at all I would have at least asked him out soewhere by now. I swear, I shouldn't be this depressed right now. I just shouldn't be. It's the SUMMER for crying out loud, I'm supposed to be having some kind of fun.

"It's the SUMMER for crying out loud, you're supposed to be having some kind of fun." Lindsay said to me the following weekend. Weird, isn't it?

"I know. I just...I don't feel like doing too much of anything tonight. I'm tired, you know? My feet are killing me, and it looks like my last table here is going to be staying for a long long time." I told her.

"All the more reason for you to come over tonight. We'll relax, listen to some music, watch a movie or something. It'll be fun." I didn't answer, but she could see that same look on my face, hear that same frustrated sigh, and she knew that she had me by the balls on this one. So she yanked on my arm and pleaded with me. "C'mon....pleeeeease! Don't make me sit at home alone tonight! I'm going feel all pathetic and lonely. It's going to suck ass!" She was drawing more attention to us in the corner, and I gave in.

"Fine. I'll come over after work. Happy now?" I made a promise, and she was happy to have won me over so easily. Just like she always does.

So I did my last few hours of work by myself, and left to head out to Lindsay's place. I didn't plan to stay for much longer than I had to. About an hour or so, and then I'm going home to crash for a while. That's all there is to it. Besides, I had masturbation fantasies to fulfill since Nick hadn't worked that day. A day without him was like a ten minute pause without breathing. I needed him to complete my day. God...I was getting so damn dorky over the whole thing.

When I rang Lindsay's doorbell, she ran over a bit faster than usual to answer it. She uickly ushered me into the house, and led me into her bedroom. I could hear her cd player going and all, and didn't expect anything different really. But found a rather disturbing surprise waiting once I rounder the corner. Nick was in her room, laying back on her bed, that incredible sleek body of his stretched out before my eyes, and his sweet smile greeting me as soon as I walked in. "Hey Jesse. It's about time you got here." He said, and I nearly wet myself with panic.

I couldn't just turn around and leave the room or get Lindsay to leave with me so I could throw the entire book of curse words at her. If I did that, he'd know. If I stayed there, he'd know. If Lindsay's gossipy nature had already interfered in the swing of things, he'd know! DAMMIT!

"Um....hi! Hey! I didn't know you were going to be here, Nick." I said, giving Lindsay as dirty a look as I could while still smiling nervously in Nick's presence.

Lindsay leaned playfully into my shoulder and whispered, "I invited him." With a smile.

"Yeah...I can kinda see that." I whispered back through gritted teeth. But she lightly hit me for what she would call 'being silly'. When we moved further into her room, I saw that she had the Family Guy cartoon paused on her DVD player and she was all ready to just turn it back on so we could just hang out. Just...hang out. As though she saw nothing wrong with that. "I'm going to kill you for this." I muttered under my breath as I walked in her room.

I walked over to sit at her desk, the only chair in the room, and she swiftly moved past me to nab the seat first. Leaving my only space....on the bed next to Nick. I gave her a stern look as I went to sit down. I can't BELIEVE she did this to me. She KNOWS how crazy I am about this boy, and now she's fucking it all up. I probably would have stayed mad at her too, but was thrown off guard when I sat on the bed and Nick grabbed a hold of my arm. "Come on and gimme some love big boy!" He said, and playfully pulled me back to snuggle up into my neck! Ok....that's enough to keep me in jack off fantasies for the rest of my natural life!

I felt my body go completely rigid, and it locked up so tight that I couldn't move even if I wanted to. I laughed a little bit to cover the fact that I was battling absolute hysteria inside, and felt the hottest red blush cover my whole body at once. I was both happy and sad when he let go of me. "Nice greeting." I said, sitting back up. "I can't imagine what you did to HER when you came over."

He didn't answer, he just smiled. And I got lost in the moment for a second or two before noticing Lindsay just melting over in the corner. Giving us that 'oh, this is so cute' look. So I had to pull away from his eye contact and straighten up before she made things even worse. I'm pretty sure that he didn't come over there knowing he was going to get hit on. By a 'homo', no less. And thus...the night began. I was clumsy and stupid and quiet and almost antisocial the entire time. It was like being bound and gagged by my own emotions, and I came off like some jerk that didn't even WANT him there. Nick's smile, and his little touches here and there, and that damn cute laugh of his while we werre watching the was pulling me deeper and deeper into love with him. And the only way to escape that amazing tractor beam that he had locked on to me, was to counteract his playfullness with withdrawal. The closer he tried to get to me, the more I crawled back into a shell. And nothing seemed right, nothing felt right. It's the most aggravating thing in the world to be faced with something really special and not be able to reach for it. Why didn't Lindsay just leave us the fuck alone? Why did she have to stick her nose in it and try to play matchmaker. This is stupid. I really hate her for this.

A few hours went by, with more of the same push and pull, where neither one of us could break the other's approach to the situation. And when 12:30 rolled around, Nick decided that maybe he should go. My eyes had been fastened to Lindsay's carpet for ninety percent of the evening, and I suppose that I wasn't being the friendliest person in the world. I don't know what happened. I was SCARED, alright? He's...he's like this awesome magical creature, and I felt like he'd run away if I stepped forward to pet him. I was trying. At least I think I was. Who knows? I've never been so confused.

" are you getting home?" Lindsay asked him as all three of us stood up to say goodbye.

"I could take the bus, but it's not really that far. I suppose I could save the money and just walk it." There was a slight pause, and Nick looked over at me as though he were waiting for me to say something. LINdsay gave me the same look, widening her eyes a bit and gritting her teeth to silently give me a signal. But I couldn't do it. No way. The itch was there, trembling in my chest as though it was ALMOST ready to come out and offer to walk with him. didn't. And I swallowed it whole.

"It was cool hanging with you, Nick. We'll do it again sometime. Soon, ok?" I said. And I'm amazed that I was able to get THAT out.

Lindsay rolled her eyes in defeat, but Nick just gave me a warm smile. "Sure. Another time." And he moved forward to give me a tight hug. "I'll see you at work on Monday?"

"Twenty two minutes late, sure." I grinned, and he giggled a bit. Then...he leaned in and gave me another hug, a long one. And when he let go he looked into my eyes, searching for something...different in me. I didn't let him se. I won't let him see. So I let go of the embrace and backed away. I might be able to hide my thoughts and my feelings, but I had a nice little growing bulge in the front of my pants that wasn't going to be so easy to camouflage without the use of a pillow.

"Ok. See ya later. Thanks Lindsay, I had a great time." He said, and gave Lindsay a hug as she walked him out. "Bye Jesse." I sighed heavy and collapsed back down on the bed. Thank God it was over.

Lindsay came storming back into the room, "What are you DOING??? Hello!"

"Lindsay, I can't believe you actually invited him over here without telling me!" I shouted back.

"Jessie! Honey! This is your chance! Don't just sit there on the bed sulking. GO! Go get him! catch up to him and just talk to him or something."

"I CAN'T!"

"Why not???"

"Because I just CAN'T, ok? You just don't understand."

She sat down next to me and took a hold of my hand to keep my attention. "Don't understand what? I mean, what happened to 'I think I'm in love'? You like him, he likes you...all you have to do is ask him out for a movie or something. That's it. I'm not saying that you have to stick your tongue down his throat and see if he punches you. Just TALK to him and maybe, just maybe, you picked the right guy this time."

"Lindsay, if he rejects me..."

"Worry about that later. Right now, all you've got to concern yourself with is going out there to spend some time together."

"Dammit, Lindsay! You just don't get it." I stood up, frustrated, and pacing. "This is it. This is all I've got right now. Having Nick in my life makes me happy. Why are you trying so hard to ruin that?"

"Ruin what? Huh?" She said, standing up with me. "What exactly is it that you've got here? Nick isn't 'in' your life, Jesse. He's just on the outside of it, and everytime he asks to come inside you put another lock on the door. Why?" She held onto my shoulders to force home her point. "Are you gonna stand there and tell me that you'd rather live the rest of your life dreaming and fantasizing about being with Nick instead of trying to go for the real thing? Do you have any idea how psychotic that is?"

"I just don't..."

"I know, you don't want to get hurt. I get it. And I understand that. But you're really going to end up kicking yourself if you turn around after this summer and find out that Nick was gay all along and has somebody new to take the place in his life that you so rightfully deserved. THAT'S gonna hurt!"

I let down my guard for a second, a lump forming in my throat as I asked her, "So...what do you want me to do?"

"GO GET HIM! Chase him down before he gets halfway home and you miss you chance. Then I'm going to have to go through all of the trouble of setting you up again."

"Sighhh...." I knew she could see it, and sure enough, I was giving in all over again. "...ok fine! Fine! I'm going! But if he tells me to get lost, I'm crying on YOUR shoulder until the pain goes away!"

"I'll make sure to bring the Kleenex. Just go already. Have a ball! Have TWO!" And she literally put her hands on my back to push me out of the front door.

"What do I say to him?"

"Think about it while you're catching up to him. GO!" And she slammed the door behind me. Ok, I'm on my own here. Here goes nothing.

I turned the corner and was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him walking in the distance. I felt a jittery feeling in my stomach, but I found the courage to shout out his name anyway. "Nick!" He turned around, and when he saw me, he smiled. "Wait up!" I jogged over to him until we stood side by side. "Hey..." I said, slightly winded. "You mind if I walk with you for a little bit?"

"No, not at all. Come on." We walked through the streets, maybe for a good fifteen minutes or so. Was I nervous? Hell YES I was nervous! But I guess I was forced to go through with at least walking him home if nothing else. So I just had to grin and bear it. It was a little uncomfortable trying to act normal while every instinct in my brain was telling me to run off and save myself the embarrassment of getting dumped on right there in the middle of the street. Every time I got quiet, I wondered if I should be talking. And everytime I started talking, I wondered if I should just shut up. And in between silences, I would giggle a little bit to avoid some of the pressure of having to say something. But how long can a giggle last, honestly. Still, the whole time, Nick just looked at me and smiled and encouraged me to talk more. If only I could find a way to explain how that made me feel more scared and more alive at the same time, I would.

Finally, we were approaching his house, and he slowed down his pace a little bit. "Well, that's my house just up ahead."

"Staying home for the summer, huh?"

"Yeah, and my mom is driving me crazy. Trust me, once you move out of the house, there's no going back. You'll be insane by the end of the first week." He said. Then, a hush fell over both of us, and we got up to his front porch. He looked over at me withot saying anything, and grinned a bit to himself. "So...I guess this means I made it home safe, huh?"

"Sure. And that's good to know. I mean you could have been kidnapped by aliens, or eaten by wolves, or even..."

"Jesse...I'm gay." He said. It was so sudden that I don't think it even registered in my mind for the first few seconds.

"" I said, and my heart started beating so fast and hard that I was expecting it to suddenly breakdown on me.

Nick and I stood silent. The only sound was a few nervous laughs when I glanced up at his eyes from the concrete. It was a really awkward moment. God was I ever scared. "So...are you?" He asked me.

"Am I what?"

"Hehehe, you are too cute. Gay, you spaz."

His smile sent me soaring again, and I began to fidget and wiggle around, feeling like a stranger in my own skin. " know....everybody has a few...'tendencies'..." I started, not having said the words 'I'm gay' since I'd told Lindsay so many years ago. "...That is...I may be partial to....I think we all go through a phase where..."

"You know, you can just say 'YES'." Nick giggled.

"YES!" I said instantly. It was like the words had pushed past my lips before my common sense had the chance to stop them this time. "Yes...hehehe, yes. I'm gay."

Then Nick began to snicker to himself. "Yeah, I know." He said. "Lindsay told me."

"She WHAT??? That BITCH!" I said, appalled.

"Nah, she means well. Besides, I kinda twisted it out of her. She wasn't going to tell me anything at first, until I told her about me first. I guess you left a loophole in your aggreement."

"I hope it's a loophole big enough to fit around her neck so I can HANG her with it later." I grumbled.

"Don't be mad. Besides, I'm glad she told me." He said, and shyly looked down at his feet momentarily. "You were cute. I always thought so. I was kinda scared to ask myself. Actually, I was really scared tonight that you weren't interested."

"No chance of that." I smiled, but the butterflies in my stomach went nuts and I was visibly shaking where I stood. "" The hard part's over Jesse, just ASK him. "...Do you, like, wanna go seea movie or something next weekend?"

"Yeah, that'd be great. I'll drive, if my car decides to work that day."

"Cool. Very cool. Alright then, I'll see you later." I said, and started to leave. But he stopped me.

"What? No goodnight kiss?" He smiled.

"Right here? Now?" I felt my heart jump, and my body almost shook itself to pieces at the idea. He gave me a look, and I stod on legs of soft clay as I moved closer to him. Looking into his eyes, I felt faint. This wasn't an incredibly hot boy, this wasn't a best friend, this wasn't some dream character in a jack off fantasy...but it was more like all three combined and mulitplied by one hundred. I could hardly breathe as I got closer. I think he could see the fear in my eyes, because he laughed a little at my hesitation. Then, my paranoia got the best of me, and I started looking around the street to see if anyone was watching. "Can this someplace else?"

"" Nick said, and followed it with, "If you're gonna kiss me, then kiss me." I stood there amazed, and began fumbling with my hands again, feeling more awkward than ever. Then he leaned close enough to whisper softly in my ear. "Don't worry, Jesse. I want to."

It was all I needed, and with a shakey hand on his waist, and my 6 and a half inches at full stiffness, I leaned forward. I closed my eyes just seconds before impact, and when I felt my lips touch was like all of the tension, worry, pain, and lonliness of the last 17 years of my life escaped me in one long exhalation. My body relaxed, and sparks flew as I felt his smooth soft lips press tenderly against my own. I was kissing Nick, in the middle of his front porch, in PUBLIC no less! Granted, it was almost 1 AM, but it's not something I would have done for anyone else. For once...Lindsay was right. I had found the right guy this time.

The kiss lasted for a few minutes before he stepped away. It was my cue to breathe again. " on Monday?" He asked.

"Yeah...." I couldn't even move. I was so weak in the knees that I was sure that it was the wind alone holding me up. "..Monday."

"I'll see you then. G'night." He walked to the door, and went inside, leaving me on the porch for another minute by myself. Trying to comprehend what the hell had just happened to me. It was the best night of my life. Above all others.

For the second half of the summer, Nick and I became boyfriends. In every meaning of the word. And a week later when I gave him my virginity, I smiled for 48 hours straight. Now I know what the big deal about sex was, and it was well justified. After that first time, I couldn't get enough. God help the empty room that Nick I were allowed to spend more than fifteen minutes alone in. The love never stopped, it just kept growing.

Lindsay got an earful once I got to talk to her again, but shedidn't care. She was too busy bouncing around her room after hearing how it all worked out for the best. And let's be honest, I couldn't stay mad at her. I couldn't stay mad about ANYTHING anymore. Life was too good. Although I do believe that I torture her by mentioning his name every five to ten minutes. She put us together, and now she thinks were way too mushy. So what? I don't care. It's a part of her punishment.

We went to school once the summer was over, and even though he was away at college, and I still had a year of high school left, we kept in touch every day. We visited every holiday, and we made love every chance that we could find. Including one time at work....but SHHHH, that's our secret.

It was the first leap of faith that I had ever taken that led me somewhere, and I couldn't be more happy. I couldn't be more happy.

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