At school the next week, Ronnie was back sitting with me at lunch, and Dan had returned to the jock table. That disappointed me a little. I'd liked spending time with Dan. I liked his easy-going personality, his ability not to worry about anything, his empathy. He wasn't a bit like me. I worried about a lot of things. He seemed able to take everything in stride.
"So, did you talk to Evan?" I asked.
Ronnie looked at me and smiled. The Sphinx with its inscrutable smile had nothing on him. "Well, I did happen to bump into him at Charlie's."
Charlie's was a coffee shop near school that was popular with coffee-addicted students, which was about half the population.
He took a large bite of his sandwich and then chewed for a while. A longer while than was needed. I started tapping my fingers on the table. He needed to see my impatience.
"And?" I repeated.
He swallowed. "OK. Yeah, I think he's gay. Can't be sure. You know how some guys are just too hormonal at this age and will fu—, uh, will get it on with anything with legs." He paused to gauge my reaction.
I was happy to see him deferring to my objection to cuss words but was more interested in what he was saying. I waved my hand in a circular motion, universally meaning 'get on with it already'.
He did. "He was sitting with someone when I walked in. A girl. She got up and left, though, and he sat there looking around. I made sure he caught my eye, and he saw that I caught his.
"I smiled at him, trying to look nervous, which was easy because I was. He smiled back, and I sort of walked over to his table."
"How does one 'sort of walk' Ronnie? Just how does that work?" I asked, grinning at him.
"Easy. I was nervous, showed that, took a couple of tentative steps, hesitated, watched him smile more broadly, then showed a bit more determination and stepped more confidently over to him. 'May I sit down?' I asked him, sounding really nervous, and he said I could.
"I sat down, fidgeting to sell the nervous. Then, before he could speak, I just blurted it out."
"Blurted what out?"
He laughed. "Just what you'd told me to blurt. Well, you didn't say to blurt, but that was about the only way I'd be able to do this, so I blurted. 'I've heard something about you,' I told him. 'I heard you get it on with other guys. If you do, I'm interested.'
"You said that?! Way to be subtle, dude!"
"How in the world could I have cozied up to it? Anyway, by being nervous, I didn't think he'd get the idea I was scamming him at all. He'd just think I was horny."
"So what did he say?" I couldn't believe Ronnie'd done it this way, but I agreed it would probably show us what I really wanted to know about Evan.
"He looked at me like he was puzzled for a moment, then broke out laughing. Then he said, 'That's the worst pickup line I've ever heard.'
"I managed to look sheepish, which was pretty easy at that point, and found it a little easier to go into my spiel. 'I guess that was a bit lame,' I said. 'But see, I've always been attracted to guys. Maybe more than girls. Then, just recently, I managed to get a girlfriend. How that happened is a long story and not really pertinent here. What is important is, I've done some things with her, you know what I mean, but I still am wondering if it would be better with a boy. I still get hard thinking about being with a boy. That's really exciting, thinking those things, but doing them for real doesn't seem very fair to her. But what if I find out I like boy-sex better? So I want to try it with someone before I get in too deep with her, because if I like boy sex better, it wouldn't be fair to me not to go that way. And I overheard someone talking about you. So, nothing ventured, nothing gained. How about it?'
"I stopped there and looked at him. He looked back, then winked. 'I'm up for some experimentation if you are,' he said. That's when I gave her my cue."
"Huh? What cue? Who?"
I could see he was enjoying this. He didn't leave me hanging or drag his teasing out. "I'd arranged it all with Juliette. Don't worry, I didn't tell her about you. I told her I'd made a bet with someone about Evan and I needed her help. When I scratched my ear, she was to come over and ask me what I was doing. Sounding mad as shit. Oops. Sorry. But she did. Come over and sound mad. I began to hem and haw, and she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away. As I was leaving, I turned back to Evan and said, 'Sorry. I guess it's not going to happen.' But I found out what you wanted. He's into guys."
I shook my head. "But you didn't find out if he's gay."
"Next thing to it if he's not," Ronnie said. "If he'll fool around with one stranger, me, he will with another, you, and you can work out the finer points of the relationship then. Something to discuss, I guess, when you're both lying there, panting, sweaty and naked."
OK. The ball was now in my court. It was up to me to stop being such a wuss. Time to act. And so I did.
The next day, after class I waited for Evan to leave, then went after him and stopped him in the hall.
"Hi," I said, feeling as nervous as Ronnie must have felt. "Can I stop you for just a moment? I . . . I've been noticing you looking at me." Then I rushed on before he could get the wrong idea. I was half again as large as he was. "I've been looking at you, too. And, well . . ." I ran out of steam then. But he didn't look bothered at all. He grinned. Maybe he was used to this. I wasn't. Not at all.
"I've noticed you looking at me, too," he said, the grin broadening. "I wondered when you'd get up the nerve to talk to me."
I grinned then, too. "I was wondering the same thing about you! I guess today was the day for me."
"So what do you want to talk about? We're going to be late to class."
"Yeah, right. Well, this is difficult, but, well, I was wondering, I mean—OK, OK. I want to ask you out, but I'm not sure how to."
He laughed. "You just did. You're kind of cute, in a rough-hewn, oversized kind of way. Kinda like the father in The Rifleman, and even cuter when you're stumbling all over yourself like that. Here's my number. Text me when and where."
He said, "Got to go," and disappeared down the hall. I was late to my class. I couldn't stop thinking about what he'd said. 'Text me.' Not 'Get lost' or 'What are you, some sort of pervert?' No, he said to text him. Text him to set up a date. He didn't say that, but it was what he had to mean. I walked to my class but was in a daze and got there after the bell had rung. I got the stink-eye from the teacher but didn't even much notice. Whatever, it was worth it. I'd done it! I was going to have a date with Evan! My crush, Evan!
I was going on a date! Not just a date, either. One where sex would almost certainly be part of the adventure. I was still grasping the idea, still feeling tremors every time the realization hit me. I knew I was too excited thinking about it, but I was a teenager; excitement like this was part of the picture. I calmed myself down by telling myself sex wouldn't be involved. Sure, Ronnie and Evan had talked about experimentation, so it might be what Evan was expecting, was looking forward to, but maybe not. I be happy with just a kiss. But would he be? I guess I'd find out.
Friday night. It was finally time to get ready. We'd decided what to do. We'd done it all the modern way—with texts. Never even spoke on the phone. We were meeting for a quick bite to eat before seeing a movie, as much a getting-to-know-each-other sort of meeting as anything. Then, after the movie, we'd go for pizza before what I was expecting would be a very romantic walk home. I'd walk him to his house, probably holding his hand. Nothing had been said about kissing him goodnight or even walking home, but there was no question in my mind that all that was on the agenda. On my agenda, at least. I didn't think he'd object. There was something about him that said romance and sex. Maybe even in capital letters. He hadn't backed away from the subject with Ronnie.
I stripped off and headed for the shower. I'd never gotten ready for a date before. I wondered if everyone felt like I did just then when they were preparing for a first date. I was nervous and excited, and when waiting for the water to run hot I realized, I was about half hard.
I showered, washed myself twice, shampooed and conditioned my hair, then shut off the water, stepped out into the bathroom and started drying off. The mirror over the sink had become fogged, and I took a moment to rub it dry with another towel. That caused me to look at myself, something I rarely did. Seeing myself was depressing. In my mind I could look like any movie star I wanted and often did, but the reality was much different and, well, a shock of reality. All the working out I'd done over the summer had eliminated any baby fat I had left. Now my face was angular and sharp-featured, all flat planes and high cheekbones. When not smiling, I had a rather severe look, and, truth be told, I rarely smiled. I should, I realized, if for no other reason than to soften my visage, but smiling didn't come naturally to me.
I wore my hair short, too. The overall look was very hard, very masculine and to my mind not all that attractive. Which was why I tended to avoid mirrors.
Now, I took the opportunity to look. I had to make sure I didn't need to shave whether I wanted to or not. I found it wasn't necessary. I also had to make sure no skin eruptions had chosen now to appear as they did so often to anxious teens in movies. They hadn't. No, it was just me looking back. Didn't look like much, but surprisingly, I decided I didn't look all that bad, either, if I wanted as unbiased and dispassionately honest an opinion as I was capable of. Evan hadn't seemed to mind how I looked and had even complimented me, though that was probably as much for my awkwardness as my looks. I had to hold onto the thought that at least he'd said yes to a date, which had to mean he didn't find me unattractive. Maybe he liked strong and don't-mess-with-me looking guys.
I didn't put on any cologne and used an unscented deodorant. I didn't like smelling like a girl. I didn't like to smell at all.
Picking out what to wear had never been a problem for me, but then, I'd never picked out something to wear on a date. After spending some time at it and thinking nothing I had was suitable, I mentally kicked myself and just went with simple. Pressed khakis, and nice blue polo shirt, and newish sneaks with black socks. Not too fancy, but just enough to show I'd taken the time to choose something rather than just go with a come-as-you-were sort of deal.
I met Evan at the burger place we'd chosen. He was there waiting for me, and, well, wow! He was dressed quite similarly to me, but no matter what he was wearing, he still looked like he did, which was always going to turn me on, and so his somewhat fancier clothes than what he wore at school just made him look that much better. Probably knowing that he was there to meet me, to be my date, added to my infatuation with what he looked like.
I'd been about to sit down, but instead, he stood up. I couldn't help but smile at him. He could see by my smile what I thought. "Like me much?" he said, then laughed, sounding just a bit self-deprecating, but not all that much.
"Actually, I do," I said, then blushed.
"Good," he said. Then he reached and took my arm in his hand. Man, that made me start to shake. He was touching me!
"You sure you want to go to the movie?" he asked. "We could just go back to my place instead. No one'll be home."
"Huh?" That certainly caught me by surprise.
"A movie would be fine, but you look eager, and I know I am. We could just use the time we'd waste in the theater doing things that are even more fun." He batted his eyes at me, which were already twinkling. His small smile could be labeled as devilish. To me, it just enhanced his attractiveness.
He was staring at me. I hadn't even got seated yet. Our height difference was quite pronounced with both of us standing. It meant he didn't have to lower his eyes much for them to be aimed at my middle. He'd been looking up into my eyes, but then, he slowly let them drift downward. They stopped when he was looking at my crotch. Then he moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue.
Oh, man! I didn't want to, but I started to react to his implied intentions. He'd suggested rather luridly that we could go to his place and fool around. He had put the idea in my head, then stared down where his thoughts seemed to be focused. And that did it. I didn't just start to get hard. I was 15. Anything at all could have that effect, and Evan was boner material more than most, and now he was being more than obvious about his intent—and looking eager about it.
I'd been hoping for a date-ending kiss that night. I'd convinced myself that that was my objective for the date. Evan certainly had more than that in mind. Damn, I didn't really know him at all, but thinking of him as a boyfriend, I'd of course also fantasized about what that would mean. Would eventually mean.
Eventually was turning into a first-date experience.
My mind had reservations; this seemed way too quick. The rest of me had no reservations at all. The rest of me won.
"I don't need a burger, either," I said. My voice sounded raspy to me. I felt the need to reach down and keep something there from being too obvious; I needed to press it down a bit. I didn't, but I wanted to. How could I, with him watching me?
Evan's smile broadened, his eyes laughing. "Me neither." He was talking about a hamburger, not anything raunchy. That was my guess. I didn't look down. That would have been rude.
His house was only a couple of blocks away. I was sort of in a daze again, knowing things were going to happen that I'd only dreamed of. Just thinking about them had my mind swimming. Evan didn't speak much but did ask if I'd been with other boys before. I told him I'd never been with anyone before. That this was all entirely new to me. He glanced down at my crotch again, then laughed and said I certainly looked like I was in the mood to change that. I didn't look down to see how apparent I was. It wouldn't have helped. It was what it was. I was glad we were out the door in no time flat.
No one was home at his house. Like advertised. He led me up to his room. It was a mess, but a messy room wasn't anything I was going to think about at the moment. He pulled the covers up on his bed, not bothering to make it but simply providing a less lumpy surface. Then he looked at me, licked his lips, and pulled off his shirt.
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