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Out of the Rain

by Junco

Chapter 11 - Today is the Day

The next day after work, I called Phillip, to see if he wanted to go running that afternoon. I met him at his house, and we left from there to go on a long but leisurely run. Phillip was always my one true friend, more so than anyone. He was the first one to congratulate me at a race, or the first one to console me when I had done poorly.

We were both in track, and cross-country, always ran together, and always found something to do, or something to talk about. When I was on my own, I had to seek out the company of others, no one else ever came looking for me like he did. After we graduated, we went running a few times, then Phillip went on vacation with his family. It was then that I met James, I had become focused on him, and didn't think about seeing Phillip. James had become my new friend, but James was much more than just a friend, and my contact with him more intimate. I had learned more about friendship with James and now felt more open with people in general. I had learned something about myself, but I learned it through James. I thought I could apply these same principles with Phillip, and tried to confide in him. I thought about it while we ran, and tried to think of someway to tell him what was going on, but I never found the starting point to that type of conversation. In fact I never mentioned anything about James, or that I had even run into him that day in the rain. Instead he asked me about Shelly, and I told him all about her going to France. His reply was simply that, I was very lucky to have someone like her, that he didn't think he would ever find the right person. He wasn't happy talking about that subject, and I realized for the first time that I had never seen him with a girl. He talked about girls, but only said that they were pretty, while most of the guys always talked about girls in a degrading fashion. He never did that, and I always had a great deal of respect for him in that regard. I never thought of him as being gay, but that thought did come to mind later in the day, and I regretted that I didn't mention it.

When I got back home, I checked the mail, and inside the mailbox was a letter with lots of stamps on it and familiar handwriting.

Dear Shawn:

Hope you are doing okay. Everyone here is just fine. Grandma and grandpa are showing me the country and all the sights, and we are having a great time. They have talked to me about my future and want me to go to college, only they want me to stay here and go to college. I want to go to college, but I miss you, and would rather go to school there, only I don't have the money to do that. My grandparents said they would support me and put me through school. I can take a bus a short distance to a really nice school. We went there the other day, and I really liked it. I told them about us and our plans, but they say a good education is very important. I keep trying to tell them that you and I will get by, but they want me to do better than that. I don't know what to think anymore. I am thinking about it, but haven't made up my mind yet. There is so much to do and see here, wish you could be here with me. I think we would have a great time together. The mailman comes soon, and I wanted to get this to you today. I miss you, will write again soon.

Love shelly

What a strange letter I thought. It was short, too short. In a way I hoped she would stay there with them. It would be best for her, and her future, and give me more time to figure out where my own life was heading. Had I received that very letter a few weeks earlier, I probably would have broken down crying, but I didn't cry. In a way I was relieved, and could see the decision I was having to make, was already made for me. It would have been difficult explaining my new situation to her, but now I could let that go, just tell her that it all worked out for the best.

Thoughts about my past came to me, and I felt the need to write back to Shelly, except my mind was to jumbled up. I needed someone to talk to, and James would have been my first choice, but he never called me that evening. I thought about calling my uncle, but it was late and went to bed. I lay awake, thinking about James, missing him, and wondering what the future would be like. If I could just hold him there in my arms, I would tell him, let him know that I loved him.

After work the next day I called on Phillip again, and he agreed to come over after we both ate. I gave him directions on how to get to my house, then found something for dinner, and went out to the deck to wait on him. I was nervous, wondering what I would tell him, wondering just how open I could be with him, and when he did arrive, that feeling went away. I watched him as he climbed the stairs wearing some cut off blue jean shorts and a muscle tee. Phillip was thin, nearly as thin as I was, and his shirt revealed muscles poking out of his thin frame. He wasn't built like James, but he was much stronger than I was, but then, so was just about everyone. His light blue shirt, set off the blue in his eyes, and contrasted nicely against his summer tan. It was funny to me, that I never paid much attention to Phillip before, not like that, but now I could see things about him, things that were there all along. I got us both a coke, and we went back outside, enjoying the quiet evening, high up on the deck. As always we talked about running, and school stuff, then he asked me about the old truck in the driveway. It was what I needed to get the conversation started in that direction, the way that I wanted it to go.

"That's James Ryan's truck," I said and paused, "you know James, don't you?"


"He's staying with me for awhile," I said and watched for Phillip's reaction. He had been acting nonchalant staring off into the distance, and watching birds as they flew by us, but when I mentioned that James was staying with me, he looked straight at me, his eyes became fixed on me.

"Cool. How did that happen?"

"A few weeks ago," I said, then took a big swallow of my coke. "I went into town to the auto parts store, and that's when I saw him, out in the parking lot working on his truck, in the middle of a rainstorm, and he was soaked. I convinced him to come over here and work on his truck in the garage downstairs. I found out that him and his girlfriend had just broken up, and he didn't have anywhere to live, so I asked him to stay with me."

"That's awesome," he said. "I always thought he was pretty cool."

"He is pretty cool. Besides, we've become real good friends." Phillip adjusted himself, placing both hands on the seat of his chair, propping himself up, and listening to my every word. "I'm going to tell you some stuff, things that might seem kind of strange, and even I can't believe it sometimes. Anyway, we went to my uncle's lake the next day, walked one of the trails when James started crying, and I couldn't help myself, and I held him, like I would have done for Shelly."

"Oh Shawn, that is so cool. You always did have a good heart."

"He just got to me, and...well, I really like him."

"I know. What's not to like"?

"So you're okay with this?" Phillip picked his chair up, moved over close to me and laid his hand there on my knee. I wasn't scared, and Phillip seemed intent on knowing more, so I went on. "I don't know how it happened, but the two of us have become really close." Phillip gave my knee a gentle squeeze, and somehow I knew he understood. We bonded, just the two of us, our past was still there, but the present became alive with feeling and emotion.

"Don't worry, I'm really cool with this," Phillip said, "how close are you guys?"

"Well we've become close, very close, and I think maybe, I...well...god this is hard to say." Phillips hand on my knee started to move, he was rubbing my leg with his hand, and I knew he was really okay. "Something's happened between us, ...guess I changed. Maybe it was there all along and I just don't know. This is hard to say Phillip, but I'm...

"You're in love, aren't you?" That's all it took. Phillips words came to me softly, his eyes intently looking at me, and his expression didn't change, only became softer. I didn't say yes, all I could do is shake my head and acknowledge that I had fallen in love with James. Phillip left his seat, kneeled down in front of me, and I moved forward in my chair to receive his hug. It felt good to be hugged by him, and I knew he understood me, and he didn't let go of me and that's when tears came to my eyes. So much was happening all at once, my relationship with Shelly was coming to an end, and I was falling in love with James. Now Phillip, my best friend for years was holding me giving me comfort. That was a new feeling too. I wasn't sobbing, just tears came as the emotions within me were being released. When my crying stopped, he sat back on his legs, placing his butt on his ankles and put both hands back to my knees. I propped my head up with my hand, my elbow resting on the arm of the chair, then wiped away my tears. When I got the last of my tears out of my eyes, I looked at him, he was starring at me.

"I've had the biggest crush on you since the first time I saw you," he said.


"Always have."

"So you're ah... you're gay?" He just nodded his head yes. "I didn't know," I said. "Didn't even think about it till yesterday."

"Why? What happened yesterday?"

"Just that when you and I were running, I suddenly realized I'd never seen you with a girl."

"I know," and he looked down, but then his eyes returned to me, and said. "I talk about girls sometimes, but it's only a cover."

"So how long have you known?" I asked.

"Since forever."


"I wanted you in the worst way, but you were too interested in girls."

"I know. Thought I was. I mean I really liked Shelly."

"That's why I never said anything."

"Well James and I are close. I mean really close, but he...don't know, he hasn't... you know."

"So you two haven't done anything?"

"I wanted to, but I just wasn't sure about him. I almost kissed him last Saturday."

"Get out of town," he said in a triumphant tone.

"I wished he would have kissed me, but he hasn't yet."

"Like you're not sure how he feels about you?"


"And you haven't done anything with him?"

"Not exactly. We hug, and we sleep together, but that's it."

"You guys sleep in the same bed?"

"Yeah. Something wrong with that?"

"NOOOO. Just wish I was James." He gave my knees a squeeze with his hands and sat back down in his chair. It almost seemed too much for him.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I didn't know."

He didn't look at me. I wanted him to look, only that he was lost in his own thoughts. "I'm sorry Phillip, I just didn't know you felt that way about me."

"Does James love you?"

"I still don't know for sure," I said, and Phillip looked straight at me with his bright blue eyes. "I think he loves me, acts like it sometimes, but then sometimes he's so distant."

"But you say you love him."

"Think so." I paused for a few seconds. "I know I'm attracted to him, at least that's how it started, but then this past Saturday, when the thunderstorm came, he held me, and that's when I knew for sure." Phillip didn't say anything, his mind was wondering out in the distance, and I felt sorry for him. "I'm sorry Phillip, I just didn't know."

"It's okay I guess. That's life."

"I swear, you're my best friend," but my words didn't seem to be enough. I was waiting for him to look at me, but he didn't, he just sat there rubbing his forehead with the palm of his hand. I sat there watching his torment, seeing him breaking down till I couldn't take it any longer. I stood up waiting for him to look at me, but he never once looked up. "Come here," I said, and offered out my hand to him, and he took it, and it took every ounce of strength in my body to pull him up, and he collapsed there in my arms. Now it was his turn to cry, and he didn't cry like an eighteen-year-old boy, but more like a little boy, as I held him there in my arms. He cried a million tears, all of them, making me sad, and soon I felt my own tears, tears for him. I didn't have to live through what he did, not for that length of time. I knew what it was like to have a love, a secret love, and not be able to share it. I wasn't sure how he held up so long, how he went on wishing he could be with me, and never connecting. We held each other for the longest time, then he gently, ever so lightly kissed me on my neck, then pulled away, looking into my eyes as we held hands. I knew what he felt because I felt it too. He wanted me, the same way that I wanted James.

"I got to go," he said.

"Please don't. I hate seeing you like this." I let go of one of his hands, and gave his other hand a gentle squeeze, much like I did at the lake with James a few weeks ago. I backed up a step, then I let go, and headed for the door, holding it open for him, as he walked inside. I went to the stereo, and instead of putting on a rock or pop cd, I found an Enya cd, and started the music, as he went to go sit down on the couch. I sat beside him, and put my arms around him, my hands on his chest, and leaned back pulling him with me. We just sat there, listening to music, listened to the whole cd, not speaking a word to each other. I felt a connection there with Phillip, something I had never felt before. We were friends, had been forever, but I was holding him, feeling his body against mine, and I felt as though we were becoming friends all over again. Being gay wasn't something I wanted, but being with Phillip, holding him, gave me something I wasn't expecting. The boy there in my arms, wasn't the one I loved, but being close like we were, and being able to do so without the stigma, that most boys have, allowed us to be closer, better than any best friend could ever be.

The music had quit playing, but we stayed together like we were, not moving, just enjoying each other's company. I didn't want to see him leave in a bad mood, or just a so, so mood, and played a Michelle Branch cd next. As we listened to that cd, his mood seemed to come around, and we started to talk again. We were sitting next to each other, not touching, but we were much closer to each other than a normal friend would be.

"You're lucky to have found James."

"I know. Except we aren't together yet."

"I think you have a good start. Do you guys talk?"

"All the time."

"What do you talk about?" He asked, taking off his shoes.

"Everything. Well just about everything," I said. He turned lengthwise with the couch, put his back up the side of it, and swung his legs up on top. I did the same, and now we were facing each other at opposite ends of the sofa. He had his leg against the back of the sofa, then my leg in between his, then his other leg in between mine, and my other leg at the edge of the couch. We were touching each other, but it was cool. Guys don't touch each other, it's not acceptable, but now Phillip and I were, and it gave us the freedom to grow closer.

"So what haven't you guys talked about?"

"Love," I said. "I told him, I loved him as a friend. Those were my exact words, but we are more than just friends. At least that's what I feel."

"So you wish he was your boyfriend?"

I thought about it. Those words sounded so good to me. Boyfriend. It was a word, nothing more, but the sound of it, the thought of James being my boyfriend pleased me.

"Well?" Phillip was waiting for an answer to his question.

"Yes. I do want James. I want him to be my boyfriend."

"You think he feels the same way about you?"

"Don't know," I said. "I want him to."

"Do you like, touch each other?"

"Um...yeah. We hug each other, and sometimes we touch each other while we sleep. On Saturday, when I put sunscreen on his back, and his legs, and he did the same for me."

"And he liked that?"

"Guess so. Didn't complain about it. I know I liked it. He got me pretty excited when he rubbed my legs. Then...ah...Sunday, just as I was leaving the bedroom, he grabbed me from behind, put his arms around me, and felt my chest with his hand. He was right behind me, had his chest pressed up against my back, and he was breathing on my neck, and I got really hard.

"Has he ever touched you, you know, down there?" He said pointing at my crotch with his foot. Phillip didn't touch me there, but his foot was close, and just talking about it was getting me stirred up.

"No. I want him to. I know I wanted to touch him, you know feel what it's like." I looked at Phillip, he looked out into the room, and I looked down at him, and saw the affect our conversation was having on him. It was there, under his cut offs, a bulge that couldn't be missed. I looked away, but I was curious. "Have you ever, touched another guy like that?"

"Yeah," was Phillips reply.

"What was it like?"

"Ah...good. Feeling a guy like that is awesome. It is so hard, yet soft to the touch, but there's something else. I guess it's exciting because I like touching, and just knowing what the other guy is feeling, and you're doing it to him, making him feel good, and that totally turns me on."

"So, ah...what's it like when another guy touches you? I asked.

"Awesome. Like nothing you ever felt before." He closed his eyes for second, I guess he was remembering what it was like, then he opened his eyes, and did it. His foot stretched out and he brushed me once, just for a split second. My eyes went closed as I quickly sucked in air through my mouth, and a tremor went through my body. I was already hard, just us talking about the subject, and that feeling, that he touched me like that, right there.

"Sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have done that."

"It's okay."

"No it isn't. I just couldn't help myself. I've been wanting to do that to you for so long, and then when you asked, I guess, well I guess I wasn't thinking. I won't do it again."

"It's okay Phillip. You're right, I asked, and now I guess after feeling that, you know, really seeing how it feels, there really isn't any way to describe it. I was already hard, just talking about it."

"You sure are," he said looking down at me, and I looked too.

"No way to hide that," I said.


"I really didn't know it would feel like that. You only touched me for a second! I knew I was sensitive there, and I knew it would feel good, but I had no idea it would be like that!"

"I shouldn't have."

"But I understand. I was rubbing James's legs at the lake, putting sunscreen on them, and I had to fight myself not to start rubbing him all over. It wasn't easy controlling myself, holding back like that."

"So where is James anyway?"

"Out of town. He's a surveyor, and his boss is just getting his business started, so they take work where they can for now."

"When's he coming back?"

"Not till Friday."

"Bet you miss him."

"Yeah, I really do."

Phillip took in a deep breath, then let it out. "You say you almost kissed him on Saturday?"

"Yeah. Twice."

"But nothing happened?"

"The first time I was scared, didn't know how he felt about me, so I lost my courage. The second time I would have done it, tried to, except I started crying."

"That is so sweet. You really do love him, don't you?"


"You are so lucky."

"Well nothing's happened yet."

"Shawn, this might seem strange, but if things don't work out between you two, would you...ah...oh forget it.

"I'll call ya."

"You would do that."

"Look, we're friends, best friends, always have been. I swear, if this doesn't work out, if he hates me after Friday, then, I will at least call you."

"I won't get my hopes up, but you better call me."

"Promise you, I will call."

"So do you like me?" He asked.

"Sure I do."

"So if things don't work out with you and James, you would consider me, or least want to go out with me?"

"Why wouldn't I?" He didn't answer, but it wasn't really a question. "I know everything about you. Well not everything, but I do know a lot. After tonight, I, well just that I know a lot more. And besides, you are pretty cute," I said looking at his bright blue eyes again.

"Thanks," he said. "I know it's a long shot, but at least I have a chance. Ah...what's going to happen Friday, that he might not, well that he might hate you for?"

"On Monday I really felt alone, and when I got home from work I kind 'a fell apart. Don't think I have ever been that down before." Phillip looked very concerned. "I was so empty inside, and I cried, god did I cry. That's when my uncle came over."

"What did he say?"

"Nothing at first. Actually, I asked him a question, how do you know when you're in love? Then I sort of slipped up, and said that I loved my friend, you know as a friend only I said him, not her. That's when he knew."

"So you're uncle knows about James."

"Yeah. He saw how it was tearing me up inside, told me I had to talk to him. I knew that, and it was going to happen anyway, but he made me realize that I can't go on like this, that I have to talk to him. Anyway, he gets home Friday, and I'm not going to hold back."

"You're brave."

"No I'm not," I said.

"No, I mean it. You are very brave. But I want you to be brave. Do you have any idea how long I've been meaning to talk to you, but never did?"

"No," I said.

"Let me tell you. It's been forever, and it's like killed me not saying anything to you."

"Why didn't you say something? What was I going to do, beat you up? Like that would ever happen."

"You could have," he said.

"How? I don't even know how to fight. Never been in a fight."

"Yeah, but I could have like lost you as a friend."

"I know that feeling," I said. "I might lose James as a friend, and I really don't want that, but I can't go on like this. I have to know."

"I hope it goes alright," he said. "Look, I really better go. It's getting late, but I want to talk with you more."

"Me too," I said. Phillip got his shoes on, and we hugged each other, a nice long warm hug. It had been a great evening, and we shared things I thought I would always keep inside me. He thanked me for the wonderful evening, then he disappeared into the haze of the summers evening. The air was heavy, with moisture, and yet it felt cool and refreshing like so many other summers nights. It wasn't too late, but all the emotions of the evening had drained me, so I got ready for bed when the phone rang.


"Shawn, it's me."

"I was wondering when you were going to call."

"How are you?" He asked.

"Tired is all. How about you?"

"Doing good now, we just finished eating."

"Kind of late isn't it."

"Not as late as last night, but I was so hungry, that I started getting a little irritable. We went to a nice place to eat tonight, Mike said we both deserved it."

"What did you have?"

"I got a big steak, baked potato, a salad and some vegetables. What did you have?"

"I ate some chicken is all."

"Shawn, is everything alright?"

"I guess so."

"I'm worried about you," he said, and I knew he cared for me, maybe not the way I wanted him to care, but he was concerned.

"Why are you worried?" I asked

"You were upset when I left home, and now you just don't sound like yourself."

"I'm tired is all. My friend Phillip came over, and we talked about a lot of stuff. In fact he just left. I'll tell you all about when you get back. You're coming home soon, aren't you?"

"It won't be long, I promise."

"Better not be too long."

"Why do you say that?" with a little surprise in his voice.

"Just miss you not being here is all."

"Not to worry my friend, I will be there before you know it."

"Good. It's too quiet when you're not here."

We talked about all sorts of things, but hearing his voice, no matter what he said was a comfort. We talked for a long time, then finally said our good byes, at least five or six times, neither one of us wanting to hang up. When I went to bed, my thoughts of him were the last thing on my mind, and I went into a deep sleep.

The following day came and went, nothing eventful, except for my phone call from James. It was the highpoint of my day. The next day came, and I got up out of bed with no problem. It was Friday a big day, perhaps the most important day of my life. It had come to point, a change that my life was about to take. My Uncle was right and today I would give myself to him, and I would remember this day forever. Every single moment I thought about James, how much I missed him, how good he was to me, and how sweet he was. I never could get him off my mind, not even for a minute. At work Jenny kept asking me if I was okay. I wasn't myself, and wasn't getting very much work done. Jenny and Kelly left at noon, and I was about to get my lunch out when Lisa walked in the door.

"Jenny and Kelly just stopped by to see me." I looked up at her, a little worried, maybe concerned about not doing very much. She closed the door, and sat down beside me. "Are you okay Shawn?"

"I can't keep my mind on work," I said. She had a very kind look to her, almost like a mother does.

"You know you can talk to me if you need to."

"I know. It's...Well, I've got something on my mind, and I can't get it out. I just can't think about anything else."

"You can tell me ya know."

"It's a big day for me," I said. "It's really important. I'm going to, well I'm going to tell someone that I love them, and today is the day."

"This is really big news then," she said with an excitement in her voice.

"News? This is a giant step for me."

"Who's the lucky girl?"

"Well that's what makes it so hard."

"What do ya mean hard? Just tell her what you feel in your heart."

"I know."

"Well then just tell her. Tell her how you feel."

"It's just hard because, well it just is."

"Is there something wrong with her?"

"No, not exactly."

"Well this girl, she must be very nice."

"She is. I mean, he... oh God, it's just that, I mean," and I took a big swallow.

"It's okay," she said, and put her hand on the side of my head, and brushed back my hair. "You can tell me." She gave me a very sweet look, almost loving.

"Well I'm, going to tell... it's just... well...he's a boy."

"Well then, he's a very lucky boy." I looked at her, it was a surprised sort of look, curious too. It wasn't what I expected her to say. "It's okay. You are so sweet, and I'm sure the two of you will be very happy."

"I hope so."

"Don't worry, you will." She was looking at me again, looking inside of me, but then her look turned very sweet again. "This is your first time, isn't it?"

"Yeah. I've never had a boyfriend before."

"This is a big day for you. Why don't you take the rest of the day off."


"No, Shawn, I mean it. I'll pay you for the rest of the day. You just go home and enjoy your time off."

"Thanks Lisa." I stood up, and she did too, and I gave her a big hug, and she gave me the warmest hug back. It was very loving and caring.

"Just tell him what you feel in your heart. I'm so happy for you," she said and I was happy too. She accepted me for who I was, loved me for it, and she was happy for me. She gave me confidence, it was something I needed. The love I felt, the love deep in my heart was strong, and it was love that would get me through.

On my way home I stopped at the store, picked up some things that I knew I could cook. I wanted this to be special, very special. I would get everything ready then when James got home all I had to do was turn on the stove. I rehearsed what I would say over and over, but I knew when he got home, I wouldn't remember a word. I knew what I felt in my heart, and it was my heart that would have to tell him.

I prepared dinner, then went out to the deck and waited for James. The sun was getting lower and lower, there were some high clouds around, and it looked like it was going to be a pretty sunset. I stood there at the rail looking off into the distance, my mind was clear, bright, thoughts of my future, our future, they seemed so close at hand, so real, and yet I needed to do one thing to make that all happen. I heard a truck coming down the drive. Was it James? God I hope so. I practically ran down the stairs, then out to the drive, with a slight skip to my step. I knew I would be happy to see him, but I was more than just happy, I was ecstatic. He was just getting the last of his things from his boss's truck, and then the truck pulled away. James waved at his boss then turned around facing toward me. He looked tired at first, but it didn't matter, he looked so good to me, and when he saw me, saw how happy I was, he got the biggest smile on his face. It was joy I saw, but I also saw love. I felt it when I hugged him. I had felt his love before, felt him hug me before, but this was different. Maybe it was because of what I was about to tell him, and that in a short while we were going to share our love together. It was as if he already knew, and it was that knowledge, the knowledge that we now shared, that made all the difference. It brought us closer to one another, closer than we had ever been before. We hugged each other for a long time, neither of us saying a word, just hands rubbing backs, as the sides of our heads pressed tight to one another.

"I'm so glad to see you," he finally said. "And you're okay." He let go of me, grabbed my shoulders tightly, holding me with his arms stretched out. "I missed you," he said.

"I missed you too." I had only minutes now, just a small matter of time before it would all be over, but in reality it would be a new beginning. My stomach felt tight, and my mind was racing. "I'm so glad you're home," I said.

He was looking at me with the eyes that I missed so much. "Come watch the sun set with me," I said. I felt positive, perhaps the best I had felt in some time.

"I'd go anywhere, if you were going to be there with me." My heart was about ready to jump out of my chest, as I heard him speak. I had the feeling that he was going to respond to me in a positive way. I had to think about how I was going to tell him. We walked the long flight of stairs, so long it seemed like I was walking to heaven. I turned the corner and went to the end of the deck facing to the west. We stood there, he with his arm across my waist, my arm across his shoulders.

"That is beautiful," he said

"Not as beautiful as you," I replied rather quickly. Then I thought, now is the time, I have to say something now. "James."

"Yes Shawn"

"I have something I need to tell you" he turned and faced me as I turned to face him. Now here we were face to face, and all I needed to do tell him that I love him. It was real simple, just that the words wouldn't come out. He was just staring at me.

"James, I, ah... I," the words were stuck there in my throat and no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn't come out. I had to do this, even if he hated my afterward. I was scared, truly scared, and my courage didn't come easy, but it was courage that had to prevail. I tried again, opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

"Shawn are you okay?"

"Sort of." There I said something. Not what I intended to say, but I was glad to get out some words. "This is very important, something I have to tell you," I said.

"I'm listening," he said brushing back my hair, then returning his hand to my side.

"I don't want you to be mad at me."

"I could never be mad at you," he said, looking at me, and I knew my moment had come. That moment was so defined, every second so clear, every movement captured in my mind. I paused and James pulled me closer. His hands were around my waist, I had my hands folded and across the back of his neck.

"James we haven't known each other very long, but somehow, someway, I know, just know that...that" a tear had formed and was running down the side of my face. Those words shouldn't be hard to say, but then another tear came, then another. I had to tell him, but something was stopping me, keeping me from being able to speak. My head was full of thoughts, but mostly my heart was full of love. Holding my head up became difficult, it felt heavy, laden with tears and emotions, and I started to look down. At the same time James bent his head down slightly and our two heads met each other, each of our foreheads against the other ones. I relaxed a little, got my breath back and thought I would try to tell him again. I was looking down the whole time, never once looked up, but then something caught my eye, and I looked up. Didn't move my head, just my eyes, and I saw his face, saw his lips there inches away from mine. I'm going to kiss him I thought, and nothing is going to stop me. I noticed that my tears had stopped, and I looked up again. I saw his lips, the lips I longed to kiss, so close, so perfect they were. I began to lift up my head, slowly, very slowly I raised my head, but I didn't draw back, and neither did he. He remained still, quiet, not moving away, just slowly raising up his head, as I raised mine. The closer I got, the longer it seemed to take getting to him. I don't know if five minutes passed or an hour, it hardly mattered. Our noses almost touched, and I began to turn my head to the side, and he did the same, only in the other direction. Now I was just millimeters away from his lips. I couldn't believe this was happening, that I was going to kiss him, that he was going to kiss me, that nothing was going to stop it from happening. Then it did happen, our lips touched, I felt his lips and he felt mine. They were light, sweet and gentle, not what I thought it might be like. He was easy to kiss, so perfect, so effortless. I didn't fumble around, neither did he, just our lips touching, pressing against each other, moving back and forth, gliding as the moved. We backed off just an inch or two then kissed again. Just as sweet as the first. I backed away leaving my hands on his shoulders. I looked into his eyes, they appeared to be watery.

"I love you James". No sooner had I said this and a single tear left his eye. I reached up to wipe it away, then held the side of his face in my hand.

"Shawn I love you more than you will ever know."

"God, I can't believe it's true, I said, and hugged him, and he hugged me, strong, with all his might he squeezed me. He held me so tight, I couldn't breath, but I didn't care. I was in the arms of the boy I loved, and he loved me, and we were together now. Together the way I wanted to be with him. No longer just a friends, but something different. This was way different, but it felt good, felt natural, like it should be. I had wanted him, wanted him to know how I felt, and now he knew, and I knew, that we were going to be together in love. Our lives were going to change, and for me it was a new life, with a new love, a boy, and he gave me strength, a strength that I never felt before.

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