The Planetarium of their city was renown for its high end technological expositions and installations. The Planetarium counted with various expositions of world history, the universe and aquatic life. It used from live expositions to interactive AI, to minigame consoles, to firsthand experience lobbies (most in the aquatic life exhibit). In reality, the Planetarium counted with various acres of land to house all its buildings, the Planetarium itself being the smallest but biggest attraction (hence the name and reference). More a park than a museum it attracted a diverse crowd, but tonight, it made a wonderful setting for two boys who secretly escaped the real world and entered their own.
Edd and Kevin awaited the show that had aced critiques nationally for it utilized a new technology which had caused the Dome to change from a once film screen to a new black carpet neither boys had seen before. Edd gasped as a deep voice tested the microphone and flashed some very bright lights around the screen, and passed some...promotional messages of the souvenir store as preliminary tests continued so no equipment was malfunctioning. Nothing special.
Kevin frowned in disappointment as his hopes about the place were quickly crumbling; he had expected more like a movies or cinema theme, with seats which didn't require him to lay down, nor with a thick armrest to separate him from his neighbor (a peculiar thought he ignored unconsciously). As Kevin groaned, Edd shushed him in the most elegant and polite matter Kevin had heard in years, which he thanked for it was at least an excuse to break the silence. The silence that had filled the space between them as they awaited the show was unbearable for Kevin. He wanted to speak with Edd, even if it was an excuse to fight.
Kevin: Did you just shush me?
Edd: Yes, i'm afraid i did.
Kevin: What the fuck man?!
Edd: Watch your language Kevin! Besides, it wasn't a rude shush.
Kevin: Oh, there are different kinds of shush?
Edd giggled and rose from his seat to look at Kevin in the face. His face was brimming in the darkness, his eyes twinkled, and he had a "Seriously?!" look Kevin knew too well since high school. They both knew, with just a glance, that they were kidding and teasing each other. No word needed to be said. Kevin shut his mouth and simply gazed at Edd, and they both shared a smile of understanding as they became part of the Planetarium and it's mostly empty seats (if not all).
A strong voice and the sound of steam quickly made Edd jolt and lay down once more, it was time.
"The mind. An endless labyrinth of possibilities. The source of our existence, the command center and library of everything we see, feel, live...remember. But, how does it work? This question is still an enigma. But though no answer is still available, technology is quickly evolving into allowing us... to see our mind"
The voice was recognized by both boys as Morgan Freeman's, and after this introduction, where the black ceiling and their surrounding was covered by a clear cloud of steam and the sound and flash of thunder rang around them, the most amazing experience began. Kevin and Edd stared in awe as the steam subsided and cleared the whole room, and the lights disappeared. Instead of a movie, or film in front of them, a holographic 3D image of a brain floated in the middle of the room over them.
Kevin: Holy shit!
Kevin stood from his seat and moved around, actually being able to see different perspectives, sides and parts of the brains...as if it was a solid structure. He had expected Edd to get excited, not himself, and he only reacted when he felt a warm touch over his hand on the arm rest.
Edd: Amazing, isn't it?
Edd had sat up and was also gazing in amazement at the structure that floated over them. Kevin turned to face Edd and smiled.
Kevin: One of the most amazing things I've seen.
Edd was swept by Kevin's words and turned to catch a glimpse of Kevin quickly turning his head upwards. Was he looking at him? Before Edd could inquire more, he quickly saw how a message appeared between them. Over their holding hands, with an arrow pointing to the fact they were holding hands. A message that read "wear your gloves". Edd giggled at the message as he remembered in a breeze how he was used to wearing gloves since a little kid- do to his projects or phobias (now mostly nonexistent). Kevin, however, frozen at the sight of their hands holding in... such an... endearing way, ignoring the message completely. He quickly pulled his hand away; rubbing the back of his neck... he burned pink. Edd was surprised at the reaction, feeling a small sinking sensation in his chest, a peculiar one considering the situation... or was it normal? Both boys quickly lifted their gaze and smiled shyly as they placed a glove on and followed the show.
It was quite the experience as the holographic room morphed and changed in the lighting. The structures created, the narration and the amount of interactive content they could participate with as their gloves turned out to enable them to touch, move and interact with most objects was… overwhelming and absolutely engaging, captivating. To Edd, he was simply amazed at how much this day had offered him, countless experiences and emotions swaying him in every direction. Kevin on the other hand had completely forgotten about the fact that his "day out" with Edd had been cancelled. He actually felt grateful he could share this amazing... stuff, with him.
Paying little attention to the information and what was being said (in the most part) Kevin interacted the most with all the elements available, exploring hands-on on what each thing did and sometimes creating funny effects to the surrounding. He had actually caused a half minute "blackout" as he had fiddled with a holographic brain and had caused a "seizure"- part of the show. The two boys laughed, joked and played for an hour until the show slowly pulled to a close and less and less interesting material was available to interact (at least to Kevin). As a grand finale, the room was made into the interior of a real brain, with pulsing and shining cords surrounding the boys in a stunning view... this was how a brain worked. Marveled, as one would seeing the secrets of the universe, the boys sat silently watching and following as many electrical pulses and messages this virtual and holographic brain mustered.
Kevin: I was wrong.
Such words coming out of his mouth literally startled Edd to an astounding extent. Edd twisted his whole body into facing Kevin, intrigued and worried as to the meaning and reason of such words. Kevin was very proud; admitting he was wrong in something was a historical event.
Edd: O-on what Kevin?
Kevin: I wasn't expecting much from this... but clearly...
As he talked, Edd pointed out to a remarkable pulse that crossed right in front of them.
Kevin: All these lights and electric signals. This is who we are... this is what makes us be... be who we were, who we will be and who we have become.
Edd gave him a loving smile, he was amazed and touched Kevin could go so deep in a subject... and open this much with him. Edd placed a warm hand on Kevin's head, rubbing it through his red cap.
Edd: You are a brilliant man you know that?
Kevin: Sure. Look who's talking...genius.
Edd: I am no genius, on contraire; I have as many flaws as you, possibly more or worse.
Kevin: Bah! You're just sweet talking me.
Edd: Why would I lie?
Kevin looked back at Edd, the tip of their fingers touching, Edd's hand still caressing his head. He felt his heart pounding through his chest, his blood boiling. Confused as to why but he was happy. Moving closer to Edd, placing his hand now firmly over Edd's, he grabbed the back of his neck and looked at him straight in the eyes with a soft and sweet gaze.
Kevin: 'Cause you are the most amazing person I've met.
Edd blushed crimson. He wanted to hide, he wanted to run, to stay, to say something, to hug Kevin, to... what was he feeling? Edd was frozen with his mouth gaped, his gloved hands clenched over his chest again in a frightened animal style. Kevin moved in slowly, closer and closer to Edd who slowly started closing his eyes in anticipation, the scenery of the universe of a brain surrounding them. It was majestic... and it was too late.
The room suddenly went pitch black and a loud yelp was heard, followed by the immediate shine of the top lights of the dome to illuminate the room once more. A startled Edd had his arms around Kevin's neck and his attentive eyes searched the place, he was breathing hard. Kevin was confused and felt a warm body, agitated and fast breathing, clinging onto him and he giggled.
Kevin: Wow, man, this old and still afraid of the dark?
Kevin laughed and Edd chuckled nervously, the two still holding each other.
Edd: I'm not a-afraid, Kevin. I was merely startled by the... abrupt change in luminosity.
Kevin: Yeah, riiiight.
Edd: I swear!
Edd slightly and softly slapped Kevin on the chest as they both laughed, and both boys quickly became aware of their current... situation. Their laughter quickly succumbed to silence as both boys stared at Edd's thin hand and feeble long fingers pressing over Kevin's chest feeling his strong heart beat. They were becoming absorbed into each other. This warmth they were sharing... it was suffocating. After a prolonged silence, both boys slowly let go and separated. They got up, staring at each other whimsically and giggling slightly. They wanted each other… yet they refrained themselves… something in them prevented them from letting go. Neither understood what had happened or was happening but they were drunk in their emotions to care or analyze what had happened... or could've happened. They actually felt naked, as if they had broken the final layer of intimacy, sharing their true selves, showing their real intentions. But, instead of the shame that accompanied being naked, they actually felt curious and eager, to know more, to feel more, to share... more.
They exited the Planetarium in silence, still not holding their gazes, and walked to Kevin's bike parked outside. The chat had become nonexistent, summed up to occasional stares and giggles as they walked side by side. Not touching or holding each other, simply sharing synchronized stares at each other in absolute bliss and innocence. Kevin got up on the bike first, closing his jacket which favored his body and putting on his helmet. He steadied the bike so Edd could get on safely and he extended his hand with Edd's helmet when he felt it was. Edd stared at him for a while, mesmerized and charmed at the valiant, charming, handsome figure Kevin was. His heart raced and a small voice asked..."why?".
Edd quickly reacted and shook his head, staring at Kevin properly.
Kevin: You ok, buddy?
He had spaced out, and his rational self slowly crept into dominance of his body. Edd felt torn as his body swayed between tides of impulse and rational behavior. In the last moments of impulse, at least, having seated himself behind Kevin, placing the helmet and feeling the rev of the engine, Edd embraced Kevin's body tightly, not for safety... but out of need.
Kevin: H-hey dude...you ok?
Kevin placed a hand over Edd's arms, feeling this hug was quite different. His heart raced and his mind became foggy. He felt comfortable at the pressure Edd was giving him; he felt…needed… or was it more? Did he want it to be more? Kevin caressed Edd's hands before realizing they, indeed, needed to go.
Edd: Thank you.
Whether it was the soft voice or the delicate tone of it, these words resonated in Kevin's body. They melted him. He felt a knot on his throat. He felt something... something he couldn't express or say back... not to a guy at least.
He revved the engine and drove back to campus, back through the city, through the fireflies and fields of colors and waves, of blurs and silence, of the wind, time and emotions. They didn't speed through though, Kevin drove carefully and with moderate speed, enjoying more the images than the blurs.
This time, Edd managed to appreciate their route and the places he had once perceived as blurs or splashes of color. He felt like a mouse finding the enormity of the world. It was a slight loss of innocence, or the discovery of something greater. He was unsure why such emotions or perception of himself had emerged so suddenly, but he was too busy listing the places he wished to visit as they passed them buy. He listed them: a coffee shop, a bistro, a bakery, classy restaurants- some with cultural influence of french or Italian or German or Chinese- casual corners bookshops, open markets and pet shops (he loved animals). Edd eased himself into resting over Kevin's broad and strong back; a sensual and delicious manly cologne coming off it. He felt... safe. Kevin though, was caught on a more serious picture which had him distracted from driving, reason he wasn't speeding. As he felt his... friend's warm body against his and as he remembered and thought of the Planetarium, of Lyon, of his emotions... of his parents, he felt confused and quite disconcerted. He slowly eased these thoughts out of his mind... c'est la vie.
It was late, again, but they had made it to campus safely and Kevin was quite pleased... or found endearing (more accurate wording) that Edd had dozed off on the ride, wrapping his arms around Kevin in a warm cuddle. Kevin swayed his body slowly but widely to wake up the sleeping beauty, and took his helmet off as lazy and dreamy eyes looked at him through a clear visor.
Kevin: Guess someone is tired, eh?
Edd drowsily got himself up, stretching in a feline way, arching his back. Kevin laughed as Edd took his helmet off and gave it back to Kevin.
Edd: Have we arrived already?
Kevin: Yeah, you were asleep.
Edd: I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable Kevin. Was I asleep too much?
Kevin: Don't know. We just arrived and I shook you a bit.
Edd giggled as he stood from the back of Kevin's bike, he stretched again. Kevin grinned as he saw Edd's slender silhouette, illuminated by the moonlight. Though stretching, he seemed like a mirage of perfection.
Edd: What's with you tonight?
Kevin had been startled, he wasn't aware he had been staring for too long or weirdly.
Edd: You were staring.
Kevin: Nooo. Why would I do that?
He laughed nervously.
Edd: Don't know. You looked dazed.
Kevin's heart raced and his rational mind quickly questioned him on what was he doing. He quickly put a straight face on, trying to choke his growing blush and got out of his bike, parking it in place and securing both helmets.
Edd: Aww, now now, don't be mad.
Kevin: I'm not mad.
Edd giggled and clung unto Kevin's arm... for a brief moment. As he released it, both boys averted their gazes. Edd was unsure what was going on himself.
Edd: Well... tonight was fun.
With that, both boys walked through campus in direction of Edd's dorms, silence as their companion. Contrary to the silence at the Planetarium, there was something tense between them as they walked through campus in silence, not sharing a glance. Kevin walked in a strong stride, looking straight and serious; Edd had his head bowed and walked in a thoughtful expression. Edd quickly tugged unconsciously to the strap of the case which held his gift, and his mind went into thinking of Marie.
He had never felt with Marie as he had felt this night at the Planetarium… yet again... he had never had a real date with Marie. He thought of the Planetarium, he thought of what he had felt; he thought of Kevin...who walked beside him. What had happened? Had something happened? Or was it all in his mind? As Edd pondered deeper on this, a small voice in his head whispered, wondered, why was he becoming obsessed in knowing? Kevin was a guy. As the whisper grew into a shout, Edd also thought of Lyon and his... comment... "who are you?". Edd's mind cycled the phrase, flashbacks of his night with Marie back at prom, of today's afternoon with Marie, of Kevin in school and all the time they spent together… he thought of tonight. Edd's mind repeated, over and over..."who am i?"...or was it him too?
Kevin: You ok? You were mumbling?
Edd: What? I'm sorry Kevin, I'm not following.
Kevin: You were saying something like "who am i?" or something.
Edd grew silent again as he bowed his head. His body had betrayed him again.
Kevin: Dude! What's up?!
Edd lifted his head and faced Kevin straight on, he answered him back.
Edd: The sky, the birds, planes and the Universe.
Kevin looked back at his friend and quickly broke into a hysterical laugh, which Edd followed. This... answer was a teenage joke and inside joke both boys had. It was a crafty way of both boys saying in a polite and comical way that they were fine and the other didn't need to worry. As they relived a fragment of their high school, the silence finally broken and both boys quickly started talking again, mainly about the show. But, at the back of his head, tugging again at the strap, Edd thought of Marie, and "why?".
Kevin: Well, we're here.
Edd did a childish pout, which made them laugh again at the door step of Edd's dorms. Time had slowed down, but distance had been stretched as Edd measured how much he had thought, they had laughed and had talked until they reached his dorms... and the time in had taken. Kevin scratched the back of his head as their laughter subsided. Edd knew he was going to say goodbye, but he didn't want to, he wasn't ready.
Edd: Want to come in?
Kevin was startled as Edd had lost his decor and measured voice tone in nearly blurting out and cutting him off. Edd breathed heavily, as if going against his modus operandi or etiquette and measured manners had nearly killed him. Kevin giggled and nodded his head before answering.
Kevin: Ok, just a while...
Edd: I-I'll make you your drink.
Edd: I have my own professional coffee machine...personal gift. Where do you think your Double Mocha Latte with no foam and hazelnut came from?
Kevin: Uuuuh, the menu?
Edd: Does it taste the same when I'm not serving it?
Kevin thought hard before answering. Edd had a point, he was-in fact- so disgusted by any other coffee or brew other than Edd's that he rarely drank coffee unless it was Edd preparing it. This, of course, had been blithely oblivious to Kevin until this moment.
Edd: Thought so, hence YOUR drink.
Saying this Edd winked at Kevin with a wide smile and jerked his keys slightly on the first door to the right, opening his bedroom door. It was small, but it was arranged so it felt much more spacious... though, with two people inside, it felt small again (not cramped at least). Kevin was appalled as he scanned the room, everything so neat, clean, and organized; with color matching wooden furniture, a nice office desk, shelves and cubby-holes for an assortment of materials, books and papers. It was very Edd, and Kevin smiled seeing he hadn't changed and that his taste was exquisite as always... and that it smelled like lavender- characteristic scent of Edd in Kevin's mind. As Kevin sat on the low-bed, stretching his legs and removing his jacket (which he hung on the coat stand beside the door) he thought of how welcoming and nice it felt... being in Edd's room. Edd, meanwhile, had started his coffee machine and quickly started thinking of some way he could talk to Kevin more… deeply about tonight. As Edd tried to think of something he could say or do to bring the subject up, he saw a deck of cards in one of his cubby-holes… a gift from Ed.
Kevin swirled around to face Edd, he had been absorbed by the room.
Edd: Oh, sorry. Ehm, want to play cards?
Kevin saw Edd had already taken a deck out and had started shuffling it mid air. He grinned.
Edd sat across him on his bed and they made a space on it for them to play. Edd dealt the cards for a game of Gin, and they quickly got ready in silence for their duel. Edd pulled the cards onto his nose and glared slightly at Kevin with his blue eyes.
As both boys started discarding cards and trading others, they couldn't help but laugh and bicker as cards were stolen or either got the lead. Edd, didn't let himself fall into the game though. He looked for an opportunity to ask his dire question... the reason he had invited Kevin inside.
Edd: Hey Kevin?
Edd: What happened tonight?
Kevin raised his glance, saw Edd was still facing his cards and dropped his again.
Kevin: What do you mean?
Edd: What happened?
Kevin felt his heart race, fight-or-flight quickly gaining control over his actions.
Kevin raised his glance and found two blue, moony eyes staring at him incessantly and Edd's chest rising in agitation. Kevin felt a knot in his throat, the knot that wouldn't let him speak or say what he wanted... it choked him. He panicked.
It was said in a barely audible tone, but Edd heard it clearly. He clenched his cards, not damaging them though, and closed his eyes, mustering strength to say what he wanted to know.
Edd: Did you not feel anything?
Kevin looked up at Edd, who had his eyes closed, he was trembling. The knot tightened, his heart sank, and Kevin panicked as his mind tore him at what he wanted and who he was. "Who was he?" It was the first time Kevin asked himself that question.
Kevin: I-I got to go.
As Kevin filled with remorse and got up from the bed, placed his jacket on and dreaded how coward he was. Unable to say what his heart wanted, he thought of his parents, of his father... what would his father say?
Kevin stopped, hand on the doorknob, but he didn't look back... he just stood there.
Edd: Wasn't tonight...special?
Kevin turned around abruptly, knocking the coat hanger over, his eyes were watery, his jaws clenched and frustration on his face. He saw Edd's serious face, but with eyes that screamed all the pain being kept inside. As they stood there, Edd plopped his cards on to the bed, and forced a grin with his shaking lips and teary eyes.