I and Ace were locked in my pitch-black room. Lying side by side, studying each other’s features in the dark. He had snuck in my ground floor window after nine. My parents were asleep upstairs, if they knew what Ace was really doing here aside from the sleepover, play video games explanation they’d always been given they’d throw a fit.
I had learned to lock the door after they almost caught us. Ace placed his lips close to mine and I kissed him, he tasted sweet thanks to his chapstick. He pressed me down into the mattress and climbed on top of me. He stopped and placed his head on my chest. He was listening to my heartbeat.
“Deacon,” he whispered.
I loved the sound of my name from his lips, especially here in the dark with him so close to me. Most times he said it in passing and breezed onto other things to deter people from anything they might have picked up on.
Our type of relationship wasn’t illegal per se, more so display of affection was illegal and therefore no one knew any longer whether you were in a relationship unless you shouted it from the rooftops or made it official by getting a ring or something.
Ace and I were not people for shouting it from the rooftops and we were too young for the other option. So, we hid it, pretended we were single and uninterested. How did people live like this? I know it was normal but when you love someone don’t you want them to know it.
For us, it had been an experiment in the beginning. All our friends were saying how cute girls were but we didn’t see it. When I invited Ace over one day he said he wanted to try something.
He led me to my bedroom, locked the door and backed me into a corner, where he kissed me. I was scared at first, but then I realized I liked it and started to kiss him back. We kept waiting for the wanting to kiss each other to stop, for our focus to switch to girls but it never happened and eventually, we wanted more.
Ace kissed my sternum and then moved back up to my neck, which tickled.
To think you could get arrested for simply holding your lover’s hand or kissing them outside your front door is insane. When we were younger, our families went to the beach together and I remember a couple being dragged off after holding hands and walking by the water’s edge. I remember thinking it was a beautiful scene and that someday I wanted to do that with the person I loved, walk by the beach, holding hands. Little did I know back then, that person would be Ace.
I played with Ace’s midnight black hair and studied his neon-blue eyes. They looked like they were glowing in the dark. His freckles stood out against his pale skin. He was beautiful.
“I love you, Deacon,” he whispers into my neck.
He couldn’t even say that with others around.
“I love you, too,” I reply quietly.
My parents always asked us who we were taking to prom every year and we always said some random girl they didn’t know, we had our own cars so we’d always pretend to go pick them up, but really, we’d just spend the night together, hiding in back corners of the dance room. I didn’t know if our relationship was a secret at school as it was at home but it was hard to tell who was in a relationship these days with it being illegal to kiss and hold hands in public.
It wasn’t even in movies for context, one minute characters were meeting and going on dinner dates and the next they were discussing their wedding plans.
Ace can’t remember the last time he saw his parents kiss. His younger sister had a boyfriend but the only evidence that was out there was their text messages and their receipts.
“Deacon, I want to tell them,” he whispers.
I interlocked my fingers with his.
Hand-cuffed for a simple symbol of affection, yelled at, dragged off. The couple was never in the news, it was like an unspoken rule that people just abided by.
“We can but it won’t change anything,” I reply.
“They’ll stop asking who we're going to prom with. If there’s anyone we like at school. Why we spend so much time with each other…” he mumbles.
Romance blossomed in the four walls of a dark room between two people, if any indication was shown outside a house that wasn’t a wedding it was over for you.
Who knows what happened to that beach couple? I didn’t want that for me or for Ace.
“I think we should ask questions, no one ever questions it,” I reply.
“Maybe there’s a reason,” he whispers.